Alignment is understood by most as the foundation to controlling the direction of our golf shots, in other words if we point ourselves at the target we have a good chance of hitting the ball in that direction. This is obviously one of the sound fundamental ideas we should try to adopt as part of our set up, but alignment of the body is not directly related to controlling the balls direction in fact it can have a much bigger effect on the overall efficiency of our swing shape.
So what happens if we do not aim at the target, especially if it happens at a subconscious or habitual level?
It would be great for all of us if we just hit the ball off line every time we did not aim squarely at the target because we would see the problem straight away and can then fix it. But our instinctive behavior has the ability to rectify this miss-alignment during the swing. This is all well and good if this happens infrequently during the round but invariably this miss-alignment becomes habit and the instinctive compensation starts to produce inefficient movements that become less effective and more inconsistent. The major problem with this habitual bad alignment is that it is very hard to detect from your shot results and can and does affect any standard of golfer no matter how much experience and skill they have.
How can you check your alignment?
The easiest way of staying away from this habit is on a regular basis check your alignment by picking a target, set up to the ball and then put a club or alignment stick along the line of your feet. Stand away from the ball and look from behind to check where you were actually aiming. If your alignment was out alter the club that is on the ground so it points in the right direction and then return to the set up position, if you now feel uncomfortable and want to point in a different direction, your body is telling you that you are probably lining up badly on most of your shots. You will need to work on your alignment and the best way of doing this on the course is have a good shot routine, however I would also like to mention that I have played with many people who have a consistent routine that aligns the body in the wrong direction so make sure you check your routine on the range using the above method. Remember if you have to make alignment adjustments you will feel a little uncomfortable to start with and will probably feel you are aiming in the opposite direction to the way your bad habit was aiming you.
Our set up plays a major role in determine our swing shape and efficiency.