Why alignment isn't so important

Since I’ve been spilling the beans on playing automatically I’ve received a number of questions about alignment. The most common one is, “how do I align to the target?”.

Good question.

After testing this extensively I believe that alignment is a “one percenter”. Something that you don’t need to concern yourself with and something that should happen instinctively.

Here’s the scoop.

We do so many other skills without worrying about alignment. We throw balls, run, catch and hit without a thought of aiming. It happens naturally and for the most part successfully.

Golfers have had it beaten into them that they must stand squarely to the target. I’m sure you’ve placed a club on the ground parallel to the target. This may or may not work for you. By forgetting the target and getting set up (and aligned) automatically not only will you hit the ball straighter, it will ultimately feel more comfortable, you’ll play more quickly and it’s so much easier to do. Does that sound good?

Here’s the drill.

When you’re behind the ball look where you want to hit it and then move into the ball naturally and automatically. Be sure to get set first, and then and only then take a peek at the target. You can then hit the ball without delay or self-doubt.

Sidebar:A fantastic exercise is to hit the all shots without looking up. Try it. Do all your planning behind the ball and then walk up, get set and hit the ball without any further connection to the target.

There is a catch to playing this way. It will feel uncomfortable at first. You will doubt that you’re aligned correctly, you will want to shuffle about and check your club face. This is only normal – but when you can trust and commit to the process you’ll free up your swing. This can only lead to a better game.

I haven’t seen any golfer follow this method and align herself poorly. Sure, she may be a little (read not much, tiny or a small amount) closed or open but is this a bad thing? I don’t think so, especially if this allows her to swing in a way that suits HER. And this my friend is the entire point of the exercise!

If you struggle with alignment and feel uncomfortable with your set-up it’s time to throw away the preconceptions that are holding you back. Give the task to your subconscious and go with it. Yes it takes a level of trust and a dose of courage – but these traits are exactly what are lacking in most of us.

Aligning to the target is important – trusting yourself to do so naturally is more important.

And finally: Please don’t expect an instant cure. You have to give yourself some time (maybe a round or two) to adjust. But hang in there. The rewards are definitely worth the effort.

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