Complete Guide to The Perfect Golf Set Up – Part 1
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In the first part of this set up guide, we’ll look at proper golf alignment…
Even though most amateur golfers understand the importance of lining themselves up correctly on the golf course (and have a fair idea what it consists of), I still see alignment issues in the majority of players I meet. There are 2 reasons for this:
- They have altered their stance and address position to try and compensate for a fault in their golf swing (such as a slice).
- They simply fail to check their alignment on a very regular basis and bad habits silently creep in.
In this article and video, we’ll recap what proper alignment consists of. I’d also like to offer you some tips and advice for maintaining a great set up position throughout your golfing career.
Watch the video below (or read the video summary below) to remind yourself how to line up to the ball and target correctly:
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Golf Alignment Video Summary
- A consistent golf swing and a consistent golf game can only be built on proper alignment. Don’t try and correct faults in your game before addressing this issue.
- To check your alignment, pick a target in the distance and set up to the ball as normal. Place a club along the line of your toes, step back and see where the club points:
- If the club points directly at the target, or to the right of the target, your stance is what we call closed.
- If the club points way left of the left of the target, your stance is what we call open.
- The club should point parallel left of the target (imagine the line along your feet and the line from the ball to the target are like 2 train tracks). This is a square stance.
- Remember – your knees, hips and shoulders should be in line or parallel to your feet. If you can, have a friend hold a golf club across your hips and then your shoulders while you are in the set up position. Step away and check where this club is pointing.
- Don’t forget the angle of the club face as you address the golf ball. This should be square (at right angles) to the ball-to-target line (see image below).
Make Great Golf Alignment Feel Like Second Nature
Proper alignment on the golf course isn’t a technically difficult subject – it’s common sense. But because it’s so basic, I think that’s why so many club golfers forget to check it on a regular basis.
Tour Pros check their own alignment every time they practice. It’s not too basic for them so it shouldn’t be for any other standard of golfer (who are more likely to fall into bad habits in the first place). Here are a few tips for ingraining great alignment into your game:
- Each time you visit the range, check the position of your feet, knees, hips and shoulders. Place a couple of clubs or alignment sticks along the ground as a visual reference.
- If possible, ask someone to stand behind you as you hit balls and ask them to check your hips and shoulders (as these are more difficult to check yourself).
- Standing behind the ball looking at your target, pick a mark a few feet in front of the golf ball that is directly on your ball-to-target line (it could be a leaf or a patch of dark grass for example). Set up as normal and imagine a line running from your ball to this mark. Adjust your feet, hips and shoulders so they are parallel to this line.
- Practice tip #3 with a spare club in the house or office 3-5x a day for 7-10 days. Run through the routine of standing behind your ball, picking a mark and lining up parallel to that mark. This can then become part of your pre shot routine on the golf course to ensure you line up to every shot correctly.
“It goes without saying that it is no good having a perfect set-up, perfect grip and perfect golf swing if the whole thing is misaligned. It sounds obvious but many players simply do not spend enough time getting themselves on target.” ~ Nick Faldo ~