Two points make a line. For beginning golfers' targeting purposes, too often those two points are the lie and the desired landing point, flagstick or the hole where you want the ball to go. Usually these two points are far enough apart to make your setup difficult. Read on to make your setup easier and your shots more directionally accurate.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Position yourself behind your ball looking toward the landing place--flagstick or hole (in the case of a long putt)--where you want your ball to go. This is the actual target.
Envision a line (straight or curved as applicable) across the ground toward the actual target from your ball, along the desired ball flight or roll path. Allow for a draw or fade ball flight if that is your game, or for break in the roll of a putt on a sloping green.
Find a mark or object on the ground along that line and relatively close to your lie. For a tee shot, the mark or object should be no further than 10 feet in front of you; for a fairway shot, no more than six feet; for a chip or pitch, no more than three feet; for a putt, no more than half the distance to the hole. This mark or object will serve as an intermediate target.
Address the ball and align yourself (the toes of your feet) parallel to the line that you visualized. Aim for your intermediate target instead of the actual target. Because the intermediate target is so much closer to you than the actual target, your alignment is easier and more accurate, and your head movement is reduced because you don't have to look up at the actual target. Believe in your intermediate target.
Swing using the setup based on your intermediate target and the power needed to reach your actual target. If you have not used an intermediate target before, you should be pleasantly surprised with your improved directional accuracy.
Tips & Warnings
When placing your tee for a tee shot, select your intermediate target first and then plant your tee where it needs to be to use that target.