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Aiming the face of the club and aligning the Body

Patrick WalshBy Patrick Walsh,
PGA Professional

One of the primary concerns from students attending the Ben Sutton Golf School is aiming both the face of the club and the body. If you watch any professional events on TV you will notice how much care and precision the tour professionals take when setting up to hit the shot. The better players understand that 80 to 85 percent of the success of the shot is directly related to proper alignment and posture. Below are some pre-shot suggestions you can use to give yourselves a better chance of hitting solid shots on target.

Always look at the shot from directly behind the ball. While standing behind the ball pick out an intermediate target that is on the intended line you wish your ball to start. Approach the ball aiming the face of the club directly at your intermediate target. Set your back foot parallel to the line created by the face of your club then set your forward foot so that the toes of both feet are on a line parallel to the line created between your ball and the intermediate target. At this time set your proper posture by bending from the hips and allowing the arms to hang freely from the shoulders with your hands just inside the thigh of the forward leg. Set your spine tilt so the upper part of the spine is tilted away from the target.

This set up should get your shoulders square (parallel) to the target line and put you in a good athletic position. The weight should be over the balls of your feet and you should feel completely on balance.

From the above position it is very easy to rotate around the upper part of the spine and more importantly drive the lower body through the impact zone as the forearms release naturally. If you swing the club on its arc the face of the club will contact the back of the ball producing a straight shot or one hit with a slight draw.

Alignment note: If you are aimed properly you should be able to just twist or rotate your neck and see the target. If you have to come out of your spine angle or lift your head (chin) up then you either aimed too far right or left respectively. If that is the case, start your routine all over again until you get your body and posture in the correct positions.

Walsh is a past champion of the Southwest Chapter, North Florida Section and two-time recipient of the Bill Strausbaugh Award. From 1993 through 2000 he played in the Callaway-Pebble Beach Invitational, featuring a limited number of invited Club Professionals, PGA Tour Professionals, Champion Tour Professionals and LPGA members. Past champions include Johnny Miller, Kirk Triplett, Jim Furyk and Robert Gamez.

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