Many times in golf publications we are looking for that sexy article containing some tip to help us hit the ball farther. To hit the ball as
far as we are capable, we need to understand what makes that happen. There are 2 big factors we need to understand what makes that happen. There are 2 big factors that determine how far the ball will go. The first is club head speed. The second, and just as important, is a solid, square strike.
A great illustration of how important a solid, square strike is, came at the 2001 Battle at Bighorn. A match between the teams of Tiger Woods paired with Annika Sorenstam playing David Duval paired with Karrie Webb. During the match, on one of the tee boxes, measuring devices were set up to record both club head speed as well as ball speed from Woods and Duval’s tee shots. I don’t recall the exact numbers but what really left an impression on me was the fact that while David’s club head speed was 2 miles per hour faster than Tiger’s, Tiger’s ball speed was 4 miles per hour faster than David’s. This is because Tiger struck the ball slightly more solidly and squarely than did David.
For this reason I would like to talk to you about alignment, a key fundamental for a solid, square strike. We will use the analogy of railroad tracks to help us get aligned correctly to our intended target. In this analogy we will focus on lines going across our feet hips and shoulders. For a standard shot we need these lines to point parallel to each other and parallel to the line from ball to target. Why do we want the lines to point in a parallel manner? This is answered when we understand that in golf we strike the ball standing to the side of it. This means that in order to have the club head strike the ball on a path moving toward the target, we can’t point our body parts at the target.
There are aids we can use to help align ourselves in a parallel manner while we are practicing, however, we can’t use aids on the course. So how do we ensure we are aligned correctly on the course? One method is to pay attention to the relationship between our left shoulder and the target. While you are on the practice range use aids to ensure you are lining up in a parallel manner. When you know you are lined up parallel, look to see where the target is in relation to your left shoulder. You will see it is just a little out in front of your shoulder. Recreate that look on the course and your shoulders will be lined up reasonably close to parallel to the target. Then set your hips and feet to match your shoulders.
I know this is not the sexiest subject but, good fundamentals are the key to consistent solid strikes.