How Golf Alignment Sticks Can Advance Your Skills
Alignment sticks have become a staple in many golf bags, and for good reason. They have been shown to be one of the most useful training aids despite how simple they seem. Here’s a complete overview of everything you need to know about golf alignment sticks to help get your game straightened out.
What are Golf Alignment Sticks?
Alignment sticks are visual aids used while practicing. They are made of fiberglass and are usually 46 inches long, although there are compact alignment sticks that measure 36 inches long.
There are a multitude of drills that can be practiced with alignment sticks, but a majority of them relate to aligning your clubface or body. With a modest point on the end of each stick, alignment sticks can be stuck into the ground at whatever angle you desire, or laid flat on the ground. As alignment sticks have become more commonplace, players and coaches have come up with more uses for them.
Today, it’s nearly impossible to find a bag on the PGA Tour that does not have alignment sticks. In addition, most certified PGA instructors also use alignment sticks in their lessons.
Why Use Alignment Sticks?
Alignment sticks can only help make your practice sessions more efficient. As you continue to use them, you'll find that they have so many purposes. They can easily help you as an alignment aid for clubhead path, impact, stance, alignment, and even on the putting green.
In addition, alignment sticks easily slip into your golf bag so there’s no additional trouble carrying them around or even traveling with them.
Now, if you’re asking yourself, “why don’t I just use my golf clubs?” That’s a fair question, when laid on the ground there isn't much a pair of alignment sticks can do that a couple of clubs can't. But there are a few things to consider.
Alignment sticks can be stuck into the ground. This is one of the key benefits of the training aid, as it allows players to set angles vertically to help train proper body positions throughout the swing. This is simply not possible with a golf club.
Golf clubs are more expensive to replace. If you really want to lay your 6-iron down on the ground and risk breaking it, especially if it has a graphite shaft, that’s your choice to make, but it might not be worth the risk.
You can forget your golf club. It’s one thing to break your club, it’s another to have to replace it because you left it behind after your practice session. Individual clubs can be very hard to find.
Alignment sticks are much thinner and are typically bright in color. They are intended to be seen, but not be a distraction.
Some Common Alignment Stick Drills
Here are a few common alignment stick drills that can help train your fundamentals.
Too often poor golf shots are the result of improper alignment with your body. Even though you feel like you’re heading in the right direction, your body is not. Try this:
- Stand behind your ball and determine your target. Take one alignment stick and place it on the ground, pointing towards your intended target.
- When you address the ball, make sure that both of your toes are lining up with the alignment stick, but not standing directly on it.
- Move your golf ball into place after you’ve lined up. This will train your body the proper alignment with your target, and soon it will become second nature.
If you’re having trouble with the shanks, or to a lesser degree, fanning your clubface open at impact, try this drill.
- Take one alignment stick and stick it into the ground so it stands vertically. Place it about 6 inches “North” of your ball.
- Your thought should clearly be to avoid hitting the alignment stick. This will allow you to concentrate on making impact with the golf ball on the proper plane as opposed to leading with the hosel.
Putting Path Drill
Making solid impact with your putter can have a lot to do with the path of your putting stroke. This simple alignment aid can help you get on the right path.
- Take both of your alignment sticks and place them parallel on each side of your golf ball. Make sure that they are far enough apart to accommodate your putter head.
- Practice taking your putter back and keeping the head along the “road” that you’ve created with the alignment sticks. Training yourself to create a consistent path with your putter will lead to consistent contact and more putts in the bottom of the hole.
Where to Purchase Alignment Sticks
You can find alignment sticks in just about every golf retailer for around $15 for a pair. They come in bright colors like orange, yellow, and red.
Alignment sticks have become so popular that even club manufacturers are producing their own sets, with an official Titleist set running $30.
This set from Golf Galaxy will run you $15 and they are also collapsible. In addition, alignment stick covers are now available. These covers fit over the alignment sticks to keep them from breaking while in transit.
Alignment sticks may appear simplistic, and that’s because they are. Truly one of the easiest practice aids that have ever hit golf retail, alignment sticks can be of great assistance to players just learning the game as well as major champions.