A basic fundamental in the game of golf is having a solid foundation. Place your feet shoulder width apart when using a full iron swing. With the driver the feet may be slightly wider. The weight on your feet should be towards the balls of your feet. This is comparable to other sports such an infielder in baseball, or tennis player getting ready to return a ball over the net.
When aligning yourself to a target, it is important to set the knees, hips and shoulders along the line on which the clubface is aimed. Always set the aim of the clubface to the target first, and then align your body. Many golfers believe they are aligned properly because they stand erectly when aiming their bodies. Unfortunately, the golfer does not swing the club in an erect position but rather in a tilted position, bending from the waist. If the golfer bends from the waist, as in the case of a right handed player, the aim will be to the right. Because of poor alignment, the golfer will have a tendency to pull their shorter irons to the target and as the clubs gets longer (example: The Driver), a slice will occur.
An excellent drill when practicing is to take three clubs and set up a practice station. Lay two clubs down parallel to one another (one along your feet and the other outside your ball line). Take the third club and lay it perpendicular to the club on your foot line. The third club will enable you to check your ball position. Take a few swings and check to make sure that your knees, hips and shoulder are parallel to the club at your feet. Use the third club as a guide to make sure that the leading edge of your club is perpendicular to the club at your feet. Initially, the golfer will feel that they are aimed far left. A golfer can check the alignment of the clubs by stepping back 20 feet behind the clubs to get visualization as to where their body and the club are aligned. Many teaching professionals use the example of railroad tracks but another preference could be two parallel lines that run to infinity. Hit a few shots and take notice of the direction and curvature of your ball flight. Another drill or aid that can be used in combination with laying down the clubs is to place two golf shafts or garden stakes in the ground vertically approximately ten feet out in front. Set the stakes, along the same line as the club at the feet and ball line. Hit some shots to see if the ball is staying within the two vertical shafts. It is important to swing normally and not to try to guide the direction of the ball through the opening of the shafts. In using either of these drills, the golfer will know that they have proper alignment to the target. If direction problems persist, a suggestion would be to seek a lesson from you local PGA Professional for a checkup on your grip, posture and swing plane.
Larry Nichol is Director of Golf Instruction at Stow Acres Country Club in Stow, MAlnichol@stowacres.com