Alignment sticks are one of golf’s most affordable and useful practice aids. Of course, they help with swing alignment, but did you know they can be used to help your short game too?
What are alignment sticks?
Alignment sticks are thin, fiberglass sticks usually about 4 feet long. They are strong but lightweight. Alignment sticks are most commonly used to create a visual line for golfers’ practice. Typically, they are sold in sets of two and you can find them at most golf supply stores and pro shops. Many players carry them in their bag for practice purposes. However, it is against the rules to use them during game play for alignment.
How to use alignment sticks for practicing your swing:
The most common way for golfers to use alignment sticks is to use them to align their hips and feet to the target.
Place one alignment stick just outside your ball pointing at the target. Place the second alignment stick just outside your toes, parallel to the first stick. These sticks keep your swing, body, and club face aligned with the target.
Another way to use them is to swing them like a club. Their light whippy action will speed up your swing tempo.
Alignment sticks have a pointed end that can be pushed into the ground. Use them as a target or for guiding your swing path.
How to use alignment sticks for practicing putting:
Find a straight putt line on the putting green (one without much break). Place the alignment sticks parallel to the target line, a little wider than your putter head. Practice the straight putt without bringing the putter head outside the alignment sticks.
Practice pace with an alignment stick. Place the alignment stick behind your target. Practice putting past your target, but short of the alignment stick.
How to use alignment sticks for chipping:
Improve your chipping contact. Lay down an alignment stick just behind the ball, perpendicular to the target. Chip the ball towards the hole without hitting the alignment stick.
It is very common for golfers to have too much wrist rotation during chipping. Hold one alignment stick along the shaft of your wedge. The alignment stick should extend about 2 feet past the grip end of the club. Chip without the alignment stick hitting your body for better contact.
How to use alignment sticks for practicing bunker play:
Drop the ball in the bunker. Put one alignment stick down pointing at the ball perpendicular to your stance. This marks where the ball is in your shot. Place your second alignment stick down parallel to the first stick, about 4 cm apart. This marks the point of entry for your shot. Remove both sticks leaving their impressions visible in the sand. Practice hitting the sand line in front of the ball line. This drill will have you hitting the sand before the ball.
It is very easy to use alignment sticks to improve your swing mechanics. There are many creative drills available online. They are great value and convenient to carry in your bag. Becoming better at aligning yourself to the target helps your game and makes it more enjoyable.