Symptom: Your golf practice routine doesn’t involve aiming sticks. Your swing “felt good” on the range, but the results aren’t there on the course.
You sadly watch another well-struck shot miss the fairway and bounce into the woods.
Yes, you hit it solidly. It felt good, just like it did on the driving range. But it didn’t go where you had intended, and now you have to pay the price by hacking out of the rough back to the fairway.
Overview: In your golf practice routine, and especially when warming up at the driving range, you must always pick a target to aim at. Never just hit balls to watch them fly.
Why it works: Your golf practice routine needs to cover the things that you need to execute on the golf course. On the course, you are always aiming at something — the flag, a spot on the fairway, a tree in the distance, or something else, and so this is how you should practice.
This seems like such an obvious point. Yet, I promise you if you watch the average crowd at the driving range they are mostly just teeing it up and hacking away. Perhaps this is good aerobic exercise, but it is not golf practice.
Your Golf Practice Routine Needs an Aim Point Reinforced With Golf Aiming Sticks
Furthermore, if you don’t deliberately aim at something during your golf practice sessions, you will (not might) get out of alignment, which can cause you to compensate during your swing and lead to inconsistent ball striking.
Do this always. No exceptions! Why such a stern exhortation? Watch the pros hit balls the next time you are at a tournament, and you will see that they almost always do this on the range. And they have hit a few more balls with more success than the rest of us have!
For example, here is Jason Day’s pre-round warmup routine. Pay attention to how he uses the aiming stick for his 9 iron and every other long club in his bag. He is absolutely not just hitting balls, he is putting the balls where he wants them by ensuring his alignment is consistent every time. Have a look:
Same for Jordan Spieth. Similar to Day, he doesn’t use an alignment stick for his 60 and 54 degree wedges, but does for pitching wedges and every other club in the bag (1:22).
Even Simple Warmup Swings Need a Target
And yet, how many people do you see at the range going through their golf practice routine like Jason Day and Jordan Spieth? I’d bet not one in twenty — most are just swinging away! Unbelievable.
Even when you are swinging your club in your backyard, it’s a good idea to pick a target out to aim at. Why? Because it’s very easy to get a swing that “feels good”, but in fact has you swinging way out of alignment.
Don’t do this! You will regret it the next time you have to make the ball go where you want to. Instead, pick a target, get the feel of the line to your target with the throw the stick underhand drill, and then practice your full swing.
Then you’ll be practicing a real golf swing, not some sort of golf-swing-approximation-that-loosens-your-muscles-but-doesn’t-hit-the-ball-straight swing!
By the way, you don’t need a dedicated aiming stick to use this method. I typically use my putter as my aiming stick.
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