Alignment is one of the most challenging parts of a golf setup. Not just for amateurs, but for pros as well.
In Jack Nicklaus’ biographical account (Golf My Way), Jack recounts an episode where his game was going haywire. All that was needed was for his teacher (Jack Grout) to point out that his shoulders were aligned waaaay right of target. With that simple fix, he was back to winning tournaments. If alignment (lack thereof) can adversely affect the game of the greatest golfer that ever lived, imagine the effect it can have on everyday mortals!
Here is a tip that will help your alignment (also, read the post on ‘shirt button alignment’).
Your swing path will naturally track your EYE LINE.
That’s right, your eyes dictate the path the club follows on the downswing. While setting up, hold the golf club parallel to the ground – and aligned parallel to your knees (or thighs). Align your eyes on top of the golf club – and leave them there. Now, you know where your eyes need to be, so even if they stray a bit, you can bring them back to the target line. To summarize:
- Align your KNEES parallel to target line
- Hold your club above your knees (and parallel to the knees)
- Align your eyes to your club shaft
Now here’s the catch. While it is easy to align the eyes at ADDRESS (by ensuring that your EYE LINE is parallel to the target line), it is equally easy to disrupt this alignment on your backswing. Most people have a fair amount of ‘head movement’ and often, lower body movement (sideways swaying) – both of which can result in a disorientation of your meticulously placed eye-line.
Keeping your head ‘steady’ (not fixed). This is easier said than done, but it is a habit worth inculcating. Its benefits extend beyond the full swing. Your short game will see an improvement as well (most people have waaaay too much sway/upper body movement in their short game). Keeping your head ‘fixed’ is typically bad advice – as it introduces an unnecessary rigidity into the swing.
Correct alignment has proven to be a challenge for golf pros and amateurs alike. While most coaches emphasize lining up the BODY with the target line (using alignment rods), they ignore the importance of aligning the EYES. The eye-line is where your mind is trained to take your body – regardless of how and where your body may be lined up. Hence, it is important to get the eyes aligned parallel to the target line. This post illustrates how one might end up accomplishing that alignment.