As far as training aids go, golf alignment sticks are some of the most effective there are on the market today. That would explain why they have become extremely popular in recent years.
There was a time when a couple of snow poles from a hardware store would pass for golf alignment sticks. That time is long gone. Today, most major golfing brands design and manufacture their own branded alignment sticks. Many of them also come with an alignment stick cover.
So, what is it that alignment sticks do for your golfing game? Why is it a good idea to use them and employ a number of drills to improve your golf game? Well, read on to learn more about proper alignment.
Advantages of Using Golf Alignment Sticks
However, for most people, the more cost-effective option turns out to be using gold alignment sticks. Here are some reasons why you should consider using these sticks to improve your game:
- They are affordable: Alignment sticks are some of the most affordable options for improving your golf game.
- They are easy to use: These sticks are quite easy to use whenever you are on the range.
- They have a proven track record: From pros to hobby golfers alike, alignment sticks are a staple for any player looking to elevate their game.
The reasons for using alignment sticks as a golf training aid to improve your game are numerous and, to many, quite obvious. The question now remains: how can you best use them to make your game better?
Golf Alignment Stick Drills to Improve Your Game
Here are some of the most practical drills using alignment sticks that you can start employing today:
1. Train Track Alignment
If you ask any golf trainer out there, they will tell you that the most common problem with every aspiring golfer is alignment.
That’s why this drill is so important and why it’s perhaps the most common of drills when it comes to using alignment sticks in gold; the “Train Track Alignment” is pretty easy to set up and by far one of the most effective ways to improve your…well, alignment. This drill is simple enough to set up:
- Place one stick just in front of your toes
- Place the other one just outside the golf ball
Once the setup is complete, these sticks should look like train tracks leading to your golf ball. Make sure that the sticks are as parallel to one another as can be. Everything remaining equal, this particular setup should make it easy for you to achieve a straight shot.
2. Putting Path Drill
This drill is designed to help you bring the putter straight back and then put it straight through impact. The drill is supposed to help you find the correct swing path when putting.
If you do it correctly, you will notice that your putter head hardly ever leaves the inside of the sticks. That being said, here is what you need to do to set it up:
- Start by finding the right kind of put on the green; one that is both fairly straight and quite short
- Take two alignment sticks and lay them down off the toe as well as the heel of your putter
- Put from one end of the sticks; if done correctly, you will see the ball roll down the sticks and into the hole
To help with this drill, you can draw a line on your golf ball. This will tell you whether or not you are hitting the ball straight and that the drill is working and allowing you to achieve perfect alignment. If done right, you will see the line on your ball rotating perfectly as it makes its way to the hole.
3. The Narrow Path Drill
Have you ever heard your trainer saying that you are swinging “over the top,” “in-to-out,” or “out-to-in”? These are some of the most common errors that amateur golfers make, which introduces a spin or a slice on their ball, skewing their aim. The Narrow Path Drill is one way to check these errors. Here’s what you need to do in this stick drill:
- Place the sticks parallel to your ball; one inch on the inside and one on the outside
- Swing your club between these sticks towards the ball
This golf swing should tell you where your error is; if you are swinging in-to-out, the inside stick will move and if you are swinging out-to-in or over the top, then the outside stick will move. This should allow you to correct your golf swing with practice and achieve the correct alignment.
4. The Hip Bump Transition
Once you have gained a bit of experience and are slowly getting out of the “beginner” phase, this drill will help you gain some distance on your golf shorts. Here’s how to set it up:
- Put one stick vertically on the ground, pushing it into the ground to make it stand on its own
- Make sure that the stick is located just on the outside of your front foot
- As you swing and hit the ball, bump your front hip towards that stick
You will feel your weight move forward as you impact the ball. This drill is also quite useful for people who have issues hitting their irons.
5. Downward Strike Drill
This particular drill is what you need if you want to improve the impact in your irons. Here’s how to set it up:
- Take one alignment stick and lay it down about an inch behind your golf ball; make sure it’s perpendicular to your target line
- When hitting the balls, try as much as you can to hit the balls first before hitting the ground
You will know you are doing the right thing if you make impact with the ball without hitting the stick. It should be noted that depending on your swing, you could hit and break your alignment stick so be on the lookout for that possible occurrence.
6. Takeaway Drill
Setting yourself up for a perfectly straight shot begins with performing an excellent takeaway, and that’s exactly what this drill is designed to help you achieve:
- Start by laying an alignment stick down on the ground behind your golf ball, keeping it directly on your desired target line
- As you take your backswing, be sure to do these two things: First, take your clubhead back as slowly and a low to the ground as possible (this is especially true when using your driver). If you are having trouble doing this, use your alignment stick as a guide by keeping your clubhead near it. Secondly, don’t allow your club to travel beyond or outside the alignment stick.
This is mostly because if your takeaway starts outside the stick, you may not achieve as straight a shot as you would like.
7. Three Parallel Lines
Your body positioning is one of the most crucial golfing skills you need to learn. Many beginners and even intermediate players tend to set their body position up in a manner that doesn’t do them any favors.
They either twist their shoulders or their forearms, bringing a whole host of muscles that work against each other, making the swing difficult and inefficient. This drill is designed to help remedy that. You will need a friend for this drill:
- Take one alignment stick and put it on the ground on your feet line
- Ask your friend to hold one stick down your shoulders and forearms
- These two lines should be parallel to the stick on the ground
If the sticks are parallel, then you are setting up in the ideal position. If not, then you need to adjust.
8. Swing Plane Drill
If you find that you have issues with your takeaway as well as swing plane, this drill should help you fix that and have you hitting the ball straighter at almost every turn:
- Take one alignment stick and put it on the ground; make sure it’s behind you and at a 45-degree angle
- Stick the alignment stick into the ground about two feet behind your back toe (not your heel)
- Now practice swinging your golf club and feel it traveling up and down that stick behind you
Don’t let the stick travel outside of the alignment stick behind you; keep it directly on it.
9. Ball Flight and Aim
Yet another common problem area is the aim and ball flight. Here’s what you need to do to set the drill up properly:
- Take one of your alignment stick about 10 feet in front of your ball and stick it vertically into the ground
- Take your time hitting shots at the alignment stick
To help you hit the ball at different angles, you can hit the ball down the right or left side of the alignment stick. It helps if you have a visual aid to ensure that you are aiming properly.
10. The “T” Drill
Your ball position is going to change with every shot you take. Practicing the different placements will help you become more of a natural player. This drill helps with that:
- Place one of your alignment stick inside the golf ball and lay it down on the ground
- Place a second stick perpendicular to the first one so that they form a “T” on the ground
This second stick is what should line up with your ball. You can make sure of this by ensuring that the second stick runs directly between your legs.
If done correctly, these golf alignment stick drills will help you improve almost every aspect of your game.