Category Archives: aim

Three Ways to Hit Better Golf Shots Without Practicing

Do you want to hit better shots without practicing? Well, maybe one small bucket of balls. Here are three things you can do that are guaranteed to improve your ball-striking in just minutes. Promise.

1. Slow down your swing. When you swing too fast and don’t give yourself a snowball’s chance in H-E-double hockey sticks to strike the ball on the center of the clubface. With your small bucket of balls, slow down your swing until you do. Then speed up gradually until you don’t. Then slow back down again until you do and resolve never to swing faster than that.

Slow.

Down.

If you aren’t hitting well on the course, try slowing down. Many times it’s the quickest fix there is.

2. Put the ball farther back in your stance. Maybe just a half inch. Many golfers play it too far forward because it feels powerful to be cranking into the ball from behind. Ease the ball back until you start making real good contact (you will). Then believe it and keep it there.

3. Aim yourself. Lay an alignment stick on the ground behind you. Step up to the ball and aim yourself at a target downrange. Reach back with your club and pull the stick against your heels. Step away from the ball so you have a down-the-line view of how you set up. I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts you aimed yourself to the right of the target. Way right. Lefties, you’re likely to be aimed way left.

Move the stick so it is parallel left of the line from the ball to the target and step into your stance with your heels against the stick. That’s what being aimed at your target looks like.

Aim, unfortunately, is not something you can learn once and you have it forever. It takes constant renewal. Go through this process before you hit practice balls at the range or at the course. Every time.

Aim Your Golf Swing

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.

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Practice aiming your golf shot

You can hit the best shot ever, but unless you’re aimed where you and the ball to go, it won’t go there. Getting your aim right takes constant practice. Here’s how to do it.

Remember, do this drill every time you go to the range. Proper aim is not something you can learn once and then not worry about again.

This later post goes into a clear explanation of what I mean by the “picture” you see when you are properly aimed.

See my earlier video, on how to aim yourself, in case you have forgotten. This method does not compete with the video above, but compliments it.

Aim Your Golf Swing This Easy Way

If you were going to shoot at a target with a rifle, you would aim it at the target first. Pretty obvious. If you were going to hit a golf ball toward a target, you would aim yourself first, too. Obvious, but seldom nicely done by recreational golfers.

Many times, what you think is a swing problem is really a matter of not getting aimed* when you set up for the shot. When a golfer is mis-aimed, it is almost always to the right of the target. The subconscious mind knows this, and tries to make a correction during the downswing to get the swing aimed at the target again. Correcting like this is unreliable and is a cause of shots that fly off in every direction — there’s no consistent miss.

I use an intuitive method of aiming that never fails me. Step behind the ball on a line connecting the ball and the spot downrange you are aiming for. Find something on the ground about a foot in front of the ball on that line — a piece of dirt, a distinctive blade of grass, or the like. This is the aim line.

Now step up to the ball and put the clubhead down behind the ball so the grooves are square to the aim line. Hold the clubhead there and turn your head to look at the target.

Now comes the intuitive part. Without moving your head, and as you look at the target, step into your stance. Your feet will automatically find the places that put your stance parallel to your aim line.

As you’re learning to do this, put down some sticks, one along your aim line and another against your heels, to check that your feet are indeed parallel to your aim line.

The proof for me that this method works comes whenever I have a swing lesson. I step into the shot like this and the pro, standing behind me to look down the line just says one word — Perfect.

Don’t be afraid to aim your short shots, too, especially the chips you think you can hole out. There’s nothing more frustrating that leaving a chip hole-high but three feet to the right because that’s where you were aimed.

I like to stand behind the ball and hold out my club horizontally in front of me to find a spot on the ground in front of my ball on the aim line. Getting your feet parallel to this line is not too difficult. The real object is to swing along this line.

* Aim is the direction you are set up to swing at. Alignment is the geometric relation of the lines across your feet, knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders.

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