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How To Perfect Your Aim

If you care about accuracy and consistency it makes sense to work on your aim. However, working out how to aim in golf can feel complicated when you dig into the details and many golfers struggle to consistently aim correctly.

In this article, we’ll cover how to aim, share a great way to practice your aim and give you a simple routine to use on the golf course.

How To Aim – The Basics

The basic concept of aiming is to align your body (feet, hips & shoulders) parallel to your target line. The easiest way to picture this is pictured below.

golf alignment down railway tracks

A common analogy is to imagine a train track, with the right-hand rail drawing a straight line between your ball and your target and your feet and body placed on the left-hand rail.

Why are aiming and body alignment important?

The goal here is to start with your club face pointing where you want your golf ball to go, and pre-set your body in a position where you can square up your swing path and deliver the club head back to the golf ball at a high speed.

The set-up pictured above appears to be the best we have come up with in the past 100 years of golf coaching. There is no reason why your body couldn’t start aiming more to the left or the right, but this means the club will be more likely to swing left or right of your target line through impact.

Do all great players aim straight?

No. There are many examples of great golfers who aim slightly left or right. Fred Couples famously built a silky and effective golf swing, while aiming left on every shot and re-routing the club on his downswing.

Check out Mikes 3D Life for more videos like this one.

The caveat is that if you are not aiming straight, you need to account for this in your golf swing, so you will need to move away from a textbook-looking swing to hit shots that fly straight to your target, or play with a fade or a draw.

The majority of modern players tend to see aiming straight as an important fundamental and create a strong habit of practicing their aim (we cover this below).

However, modern great players will work out where their golf shots are going on any given day and account for these misses by aiming left/right on the golf course when playing in events. This is a skill many amateur players would benefit from adding into their own game.

Try to perfect your aim in practice, and use aim to account for your shot tendencies when trying to maximise your scoring potential.

Are feet, hips and shoulders all important?

This topic starts simple but quickly gets complicated. Simply speaking your shoulder line will have the biggest impact on your swing direction and swing path. If your golf swing stays exactly the same, and you shift your shoulder line by 4-8º, your swing path will change by this same amount.

For context, 4-8º is the in-to-out and out-to-in ranges that most slicers and hookers generate. This means an alignment, or shoulder alignment, change could really help square up your swing path.

Shifting from irons to driver

Another common issue golfers come across is when they move from hitting a short iron, with a central ball position, to hitting a driver from just inside their front foot. When golfers move to a driver and this ball position, their shoulders often start pointing further left, causing more of an out-to-in swing path.

Leave a comment below if you’d like to hear more about how to resolve this issue.

Be consistent with your aim

Now we have a deeper understanding of aim, we can see that perfectly straight aim may not always be necessary, but great players are highly consistent – this is very important if you want to build a repeatable golf swing and build accuracy and consistency into your golf game.

With this in mind, let’s move on to how you can work on your aim and alignment in practice and on the golf course.

How to practice great aim

The simplest way to practice aiming well is to build your train tracks on the practice ground/golf range or golf studio.

  1. First place an alignment stick or club along your ball-target line (top left).
  2. Next place another alignment stick or club along your feet line (top right).
  3. Pick up the first stick and you have set up a great practice station (bottom left).
  4. A slight tweak is to place the 2nd stick slightly inside your feet line if it feels more comfortable (bottom right).
How to set up a golf aiming station in four steps

Build your stance around your club face

A great tip for building a consistent aim on the golf course is to build your stance around your club face.

  1. Stand behind your golf ball and pick a small leaf, twig, or mark on the ground 2-3 feet ahead of your golf ball on your target line.
  2. Stand next to your golf ball with your feet together and aim your club face up at this target in front of you.
  3. Build your stance parallel to the club face you have aimed.
A sequence of how to aim around your club face

I personally struggle with the first step on the golf course (picking a small spot) instead I always use the target in the distance, but this three-step process is the way I was taught to aim and have used to teach thousands of golfers.

It takes a little practice (in the practice station above), but it is the most effective way I’ve found to date to help golfers consistently aim well.

Summary

Perfecting your golf aim can sound simple but many golfers overlook it. It is some low-hanging fruit to increase the consistency of your performance. It results in a more consistent swing path and a more consistent strike.

This article has hopefully given you a better understanding of some of the intricacies in golf aim and highlighted the importance of consistency in how to set up each time to the golf ball

I hope you find the aiming practice station setup useful and try out the three-step process for building a great golf stance around your club face next time you practice.

Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider

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Will is a PGA golf professional, with a PhD in Biomedical Science and MSc in Sports Biomechanics & Psychology. He spent 10 years lecturing part-time at Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds in Biomechanics and Motor Control before becoming the Head of Golf for the University of Exeter. He currently runs Golf Insider UK, Sport Science Insider around wider consulting and academic roles in sport performance and motor control.

2 thoughts on “How To Perfect Your Aim”

  1. I struggle with shoulder alignment using the driver. Yes the shoulders are open in this stance. I try various things from drawing back the right leg but that is not consistent. So I try just literally try to square the shoulders but feels uncomfortable. It’s a project.

    Reply
  2. Hi Will
    When setting up the station whilst the first alignment stick is aimed at the target the second stick, being placed parallel to the first will actually be aimed slightly left of target as indicated in your “train track” picture. Is this correct? If not where should the feet line be aimed?

    Thanks

    Mike

    Reply

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