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Friday, December 22, 2017

Annika on How to Get Your Hands and Arms Aligned

It's not unusual to hear instructors talk about using alignment rods to improve your aim. But how do you check how far you should stand from the ball, or doublecheck your shoulder alignment when they're so close under your chin? Here are a couple of quotes from Annika Sorenstam, one of the most accurate shotmakers of all time, from her book Golf Annika's Way.

Annika Sorenstam

First, how do you make sure you're not too close to or too far from the ball at address? Annika has a simple test for that:
Are you the right distance from the ball? Here's how to check: Take your right hand off the club and let it hang by your side. Your palm should hang so that when you move it back into place, it fits your left hand without any twisting or repositioning. If you hand moves behind the grip when you return it to the club, you're standing too far away; if it moves in front, you're standing too close. [p32]
That's actually a double test. The first part helps make sure your trailing hand isn't too strong or weak on the grip -- Annika says "right hand;" for you lefties out there, it's your right hand -- and the second part checks how far you are from the ball. The first part's pretty clear; the second might need a bit more explanation.

When letting go of the club with your trailing hand, you just let it hang straight down. When you move it back to the club, DON'T swing your hand closer to or farther away from your body. Just move it sideways, across your body. The idea here is that someone who leans over a bit more at address will have their hands farther from their body, while someone who stands more erect will have their hands closer to their body. When the grip of the club is the correct distance from your body, your hands will hang almost directly beneath your shoulders.

The other neat quote from Annika concerns your shoulder alignment at address:
Because your arms swing along the same path as your shoulders, it's critical that you align your shoulders correctly. That's why, after aiming the clubface, I start aligning my body from the top down, starting with my shoulders and working to my feet.

Because it's very hard to see where my shoulders are pointed at address, I look to the fronts of my forearms to see if they're parallel to the target line. If my arms are hanging naturally, my forearms will be on the same line as my shoulders. You can check this by having someone hold a shaft up against your forearms and then stepping away to see if the shaft is parallel to the target line. It's a great way to train your shoulders to set up square to the target. [p41]
This is a great little trick. Once you get used to seeing what "square forearms" look like, that's a much easier visual checkpoint for your upper body alignment than your shoulders are.

By combining both of Annika's tips, you'll be able to get your upper body in the correct position to hit shots along your target line more easily, even when your footing isn't completely level.

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