Golf alignment sticks are a great training aid that all golfers should be using. Players at every level should be working on their alignment - this is a fundamental skill that always needs to be refined.
However, there are other ways to use alignment rods to help with your swing and other parts of your game. In this article, I want to show you four drills from various instructors that can get you using alignment sticks in a whole new way.
Related Article: Check out our review of The Swing Plate, which allows golfers to do many of these drills without the use of a grass driving range.
The Anti-Flip Drill
This one comes from Andrew Rice and addresses an issue with golfers who chronically hook the ball (or hit occasional blocks).
To practice the drill you will need the following:
- Two alignment sticks - one on the ground just outside the ball and another in the ground just inside the target line and 18-24 inches forward of the ball. Be sure that the one in the ground is leaning away from you (towards the target).
- A 7 iron with the ball teed up so you can make sure it is in the same location relative to the rod in the ground each time.
- Start small and slow, making sure you swing inside the rod with the clubhead and keep the face square to open, thus launching the ball to the right of the rod.
- Patience! Give it a few goes and you'll start to get the feel. Feel the clubhead and ball dispersing - one goes left and the other goes right. Remember that you have not been doing this "naturally" and that's why it feels so strange and "incorrect."
Here is a video demonstrating:
It's All in the Hips
Here is a great drill that I use with many of my students who lack hip rotation and slide too far forward with the pelvis in the downswing. You take an alignment rod and place it through your 2 front belt loops, with the majority of it sticking out of the lead side. The goal is to take your backswing and freeze at the top. As you transition down towards the ball, make sure that the alignment rod stays pointing to the ground for as long as you can. This will lead to more rotation of the body pre-impact and allow your hands to exit correctly in the follow-through without flipping.
Maintain Your Posture
Alignment rods can also help with your posture - Nick Banks explains:
I like to use alignment sticks to help the retention of posture during the swing to highlight shoulder tilt and rotation. Shoulder tilt is something that is overlooked in swing instruction. When your shoulders tilt, they will promote shoulder rotation at the same time. During the swing, I like to see the shoulders almost at a right angle to the spine angle at the top and impact of the swing. This will help the spine angle stay at a consistent level to help avoid the posture going up or down (standing up on the backswing or bending over on the downswing). As you can see in the pictures below this is what I would like to see when using alignment sticks to maintain posture:
Improve Your Putting Stroke
Another creative way to use alignment sticks is to work on the path of your putting stroke. This video from Brandon Stooksbury will show you how: