Fix your Target - Correct your Alignment
by Andrew Park
Confirm Alignment, and learn to release the ball on target.
Parallel relationship between your body and ball-to-target-line enables you to swing freely through impact.
One of the many practice disciplines we impress upon students
here at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy is the
importance of always creating and working within a
defined practice station.
All it takes is a few seconds to lay
a couple of clubs down on the ground (or brightly coloured
gardening canes, as I have here) to give yourself a set of 'railway tracks’ that confirm square alignment - that of both
your body and the clubface.
Aiming the body down the line
to the target (inset above left) is a common fault, and one
that demands a succession of compensations within the
swing to get the ball started on line.
If you feel 'blocked’, or
in your own way in the downswing, almost as though you
have to pull the ball back on line, it could well be that you
are aiming your feet, hips and shoulders at the target itself,
which sets your entire swing right of where you want to go.
The drill you see here will quickly eliminate that fault
and help you to identify and engage with your target line
much more readily and naturally.
All it requires is that you
lay down two railway tracks, one just outside the ball, the
other to correspond with your feet, the important bit being
that both are parallel with your ball-to-target line.
have done that, add a third cane - angled into the ground
in the direction of the shot - on a line that corresponds with
the mid-point between those railway tracks.
To reap the full benefit of this type of drill, I recommend
going through your pre-shot routine on every shot.
behind the ball, get a fix on your target, and then walk
in and aim the leading edge of the clubface down your target
line. Take care to make sure your feet, hips and shoulders
are parallel with that inner track as you complete your
set up and posture, and bingo, you are ready to hit the shot.
As long as you trust your alignment you don’t have to think
about anything other than making a fluent swing - and
enjoy starting the ball on the perfect line.
Short game fun that will improve feel, control
'Stagger drill’ improves your ability to see - and then feel - distance to flag
The short game range here at
Champions’ Gate is where the tour
players and top amateurs who visit
tend to spend a lot of time. With a
dozen or so small bunkers - each one
8 feet in diameter - positioned at distances
between 40 and 90 yards, it
makes for a great test of distance control
in the wedge game. Most practice
areas don’t have this facility, but that
needn't stop you working on this element
of the short game; all you need
is one target and a handful of balls,
and you can create a fun practice drill
that will sharpen up your ability to
gauge distance, and to then visualise
and feel the pitch shot required to
land the ball that exact yardage.
Having laid out a line of balls
extending away from your target,
leaving a gap of around a yard
between each, the idea of this exercise
is to start with the ball closest
ball in and work your way out, aiming
to land each one in your target area.
Obviously there’s a great potential for
competition here, and a friendly
wager with a practice partner will
always sharpen up your attitude and
execution of these shots.
As far as technique goes, keep
things simple.Work on a basic back
and through motion, keeping the
hands out of the stroke as far as possible.
The line of balls extending
behind you will create a good visual
that helps you to recognise the correct
inside-to-square-to-inside swing path,
and that’s about as complicated as I
would make it. These shots are all
about clubface and speed control, and
you will always make the most accurate
swings when you repeat a consistent,
'syrupy’, almost lazy rhythm.