Kirk Triplett Takes Aim

The best players in the world check their set-up and alignment every day. When faults are found, alignment and set-up can be squared away in 90 seconds or less. Sometimes, as with Kirk Triplett at the Reno/Tahoe Open, it can take 2 hours. For the uninitiated the A (aiming) part of the SAT includes; aiming the club-face, aiming body-lines, and aiming your imaginative mind with the intended target. If your shots are veering off line, as Kirk’s were, a good place to start looking for causes is to your set-up and alignment.

During the Pro-Am practice round, Kirk discovered that his body-lines (feet, hips and shoulders) were more open to his target line then he preferred. Kirk favors a slightly open position, which is a body-line aimed slightly left of a parallel left position. In golf talk, parallel left means, at address, a player’s body-lines run parallel to the target line. Imagine two railroad tracks extending, parallel, to the target.

On the range, Kirk squared (parallel left) his body-lines, and hit some shots from that position. From a squared position a full shoulder turn is easier, which can results in a bit more pop at impact, and a more desirable, in this case, a flatter ball flight. Getting to a square alignment was not difficult, but getting there consistently, with out thinking about it, can take more time.

    Kirk checked all parts of his Aim – ball position, distance from the ball, and the visual image of his intended ball flight. He found that moving back about two inches from the ball created more freedom for his back swing and more room at impact. The next step was to place his adjusted address position into his pre-shot routine, and learn to get to that position, automatically, without thinking. Eventually, Kirk could consistently get set, with squared body-lines, and a little further from the ball.

In preparation for the tournament, Kirk simulated on course play by changing targets and clubs on each repetition while using his pre-shot routine. The next step would be to battle-test the “new” alignment during tournament play. Working on his alignment until it became automatic, was one factor that allowed Kirk’s scores to improve each day and a very respectable 15th place finish.

Next time you practice or warm-up before play, take some time to check your alignment. Find out the best address position for your swing. Although it’s not the perfect alignment for everyone, parallel left, which is considered a square alignment, is a good place to start.

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