When learning aim and alignment it is always beneficial to head out onto the golf course. At a driving range, especially covered ones using mats to hit from, it is easy to become lulled into thinking you are aiming correctly when in fact you are simply aligning to the mat.
On the golf course with no such help from a range mat true aim and alignment is brought into sharp focus.
Nigel is a regular client I have worked with for the last few years and I am delighted with the progress he has made. During intensive sessions and swing improvements we turned Nigel into an incredibly consistent striker of the ball. His club delivery is super neutral with very little movement on the ball during flight. But there was a problem.
“Nigel you are swinging it beautifully” (as another 8 iron landed on top of the previous shot) “How have you been playing on the course”.
“Not great”, Nigel would reply, “I just keep missing everything off to the right”.
This was obviously vexing for Nigel who understood how well he was swinging on the range but seemed unable to transfer this progress onto the course in friendly or competition play.
I knew something simple and fundamental must be wrong so we headed off onto the golf course on a cold grey wintery morning.
During playing lessons we always have a little match (get the competitive juices flowing) and I say nothing of technique for three to four holes ensuring I get a picture of what may have changed from the driving range to course.
The playing lesson took place at St Annes Old Links and on the first tee I saw the problem within possibly .02 of a second. Nigel was aligning his whole body 30 yards right. He then put the same wonderfully consistent action we’d developed at the driving range onto the ball. Smack! 30 yards right.
“There, there!” Cried Nigel, “That’s what I’ve been doing!”
Imagine the scenario. Nigel is frustrated for putting A GOOD SWING on the ball. His aim and alignment was causing the miss. I continued to watch the same pattern emerge over the next three holes. Right shot, right shot, right shot as consistent as anything you’ve seen. The only variation of this was a hook when the hands flipped the club face shut to compensate for the alignment.
Fixing Nigel was simply about executing a consistent pre-shot routine which allowed him to align his body better to target line, into a more parallel position.
The transformation was instant and incredibly gratifying (also slightly funny) as Nigel started to ping those lovely straight shots we’d seen on the range down the fairway and onto the green.