Aiming your golf shots is about more than just pointing the club face at the target. Of course, the club face is an important part of the equation, but the rest of your body needs to also be properly aligned in order to achieve a successful outcome. Poor body alignment can lead to bad golf shots even if the rest of your swing is perfectly executed. Take the time on the practice range to learn how to correctly align your body prior to every shot and you will be rewarded with improved performance on the course.

Alignment – Golf Lessons & Tips

If you feel like you consistently make good swings throughout your rounds of golf – and yet your results aren't living up to your expectations – there is a good chance that poor body alignment is to blame. Many amateur golfers make mistakes while taking their stance and don't even know it. Misalignment of your feet, hips, or shoulders can all play a role in leading you to hit a bad shot. Don't automatically blame your swing when the ball goes in the wrong direction, as there is a chance the error occurred before the club was ever put into motion.

Proper alignment is one of the keys to hitting accurate golf shots. It might seem like aim and alignment are the same thing, and they certainly do overlap, but there are some differences which need to be understood. In this article, we are going to take a close look at everything related to golf alignment, with the goal of sending you on your way with a clear and complete understanding of this topic.

On a basic level, the game of golf is about hitting your shots as close to the target as possible, time after time. It’s easy to complicate the game with everything that can go into it, but ultimately, it’s a pretty simple idea. If you can hit a lot of accurate shots during the course of a round, you are going to be happy with your score at the end of the day. And, to be accurate, you need to be aligned properly before making your swings. Unfortunately, poor alignment can ruin even a great swing, so don’t make the mistake of taking this important skill for granted. Learn how to align yourself and the club correctly, and then execute on this task over and over again to elevate your level of play.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

— Where It Goes Wrong

When hoping to improve in golf, one of the best things to do is look at common mistakes. Both the mistakes you are making in your own game at the moment, and common mistakes that golfers make in general. By knowing where things can go wrong, you’ll know what you are trying to avoid as you practice.

In this section, we are going to discuss a few different alignment errors that are seen in the game of golf. If you are like most players, you’ll find that you are currently making one or two of these mistakes in your own game. Should that be the case, don’t be discouraged. Instead, view it as an opportunity to improve.

Alignment Lesson Chart

  • Poor coordination between the club face and the body. This is perhaps the most frequently seen issue with regard to alignment. The position of your club face and the position of your body at address need to be working together to produce the shot you hope to hit. Unfortunately, for many players, this is rarely the case. Instead, countless golfers get off track here, aligning either the club or their body incorrectly. For instance, you might aim the club perfectly at the target, only to then place your body in a closed position which leads to an unintended swing path. A big part of improving your alignment will come down to making sure your club and your body are working together on each shot.
  • Failure to practice. If you don’t practice, you won’t get better. That statement applies across the board in the game of golf, to each and every aspect of what you do on the course. If you want to get better at something, you’ll need to practice consistently. Sure, working on your alignment at the driving range isn’t necessarily going to be a thrilling experience, but it’s the foundation for what could be some great golf in the future. Mark out some practice time in an upcoming range session to work specifically on improving your alignment.
  • A lack of routine. For the sake of argument, let’s say you have set aside some practice time to work specifically on your alignment, and you are now in a much better position on the range than you were previously. More of your shots are heading accurately toward their target, and you feel increasingly confident in your swing. That’s great! But what happens when you take your progress to the course? For some golfers, frustration will be waiting, as the promising results from the range will not carry over onto the links. This often happens due to a lack of routine. On the range, there isn’t much to distract you, so your focus remains on the task of getting aligned correctly. Out on the course, however, the story is different. There is a lot going on, between chatting with your playing partners, deciding on a strategy for each shot, thinking about your score, and more. Using a pre-shot routine is a great way to cut through the noise and make sure you focus each time. Build this routine at the driving range so you can use it shot after shot during your rounds. It might seem like a small thing at first, but you’ll soon come to think of your pre-shot routine as an indispensable part of your game.
  • Trusting the course. It can be a mistake to trust the golf course to align you in the proper direction. When you walk onto a tee box, you might think that the tee will automatically be oriented to point you toward the middle of the fairway – but that isn’t always going to be the case. To improve your alignment, take each shot as it comes, and think through your aim and alignment before getting set. A good habit to use is to pick out an intermediate target – something on your target line but just a foot or two in front of your ball – to use as a guide for your alignment. Once you pick out an appropriate intermediate target, focus on that spot as you get set and block out everything else. You should find that the use of an intermediate target will correct any issues you may have with poor alignment as a result of course design.
Alignment In The Golf Short Game
Golf Tip on Proper Hip Alignment
Troubleshooting Your Body Alignment In Golf
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Use Alignment Sticks To Improve Your Golf Club Takeaway Path
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Use Shoulder Alignment To Control The Golf Ball
Correct Hip Alignment In The Golf Swing
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Signs Of Poor Hip Alignment In A Golf Swing
Alignment And Ball Position Adjustments In Your Golf Set Up
Why Club Face Alignment Is Critical To The Golf Swing
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Why Golf Shot Alignment Is So Important
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Why Club Face Alignment Is Critical To The Golf Swing
Feet Alignment In Golf Set Up To A Full Finish
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Why is Clubface Alignment so Critical to the Golf Swing?
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Golf Arm, Tips on Proper Setup and Alignment
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Target Determines Alignment, Trajectory and Shot Shape
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Golf Pro Fred Couples: Left-of-Target Alignment
Correct Alignment Can Solve Slice Fault
Help with Golf Putter Alignment
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How the Target helps Determine Alignment, Trajectory, Shot Shape
How the Target helps Determine Alignment, Trajectory, Shot Shape
Thomas Golf Ladies Hybrid Club Alignment
Swing with Your Body’s Alignment, Not the Surroundings

Right Hand Golf Tip: What is the Right Arm Alignment
Hit the Golf Ball Straighter by not Spinning Out of the Shot, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Right Hand Golf Tip: What is the Right Shoulder Alignment
Hole More Breaking Putts on the Greens, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
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A Great Drill For Proper Shoulder Alignment In The Golf Swing
Credit card next to ball to check alignment
Hit the Golf Ball Straighter Through The Gateway, Tour Alignment Stick Drill
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Strike the Ball Better with the Correct Hand Position, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Better Golf Bunker Shots, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Solid Golf Putting – Ball and Shoulder Position, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Strike the Golf Ball Better. Drive The Hips, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Improve Your Ball Strike – Ball Position Drill, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Develop More Power with Golf Belt Buckle, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Strike the Ball Better with the Correct Hand Position, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Better Golf Bunker Shots, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Solid Golf Putting – Ball and Shoulder Position, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Strike the Golf Ball Better. Drive The Hips, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Strike Your Golf Chips Shots Better, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Generate More Power in Golf – Synch Up, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Improve your Golf Bunker Play Hit the Right Distance Every Time, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Strike the Golf Ball Like a Pro With This Tour Alignment Sticks Impact Drill
Chip the Ball Closer with this Golf Distance Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Strike your Golf Chip Shots Better, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Committing To Speeding Up Through The Swing – Alignment Stick Drill
Make That Golf Ball Spin On the Greens With This Chipping Impact Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Swing it on Place and Straighter with the Golf Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Consistently Putt Better In Golf, Tour Alignment Sticks Drill
Golf Drill 3 – Turning Inside The Alignment Stick

What Is The Perfect Iron Club Alignment?
Golf Alignment, What Is The Perfect Iron Club Alignment
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How Can I Use The Thomas Golf Alignment Guide To Check My Swing Positions In My Golf Follow Through
What Is The Best Alignment For Straight Golf Drives
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How To Hit A Fairway Wood, What Is The Perfect Alignment
How To Hit A Fairway Wood, What Is The Perfect Alignment
Golf Alignment, How Can I Improve My Aim Even On Badly Aligned Tee Boxes
Is Alignment Important For My Golf Shots?
Why Is Golf Club Face Alignment So Critical To The Direction Of My Golf Shots?
Why Is The Alignment Of My Golf Shots So Important To The Scores That I Make?
Golf Arm, How Can Arms Alignment Effect My Golf Shots?

Whether your alignment issues are due to one of the mistakes listed above or something else entirely, your task remains the same – to get to the heart of any alignment problems as quickly as possible so you don’t waste any more good swings. Remember, poor alignment can mean that your ball will go in the wrong direction even if you make a great swing, and that is a shame. It’s hard enough to make good swings in golf, so you don’t want to waste some of those swings on poor alignment.

— The Concept of Parallel Left

In this section, we would like to introduce and carefully explain one of the most important concepts in the game of golf. Even if you have been playing for years, there’s a chance you’ve never heard of this concept. For those who have, this section will be a nice refresher and should help you focus on this key during upcoming practice sessions.

When you set up for any golf shot, you have to aim your club face down the target line that you have picked for that shot. Of course, you also have to set your feet for the shot, and that’s where things so often go wrong. The target line running from the club face through the ball and out toward your intended target is not the same line that you should be using to set your feet. Instead, your feet should be set on an imaginary line that is parallel to the left of that original target line.

It's essential to understand the concept of parallel left because you can’t stand directly on top of the ball when preparing to hit it. If you could, it would be much easier to align your club and your body perfectly – but that’s not how the game works. You stand next to the ball, not on top of it, so you have to coordinate your club and body alignment as such. That means placing your club face in a position to line up with the target line, and your feet (and the rest of your body) in a position that matches a line parallel to the left of the first line.

If you are feeling a bit confused, look at a picture from the down-the-line perspective of a professional golfer preparing to hit a shot. You won’t know exactly what target line he was using for the shot, but you can probably look at the picture and get a pretty good idea. Then, look at the player’s feet. An imaginary line running across his toes will run roughly parallel to the target line. If it helps, you can think of a set of train tracks when trying to picture these two lines. One rail is going to be the target line, and the other rail is the line that will guide the alignment of your feet. Once you see the picture in your mind, the whole concept will become quite clear.

We’d like to wrap up this section with a few more quick thoughts on the idea of parallel left and how it applies to your golf game.

Alignment Lesson Chart

  • It doesn’t have to be perfect. While the laboratory version of a golf swing would likely have the foot line and the target line perfectly parallel with one another, the actual execution of this concept won’t be so spot-on. And that’s okay. Some players may find that they like to stand just a bit open at address, while others will prefer to be closed. There is nothing wrong with that, and you can certainly play good golf from such positions, but you don’t want to stray too far from the parallel concept. In other words, use a parallel position as your starting point, but allow yourself some ‘wiggle room’ as your build your swing to make adjustments as necessary.
  • Look for a mirror. Some driving range facilities have full-length mirrors available, so you can check your positions during practice. If your local range has a mirror available, use it from time to time with the purpose of checking your alignment. Take your stance with the mirror to your right, so it is on an extension of the target line. Once you settle into your stance, keep your body in place while you turn your head to look at the mirror and see how you are aligned. If there aren’t any mirrors around, you could always ask a friend to take a picture or video of you during practice that you can use to assess your performance.
  • Body working together. It’s easy to pay attention only to the line created by your feet at address, but there is much more to your body alignment than just foot position. You’ll also want to have your knees, hips, and shoulders matching up, so that your whole body is working together to swing the club in the proper direction.

Parallel left is not something that is talked about frequently in golf circles, but it is tremendously important. We hope this section has opened your eyes to this key topic, and we hope you now have the knowledge you need to get out and work on this piece of the alignment puzzle.

— Practice and Progress

When working on the general mechanics of your golf swing, you probably just hit some shots at the range and see how the ball flies. For instance, if you are trying to get rid of your slice, any shot that doesn’t curve dramatically from left to right is seen as a success. It is the shape of the shot that most golfers worry about while on the range, which is unfortunate, because what actually matters on the course is where the shot ends up. Sure, it’s great to control your shape, and you need to hit a relatively consistent shot pattern but knowing how to place the ball near a target is really what will lead to lower scores.

So, with that in mind, we’d like to talk in this section about how to practice your alignment. If you get into some good habits on the range with regard to alignment, those habits are likely to carry over onto the course.

Alignment Lesson Chart

  • Pick very specific targets. It’s easy to fall into the trap of just ‘aiming’ somewhere down the range and swinging away. After all, the driving range is a big open space, so it doesn’t seem like you need to worry too much about your targets. But hitting targets is exactly what you’ll need to do on the golf course. One of the reasons so many golfers have trouble taking their range game to the course is that they don’t really aim when practicing. They might hit some shots that look pretty, but were those shots really on target? Who knows. Get into the habit of hitting each and every range shot with a very specific target. It will take a little more time to practice this way, but you’ll get far more out of your game in the long run.
  • Use aids. On the course, you aren’t allowed to use alignment aids to help get yourself into the right position. During practice, however, there is no reason you can’t use some tools to help you get into the right spot time after time. Specifically, you will want to have something you can lay down on the ground to act as a visual representation of the target line and your foot line. For this, you can buy alignment rods that are available on the market today, or you can just use a couple of your longer clubs. Even though you can’t use this method on the course, using it in practice is going to make it easier to ‘see’ the appropriately lines in your mind. If you practice enough with alignment aids, it will naturally get easier to align yourself when playing actual rounds of golf.
  • The prediction game. A good way to practice is to take a moment before hitting each shot to predict how it is going to travel through the air. Since ball flight and target line are closely linked, you need to know if the ball is going to draw or fade in order to aim accurately. Take a moment prior to each swing to stand back, picture the ball flight, and imagine where the ball is going to land. Then, walk up and do your best to recreate what you just ‘saw’ in your mind. Are you going to be successful every time? Of course not – but some of your shots will come off just as you had imagined.

As you work more and more on your alignment, you will probably find your own ways to make progress and have fun on the range. Remember, just because you are trying to get better doesn’t mean you need to forget about enjoying your practice sessions. Do your best to enjoy the process and feel good about the progress you make along the way.

— Alignment in the Short Game

The importance of alignment doesn’t fade away as you get closer to the hole. If anything, your alignment only becomes more important when chipping and putting. These shots are all about precision, so even small mistakes in alignment can come back to haunt you when the ball rolls past on one edge or the other.

Fortunately, many of the same alignment fundamentals that we have talked about so far in this article will directly apply to the short game, as well. To add to those fundamentals and keys, we’d like to highlight a few points that are specific to your short game performance.

Alignment Lesson Chart

  • Don’t be distracted by the hole. This point is particularly relevant when putting, but it can come into play on chip shots, as well. To pick your target line for a putt or chip, you’ll need to read the slope of the green and aim to the right or left an appropriate amount. That’s a great start, but it won’t do you any good if you get distracted by the hole and adjust your aim back toward the cup before making a swing. In other words, if you see the hole in your peripheral vision and decide to aim closer to the hole than the line you had read originally, you will wind up missing low. Do your best to ignore what you see out of the corner of your eye and just trust the target line you have selected.
  • Head stability is key. Setting up with your body and the club properly aligned is one thing – maintaining that alignment throughout the stroke or swing is another thing entirely. If you move your head unnecessarily, your shoulders and the rest of your upper body are likely to move as well, and your alignment will be affected. During short game practice, make head stability one of your primary keys. You might be surprised at the consistency you can produce in the short game if you manage to keep your head still.
  • Convince yourself. Every golfer knows the feeling of struggling to pick a target line for a chip or putt. Sometimes, you just can’t seem to find the right line, and you don’t have any confidence in what you are seeing. Even when a line is hard to come by, you need to do your best to pick a specific line and tell yourself that line is perfect for the shot. Be confident is essential, so don’t let any doubt creep into the process. Poor strokes or swings are often the result of doubt, so believe fully in what you are doing before sending the ball on its way.

One of the best ways to improve at this game is to reduce the number of ways things can go wrong on any given shot. You’ll never be perfect, of course – this game is much too hard for perfection – but you can cut down on your mistakes and shoot lower scores as a result. By mastering the art of alignment, you will make it far less likely that poor alignment will be to blame for a bad shot. You want to be rewarded when you make good swings, and that’s going to be the case more frequently when you are aligned correctly from the start. Good luck!