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Many golfers struggle with alignment, especially on the course. When it comes time to troubleshoot though, players will often default to the old "club across the toe-line" test. Unfortunately, this method does not give us a ton of information, especially when we consider that in some cases it may be okay for a player to setup slightly open or closed, depending upon their physical make-up. As we know, some of golf's legends such as Trevino and Snead played from a stance-line that was not perfectly "square". Thus, when it comes time to diagnose a suspected alignment issue, I would advocate for the following approach:
Tags: Fundamentals, Set Up, Concept, Intermediate
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This drill video is when checking alignment work from the grip backwards.
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So many golfers struggle with alignment, especially on the course.
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If you're one of these golfers who has a hard time taking their range game to the course,
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I'd say alignment, 50, 60, maybe even higher than that.
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A high percentage of the time, the alignment changes when you're on the course compared
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to when you're on the range.
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So when you're checking your alignment, I want you to work from the club backwards.
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So I know that the common thing to look at is you look at where the feet are aimed,
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and you put this down like that, and you say, okay, where am I aligned?
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But I actually like to work from the grip backwards.
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So I like to check the forearms, then I like to check the shoulders or the scapula,
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then I like to check the ribcage, then I check the pelvis, and then I check the feet.
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There are many factors as to why someone wouldn't want a perfectly square stance,
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especially if something was going on in the pelvis, or if you had any type of leg length
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issue, which is quite common.
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But the shoulders and the forearms have a really big impact on the overall path of the club.
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So I like to make sure that those aren't too out of whack.
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The most common ones that you'll see are either when you get set up from the down the line
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that right hand will be on top too much.
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And now if I had a line going across my forearms, which is very hard to do on my own,
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you would see that the forearm alignment would be way left of this stick.
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One trait that you'll see with most torporos is when you're looking from the down the line,
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if you have a reasonable camera angle, you will be able to see a little bit of the left forearm on top of the right forearm.
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So not this way, but a little bit that way.
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That comes from having the left arm a little bit straighter than the right arm,
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and the natural side bend in order to account for the right hand being down lower.
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If I was to not side bend, then I would have to get my right shoulder closer to account for
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the right hand being lower on the grip, and that's where a lot of golfers get off.
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So making sure or double checking from that down the line, camera angle, doing a bit of
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mirror work with a stick, and just kind of looking to make sure that the tops of my forearms
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there are right of or parallel to the stick, parallel at the very latest.
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This is a good checkpoint for when you're looking at your impact position as well, that
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left arm isn't too far on top of the right, and that's still in good alignment.
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So then the next point would be looking at the shoulders or shoulder blades, and they're going
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to be closer to square, but usually slightly left, just slightly left.
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Golfers get in trouble, will either be way left, like that right shoulder will be very high,
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kind of like this, or potentially they can get their shoulders pointing too far
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to the right, especially if the forearms are out of alignment because of the shoulder movement.
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So if I'm getting really on top of it with my arm action, if I'm getting really steep
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with my arm action, I'll typically try to balance that out by getting my body pointing more
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off to the right. So a good secondary check is all come up and I'll hold the if the forearms
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look decent, sometimes the shoulders will be a little bit off one way or the other, and I'll
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double check that. The next piece I'll look at is the rib cage, and this is often one of the
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causes for the shoulders being off because the shoulder blades sit on the rib cage. So some golfers
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will get set up with their rib cage kind of pointing forward to help avoid hitting it fat,
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and some golfers will get set up with their rib cage pointing way behind the ball to help
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adjust for a really steep swing path. So double checking rib cage and where that is compared to the
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yellow stick, and then looking at the pelvis. So is the pelvis more or less close-ish to the stick.
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This is where I start to get a little bit more lenient. So if the pelvis or the feet are off by
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you know five, ten degrees, I'm not too worried about it. It's really only if I'm off by
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a significant amount, 20, 30, 40 degrees, which often on the course you will see that happen.
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So it's very important to have a good alignment process and to practice it enough on the range
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so that you feel very comfortable on the course. For everything but the forearms,
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one of the most common little drills that I'll give my students is to pretend you were playing
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defense to the target line. So usually what I'll do is if they've got to stick down like this and
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they're still having trouble and they're maybe just a little bit left like this,
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I'll come in and all stand parallel to the target line I say if we were playing defense,
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would you feel like you're ready to guard me and they'll say no I'm kind of aimed this way.
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And that gives you a good sense of by correcting it and pretending that there's a defender right
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there, parallel to the target line. If you stand up a little taller it allows you to kind of
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orient yourself to this space and I find that that helps a lot of golfers
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get their general orientation down and then it's just a matter of training where those
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forearm alignment, where that is straight because a lot of golfers again are just used to
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a little bit more left shoulder from that right arm being a little bit more on top.
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So if you find that you have a hard time taking your range game to the course double check your
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alignment or if you're just working on one of the one of your kind of fine tuning mechanisms
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if you're working on setup this is a good little process or checklist to run through to make
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sure that you're close to aligned to get ready for your stock swing. Pretty good setup there.
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