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Aiming Correctly: Part I - July 2008
By David La Pour

Aiming correctly is a very important part of consistency. Assuming that your body is aligned sufficiently using the six points of reference (feet, knees, hips, shoulders, head, forearms), we now have the opportunity to practice and play with good alignment.

This is not always easy, primarily because we all stand on the side of the ball when we hit it and we cannot see ourselves aiming! The tour player is keenly aware of this problem, consequently I've noticed that the majority of them practice either with a club or two on the ground as a reference, or have their caddie standing behind them telling them if they are aimed correctly! I don't know about you, but I don't think I'll be paying a caddie to stand behind me any time soon, telling me where I am aiming, so I'll opt for the latter choice of the aim club.

The aim club is simply a club that you put on the ground when you are practicing in order to help you with alignment and ball position. For this article's sake, let's assume you are a right-handed golfer like I am. You'll notice that we are relegated to standing on the left side of the golf ball (when looking at our target) as we hit our shots. Because of this, all six of our reference points should be somewhat left of our target when we are addressing the ball. Some people have called this aiming parallel but left. The only things actually on the target line are the clubface and the golf ball itself. I like to use the example of a railroad track, one rail going at the target while the other rail represents our body alignment, especially our feet.

So if you want to put your approach shot in the hole, you'd better not aim your feet at the hole, they should be aiming slightly left of the hole (roughly 3 to 4 feet, the distance you are standing from the ball). Keep in mind that while this concept applies to almost every shot in golf, there are some specialty shots that you'll have to adjust for.

My suggestion for practicing correctly is to put a golf club down on the ground pointing slightly left of your target. This club will lie between your stance and the ball you're hitting, and you'll use it as a reference to see if your feet (and other points) are lined up square to your target line. I suggest using an aim club on the ground at least 80% of the time when you practice, no matter what shot you are hitting. We will talk about what to do with the other 20% of the time in next months tip.

Good luck with this and if you need help you can find me at Colleton River Planatation Club (www.colletonriverclub.com) in Bluffton, SC.

David La Pour Golf • 60 Colleton River Dr • Bluffton, SC • 29910 • 843-836-4413
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