How to Use Alignment Sticks

Alignment sticks have grown in popularity over the past several years as an affordable training aid that can help your game in various innovative ways.

how to use alignment sticks

Alignment rods provide a foolproof way to improve body alignment, swing path, and even chipping technique, regardless of your handicap or skill level.

Since most amateur golfers struggle in most of these essential areas, the alignment guides can also dramatically improve long-game alignment, distance control, and the downward strike path to the golf ball.

In this guide on how to use golf alignment sticks, I’ll offer up several ways you can instantly put these essential golf training aids to good use, including a couple of popular drills that will help you get the club in key positions with your full swing when working toward hitting straight shots.

How many alignment sticks do you need for golf?

At a minimum, you need two alignment sticks to get the full benefit of the training equipment. Some golfers, especially professional golfers, will carry several onto the practice area to use everywhere, from the driving range to the practice putting green.

However, with just one stick, you can work on crucial areas of your game, from ball position to executing a simple swing plane drill to keeping your body parallel to the target line.

When you place an alignment stick into the ground, the possibilities are endless for running drills that help you hit the golf ball more consistently, leading to additional distance and improved accuracy.

Could I improve my driver consistency with an alignment stick?

One of the biggest ways an alignment stick can improve your swing is by shallowing your swing plane with your driver.

Since your ball position on the tee box usually lays adjacent to your left heel, you can place an alignment stick behind the ball to visualize coming into the ball from the inside.

Professional golfers also like to take an alignment rod and place it along the ground at a 45-degree angle from their ball position to help them feel how the driver attacks the golf ball. Since golfers aren’t grounding the club, the stick can provide a pathway for entering the impact zone cleanly.

Compared to hitting the ball with an iron, the driver’s path remains flatter and far more shallow, so an alignment rod can help neutralize a steep entry to impact by providing a training aid for the eyes.

Is there a good drill with alignment sticks to help improve my iron play?

Train Tracks Drill

For this drill, set up two sticks on the ground pointing to your target in the same direction, spaced about a club head width apart. These will represent the boundaries of your ideal swing path and should make a straight line to your target.

Take your setup with a mid iron. Make sure your body is aligned parallel left of the target sticks.

Make some practice attempts focused on taking the club back inside the alignment sticks and swinging through inside the sticks on the downswing. The sticks give visual feedback to ensure you swing along the proper path from the ball to the target line.

Now hit some shots, trying to make an impact between the alignment sticks to ingrain a consistent in-to-out swing path. Start with half swings and work up to full shots to ensure you are in the correct address position.

Watch the ball’s flight to see if it starts to the right of your target and draws back. Curving the ball from right to left indicates you are swinging in-to-out correctly between the sticks.

What’s great about this drill is it provides instant feedback. If you are inconsistent, your club will hit the sticks.

This drill, easily one of my favorite alignment stick drills, trains your eyes, body positioning, swing path, and shot shaping all at once, making it a great exercise to hone your mid-range golf game.

What alignment stick drill can improve my short game?

Chipping Through the Gate Drill

Find a flat area off the practice green and insert two alignment rods into the ground pointing straight up, spaced about 2 feet apart.

Take a setup with your wedge just outside the sticks. Take a few practice swings focusing on keeping the clubface square through impact.

Drop a few golf balls and make chip shots aimed between the sticks, like you are chipping into a real hole. Focus on solid contact and a crisp strike that rolls the ball to the target line.

You can vary the drill by changing the distance. Move the sticks farther apart and chip from farther out to practice longer pitch shots. Move them closer together and chip from closer in to practice finesse shots.

The sticks give you a clear target to aim for and provide feedback if you miss right or left. They help groove your chipping motion and dial in your distance control.

You can remove one stick, placing the other directly in the middle of your target to work on curving the ball from outside the stick into the hole. This builds a skill by shaping chips and pitches.

Using golf alignment sticks to make gates when practicing chips, pitches, and greenside shots promotes accuracy and consistency.

Recommended: Chipping vs Pitching: What’s the Difference?

How can golf alignment sticks help my putting alignment?

One of the best ways to utilize an alignment stick is on the putting surface. Adding a second stick can make two lines directly to the cup to help you better understand if your stroke is off-balance or needs correction.

If you own a mallet putter and prefer a straight-back putting approach, taking one alignment stick along the inside of your putter’s head can provide a clear target line to the hole.

Also, the stick allows you to square your left foot and trail foot so your lead hip isn’t open during the stroke.

By keeping the hips aligned, you aren’t moving the putter from the outside to the inside during the stroke, a move that can cause the ball to push left after impact.

When you use golf alignment sticks, you help keep the left hip and left side of the body from opening up while putting or even while swinging the golf club.

Are alignment sticks worth it?

Yes, an alignment stick can revamp and elevate your practice sessions because they allow you to grab a better sense of your positioning in the golf swing.

The alignment stick also offers a low-priced device that helps you with ball position at address and through various elements of your short game.

If you are struggling with putting, one alignment stick can create a visual representation of your putting stroke that produces better accuracy on practice putts and improves your putting pace.

By adding a second stick, you can improve the positioning of your putter head through the stroke, especially if you use a straight-back approach to rolling the ball straight to the cup.

If you are really failing to improve your game, inexpensive training aids, such as an alignment stick, can open the door to better putting consistency, improved ball flight, and purer chipping strikes that generate more spin and stopping power on the greens.