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All about alignment
Graham Lewis - photo by Photo provided.

Playing the game of golf should be fun, whether playing alone or with others. Having a basic understanding of the rules and fundamentals can make it easier to have fun and improve your skills.
For this reason, we are resuming our series of short examples of how to apply the rules plus some basic skill-improvement tips.

Alignment aids
A player may have someone help them determine the proper alignment for their shot. They also use an artificial aid to help in alignment.
Q: Patty and Mark are playing in their local tournament. On the first hole, Mark tells Patty that he will help her in alignment for each of her shots. Mark proceeds to stand behind Patty and tell her when she has aligned correctly. Mark remains in that spot while Patty hits her shot. On the next hole, he places a club on the ground next to her ball to help show the correct alignment. Patty hits her shot without removing the club. Are these actions permitted?
A: When someone helps you align your shot, they must not remain standing behind you during the shot. Any alignment aid used — a club in this case — must be removed before the shot is hit. In stroke play, Patty would be penalized two strokes and would lose the hole in match play, according to rule 8.2 in the rules of golf.
Tip of the day: When practicing, make sure you are aiming properly before each of your shots. The easiest way to do this is to lay a club on the ground next to your feet. The club should be aiming left of your target but parallel to your line of flight. Leave the club there while you practice, and your mind will begin to ingrain better directional habits. It is a fact that poor alignment leads to bad habits.
Golf is meant to be fun so enjoy the experience when practicing and playing.
If you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions, E-mail me at

Lewis is a United States Golf Teachers’ Federation certified teaching professional. He is also the director of instruction at Sapelo Hammock.

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