How to line up a golf shot

VD November 11 2021

There is a basic premise before taking a golf swing: you need to line up correctly to hit the ball.

It is essential if what you are looking for is to make a good swing. And here is a peculiarity: you have to use your imagination to draw lines related to the feet, the shoulders, the clubface, and the ball's position in the stance. It all depends on the objective and the shot you want to make.

For John Jacobs, "70 percent of the golf shots that are missed is due to a bad placement on the ball." Jacobs has written "Practical Golf" with Ken Bowden and illustrated it by Anthony Ravelli. It was first published in 1972 and is considered one of the best golf instruction books ever written.

For his part, Harvey Penick in "The Little Red Book of Golf explains that" the ball's position is the most important after the grip. And we are going to insist on the concept: everything has to do with a routine before our shots.

In the book "100 Instant Golf Lessons", the Australian Greg Norman proposes: "I hold the golf club only with my right hand and approach the ball from behind. As I do this, I look above and below the line that runs from the ball to the target, looking for a point a few meters in front of the ball that is on that line. When I find it, I place the clubface behind the ball, and I wedge it in until it's pointed directly at that little target. And once facing the cleat of the club, that's when I take the grip and align my body in the stance."

Norman, number one in the World Golf Rankings and two-time winner of the British Open, was always characterized by his methodical swing. For him, the previous routine is essential for a correct alignment.

As a first conclusion, all fans know how to line up before making their shot, but the vast majority do not do it well. And this is where the pre-coup routine becomes essential.

Professionals repeat the steps leading up to their shot over and over again. This routine is necessary, and you will see that in the driving range, they are very consistent with each step. Failure to pay attention to the various aspects of the lineup can lead to gross errors in the swing. With this, the ball will end up anywhere but where you want it.

All professionals are meticulous when it comes to aligning the feet, hips, and shoulders. The important thing is to be consistent and repeat the pre-alignment routine over and over. For example, the American Fred Couples has a movement with his body well to the left of his target (an open posture) that Ryan Moore, Lee Trevino, Paul Azinger also repeat. We insist: what is the secret? Consistency and routine.

What's the correct way to line up a golf shot?

You have to know that there are three traditional ways to line up in front of the golf ball, each one depending on the shot you want to make.

As you move the club along the line of your shot, it has to feel like "one thing". The first thing to consider is your feet position, along with your hips and shoulders. Then, depending on the shot you want to make and the effect you want to give the ball, you will place your feet and the ball in front of you.

  • Square: Your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet are parallel to the line of the ball to the target. This will cause a straight shot.
  • Open: Your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet point to the left of the target line (for a right-handed golfer). This will result in a fade.
  • Closed: Your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet point to the right of the target line (for a right-handed golfer). The desired effect will be a draw.

If you are just starting to play golf, it is best to have a squad alignment without thinking of wanting to print any particular effect on the ball. In the first stage, it is required to master this alignment. Over time and as you gain experience, you can adopt different alignments.

Please note: in all alignments, the clubface must be pointing directly at the target. Regardless of the shot you want to make. Then the position of the hands (open or closed) will determine fade or draw shots.

Many golfers struggle with alignment out on the golf course. In this example, Chris Ryan shows a three-part process to ensure your perfect alignment.

Bottom line: always check the orientation of the shoulder line, hip line, foot line and clubface line every time you are in the practice range.

In the golf practice area, you can use shafts to aid your golf clubs. That will give you an excellent visual reference when executing your shots.

Nowadays, and thanks to cell phones, you can film your golf swing from different angles at any time. With slow-motion filming and photographs, you will check if it is correctly aligned in front of the ball. Also, ask a friend or your instructor for help.

Tiger Woods was always very severe with his routine. It is simply a matter of observing him to understand how the steps before each shot allow him the correct alignment for each shot. And as he has always said: "to be consistent, you have to practice a lot."


Get good habits. Even seek to identify with a particular golfer and imitate his previous routine. As taught by Jack Nicklaus, the golf alignment takes as a reference a specific leaf or grass that is very close to his ball and in line with the desired objective.

Be persistent and practise these routines over and over again. In this way, you will achieve a fluid and natural swing. These tips will undoubtedly help you to hit multiple and consistent shots each time you play with your friends.