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How to Align Your Body for Straight Golf Shots

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If you don't know how to aim in golf, your RST mechanics won't matter. Find out how you can master alignment.

Video Practice Points
  • Some golfers like to flare the left foot at setup
  • You can do this if you like - just be sure to line up square before moving that foot
  • For a draw or a fade line up feet, hips, & shoulders in the direction you want the ball to start
  • To hit a 10 yard fade, line 10 yards left of the target line, start the ball in that direction & allow it to fade right

Related Articles

Find Out How to Aim in Golf (or Pay the Price)

Aiming seems to be an oversight in many golfer's minds, I often have no idea where a student is about to hit the golf ball when they first setup! I think it's often a surprise to them as well because when I show them where they were actually aiming they seem shocked!

Learning how to setup to the golf ball correctly and get properly aligned is one of the most difficult things to adjust when building a proper golf swing, but it must be something your persevere through. This golf instruction video walks you through how to setup correctly and aim so you can hit your ball at the target everytime.

Many golfers think aiming is just about pointing the clubface in a specific direction. But it's your body that moves that golf club, so it's actually your body that needs to be aimed first to the target, then worry about the club face angle.  Once your feet are properly aligned to the target, the rest of your body should fall into place.

Your feet, knees, hips and shoulders should all point at the target or technically slightly left of the target as your body traces a parallel line to the target line. Parallel lines never intersect, so your feet should technically not be pointing at the actual target. If they did, you'd be crossed up with the clubface angle if it was pointing at the target.

A simple key to working on your alignment is to lay down alignment sticks. These simple golf training aids. which can be purchased here, make working on alignment a breeze. There is only one trick to using alignment sticks - you have to pull them out of your golf bag and actually use them!

The biggest mistake most golfers use with most training aids is they don't put them into use. While most golf training aids are complete junk, the few that are worthwhile have to actually be used! Novel concept, I know. But they won't do you any good sitting in your golf bag.

Alignment is such an important part of becoming a great golfer that practicing with alignment sticks regularly is mandatory. It's so easy for bad alignment habits to creep in that you have to continually keep up on your alignment. At least once a month, throw down the alignment sticks and hit a full a bucket of balls so that you can continue to train your eyes to what being properly aligned will look like.

  Nothing is more frustrating than hitting a perfect shot that flies into the water, just because you didn't line up correctly. How you're going to aim in the golf swing is a really common and misunderstood part of the swing that leads to a lot of great shots ending up in the water or in the hazard. So we're going to talk about what really goes on in setup, and how you get aimed properly so that you can make sure that you don't waste any of those great golf swings. We've only got a limited number, right? We want to make sure that we get every one out on the target, and we've got to make sure that we aim correctly to do that.

  When we talk about alignment, what we're really talking about is the alignment of our joints, of our body. Talking about the alignment of our shoulders, the alignment of our hips, our knees, and our feet, in relationship to the target line, and lastly the club face angle. That's the most important one. That one's got to be pointed at the target at some point in order to get the ball to go where we want it to.

  What so many golfers do, because they set up really right side dominant with their right arm on top of the club, because they're way too right side dominant, is they start getting their shoulders really open in relationship to the target line, which is the line pointing straight at the flag in this case. I want to imagine that this club is pointing directly at the target.

  I'm going to address one thing before we get into this any further, is that a lot of people are trying to figure out whether or not their target line that the ball's on should be right at the flag, or the target line that their feet are on. So if I'm standing here with my feet, and the ball's out here, well this is technically going to be a couple feet right of the target if my feet are on the target line, if my feet are on that flag.

  Well, I don't know about you, but from 180 yards out, if I was only two feet right of the flag, I wouldn't worry about it. Whether or not you want to use the target line that the ball's on, or your feet, it really doesn't matter. Pick one, because you're only talking about being a couple feet off either way here. It's relatively irrelevant. If you fee more comfortable getting your feet line pointed straight at the target, that's fine. Or if you want to use the ball and just have this what we call parallel left, meaning that this is two feet parallel left of the target line, that's fine as well. It's again, we're talking about a couple of feet here.

  But now let's talk about what happens for so many golfers, because they get really right side dominant. They'll start setting up like this. They have the ball way back in their stance, and now my shoulders, the angle that my chest, my torso, and my shoulders are on, is crossing this feet line. Now all of a sudden the plane and path that the club is going to travel on going back is going to be off, and now all of a sudden it's going to be really hard to bring it around coming down.

  We want to make sure that we get all of these lines, the angle that our feet are on, our knees, our hips, and our chest, are all going to be parallel to each other. There's not going to be one pointing this way, and then one pointing this way. All of a sudden you start building in all these crazy, goofy compensations in your swing that are really hard to overcome. When you set up square, everything becomes much easier. That's what we want you to do with RST, is that everything's going to be stacked on top of each other in parallel lines straight down the target line.

  Now there's one little exception to this, and that is, your toe line can actually be a little bit off, because if you splay your left foot out at address, let me get both of my toes here right on the edge of this shaft, but my feet are dead square right now. I open my left foot up little bit. Now you'll notice there's a half-inch gap here between the shaft and my left foot. That's okay. If you set up perfectly square and then open your foot up a little bit, it's not going to be perfectly parallel with that line. It's going to actually be off a little bit. So technically, if you're getting really specific, we actually measure off the back of your foot, rather than your toes. But you can't really see the back of your foot when you're in setup now, can you?

  Again, we're only talking about a couple of degrees here, unless you set up really open with your foot for some reason, which we wouldn't want you to do. It's okay if you set up this way and then open your foot up a little bit. This line is technically a little bit left of the target line. Again, you're talking about a small range. What we don't want to see, and what we see very commonly, is that they're really open with their shoulders or their hips, or really closed or something like this, and now we know we've got a golf swing that's kind of a bandaid approach. It's got a bunch of compensations that we want to take out and start cutting the cancer out of your swing and start building in proper fundamentals, and it all starts with setup.

  Aim correctly. Use parallel lines. All of a sudden, you'll at least know where the ball's supposed to be starting. You may not hit it exactly where you're trying to yet, but you'll get there. As you get comfortable setting up consistently with parallel lines, you'll be able to start knowing when you start making bad moves in your swing, whether or not it was your setup or the golf swing.

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"I think he's come very close to a golf swing model that appears to be ideal...It's a big muscle, motor-driven swing that's repeatable...You don't have to be a super athlete."

-Dr. Jeffrey Broker, Assoc. Prof. in Biomechanics at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Former Senior Biomechanist for U.S. Olympics Committee

"I started playing at 70 years old, at the beginning I was scoring around 100 plus... Following the RST 5 Step System my scores are in the 80 to 86 range. I am out-hitting guys in their 40's and 50's, thanks to you and your system. My back or other muscles never ache, nor am I tired after 18 holes. I am so glad I found your technique and system."

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