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Golf Article - Bad Alignment

"Marc, often times when I hit the golf ball, I jump back and my left foot isn't in the same place as when I started my swing."
Matt Ercolano Belmar, New Jersey

Matt, I call that the "step back swing". I see this "step back" with golfers that have bad alignment (aim). Most golfers align themselves to far to the right (for right handers) of the target. This happens because they are under the impression that their bodies need to be pointed directly to the target. Have you ever seen a golfer set up to the golf ball and lay the shaft of the club against their thighs, hips or feet to see where they are aimed? The shaft of the club is often pointed directly at the target. This is bad!! If your body is pointed to the target your club when put behind the ball, will be pointed to the right of the target. This causes 1 of 2-things to happen in your swing:

#1 - You make a good swing and hit the ball straight to the right. The golfer considers this a bad shot because it is far to the right of the target; it is actually a good swing! The ball went where you were aimed. Whenever the ball ends up where you were aimed to, you've made a great golf swing. But not realizing that you were actually aimed that far to the right of the target; the golfer considers this to be an errant golf shot. If this happens while I am giving a lesson, I ask my student if he/she knows why the ball went to the right. The most common answer I receive is "I didn't finish my swing". Well actually the golfer did finish the swing, it just doesn't seem that way because the aim was off too much to the right. They could not finish their swing facing the target because of that fact.

#2 - Is because you don't want to hit the ball to the right again, so you forcefully try to turn your body to the left. When this happens your weight gets stuck on your right foot as you swing towards the ball. This happens because in order for you to turn to the left as much as you need to during your swing, you have to take all of your weight off your left foot. It would be impossible to turn that much with any weight being placed on your left foot. With no weight remaining on the left foot, the left foot is forced to move behind the golfer to catch the balance.

The "step back" can cause incredible inconsistency in your golf swing. For example: I've seen golfers hit great golf shots with the "step back". I have even seen one golfer play a stretch of 5 holes in one under par with this motion. Then the next 8 holes were played in 21 over par, causing extreme frustration and a lot of outbursts of "What happened to my swing?"

Now, how can you correct the "step back". Start by practicing better aim by not looking at the target when you set up. Look about 5 yards to the left of the target instead. That should help you not aim too much to the right. That is a very simple, but effective method to correct alignment. Then, hit golf balls by placing the right heel in the air using your right toe just for balance. All your weight will be on your left foot. This practice drill works because if all your weight is on your left foot it should take a way your urge to "step back".

Try both these practice drills for one week. If you stick with them you will see the "step back" eliminated from your swing.

“Do you have the desire to improve your golf game?”

Marc Solomon, PGA, is the Director of The Hampton Golf School at The Golf Club at North Hampton in Amelia Island, Florida – He has been named as a “Top 10 Instructor in America under 40” and is regarded as the “Top Instructor in North Florida.” The Hampton Golf School provides golf instruction that is more beneficial than your ordinary golf lesson. If you have the desire to improve, checkout his web site at


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