Tag Archives: alignment sticks

What are the Do’s and Don’ts of golf practice?

Lately, I’ve been getting quite a few inquiries on what to do and not do while practicing golf.  Here we go:

  • Do find a PGA professional for lessons.  Make sure you trust him/her and that their teaching style melds with the way you learn.
  • Do work on your short game.    Dedicate 75% of your practice time to see the quickest improvement.
  • Do simulate game conditions.  This will help you transition your practice to the course.  
  • Do develop a pre-shot routine for every club in the bag and repeat it for each practice shot you hit.
  • Do use alignment sticks as an aid for correct setup and for dialing your mind into the target on short game shots (and putts).
  • Do film your swing and review it regularly.  What you think you are doing often is not what you are doing.
  • Don’t become a range robot and rake ball after ball into the same position shooting at the same target.  
  • Don’t confuse practice with warm-up before a round.  Never work on swing mechanics right before you play; it will screw your head up on the course.  Just get loose and relax.
  • Don’t practice extraordinarily long putts.  You want to see your lags get close and expunge any visions of three-putting.  30-40 footers should be the max.
  • Don’t accept swing instruction from well-meaning friends.  Amateurs teach amateurs to play like amateurs.  (See #1 Do above.)
  • Don’t work on more than one mechanical change at a time.  You’ll become a swing pretzel if you do.

There you have them, now Do get to work.  Good luck!

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.

Fabulous Putting Drill!

Putting drill with alignment sticks

Something wonderful happened the other day during my putting practice and I’m still trying to figure it out.  I was at the tail end of a short game session and had decided to leave putting for last.  I putted nine holes on the practice green with unspectacular results and prepared to finish up with a series of 3-footers.  For some reason I decided to build a small channel with two alignment sticks around my 3-foot putt.  Immediately I starting rolling each putt through the channel with precision and confidence.  The ball was coming off the putter perfectly and banging into the back of the cup.  I hit about 15 straight in this fashion.  Then I backed up to about seven feet and left my alignment channel framing the hole.  Again, stroking the ball perfectly, I banged in about nine in a row.  I backed up to about 12 feet and hammered another eight straight into the cup.  It was if Phil Mickelson had taken over my body.

I have never putted with an alignment aid like a chalk line or between 2×4 boards, but something about those sticks framing the putt had me rolling it pure.  I have always been conscious of squaring my putter face and alignment especially over the shorties and maybe the sticks freed my mind to produce a tension free stroke.  I’ve also been leery of practicing with artificial aids and have attempted to simulate game conditions at every opportunity, but there has to be some value in this drill.  At least there was a helluva lot of enjoyment 🙂  I’m going to continue with this drill with the hope that I can groove a better stroke and at the same time, not become too dependent on the sticks.  Please send me your thoughts on this and if anyone has experienced something similar.  Thanks!