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From Tiger Woods on down, proper ball position and alignment are essential for a proper swing path.
From Tiger Woods on down, proper ball position and alignment are essential for a proper swing path. (Brandon Tucker/WorldGolf.com)

Proper swing mechanics start with proper alignment and ball position

Les MillerBy Les Miller,

Ask professional golfers on tour what swing mechanics they work on the most and the majority of players will say ball position and alignment.

The proper ball position and alignment start when you address the golf ball. If you are lined up incorrectly, your body feels this and makes you change your swing path to correct this faulty alignment. Also, if you have the ball positioned too far forward or too far back in your stance, it leads to inconsistent and poor golf shots.

Most golf instructors agree if you start your swing with the proper alignment and ball position, you have an excellent chance of hitting good shots. So, if you are out of alignment and the ball is positioned incorrectly, it is almost impossible to consistently hit quality golf shots.

Here are a few tips that will effectively help adjust your body into the correct position at address:

First, face your target and take a step toward it with your left foot (for right-handed golfers). Now, from this position, turn your body to the right until your shoulders and chest are aligned parallel to your target. You will now be properly aligned to the target, and your feet will be the proper distance apart at the address position.

Next, hold you arms out in front of your chest shoulder width apart and clap. Where your hands come together is where they should be at address position and also where the ball should be played in your stance.

Now, using your normal grip, take your 5 iron and hold the club straight out in front of your waist. Next, bend over from the waist until the bottom of the club rests squarely on the ground. From this position, slightly bend your knees like you are about to sit on a chair.

To get a feel of what I mean, practice leaning forward from the waist so your arms hang straight down in front of you - remember to keep your back straight, don't hunch over. From this position add some knee flex. (This is where you grab your 5-iron to judge how much lean and knee flex you need when addressing the ball.) In your golf swing, as you swing back and through the ball, it's critical that you try to maintain this position (spine angle) during the golf swing.

When you hear golf announcers on TV talking about how tour players retain their spine angle through impact, they are commenting on how these players are returning the club to the same position they started with at address. This is why it is so important to start with a good set-up, proper alignment and proper ball position.

Les Miller was a longtime Golf Writers of America member who covered golf instruction for several newspapers and golf publications. His many years of experience as a golf professional, director of product development and tour relations for several major golf companies gave him a unique background and ability to help golfers increase their enjoyment of the game.

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