Golf teaching and playing articles > To hit target you must aim straight


9 Sep 2004

I wrote about the grip last week, one of the preswing principles. Principles control ball flight laws and could be called the components of the swing. These components affect how the club operates.

There are 14 principles, which I will write about in the next few weeks. I will look at the principle of aim this week.

Aim has two components - the aim of the club face and the alignment of the body.

For a shot that you plan to fly straight (rather than having a fade or draw), the club face must be aimed square, or at a 90-degree angle to the target line.

The target line is where you choose to aim. This may not be directly at the pin. For instance, if I know that the green has a large amount of right-to-left slope, I will aim right of the pin and allow the green to feed my ball back toward the hole.

The next step is to get the body properly aligned. Ideally, the body will be in synch with itself, meaning that shoulders, hips, feet and eyes are all aiming in the same direction. These body parts should be aligned so that they all point to a line parallel to the intended target line.

Imagine a railroad track. There is a right rail and a leftrail, which always run parallel to each other. The club head is aimed down the outer track, and the body is aligned parallel with the inner track. You can view this on my Web site - www.golflessonsorangecounty.com - on the drills page.

Often, the eyes are aimed incorrectly and are frequently not parallel to the body. If the eyes are aimed either right or left of the body, it influences the swing path. It also creates tension, as this sets the head off-center to the spine and will cause the neck muscles to work too hard.

We want to eliminate unnecessary tension to increase our swing efficiency.

Correct alignment also will allow the body to rotate properly in the swing. This is important for the correct swing path, which is a key to consistent golf.

Expert golfers may choose to vary a little from this alignment, but I recommend that the average golfer practice to aim the club face and align the body square to your intended target line.