I’ve written a few times in the past about aiming your shot when you take your stance. What I want to talk about in this post is aiming your swing, and that’s different.
You’ve likely heard about swing plane and all that. What I’m going to get at here is where that plane is aimed. Your swing traces an arc going back and another one going through the ball. That second arc is relevant to aim, and to hit the ball at your target, that arc must be aimed at the target.
In one meaning of the word “swing,” the golf swing is the totality of movement away from the ball and back through, all the way to the finish. Another meaning is that something literally swings. What swings in the golf swing are the arms and golf club. The body doesn’t swing. It turns.
From the shoulders on down to the clubhead is the part of your body (consider the club to be an extension of your arms for this argument) that swings. What you want is for the swinging of this unit to be headed toward the target at impact. It will not do to imagine a line on the ground and have the clubhead travel along that line. That quickly turns into steering the clubhead, which interrupts the smooth, connected flow of your swing, in both sense of the word.
You must instead think of the entire swinging portion of your body headed for the target, and you must be thinking that long before the arms and club actually arrive at the ball. It is true that they will only be lined up for the briefest moment, but you must start thinking that they are lined up that way just after the club starts down from the top of your backswing. At that point, your hip will be sliding toward the target. Then, when the hips turn, your mind continues to lead toward the target what is coming next, which is your arms and the club. That unit, because of your mind’s direction, swings through the ball straight toward the target. If your grip is one that keeps the clubface square to the club path throughout the swing, the result is a straight shot.*
Now all that has been a complicated description of a rather simple move. But I believe you will find it is true. You will correct a lot of swing problems by aiming your swing in this way. You can learn this movement by making half swings, and gradually moving up to full swings.
* There is also the part about your hands leading the clubhead. If your hands follow the clubhead into the ball, which they do if you persist in trying to hit the ball rather than swinging through it, none of the above is of any use.