How To Do Everything

Most golfers are bad at aiming—how to improve in 4 steps

October 13, 2023

Golf is most fun when your natural shot shape fits into the field of play. Doing that—seeing a course fits your eye—depends on how you aim. I see amateur golfers all the time who have decent swings, but they can't aim correctly. They aim in a direction that doesn't fit the field of play. Incorrect alignment can change your swing, manipulate your setup, and make golf less fun. The good news is the fix is easy. — Joe Plecker, Director of Instruction, Landings Club, Savannah, Ga., Golf Digest Best in State Teacher

How To Aim

  • Pick a target in the distance
  • Pick a target in front of the ball
  • Align clubface to the short target
  • Think of distant target as you swing

How To Aim Step #1: Pick a distant target

Stand behind your ball, on the target line so the ball is between your body, and where you want your shot to end. As you're doing this, assess where the trouble is, determine the widest area where you want to hit your ball into, and find a spot in the middle of that area.

How To Aim Step #2: Pick a near target

As I'm walking into the ball I'm keeping my eyes on my distant target, but once I get to the ball, I begin tracing my eyes back from the distant target to the golf ball. I'm trying to find a spot or a piece of grass just in front of the ball. That's called an intermediate target.

How To Aim Step #3: Align to near target

The reason we pick an intermediate target is because it's easier for our eyes to match the clubface to something that is just in front of it. Align your clubface to the spot just in front of your golf ball, then take your setup, aligning your body parallel to the clubface. You can check your distant target, but align to the near target.

How To Aim Step #4: Swing to distant target

One of the challenges in playing golf is staying reactive. Your setup is a relatively static position. So, as you settle into your setup and prepare to swing, think of your distance target, and react to it.

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