How Do You Aim Your Golf Club?

Even if your clubs are equipped with a built-in alignment guide, like products made by Thomas Golf, you still must be able to aim correctly. After all, the club won't do it for you.

An alignment aid will, however, make this crucial task much easier. Here's an incredibly simple method for lining up your golf club precisely at the target:

  • First, choose the spot where you want the ball to finish, i.e., the flagstick, the left part of the green, or the right half of the fairway.
  • Stand behind your ball, which should be directly between you and the target.
  • Find a mark, such as a broken tee or divot, on an exact, imaginary line traced from ball to target. The mark should be no more than a couple of feet in front of your ball. Keeping your eye on the mark, step into your address position.
  • Point the clubface – and the alignment indicator, if your club has one – straight at the mark.
  • Your club is now aimed at the target.

Remember to use this basic method for every shot not only on the golf course, but on the driving range. It's just as important to line up correctly while practicing as it is while playing.

How Do You Aim Your Golf Club Head?

How Do You Aim Your Golf Club Head?

When you think about the skills you need to develop in order to play golf at a high level, the ability to aim the club head accurately should be near the top of the list. This is a game which is all about hitting your targets, and it's pretty tough to hit a target if you don't aim correctly in the first place. Without a doubt, this is one of the most-overlooked parts of the game in the amateur golf world, but we hope to help you make progress on this skill with the advice offered below.

The first step toward improving your aim is simply understanding that you need to aim well in the first place. When you get ready to hit a shot, what do you do? First, you probably pick out a club – that is a good start. But what's next? Do you just look up at the fairway or the green and swing away? Hopefully not. Before getting into your stance, you should think for a moment about the target you are going to use for your shot. This thinking should be more sophisticated than just aiming for the 'middle of the fairway' or the 'middle of the green'. You always want to have specific targets in mind when you put the club into motion. In nearly every case, keeping a specific target in mind is going to lead to a higher quality swing, and a better outcome in the end.

In order to improve your aim, you are going to have to be willing to work on this skill on the driving range. That means slowing down the process of hitting balls and working on aiming at the target properly on each swing. This is going to take dedication and attention to detail – two characteristics that will take you a long way in golf. While other golfers are just swinging away with their drivers, you are going to be hard at work repeating the process of aiming properly time after time. You won't hit as many balls in a half hour as the others on the range, but you will have made significantly more progress on your game.

The nice thing about working on your aim is that this skill is going to touch every part of your game from tee to green. It is important to aim accurately with your driver – and it is just as important to aim accurately when lining up a putt. No matter what kind of shot you happen to be hitting, the ability to aim properly is going to come in handy. Take the time now to learn how to aim the club head at address and you'll be reaping the benefits for as long as you continue to play golf.

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.

What is a Target Line?

What is a Target Line?

In order to understand aim, you first need to understand the concept of the target line in golf. Even if you think you already understand what a target line is and what it is used for, read through this section just for a refresher. This is a crucial golf concept, and it will be difficult to play well without getting your mind around the points below.

To start with, we can define the target for each shot as the spot where you would like the ball to come to rest. For example, on a 100-yard shot from the fairway to a hole cut in the middle of the green, your target is going to be easy – it is the hole itself. Some golfers think that the hole itself is always the target on an approach shot, but that should not be the case. If you are playing a long approach to a hole cut near a water hazard, for instance, you'll want to pick a safer target away from the hazard. Each shot should have a specific, well-defined target, and that target should be based on the circumstances at hand (like distance, hazards, wind, etc.). If you don't currently pick a target for each of your shots, now is the time to start.

Once you have picked a target, you can work backward and settle on a target line. It needs to be noted that your target line is not necessarily a straight line between your ball and the chosen target. The game would be quite simple if it worked that way, but sadly, it does not. You need to account for the flight of the ball in between its current location and your chosen target, which is where things start to get a bit complicated.

For this example, let's imagine that your standard ball flight as a right-handed golfer is a draw. That means the ball is going to curve from right to left as it flies through the air. If you were to match up your target line with the target itself – in other words, you were to aim the face of the club directly at the target – your shot would wind up missing to the left. Sure, it would look great when it first came off your club, but your draw pattern would soon take over, and the ball would be well to the left of your target by the time it came down.

The adjustment you need to make is obvious. As a player with a natural draw, you'll need to set your target line out to the right of the actual target. How far out to the right you aim is going to depend on how much draw you expect to put on the shot. When hitting a pitching wedge from a relatively short distance, you may only aim a couple yards right of the target. For a longer shot with a long iron, you might aim several yards – or more – to the right. You need to know your game well in order to accurately select the target line that is going to lead to a successful result.

Now that you know what a target line is, and why it is important, we are going to move on to the topic of actually aiming down that target line with the club face each time you prepare for a shot. It is one thing to pick out the target line you would like to use, it is another thing to actually set the club head in a position that matches your chosen line. This is not as easy as it might sound at first, so you'll have to work hard if you are going to master this skill.

A Specific Process

A Specific Process

The best way to aim accurately time after time is by using a specific process that takes you from club selection all the way through to the execution of your swing. Using a routine is important in golf, as you should be looking for consistency on the course anywhere you can find it. In this section, we are going to suggest a detailed process you can use to improve the way you aim the club head down the target line before hitting your shots.

If you would like to try this process, please follow the instructions below –

  • To get started, you are going to pick both a club and a target. Some players like to pick their target first, and then select a club, while others work it the other way around. It probably makes a little more sense to start with the target and then go to the club, but feel free to do it however you see fit. Most likely, the targets you are picking from are all within close range of each other, so your club selection probably won't be affected by the spot you choose as your ideal target for the shot.
  • Now that you have a club in hand and a target in mind, it is time to work out your target line for the shot. Decide what kind of ball flight you are going to use, and determine how far out to one side or the other you will need to aim. Once you are settled on a target line, it is important to pick an 'intermediate target' on that target line. This is going to be a spot on the ground, just a foot or two in front of your ball, that you can use to aid in your alignment. The spot you pick should be easy to see – something like a discolored patch of grass or a small leaf – and it should be directly on your selected target line.
  • With all of those decisions made, it will be time to go through whatever pre-shot routine you have in place. Some golfers like to visualize the shot they are about to hit, while others just take a few deep breaths and clear their mind. Again, this is up to personal preference. Experiment with a variety of routine ingredients until you settle on something that seems to serve you well. The goal of a pre-shot routine is to allow you to relax and focus before each shot, so keep that in mind while designing your process.
  • At this point, it will be time to walk up to the ball and take your stance. This is when the act of aiming the club head really begins. As you walk up, hold the club in your right hand only. Approach the ball and set the club head down carefully, so as to avoid hitting the ball. Don't set your feet at this point – just stand casually next to the ball while moving the club into position. Using your right hand, manipulate the club head until the face is pointed directly at your intermediate target. Since that intermediate target is so close to the ball, this should be a pretty easy task.
  • Once you are happy with your aim, the next step is to move your feet into position. Hold the club head very still, and build a stance that puts you in a comfortable and steady place over the ball. Not only should you make sure that your feet are on the right line, but you also want to check your ball position at this time. Don't rush through the process of setting your feet, as your stance in relation to the ball is an important piece of the puzzle.
  • The last step to complete your address position is to place your left hand on the club. Slide your left hand onto the grip, connect it to the right hand in some way, and settle in. Of course, while doing this, you need to keep the face of the club pointed at your intermediate target.
  • After completing all of those steps, it is now time to hit the shot. Take one last look up at the target, look down at the ball, and get started.

We know what you are thinking – this is going to take forever! When you first read this list, it does seem like you'll be the slowest player in the world if you actually go through with this process before each and every shot. However, with just a little bit of practice, this will all become second nature and you'll move through it in no time at all. The key here is to practice this on the range before you ever take it to the course. By getting comfortable with the steps in practice, you can move through it quickly on course and avoid holding up other players.