One of the most common requests I get from my students is to help them aim better.
Generally I think of aiming for the face of the club and aligning the body. There is no doubt that the face of the club has the most direct impact on the direction of the ball, but the alignment of the body – especially the shoulders – to the face of the club will affect the swing pash and, therefore, the curvature of the golf ball.
Here’s how to master both.
1. Find a consistent ball flight
It may seem counterintuitive, but your ability to aim is often a reaction to your ball flight. If you miss your golf ball in several different directions, it’s really hard to aim correctly. To aim well, you must first have a predominant ball flight – even if it’s right-to-left or left-to-right. You can straighten the curve on the road, but having a sense of certainty will make you more confident when learning to aim.
2. Know your biases
Most right-handed players, myself included, tend to aim too far to the right. This is common because bracing for the golf ball means approaching the target with the body turned sideways, which makes aiming and alignment more difficult.
But everyone has a different bias, both in direction and degree. The key is knowing what yours tends to be so you know what to consider when addressing the ball.
3. Aim for the face first
The face of the club has the greatest influence on the direction of your golf ball, so aiming for the face is important. When you watch many good players start their routines, you’ll often see them put the club behind the ball first while looking at the target from side to side.
Aiming for the face should be done with the leading edge of the club. Slicked clubs will tend to look more bent, but first practice aiming your target with the face of the club before launching into the shot.
4. Align the body
Once you’ve aimed for the face, you need to align your body so that your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders are parallel to your target line. It might not look parallel at first, but that’s why it’s so important to practice it – to train your eye to properly align your body.
5. Use your lead shoulder
Some golfers often find it helpful to use their lead shoulder to learn how to aim. Ask yourself, “Where is my main shoulder in relation to my target?” Â»
For me, when I’m aiming correctly, I know that my lead shoulder looks like about 10 yards to the left of the target. Find small visual cues that can help improve your aim and help you focus on the pins.
6. Choose an intermediate target
Many golfers use an intermediate target, which is a place between their golf ball and their target. Based on this theory, it’s easier to aim for something close than far.
If you stand directly behind your golf ball, you can choose a spot on the ground a few feet from your ball but aligned with your target, and focus on aiming for the clubface. This can be especially useful when you have hazards in your path, where your aim needs to be more specific.
7. Use angles off the tee
It might be a bit counter-intuitive, but using smart angles on tees can help you aim well and line up well. Remember to play on the side of trouble. So if danger is on the right side of the hole, for example, moving to the right side of the tee box and aiming away from the problem can help keep you safe.
8. Don’t forget to watch!
So many of my students who think they can’t aim, I could say, do not do objective. This is because they spend all their time looking at the golf ball.
Those who are best at aiming usually look between the ball and the target several times during the set-up routine. Just watch the best players in the world. Often they will…
- Look at the target
- Define the clubface
- Look at the target
- Set up their feet
- Look at the target one last time
9. Adjust the day
Some days are better than others. All golfers know this. As you warm up on the range, be prepared to change your aim depending on the bullet flight you see that day. If you slice the ball, you may not be able to fix your mechanics to return to your typical ball flight, so adjust your aim accordingly until you can get back to the range.
10. You have to earn it
Being good at aiming is a skill that has to be earned, and your attitude can often be the biggest obstacle. So many golfers take the right aim for granted. Recognize that you need to practice it, with feedback, in order to improve it.
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