What are the Do’s and Don’ts of golf alignment stick drills?

I bought my “alignment sticks” about a year ago and love them.  They are a critical element for totally effective practice.

  • Do go to your local Home Depot and purchase as many 48″ fiberglass driveway markers as you like.  They are only $2.29 each and work great.
  • Do use the Straight Back and Straight Through drill for putting, which I’ve found is the absolute best drill with the sticks.
  • Do go to the Tour Sticks website and review the drills page for a comprehensive look at what you can work on.
  • Do focus on drills that sharpen your aim.  Grip-Aim-Setup (GAS) are the three pre-shot checkpoints for a sound swing.  Use the sticks to ensure you are properly aligned on every shot and you can focus your attention on other mechanical improvements.  The Alignment drill is excellent.
  • Do use the Landing Point drill to sharpen your chipping and pitching.  This works great to help you dial in on a spot where you’d like your short shot to land and then run out.
  • Do keep two sticks in your bag the day you play.  To start your putting warm-up, frame a hole and hit just 10 4-footers and enjoy the confidence boost.
  • Don’t focus on drills where the stick can touch your body (Spin Out).  I’m a feel player and I prefer to focus on feeling the correct movement and not on a foreign object touching me during my swing.  Definitely a distraction to be avoided.
  • Don’t focus on drills where you may hit the stick with a club (Bunker Entry).  Focus on a spot to hit, not to avoid hitting.  Can also be dangerous if you hit the stick and it pops up.
  • Don’t rely heavily on the Alignment drill while warming up for a round.  Use this only to work on mechanical changes during practice.  Before play, it’s a good idea to change targets on every shot to get your mind into game mode.
  • And finally, no need to purchase the actual Tour Sticks for $14.95 + shipping.  You’re just paying extra money for more color choices.
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About Brian Penn

Avid sports fan and golf nut. I am a lifelong resident of the Washington D.C. area and love to follow the local teams. Also worked as a golf professional in the Middle Atlantic PGA for several years and am intrigued by the game to no end. I love to play and practice and am dedicated to continual improvement.
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9 Responses to What are the Do’s and Don’ts of golf alignment stick drills?

  1. Ron Lambert says:

    Thanks Brian. Appreciate the tips. I’m 68 years old and just bought my first alignment sticks. Looking forward to using them soon.

    • Brian Penn says:

      Ron, you can’t go wrong with them. I pull them out for every practice session, and they aren’t some silver bullet, but linking up straight is always beneficial and helps to remove poor alignment as a possible swing fault. Good luck with your sticks and let us know how it goes!

      Thanks,

      Brian

  2. Brian,

    Just stumbled upon this for the first time. Great post. So many amateurs probably avoid using them because they don’t actually know how to properly, or the value they can add to a practice session!

    Cheers
    Josh

    • Brian Penn says:

      Josh, I have always practiced with alignment sticks and you’re right; most folks don’t know what to do with them. You know the funny thing about this post? It’s my only one that has been consistently on the first page of Google search, which is how I’m guessing you found it. Not sure how it got there but In the history of this blog, this little post has accumulated 27% of all my page hits. Just incredible and a testament into the power of Google. Thanks!

      Brian

  3. Nick says:

    Good tips, thanks. I’m a devotee of Jim Hardy’s one-plane swing, he recommends opening up the front foot about 30 degrees for most full-swing shots, I’m wondering if I should line up with my sticks before I flare the front foot out or after.

    • Brian Penn says:

      Nick, if the open stance is to help you clear that lead hip, I’d pull the lead foot back and then flare out the foot. Not familiar with what Hardy is preaching but good luck with it!

      Brian

      • Nick says:

        Not an open stance, shoulders and hips should be square to target line, but he recommends flaring the front foot to encourage a full follow through. As such, I’m thinking it best to line up square to the alignment rods first, then opening the foot. I guess I just answered my own question.

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