Golf Tips Newsletter
Issue 535 - Wed. December 5th, 2018
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USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
WGTF "Top 100" Teacher
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach


Prepare to play your best golf by doing something now!

Tom's Featured Tip: Alignment Guidelines
Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
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Batavia Country Club
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Tom's Featured Tip: Alignment Guidelines

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

I believe that most players take their body alignment pretty much for granted when they set up for a shot, especially for putting.

Here are some guidelines for aligning your body for your personal stock swing and for putting, and why these guidelines are important.

Your "personal stock swing" is a swing where you are hitting the ball with your natural swing speed, and not trying to apply any curvature to the ball flight that is out of the ordinary.

I'm going to address an often neglected part of your setup first - your feet - then the rest of the body parts.

Alignment - Foot Positions

What happens as a direct result of foot position is often overlooked. Here are some foot placement options and reasons for positioning your feet for a specific result.
  • Feet square to your target line - a "hitters" setup
    • This used to be my favorite foot placement because I found it easy to hit a draw with my feet square to the line. As I've aged and my knee joints have stiffened, I changed my swing style and opened my both feet to relieve stress in my knee joints and to gain swing speed. This year I did try a swing with a square foot setup again just to see how it felt, and it felt like my left knee joint was going to snap. I didn't try it twice.

  • Either foot open to the target line
    • Many players that rely primarily on coil for their swing speed will leave their back foot square to the line, but open their front foot slightly to take stress off the knee and to help them with their turn through the ball.
      • There is one danger lurking with this setup other than stress. When you only open the front foot, it's very easy to inadvertently open your shoulders too. Try it and you'll see what I mean. If this is your setup, make sure that your shoulders are square to your aimline before you swing.
    • Other players that rely on a longer backswing for swing speed may open their back foot slightly to help them turn further in their backswing.

  • Both feet open to the target line - a "swingers" setup
    • This is how I have most of my students set up because it helps them make a complete backswing and a complete follow through without stressing the knees or the back too much.
Alignment - Other Body Parts

Your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should all be in line, parallel to your target line.

When I'm at the range not giving lessons, I observe the people that are there hitting balls. The most prevalent flaw that I notice is having the shoulders open to the hips at address.

An uneducated player will set up with open shoulders naturally because having their rear hand lower than their forward hand on their grip actually promotes opening the shoulders slightly.

This causes all kinds of problems - especially an outside to inside swing path and all of the ball flight problems that go along with that such as big slices or dead pulls.

Most players also set up with their shoulders open to their line when they are putting, and these players are destined to fight a miss that will be left of the cup most of the time. This is because their putting stroke wants to follow their shoulder line, which is aiming left of their target line.

Having your rear hand on your putter grip lower than your forward hand promotes opening the shoulders even more so than in a full swing.

Sometimes a player tinkers with other grips and switch to a left hand low grip and then the problem disappears. With that grip, the shoulders line up square or even slightly closed naturally, and the left miss goes away.

The player thinks it's a blessing from the golf gods, but it's really just a matter of correcting the shoulder alignment.

Constantly monitor your shoulders to keep them square with your hips, knees, and ankles. They can very easily gravitate to being open, even with high level players.

PAY ATTENTION and play with shoulders that are square to your aimline for all of your swings - full, partial, and putting, and your game will take a giant leap forward.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Golf Lessons

I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link for Plum Creek info here:

Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at
for more information.

Outdoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Indoor Lessons Details and Rates:



Plum Creek Driving Range and Simulator  Outdoor range and play indoor golf on any of our 40 Simulator Courses. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve time for simulator play or practice!

Batavia Country Club   (585) 343-7600
Great rates, the best greens in WNY. Golf Digest Four Star rating for public courses to play in New York State.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

Pre-pay for a 2019 membership now and your membership will apply to the rest of this year!

FISH FRYS ARE BACK AT BCC and other dinner specials with soup and salad bar - starting Friday October 5th, 4pm - 9pm

Chestnut Hill Country Club   (585)-547-3613
Only minutes from Buffalo, open to the public.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach
Cell: (716) 474-3005

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan