Zar's Guide To Better Golf -- Alignment Made Easier by Visualizing a Line Through the Ball

By Rick Zarlengo, PGA


BRISTOW, VA -- Editor's Note:  This is the first installment of a monthly golf instructional series on, written by Rick Zarlengo, General Manager of the Broad Run Golf & Practice facility in Bristow. This month's subject is the value of proper alignment.


Value of Alignment:


Most golfers know -- or should know -- the value of a sturdy, consistent pre-shot routine.  The need to allow your brain to create a vision while organizing your thoughts is imperative.  One of the most common questions I get from students is “How can I be more consistent?”  One of the best ways to achieve the consistency they’re seeking is to do the basic fundamental things (i.e. pre-shot routine of grip, aim, alignment, positions and posture) more consistently.  In other words, anytime you can create a good habit, or system, you should do so. 


While there are many variations to development and habituation of your routine, there is one element that will assist you in visualizing your set-up and subsequent shot.  That element is correct alignment. 


One easy way to achieve better alignment is the mental creation of a target line.  The target line is an imaginary line running from -- you guessed it -- the target through the ball.  While most people use the thought of ball to target, I believe you will find it easier to think of a line from your target back through the ball.  This target may be any object you choose, the flag, an edge of a bunker, a tree, etc. 


Regardless of whether you align your body square, open or closed, you need to do it the same each time.  This is where most people run into problems: they make the common error of walking into the set-up from the side, placing their feet before setting and aiming the club.  This limits their eyes to a "side view" of the shot, which in turn tends to provide the eyes with a somewhat distorted view and creates the problem of poor and inconsistent alignment. 


Here is your cure -- when standing back to establish your target line, try these two things: First, make sure you stand back from your ball a minimum of ten feet, keeping the ball, your target and your body on the same line.  This will give you a better overall view of your shot. 


Next, be aware of the elements and situation and choose your target.  Visualize your target line (some people will pick out objects along that imaginary line to create a more tangible visual image) going through the ball to a spot approximately five yards behind the ball.  This will make it much easier to align yourself using your shoulders, upper thigh area (and feet if you wish).  Next, aim your club (leading edge 90 degrees to the target line) based on what now should be a much more "visible" target line.

The Clubhouse at Broad Run


You will definitely benefit from this consistent routine, provided you practice it both on the course and at the practice facility.  Here's wishing you good bounces and Better Golf! 


Note: Broad Run Golf & Practice Facility is located off of Rt. 28 going south out of Manassas, and features one of the best overall practice ranges in the DC area, with target greens, practice bunkers, a short-game practice area and a large practice green.  Broad Run also has an excellent Rick Jacobson designed 9-hole golf course.


For a complete look at Broad Run, try the review of the facility.


Broad Run Golf & Practice Facility
10201 Golf Academy Drive
Bristow, VA 20136

Phone: (703) 365-2443
FAX: (703) 365-2544



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