There are many factors that come into play when you talk about gaining that much-needed confidence even before you swing your golf club. One of them, no doubt at all, is a proper golf setup. And another one, as you can guess, is aim, alignment, whatever you call it!
How to aim in golf – this knowledge, both theoretical and in execution, is a HUGE step toward greater consistency.
Dialing in that perfect aim/alignment prior to hitting your every shot (a pre-shot routine that’s called, and it surely doesn’t deserve to be neglected) means improving your performance on the golf course by increasing your game consistency.
Even if you think about it logically, it makes a lot sense to take aim. How can you expect your golf shots to be accurate if you’re not actually aiming the club right? At this point then, it doesn’t matter how fast or skilfully you swing your golf club. If the aim’s all off, hitting the ball out-and-out straight is no good.
And to be honest, not all ‘strayed’ shots are the result of a poor swing. You could go off-target also due to bad aim. So how about we eliminate this point of error in our pre-shot routine? You’ll then see improvements in your game overnight!
Table of Contents
- Why Is Alignment So Important?
- What Does It Take to Aim Accurately?
- Golf Aim and Alignment – How to Do It Right!
- Most Effective Golf Aim and Alignment Tips!
- Next on the Agenda – FAQs About Golf Alignment!
Why Is Alignment So Important?
Golf alignment is very, very important. But why do you suppose that is? Simply because do you think you’re perfectly aimed at your target most times? I doubt it. In reality, what happens with the majority of us is that we simply assume we’re not off-target when in fact, more often than not, we’re usually off the mark.
So if you’re a right-hand golfer, you end up aiming far too right. But then what’s so wrong with that? Good question! The huge downside to aiming/hitting off-target is unintentionally and even unknowingly forming bad habits over time.
And listen to this. Your aim is the flag. But then despite that, you’re setting up approx. 10 yards to the right of that flag. And all this while, your brain is taking that into account. As a result, you try to compensate by tweaking your backswing and/or downswing.
And then again your brain signals that something’s amiss because of that tweak and you end up over-compensating. That’s how you hit pull fades, that’s how you “push” your dead-straight-hit shots to the far right.
You can then forget about becoming a great ball striker if you develop these kinds of bad tendencies and habits in the swing caused by poor alignment. Your body and mind then won’t take time to get used to over-compensating this way if you don’t correct your aim and make those necessary adjustments.
What Does It Take to Aim Accurately?
When you learn the proper or correct way of aiming in golf, you’re actually improving your stats (fairway and green). But to get there, your pre-shot routine needs to undergo certain changes, so your shots arrive right in the target area.
For this, factor in basic elements such as the natural shape of the shot and then adjust the aim accordingly. On top of that, external, physical conditions like slopes and wind also have an effect on your shot.
Golf Aim and Alignment – How to Do It Right!
What is the shot that you wish to hit? Before doing anything else, think about this first and foremost. That means analyzing the hole layout. If it’s flat, aiming down the middle of that fairway is your best shot (rip it!). But then if hazards and slopes get in the way, then figure out where to land the golf ball the most safely.
And then comes the part of checking the strength and direction of the wind. So you know how far right or left you should be starting the ball. Put your golf rangefinder in the standard mode and then use its compass for gauging the wind direction.
You can also use your golf rangefinder, watch, or GPS to get to know the distance numbers to that pin as well as to the front of that green.
For example, you have a distance to the pin of around 150 yards (i.e. center of the green). And around a 135-yard distance to the front, without troubles (so no water hazard, no deep bunkers, no major wind gusts, etc.). This means distance plays true here.
Your decision then, if the distance is 150 yards (ideal 8-iron distance), is that you ought to be hitting about 140 yards. Flushing your shot means you’re all over that flag. As for hitting it just okay, you still are on that green with birdie putt.
The final preparatory step includes thinking about the shape of your shot. For instance, if you tend to hit fades (and you’re a right-handed golfer), then you have to aim left of the target in order to compensate for that. Likewise, aim right of the target if you hit draws.
Now don’t forget that the wind plays a part. Hitting left-to-right when there are crosswinds howling in that same direction means you’re compelled to aim farther left. Much in the same way, farther right for right-to-left shaping of the shot if the crosswind is blowing in that particular direction.
2. Tee Up the Ball
What the golf ball dimple pattern is like won’t matter at all if you don’t know where the golf ball is supposed to be placed on that tee box. The positioning of the ball greatly impacts the line/shape of the shot, never neglect or underestimate this fact.
Hitting right-to-left implies that you tee up on that tee box’s left side. And on its right side when hitting left-to-right.
And why is this so important? Teeing up the ball is appropriate to do at such times since it’s responsible for opening up the most suitable side of that hole. Thus, setting you up on the correct line, so the golf ball lands in the center of that fairway.
3. Pick A Long-Range and Intermediate Target
Now the time’s come to choose that long-range, pseudo target (such as a telephone pole, tree, electrical box, mound, etc.) that is actually past your actual, intended target. Needless to say, do this when standing behind your golf ball, so your view of that fairway is clear.
At such times, pick the pin only if your distance is within 100 yards and if you genuinely want to charge at the thing. But if not, meaning if you’re not within the wedge distance, then choose some other target and not the pin.
Then you pick that intermediate target (starting line), another step in the process that most high handicappers and amateurs neglect.
So what is this intermediate target? The target between that long-range target and your ball. Around 6 inches away from the front of the golf ball. And, obviously, in the same line as your target in the far distance. So this can be either a piece of grass that you can focus on in front or a divot, tee, etc.
Now you’re wondering why can’t you just aim at the long-distance target right away? Simply because it’s not the easiest thing to do, and most golfers are proof of that. They find it very hard to line up their club with that 100-300-yard long distance. It actually increases the chances of making a mistake.
Hence, lining up your golf club with a target closer to you and right in front. This is surely better than a target far off. You can then set up square, thus no need for adjustments in the middle of your faultless golf swing sequence.
4. Position the Clubhead and Take Practice Swings
Is the clubhead directly in line with the target and also behind the golf ball? Make sure this step of the process is done right.
And now how about taking some practice swings (1-2 are enough) looking at those targets? So imagine your shot traveling over the intermediate target, imagine the ball flight, and the golf ball just soaring in the direction of that long-range target.
5. Position Your Stance
Building your golf stance alignment i.e. placing the feet in a parallel position to your target line is the next step. Get into the address position looking at the intermediate target, not the long-distance target.
Once alignment to that intermediate target has been established, then look at your far-off target and make those stance adjustments accordingly (it should all feel comfortable too!).
Your feet shouldn’t be facing a line that isn’t parallel to the very line of your target. Otherwise, wayward shots are unavoidable. So this is how to aim feet in golf!
The golf club shaft, at this point, is placed below the knees. Follow that line and check where you’re aiming. At the same time, rest the club on the turf also in a parallel position to the feet this time for determining where you’re aiming.
6. Position Your Posture/Shoulders
Also adjust your shoulders. Meaning they should be square to ensure more accuracy. Do not dip the leading shoulder lest you want to pull the golf ball while dropping the trailing shoulder produces pushed strikes.
So how do you check whether or not you’ve squared your shoulders? Turn the head so it’s directly facing over the front shoulder. This should get you to line up properly, which means you’re looking at that line that’s parallel to your target.
7. Final Check – Pull That Trigger!
First of all, just breathe and know that you’ve finally lined up correctly and are ready for striking the golf ball. Take a last look at that long-range electrical box, tree, etc. that is your made-up target, with your shoulders and feet parallel to that target and clubhead behind that ball.
And if, in this moment, you can’t see the desired target, no harm in stepping away and setting up again. But if you can, then go ahead and take your golf club back, do the shoulder rotation, and hit your shot!
Most Effective Golf Aim and Alignment Tips!
You can make sure your setup is correct, meaning your body and feet are squared with the help of the following strategies…
Analyze Your Game
Evaluating your rounds of golf is a very effective method for achieving aiming consistency. After you finish your every round, analyze which side you missed (on the fairway and green).
Then you can make use of training aids before teeing off or when practicing between rounds for getting the square setup done right.
Use Golf Alignment Tool
This alignment tool is actually a magnetic club that helps a great deal when it comes to answering the question ‘where to aim when hitting irons and wedges?’
The tool’s magnetic end is placed on the clubface you’re using on that range, so you can actually see how the thing lines up correctly to your target.
A good golf alignment tool will also bring to your attention how flat or upright your wedges and irons are. And then you can get your golf clubs adjusted accordingly.
3. Use Alignment Sticks
When on the range trying to learn how to aim more accurately, alignment sticks can be of immense help. Around 2 sticks are good enough for a practice session.
One for your feet while the other for your club path. The former you set on the parallel-left side of your target (for right-handed golfers), near your toes. And the latter down flat, pointing in the target direction.
And when carrying just 1 alignment stick, then position this one between the ball and your feet.
Now, how much ‘left’ should you be aiming for?
- With your driver and 3-wood, 6 to 8 yards left (because of the longer shaft length).
- With your fairway woods, hybrids, and long irons, 3 to 6 yards left.
- With your short irons and wedges, 2 to 4 yards left.
4. Record Your Golf Swing
Ask your fellow golfers to record a video of your swing. Or just set up a tripod and do it yourself.
Record a few golf shots and then review them later. You may think you’re square to your target when in reality, you’re way off.
Next on the Agenda – FAQs About Golf Alignment!
How to Aim Golf Club Face?
Before you build your stance, meaning before you position your feet parallel to your target line, that’s when you’re supposed to be aiming the clubface. To get it to aim square much more easily, pick something (an intermediate target) right in front of the ball.
Once that clubface is squared up and properly aimed, then build the stance around it, and not build your stance and then set up and square the clubface. The former eliminates the mistake and possibility of setting up open/closed to that target.
Where to Aim On Golf Ball?
Some golfers, in order to hit down on the golf ball for putting more backspin on it (so it goes higher and farther), look and aim at the front of the ball. The others aim at the back for tee shots.
So which is the right approach you ask? My expert advice to you would be to choose one that works in YOUR favor. Depending on what works for you, you can look at the entire golf ball or the dimples on it. Truthfully speaking, there’s no one right answer here.
Why Is My Aim Off-Target In Golf?
The most common cause of this is the golf ball being too far behind in the stance. How to check that? Raise your club to your waist height. Is it pointing back, meaning behind you? If yes, then the position of the golf ball is way too back indeed.
As a result, your shoulders are closing and skewing your alignment/aim toward the target’s right (if you’re right-handed) or left (if you’re a leftie). Along with creating that unwanted inward-to-outward swing.
In this conclusion, I’d like to clear up one very common misconception. And that is fixating on squaring that clubface to your target line, which is not the best idea in my opinion.
Agreed that you want to hit straight shots, which in the game of golf is one of the most challenging things to do (and a proper, correct golf grip will help you get closer to achieving that goal).
Nonetheless, you have to also understand that your body and the clubface need not necessarily square up to each other for aiming the right way. Because you swing, as we all know this, around the body and not around the clubface. And that clubface can either be closed or open to your swing arc.
Hence, the importance of proper body alignment. Hence, the need to know how to aim properly and accurately in golf!