The address of the ball, comprised of grip, stance and alignment, is the foundation of any good golf swing. Even if you are swinging with proper tempo and maintaining control over the club throughout your swing, improper alignment and gripping the club incorrectly will send your shots flying off course more often than not.
Types of Grips
There are three primary styles of grip that most players use when holding the club, according to the instructional site www.golfsuccessinfo.com. The first is the baseball grip, which as the name implies, features both hands wrapped around the club without any overlapping of the hands, as if gripping a baseball bat. It allows for the most speed but the least control of the ball. The interlocking grip is the most common, with the pinkie of the lower hand passed between the index and middle fingers of the top hand. The overlap grip, where the pinkie is not between the two fingers, but rather rests atop the groove between them, provides the most control, but requires more strength to be able to swing as fast.
Grip strength refers to the relative position of the thumbs of your hands. A neutral grip is designed to send the ball straight, and has both thumbs aligned. To strengthen a grip, the bottom hand is rotated forward. This makes the ball bend toward the golfer in the air. A stronger grip can help battle a tendency for a ball to cut away in the air, and add distance to a shot. A weak grip sees the bottom hand turned slightly back, and causes the ball to bend away from the player as it flies. Weakening a grip will battle a hook, and allow you to stop a ball more quickly after landing.
Alignment of the Club
Properly aligning the club toward the target line is important, but can be difficult from over the ball. Instead of aligning over the ball, the player should stand behind the ball and find an object, such as a pebble, that is on the target line and between a foot and yard from the ball. Once over the ball, the player then aligns the clubface to point at that object. The perspective from over the ball will feel like you are not aligned properly; however, if you are aimed at the object you will find your shots are more accurate than if you attempt to align the club with a target more than a hundred yards away.
To hit the ball straight, the body should be aligned with the face of the club, meaning the feet, hips and shoulders of the player all point parallel to the target line. Alignment can also be used to change the flight path of the ball, according to the instructional site www.golfdiehard.com. Moving your lead foot, hip and shoulder slightly back from the ball will open the stance, causing the ball to bend away. Moving slightly toward the ball closes the stance, causing the ball to bend in the direction in which the player addresses the ball.
When standing over the ball, a player should assume a relaxed posture. Playing too tightly will make it difficult to keep your swing on the proper plane, leading to misplayed shots. In a relaxed stance, the knees are slightly flexed, and the upper body leans forward and over the ball, according to www.golfsuccessinfo.com. Your upper body should be relaxed, but you should keep enough tension in the shoulders to prevent your arms from sagging as the shoulders begin to turn through the swing.