Simple Alignment Stick Golf Drills To Improve Your Game
What if a $15 training aid could transform your golf game?
I know, it sounds too good to be true but it’s the truth. Alignment sticks are one of the best tools to help you transform your golf game, even if you’re on a budget.
Most golfers think of alignment sticks for one thing – alignment. While that’s very important and that is a big issue for a lot of amateur golfers, there are tons of other ways to use them too.
You can use alignment sticks to hit the driver longer, learn how to shape shots in either direction, improve your speed control on the green, bunker game, and more. Keep reading to learn the best ways to use them for aiming and other tricks to upgrade your golf swing.
Alignment Stick Golf Drills
Before getting into the best alignment stick drills for golf, let’s discuss a few reasons why they’re so important.
The first is obvious but can’t be said enough – alignment.
Getting your aim right on the driving range is one of the most important parts of golf practice. If your alignment gets off even a little, it can snowball and become a big issue down the road.
Alignment is everything in golf.
Butch Harmon (Tiger Wood’s first professional coach) once said his dad Claude would always tell students, “If you aim at nothing, you’re always going to hit it.”
One of the biggest mistakes that most golfers make is not picking a target on the range or checking their aim. Not getting aligned means it’s nearly impossible to evaluate each swing and leads to a lot of educated guessing on what’s wrong in the swing.
The second way alignment sticks will help your game is by providing immediate feedback. Sometimes if you’re just trying to “feel” a swing change, it’s not always easy to know if you’re making changes or not. But when you use the drills below, you will get instant feedback for all parts of your game, which should help you improve faster.
Finally, alignment sticks are so great because they’re cheap, easy to store in your golf bag, and can be used in a variety of ways. We suggest keeping at least two sticks in your bag and potentially a third as you’ll see for some of the drills. This set of three is our favorite as they’re affordable, durable, and highly reviewed.
Now, let’s get into the best alignment stick golf drills to help you start making strides in your swing.
1. Simple Alignment
Before getting into the more complex drills and ways to use alignment sticks, let’s start with the basics. If you only have one alignment rod, you can use it a few ways:
- Place it on your feet line so it’s parallel left of your intended target.
- Or, place it in between your feet and ball so it’s parallel left of your intended target.
- Or, put the alignment stick about two feet in front of your golf ball so your clubface is square to the target.
If you have two sticks (which we highly recommend), place one on your feet line and one in front of the ball. This will ensure your face is square to the target and your feet are also aligned properly.
2. Contact Drill
Are you someone that tends to thin your irons and not make much of a divot? If so, this drill is great for helping you hit the ball, then the turf for better contact.
- Use one rod and place it between your feet and ball for overall alignment.
- Place another rod about an inch (or two) behind the golf ball.
- Then, make it a point to hit the ball and avoid the alignment rod. This visual reminder should help you hit down on it and get a proper weight shift on the downswing.
One caveat, you could break the stick if you hit the stick with good contact. Make sure to start with more room and work your way up so it’s closer to the golf ball.
3. Driver Ball Position
A common mistake that a lot of players make is not always having the same ball position with their driver. Too many golfers let the ball get more toward the middle of their stance unintentionally and it can lead to bad misses (like pop up shots).
To avoid this from happening during a long range session, make sure to use two rods. Place one between your feet and ball for general alignment while the other is placed on top of it to dial in your ball position. You want the driver off your lead foot or left ear so place the alignment stick in that position as a reminder to not let it get back in your stance.
4. Alignment Stick Speed Putting Drill
If you’re struggling with speed control on the greens, this drill should help you fix that issue quickly. As you know if the putt doesn’t make it to the hole, it has a 0% chance of going in so it’s best to miss long. But not too long so you have a tough comeback putt.
The ideal miss for a putt is about 18 inches past the hole. This short distance is a tap in with a 99.9% make rate even for amateur golfers.
To train your putting stroke to hit more aggressively, place an alignment rod horizontally 18 inches past the cup on the putting green. Then, make it a goal to get your ball between the cup and the rod.
You can also set a point game for a more competitive way to practice. Here’s how to score it:
- 3 points for holing the putt.
- 1 point for getting the ball between the cup and the alignment rod.
- 0 points for getting the ball to the cup or a foot short.
- -1 point if you’re more than two feet short or if your ball goes over the alignment rod.
Set this drill up at about 35-40 feet as these are the most common length you will have on the course. The more you can two putt from this range, the better you will score quickly.
Also Read: How To Measure Putter Length
5. Bunker Drill
If you struggle with contact from the sand, this drill will help you a ton. The main reason most golfers don’t hit well from the sand is they hit too close to the ball and thin it over the green.
But don’t forget, you hit the sand, not the ball with bunker shots. You need to hit between 1-2 inches behind the ball, depending on the shot and type of sand to get it out consistently.
In a practice bunker, take one alignment rod and draw two lines from the ball back to you. The first line is where you’ll put the ball and the second line is where you want to make contact with the sand. Then, lay the alignment rod down off your front foot to make sure you maintain the correct ball position.
With enough repetition, you should be able to walk into a bunker with confidence and save shots from around the green.
6. Shape Shots Drill
If you want to learn how to hit a draw or a fade, alignment sticks can make it easier to start shaping shots. Here’s how…
- On the range, decide if you want to hit a draw or a cut. For this example, let’s say you want to hit a draw.
- Stick an alignment rod into the ground 5-10 yards ahead of you.
- Set the club face up so it’s square to the pole then build your stance so you’re aiming right of the stick.
- Finally, make sure to swing on your body line to hit a soft draw.
This is one of the easiest ways to learn how to hit a draw or cut without changing much of your swing.
7. Plane Drill
Swing plane is one of the most important parts of becoming a consistent ball striker. If you’re someone who has inconsistent contact and suffers from a slice, this drill will help you out.
To hit it better and correct your slice, it’s crucial to not get as steep on your downswing. You need to shallow out to create lag on the downswing by adjusting your swing plane.
Alignment rods can help with this too by following the tips with this Top Speed Golf YouTube video (please note, this will only work when hitting from grass, not mats).
- Setup to your golf ball like normal and raise your hands until the heel of the club comes off the ground.
- Then, place a stick into the ground diagonally so it’s a little shallower than your club at a normal setup position.
- Next, grab another alignment stick and place it up your shaft so it’s sticking out from the grip between 12-18 inches. The stick will rest on the left side of your body if you’re a right-handed player.
- Without hitting a ball, take your backswing like normal. If you hit the two alignment sticks together, you’re coming too far inside on the takeaway.
- Do this drill 25-50X without hitting a ball to feel a proper takeaway, which will help you shallow on the downswing.
8. Butch’s Basics
Butch Harmon helped Tiger ascend to greatness early in his career and this simple drill can help you too.
- Grab three alignment rods and place one parallel to your target between the feel and the ball.
- Place the other two rods in the ground about 5-10 yards in front of you. You want about two to three feet in between them. This is now your target window, sort of like a field goal post in football.
- This is a great drill to dial in your fundamentals and can make it more challenging by putting the rods closer together. Start with irons and work your way up to driver for even more of a challenge.
Once you master this on the range, try to visualize the rods when you’re out on the golf course. Fair warning, I wouldn’t do this on a crowded driving range in case you hit a rod and the ball might go sideways.
Still have a few more questions about how to use alignment sticks to make each practice session better? Keep reading our top questions and answers below.
How do you practice with alignment sticks?
Use the drills above and get creative with other ideas based on what you’re working on in your own game. They’re a cheap and effective way to build a more consistent golf swing.
Do alignment sticks help in golf?
Yes, they can have a massive impact on your golf game by helping you create a more consistent golf swing. One of the biggest mistakes that golfers make is poor alignment which impacts swing plane and path. By using alignment sticks regularly in practice, it will ensure no bad aiming habits creep into your game.
Plus, they’re a versatile training aid that you can use for all kinds of drills like the ones above. Lastly, you can keep them in your bag at all times and use them for nearly every part of your game.
Can you use a club for alignment?
Yes, you can use a golf club for alignment but it’s not something we suggest. The last thing you want to do is accidentally strike your club and potentially damage both clubs in the process.
Not to mention golf clubs can’t be easily inserted into the ground like alignment rods, which limits your ability to do different drills. Skip the club for alignment and use rods instead.
Do pros use alignment sticks?
Yes, even the top golfers in the world use alignment sticks. They understand the importance of alignment and use them for a myriad of drills too.
Golf is hard enough so don’t make it even more complicated by neglecting alignment rods in practice. Don’t forget, alignment is one of the most important parts of the game so make sure to create great habits in practice for better alignment on the golf course.
While alignment rods are very important and can be used in a myriad of ways, don’t become overly dependent on them. As you know, you can’t use them or any type of alignment on the course so don’t use them for 100% of your practice sessions.
Instead, use them about 70-80% of the time and have plenty of practice without them to build confidence in your pre-shot routine. This will help you transfer your range game to the course seamlessly and hopefully lead to better ball striking too.
Do you use alignment sticks every time you practice? If so, for drills or only for alignment?
Let us know in the comments below.