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Newsletter June 2013

The fundamentals of golf include the grip, stance, posture, ball position and alignment. Of these basic fundamentals, the most important, and possibly the one most overlooked by amateurs, is the alignment of your body and aim of the clubface. You could have the smoothest, most correct swing, but if you aren't aimed correctly, the ball will not go to your target. To setup incorrectly is a major mental golf error. Your setup is so important that the following experts have said:  

"I think it is the single most important maneuver in golf. It is the only aspect of the swing over which you have 100% control. If you setup correctly, there's a good chance you'll hit a reasonable shot, even if you make a mediocre swing. If you setup to the ball poorly, you'll hit a lousy shot even if you make the greatest swing in the world." - Jack Nicklaus

"Before they ever begin swinging, I can improve nine out of every ten typical amateur golfers." - Tommy Armour

"Very few amateurs have trained themselves to consistently align themselves correctly." -- Dean Reinmuth

"What invariably distinguishes a good player from a poor one is their respective address positions or setups." -David Leadbetter

LPGA Tour Pros know the importance of alignment. They have their caddies stand behind them on every shot to make sure they are taking dead aim at their target.

The Alignment Line

The preshot routine is the mechanism you use to prepare your mind and body to swing. The mistake golfers make is aiming too far right and then trying to correct the flight of the ball by changing their swing. It is important to find your target line while looking down the fairway at the target with both eyes for binocular depth and direction. When you address the ball, bend from the waist, and look at your target, you are looking out of one eye and the target line is distorted to the right. Using an intermediate target will avoid having this distortion.

Step 1: Select your club and take a practice swing if desired. The next step in your preshot routine would be to visualize the shot and to imagine the ball going to the target. Once you have made up your mind about what you want to do, don't change it. 

Step 2: Find your intermediate target. Stand behind your ball, looking down the fairway at your target, drawing a line from the target back to the ball in your imagination. If you aren't able to visualize this, point your club at the target, close one eye and find an intermediate target about one to two feet in front of your ball. Focus your eyes on this imaginary spot.

Step 3: Holding your eyes on this intermediate target spot, address the ball by placing the grooves of your club perpendicular to it, and place your feet on a parallel line. Your address will now have your body positioned parallel to the target line. From behind you will be aimed slightly left of the target because the ball is on the target line and your body isn't.

Proper setup and alignment will allow you to maintain your balance throughout the swing. Good balance and alignment will allow you to hit the ball squarely in the center of the clubface. Having a good setup will help you to control the direction of the ball. It will also help you to create more power and distance. This good golf setup will quiet the voices in your head that tell you there is something wrong with your golf swing and how to correct it. Put the above alignment steps into your preshot routine and enjoy how it puts you in a position for consistent ball striking. 

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