124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2



Instruction

This cheap-and-cheerful training aid is everywhere at the U.S. Women’s Open

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Walking along the range at the U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster, the most popular training aid was obvious.

Alignment sticks were everywhere.

At one point, there were 19 women hitting balls on the range. I counted 11 of them were using alignment sticks.

The inexpensive training aid can be as helpful to amateurs as it is to the pros.The pros using alignment sticks were using them for, well, alignment.

“I have a tendency to aim a little left, so this helps me make sure I’m lined up correctly,” major champion Jennifer Kupcho explained.

She had her alignment stick laying on the ground between her feet and club, pointing down the range.Alignment sticks can help not only make sure you’re pointing in the right direction, but they can save you time, too.

“On the range I like to have a specific target,” Gabi Ruffles said. “With what I’m working on with my coach, I’m trying to start it right of the target. With the alignment stick I don't have to keep lining it up when I go back. So it saves time. I already know where I’m lined up.”

Trillium Rose, a Golf Digest Top 50 Teacher in America, says amateurs can benefit from using alignment sticks to help them dial in their target, too.

“It happens all the time: People think they’re lined up, but they’re not. I’ll put an alignment rod down to show them how to properly line up and they’ll tell me they feel so shut, or so open,” Rose says. “You should practice with an alignment stick until the feeling of lining up properly becomes normal.”

How to use one

To use an alignment stick how many of the pros on the range were using theirs, stand behind your ball and choose a target.

Grab your alignment stick and lay it down so it’s aimed at the target, laying halfway between your feet and the ball.

Address the ball so your clubface and your feet are parallel with the alignment stick.

Setting up properly might feel awkward at first, but undoing your bad alignment habits will pay dividends on the course. Just ask the pros.