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When I watch inexperienced golfers players hit the ball I find that they are usually mis-alinged to their target. Typically, they aim way too far out to the right. The reason they aim to the right is because the inexperienced player has the tendency to hit the ball with their arms which causes the ball to pull to the left. This means that they are compensating for a flaw in their swing by just aiming their body out to the right instead of fixing the actual flaw.
What this boils down to, is that the inexperienced players’ bad swings make the ball go on target and their perfect swings make the ball end up in the trees, or bunker on the right of the target. So, they are seeing their good shots as bad shots and bad shots as good shots. If this is the case, the inexperienced player will never want to fix their swing flaws. If they don’t fix their flaws they will never reach their golfing potential. This is why I call alignment the most important lesson in golf.
Check Your Alignment
In order to find out if you are a player that has swing flaws, you must check your alignment. To do this, all you have to do is pick out a target and do your normal set up. Once you feel like you are ready, lay a club down at your heels or toes. Then, step back about 10 paces behind the ball to see where you are actually aimed. If the club you placed at your toes or heels is parallel left of your actual target, you have properly aligned yourself. If the club on the ground points to the right of your target you are mis-aligned.
If you find that you are mis-aligned, you must learn to square up your stance. To do this, simply find a target in the distance that you want to hit the ball to. Take out 2 golf clubs that you rarely hit (ie. 3 iron and 4 iron). Take the first club and lay it down directly at the target (you will have to step back a few paces to check this). Place the second club parallel to the first club on the ground. Now, take away the first club that is pointing at the target. You should have one club on the ground that is parallel to the left of your target.
Once you have the club on the ground parallel to your target line you have a guide to help you align your feet, knees, hips and shoulders squarely. If you aim your body squarely to the club on the ground and you hit the ball to the left of your target you have just found out that you are pulling the golf ball which means you are trying to hit the ball too hard with only your arms. If you hit the ball to the right of the target from this square alignment you are sliding your body too much laterally through impact which is causing the ball to fly to the right.
Learning that you are mis-aligned can be quite shocking at first but don’t think of it as a bad thing, think of it as a good thing. It’s a good thing because you now know that you have a swing flaw and you can get on the road to fixing it so that you can play even better golf in the future.
Until next time,
The World Baseball Classic (WBC) is an international baseball tournament whose goal is to spread the popularity of the game of baseball all over the world. Sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation, the WBC is participated in by various national teams from all over the world. The first tournament was held from March 3-20, 2006 in various stadiums in Tokyo (Japan), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Orlando (Florida, USA), Phoenix (Arizona, USA), Anaheim (California, USA), and San Diego (California, USA).
During this inaugural edition of the World Baseball Classic, 16 countries adjudged as the best baseball-playing countries in the world were invited to send their national teams. These sixteen teams were divided into four pools, namely:
• Pool A – Japan, China, Korea, and Chinese Taipei
• Pool B – Canada, Mexico, South Africa, and the United States of America
• Pool C – Cuba, Netherlands, Panama, Puerto Rico
• Pool D – Australia, Dominican Republic, Italy, Venezuela
The tournament was a conducted in a round-robin style of competition, wherein each team played once against the other three teams in the pool. The top two pool leaders of A and B were put together in the second round into one new pool (Pool 1), and the top two pool leaders of Pool C and D were put together in a new pool (Pool 2) also for the second round. Again each team in the new pools played against the other three once, with the top two from each pool put together in a single elimination pool for the semifinals. The champions and runner-ups of each pool face each other for a single game, with the winners facing each other for the finals to determine the champion.
In Pool A, Korea emerged the winner (3-0) while Japan came in second, while Mexico and U.S.A., each with a 2-1 win-loss slate, emerged as the winners of Pool B. These four winners formed Pool 1 for the second round.
On the other hand, Puerto Rico (3-0) and Cuba (2-1) led Pool C, while, in Pool D, the Dominican Republic (3-0) and Venezuela (2-1) clearly dominated. These four formed Pool 2 for the second round.
The second round again saw Korea (3-0) dominate Pool 1 to move into the single-elimination pool, with Japan, who tied with the United States and Mexico with similar 1-2 win-loss records, but became the second team from Pool 1 for the single elimination pool due to a better standing in the tie-breaker assessment. In Pool 2, the Dominican Republic and Cuba led the pack with identical 2-1 win-loss records. The Dominican Republic emerged as the champion in this pool due to a better standing in the tiebreaker assessment.
The single-elimination round for the semifinals was one characterized by upsets wherein runners-up Japan and Cuba beating Korea and the Dominican Republic respectively. In the final game, Japan defeated Cuba to become the first champion of the World Baseball Classic.
The next WBC tournament will be held in 2009, after which the tournament will be held every four years. Downloads of the First World Baseball Classic Live Feed may be downloaded from the official World Baseball Classic Website.