A. Full swing and Pitch shot
Golf is a side-arm sport, therefore our vision is always at a disadvantage because it is designed to see forward with both eyes. Developing a routine that aligns the body and club relative to the target from behind the ball with both eyes is crucial. If I handed a golfer a gun, they would point aim and shoot from a face-on position. A golf ball can travel up to 100mph when being hit, therefore, give your golf club the similar importance of shooting a loaded gun. From behind the ball facing imagine two parallel lines like a railroad track. One side of the tracks will be the ?shooting line? and the other will be the ?stance line?. One line will be where the club sits, and the other will be where the body stands. See picture.
Step 1. Once you have decided on a target, pick a divot or another obvious spot on the ground about a foot in front of your ball with both eyes facing the target from the thinking box. The spot should sit on the imaginary line that runs from your ball to the target called the ?shooting line? or one side of the railroad tracks. See the picture here where the vision is choosing a spot on the ?shooting line?.
Step 2. Now, step a foot to the left if you are a righty, or a step to the right if you?re a lefty looking down the other side of the railroad tracks. Repeat choosing a spot on the ground, this is called the ?stance line?. Again this line will be parallel to the ?shooting line?.
Step 3. Walk down your imaginary ?stance line?, or the other side of the railroad tracks, towards the ball, while holding your club steady with both hands. Place the clubface perpendicularly on the ?shooting line?. Widen you stance to address the ball. Alignment is related to ball position, therefore stand shoulder width apart for 7 iron and under, wider width for longer clubs. Make sure your knees, hips and shoulders are together pointing down the ?body line?.
Step 4. Check and verify your ?stance line? by placing the club on the ground, touching the back of your heels after reaching step 3. Walk back and look at your ?stance line? relative to your target. You will become aware of your alignment tendencies and be able to correct them as you practice correcting your perception of where you are aimed versus reality.
B. Aim and alignment for Putting
The process for aiming your putter is very similar to aligning for a full swing. However, eye dominance is crucial to understanding your tendencies for aligning you body relative to where you would like to putt the ball. Test your eye dominance and decide if your dominant eye is the closest to the hole, when addressing the ball for a putt. Do this by making a triangle in a your hands. If your dominant eye is closest to the hole, then you chose a spot on your ?shooting line?, it can be up to six inches away from your ball. This is because your peripheral vision is wider and can see further to the hole.
Step 1. Learn to align by practicing 6-foot away putts. First pick an obvious spot on the ground about a three to six inches in front of your ball on the ?shooting line? from behind the ball, with both eyes squarely looking at the hole. The spot should sit on the imaginary line that runs from your ball to the hole or break in the green.
Step 2. Mark your ball with a line as illustrated in the picture and line up your ball towards imaginary line that you would like the ball to start rolling. Most putters have a line that will help assist you in matching this up to the line on the ball.
Step 3. Widen you stance to address the ball to a comfortable bending at the hips position. It is crucial that your shoulders, hips and knees are all parallel to the line on your ball, and that you are naturally allowing your arms to hang. Anyone of these components of the body can skew you aim and alignment.
Step 4. Check and verify your body?s position by placing the putter club on the ground, in front of your toes. Walk around to check how your ?stance line? is in relation to your intention of aim.
Set-up to the ball and target Full swing and Pitch shot
Think of the set-up as the checklist for the pilot going to fly a plane. Your body will swing the club between 70-100 mph; therefore we should make sure our position is stable and ready for take-off. On the checklist for setting up to the ball and target include Aim, Alignment, Hold, Width-of-Stance, and Posture.
Step 1. Apply your alignment for a full swing by choosing your ?lines? to which to aim.
Take the full-swing hold of the golf club and walk down your ?stance line? while looking at the target or ball. Then place the clubface on the ?shooting line? labeled X in the diagram above, with your feet together. This is called the address position.
Step 2. Address your body (feet, knees, hips, forearms, shoulders and eyes) parallel to the ?shooting line?, labeled Y on the diagram above. The distance you stand away from the ball depends on where you arms hang naturally from the shoulder sockets, but a quick test is to see if you can clap your hands naturally as you are bent over.
Step 3. Widen your stance for a full swing according to the length of club you are holding. This is called taking your width-of-stance. The longer the club the more the ball should be placed towards the target or ?forward? to the target within the insides of both feet. See diagram below for a righty golfer. Mirror that image for a lefty.
For a pitch shot or a half swing, the goal is all about controlling the distance, ergo take a smaller swing. Set-up with in a comfortable stance with your target foot at 10 o?clock and trailing foot at 1 o?clock. A smaller swing will mean you will take a stance that is half of a hip wide and place the ball in the center or back of center to create a shorter swing and allow the club to hit down on the ball as it hits the ground .
Step 4. Next is to obtain an athletic posture for a full swing. The immediate response to shift the weight to the balls of your feet then arch the tailbone slightly and not slouch, engage the abdominal muscles, draw the shoulders back and let the arms hang freely from the shoulder sockets. As illustrated in the picture.
Step 5. Check and verify your posture by imagining a football player about to tackle you and you must prepare for impact. Are you athletic?
Process to Set-up to the ball and target for putting
Opportunities for rolling the ball in the hole with the putter are easier if you address the ball and target from a natural standing position. Use your assets of both eyes and aim your ?gun? or putter from down on the ground as shown here.
Step 1. Aim your ball at the point to which you would like to start the ball rolling. Chose a spot in front of your ball and match that spot to the line drawn on the ball. Again it is important to choose this spot from behind the ball facing the hole as shown in the picture.
Step 2. Place the putter behind the ball connecting the line drawn on the ball. Stand neutrally shoulder width apart and let your arms hang naturally at your side. Apply your putter hold to the rubber end of the grip, and then adjust your bend at the hip to ensure your eyes are over the ball while having a slight knee bend.
Step 3. Check and verify your putting set-up to be sure your eyes are over the ball. This insures the hands are freely hanging under the shoulder sockets. Test this by dropping a ball from your nose while you are set-up to see if the ball lands on the ball you are set to. See this in the diagram where the C line is over the ball.