Proper golf alignment is one area where many beginners need to understand better and work to improve. Subtle alterations in your golf stance can cause changes in flight path and effectiveness of your swing, to name a few.
There are a few aspects to golf alignment. Some are related to the golf stance, such as being open or closed. Some refer to the club face, such as open/closed and heel/toe.
The intention of this page is to give beginners a quick lesson in golf alignment, specifically general terms that are used, and how to properly line up for a shot. This page is part of my Beginner Golf Tips section, where I provide some basic tips for those new to the game of golf. If you are comfortable with the basics, please see my Golf Swing Tips or Proper Golf Swing pages for more advanced tips.
Correct alignment of your feet during the golf stance is essential for hitting on target shots. If you could draw a line across the front of your toes, extending out in to the distance, this would tell your exactly where you are aiming. When you are talking in reference to long distance shots like drives, fairway woods, or long irons, even having your feet off a few centimeters will make a very large difference 200-300 in front of you.
One very simple drill that you can work on when practicing is to take one of your clubs and lay it on the ground so that the shaft is in contact with the front of both of your shoes. Check your alignment with shaft of the club is see where it is aiming, then make any necessary adjustments.
The intention of practicing all of the aspects of the proper golf swing is to make everything second nature! If you practice the correct way, you will train your muscles and brain to perform that task correctly time and time again.
There are two main terms to describe golf alignment and foot position: open or closed.
For ease of understanding, I will use a right handed golf swing as my reference. Everything for a left handed swing will be the opposite, of course.
An open stance essentially means that your feet are aiming to the left of the target. A quick way to check this position is to take a club out, as mentioned above, and line it up with your feet. More likely than not, your ball will travel and land left of the target.
There may be times where you actually want an open stance, i.e. the the bunker, or with pitching, but for most of the time, you aim should be right on target.
A closed stance on the other hand, means that your alignment is aiming to the right of the target. Specific golf swing ramifications of a closed stance are that you likely won't be able to make a full hip turn or rotation and that you will have difficulty establishing a proper follow through as well.
There are a few relatively easy ways to help improve your alignment. One, as mentioned above, assume your golf stance and place a golf club on the ground, lined up with the front of our feet. You can look down and see where your are aiming, or take a step back and look at the alignment from behind.
Also, you could always grab a friend and have them stand back and look at not only your feet but your shoulders as well to make sure everything is lined up towards the target.
One other easy tip is to aim for a spot that is actually closer to you than the intended target, but still along the same target line. Some golfers may find it easier to aim for something that is a little closer than a couple hundred yards away.
A recommended product for help with alignment is made by SKLZ, who specializes in sport specific training devices. Please click on the link for more information: