Day 1: How to Control Your Golf Ball's Starting Line

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Published: February 14, 2014

This is the first in a series of lessons on good ball striking.

Setting up the drillSetting up the drill

Being a great ball striker all comes down to being able to hit the ball in the right direction, with the correct trajectory and the correct curvature. If you can do those things, you have complete control of your golf game.

The first step in achieving this is to control your starting line. If you can control the direction the ball starts, you're on your way to becoming a great ball striker.

Have you ever been in the middle of a round and found yourself blocking all your shots way to the right, or pulling them all to the left? This drill will provide you with the feel you need to correct these problems on the fly so you can self correct in the middle of a round instead of just blocking shot after shot.

Set Up the Drill

Set up the shotSet up the shot

You're going to set up a pair of alignment rods for a drill that will teach you how to manipulate the club and your body to control the starting line.

Stand the first rod up about seven or eight feet in front of your ball, directly in line with a target you pick down range. In other words, if you were to hit your ball dead straight, directly toward your chosen target, it would hit the rod.

Lay the second rod down on the ground parallel to the first rod and, beyond it, the target. This will help you line up your feet, hips, and shoulders parallel to a dead straight shot.

Hit to Each Side

With your two alignment rods in place, it's time to hit a few shots. You're going to line up for a straight shot - no fair just turning your whole body - and then try to hit balls to each side of the stick. Start out by hitting one off to the right of the stick, then one to the left, and so on.

CheatingDon't turn your whole body - that's cheating!

At this point we're not really concerned with how far you go to the right or left, or the curvature of the shot. Just focus on the starting line of each shot.

What you'll find is that, if you're someone who tends to come over the top so your club comes way out right-to-left, it will be very easy for you to hit balls to the left of the stick, but as soon as you start trying to go to the right it becomes very challenging.

Changing your swing to make it go inside-out, to the right, will be much more difficult for you. It will feel very uncomfortable at first, but it will get a lot easier with practice.

The important part is, again, that your feet, hips, and shoulders are all aligned to the rod on the ground.

The purpose of this drill is to learn to manipulate the starting line with the club and your body, not just to turn and line up your whole shot to one side or the other.

Give it a Try

Line up parallel to the target and just take some short, easy .

Start out by trying to hit your ball to the right of the stick. Work on feeling that your club comes down a little more from the inside and your shoulders stay a little more closed and start your ball out to the right.

Hitting to the rightHitting to the right

Now hit one to the left. You're going to switch with each shot, alternating between left and right. This is a little more realistic to an on-course scenario, since very rarely do you just get to hit the same shot over and over again. We want to mix it up.

Again line your feet up parallel to the rod on the ground, but this time work the club more out in front of your body. Swing from the right to the left and get your ball started out a little bit to the left of the stick.

Once you're comfortable with the drill you can go ahead and gradually increase your club head speed, eventually making full swings.

When you can make full swings, alternating sides, and send 10 to the right and 10 to the left, you will have taken your very first step in becoming a great ball striker.

Checkpoints for Practice

  • The first step in becoming a great ball striker is controlling the starting line
  • Set up the drill by standing an alignment rod up in the ground about 8 feet from the ball, aligned with your target
  • Lay another rod flat on the ground, pointing at the first rod & the target
  • Line up straight to the rod on the ground and manipulate your swing to send balls to each side of the stick, alternating between left and right
  • Start with small, easy shots and work up to full swings

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