124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2


Train With Alignment Rods For Better Accuracy

By Butch Harmon Photos by Dom Furore
July 17, 2017

My dad, Claude Harmon, had a great line for his students about aim: "If you aim at nothing, you're always going to hit it." To get a handle on where your shots are going, focus on starting direction.

Here's a drill I've been using a lot lately with my players. Take three alignment poles and set one parallel to your target line between your feet and the ball. Stick the other two in the ground five to 10 yards in front of you and two to three feet apart, creating a window on your target line. You can adjust the gap based on how easy it is for you to hit a field goal.

This is a great drill for monitoring your setup, which will help if you're spraying the ball. Using a 7-iron, step in and set the bottom of the club perpendicular to the pole at your feet—that's a square face. Then set your body lines (feet, knees, hips, shoulders) parallel to the pole. Now you're set up to split the uprights. Hit some balls going through this routine.

Remember to use your normal swing; don't try to steer the ball through the poles with your hands. Drive your whole body through, and see how you do.

For players who want to work the ball left or right, stick one alignment pole on your target line five to 10 yards out. To fade it, set the clubface square to the pole, but align your body to the left (below), then swing along your body line. The ball should start left of the pole and then curve toward the target (below). For a draw, square the face, set your body closed and start the ball right.


Butch Harmon is at Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson, Nev.