Missing your target more often than not? The answer could be in improving your address alignment
Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of the original article posted on Feb. 6, 2017.
By Nick Gorman
Ahh, the all-important address position.
Simple to execute, but also very easy to execute poorly.
Recently, we highlighted a great exercise for the proper body setup. But, if the alignment of your hips and shoulders is off in relationship to your intended target, it can easily lead to issues with your initial shot direction, trajectory and curve.
This means, instead of looking elsewhere within your swing, the best place to start addressing those errant shots may be in your alignment. So, let’s discuss a few common pitfalls in this area and simple remedies to improve.
Nothing left but problems
A common fault we see with high-handicap golfers is the shoulders and hips aimed far too far left at address.
Relative to their stance line, this can often be more than 30 degrees open (left) which creates a host of issues within the swing; mainly that it creates a similar swing direction too far to the left of the target.
Along with inconsistent, powerless contact, this tends to cause that ugly pull-slice we all hate.
When we look at how the best players set up to the ball, they have an average shoulder position of 7 degrees open at address and hip position of only 1 degree open.
Among many other positive benefits – explained simply – this ideal position allows them to more easily create an in-to-out swing direction and many of the power-generating and contact characteristics we all desire.
Start by shifting address alignment right
If you tend to slice or pull your shots, try setting up to the ball with your shoulders and hips aligned more closed (right) than the aforementioned tour average suggests.
This exaggeration will help encourage a more inside-to-outside swing direction in parallel with the initial alignment of the hips and shoulders.
While this idea may seem counterintuitive – you may think it’s strange to align toward the direction of your slice instead of away – it’s an ideal starting place to create a better swing path.
Alignment rods can help
A great way to help measure this is by using alignment rods. If you don’t have access to rods, spare clubs will work fine, too!
Place the alignment rod on the ground parallel to your target line. Take your normal stance with your feet aligned parallel with the rod.
Without altering the aim of your stance or clubface, turn your shoulders and hips closed (right) to your intended target.
Swing toward where you’re aligned
Once you’ve got your alignment down, start hitting small shots while feeling like you’re swinging the club toward the direction in which your shoulders and hips are aligned.
As you begin to feel comfortable and start making good, consistent contact, add more speed until you can accomplish the task proficiently with full swings.
Of course, as with engraining change into your golf game, it will likely take some time and good, hard work to fully sink in on the golf course. But waiver not, determined golfer, because it won’t be long before your new-and-improved address alignment yields a lot more shots flying straight toward your target!