How to Hit a Straight Golf Ball

By Steve Silverman
Ian Poulter's club is parallel to the target line at the top of his backswing..
Ian Poulter's club is parallel to the target line at the top of his backswing..

Keeping the ball straight is the secret to playing productive golf. Big hitters may get a lot of praise around the tee and a golfer who sinks a 35-foot putt gets all the high fives, but a golfer who can hit the ball straight has the best chance of enjoying his round and finishing with a low score. Keeping the ball straight is all about being fundamentally sound.

Align yourself squarely to the target. Stand behind the ball an visualize your target line. Align your shoulders, hips and feet parallel to that target line.

Ensure you have a proper grip. Hold the club in the fingers of your left hand, rather than in the palm. The "V" formed by the thumb and forefinger of each hand should point to your right shoulder. Grip the club securely but not tightly, as if you were holding a baby bird.

Work on your swing plane. Start the backswing by turning your shoulder. Drag the club back along the target line and low to the ground. Don't lift it quickly off the ground, and don't pull it inside or around your body.

Don't over swing. The top of your backswing should go no farther than parallel to the target line.

Begin the downswing by transferring your weight to your target-side foot (left foot for right-handed golfers). The club should return along the target line or slightly from inside the target line.

Practice by placing a rolled-up towel parallel to the target line about an inch off the toe of the club. Hit balls without hitting the towel.

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