Just got back from the range after another evening practice session and as I wander along the bays the things that struck me were how many amateurs just stood there smashing driver after driver and raking one ball in after another and also how few of them were focusing on the things we can control pre-swing. The preparation phase of the golf swing is key for me. Compare my experience with that of a pro range at a tournament. Do you think we would see Rory et al, standing there smashing driver after driver. I think not.
What you are likely to see at a pro range is numerous of the worlds best golfers focussing on the things they can control every single time. Stance, Ball position and alignment may not seem glamorous or sexy but if you can’t set up consistently how much extra work does your body have to do to compensate in the swing. Trust me when I say however good you are doing this consistently will help you play better golf.
So, how can I do this I hear you say???? Got alignment sticks??? If not go and get some today. Used properly I guarantee they will help. Also check out my video on YouTube (read on to find out more) which will show you how to use the alignment sticks and make sure you are set up for success.
The stance for me needs to be athletic and balanced. Trying to co-ordinate all the moving body parts of a golf swing is hard at the best of times if you are not standing in a dynamic balanced way you are just making it way harder for yourself. Think as if you are going to throw a ball, that is a great feel to have for the golf swing. Trying to hit a little ball that is static from a rigid fixed position is not going to help, we have to be able to move to swing the club consistently, smoothly and powerfully.
The ball position, well this little thing is also really crucial, with a golf swing one of the things we are trying to control is the low point of the swing so we can consistently strike the ball well with a club face that is aligned to our swing path (aligned for whatever shot shape we are hitting, there will be another blog post on shot shaping) if you are constantly moving the ball further forward or backwards then how can we expect to consistently control the low point. My personal feel is to not really alter the ball position in relation to my lead foot that much and change the relationship between the ball and trail foot by widening my stance for longer clubs (watch the video it will really help show this)
Alignment, why is this important? Put simply if I asked you to drive your car forward but you have to drive it from the passenger seat, how hard would that be? WAY harder I suspect given that you are not aligned to the direction you are looking and your eyes are all a little bit off. This is where the alignment sticks come into their own. You can use this to point to your target line and your stance line, start with them parallel that will really help. If you know you are at least pointing in the right direction you can go ahead and commit to the shot. (the video on YouTube shows you how to do this).
Food for thought the next time you are at the range and you have this urge to smash driver all over the place. A bit of work regularly on the preparation phase of the golf swing will make sure you are set up for success. Yeah it’s not as glamorous or fun, doesn’t look as good on Instagram but quite frankly who cares if you are playing better golf and taking money off your mates or wining the club medal. Oh and you can do this in your front room at home so you don’t even have to get cold to do it. Useful at this time of the year in the northern Hemisphere.