Tom Tucker is a World Golf Teachers and United States Golf Teacher Federation-certified golf instructor. He may be contacted via his website or at the Plum Creek driving range in Batavia, NY.

For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties …. well, you know what to do!

When I give lessons, I always emphasize starting the ball on the intended aimline, however for certain lessons it’s sequenced in at different times.

One of the first things I address at any lesson is correct swing mechanics.

For ball-striking, putting, and chipping lessons, this framework is usually established at the first lesson; then the student – with the help of lesson follow up notes – can usually continue to practice the mechanics correctly on their own.

For the full swing, it often takes a couple of lessons to establish the framework for the swing pattern; then – with the help of lesson follow up notes – the student can usually continue to practice the mechanics correctly on their own.

After the mechanics are established for the shorter swings – putting, and chipping – aiming accuracy is addressed.

So let’s talk about how we can practice aiming accuracy.

For the sake of this article I’ll define aiming accuracy as “starting the ball on the intended aimline”, not necessarily where it ends up. Where it ends up is a swingpath to clubface alignment element that gets individual attention after aiming accuracy is developed..

We can practice developing aiming accuracy with the use of training aids that you can either purchase or make yourself.

First of all, for putting and chipping you can get double bang for your practice time, because you can practice stroke mechanics and aiming accuracy at the same time. The stroke mechanics are easy enough to learn, so aiming feedback training aids can be introduced early into your practice regimen in order to allow you to practice both skills simultaneously.

As a matter of fact, for putting, you can get triple bang for your practice time by practicing stroke mechanics with your “core” putting stroke, while stroking putts through a narrow gap between two objects: tees, ends of 2″ x 4″s, etc. This drill should progresses from making the gap a couple of inches wide to just wider than a ball.

A training aid that I use for aiming accuracy in my putting lessons is the Putting Fork Pro. The good news is that it’s the best device I’ve ever used for practicing the “three for one bang for your buck” drill mentioned above: your putting stroke mechanics your “core” putting stroke length and feel and aiming accuracy The bad news is that the Putting Fork Pro appears to be unavailable. Their website has been down for quite awhile now, and I have no idea why.

The good news is that you can create the same effect with a couple of tees – or the butt ends of a couple of short 2″ x 4″s set up to form a gap. Just position a flat ball marker 18″ away, straight back from the gap, and stroke putts until you can strike them straight through 8 times out of 10 with the gap being about 1/4″ wider than the ball. Start with the gap wider, then make it progressively narrower.

If you can’t do it consistently, something is wrong. Change something – your stance, your grip, or perhaps the style of putter you are playing – until you can strike the putts on your aimline consistently. For putting, perhaps more than any other stroke, it’s imperative that you be able to first start the ball exactly where you want it to go, then get the right speed.

Line trumps speed on short putts, speed trumps line on long putts.

For chipping through the full swing, I use a different training aid for aiming accuracy.

I use two vertical objects (posts) positioned in front of the student. Visualize short, narrow goalposts without a crossbar and you’ll get the picture. The posts should always be positioned as close to the student as the particular swing being practiced allows. The objective is for the student to get the shot started between the posts.

For chipping, I introduce the training aid early, because for short, simple strokes like chipping and putting, you can combine stroke practice and aiming practice.

Short posts work well for chipping practice, long posts work better for full swing practice.

Here’s what I have used for vertical posts outdoors, you can do the same: for chipping, you can use broken shafts with the grips still on, alignment rods (48″ fiberglass driveway markers – $2.00 at Home Depot, Valu) with pipe insulation wrapped around them, or full shafts with the grips removed and a swimming pool noodle stuck over the top. You can either cut the noodle short, or leave it full.

Here’s what I use indoors at Plum Creek: Aim Posts.  The pieces on the ground show how it breaks down for storage. A couple of the pieces are glued together, others are assembled when I need to use them.

You can get all of the PVC pieces at Lowes, Value, or Home Depot for a couple of bucks. Swimming pool noodles cost a dollar at the dollar store, so stock up when they’re available. Plan on busting a few up with full swings that are a bit off the mark.

Always wrap the post with pipe insulation or a pool noodle. Sooner or later your ball will hit the post accidentally, and an unwrapped post could be dangerous if it shatters or deflects the ball.

Here’s a youtube clip of a player with a great swing using unwrapped alignment rods. Full Swing Aimline Practice  I saw a video clip of Rickie Fowler doing this with full 5 iron swings. Unless you are a professional, please do not try this. I’m only showing it so that you can get the concept of how to use the appropriate training aid for yourself – which would be with something enclosing the rod – like a pool noodle.

Ken Green had his own drill for aiming practice. Years ago, when he was on tour, he used to hit golf balls out of his living room through sliding glass doors that were open about a foot, onto an adjacent golf course. Please don’t try this either, for obvious reasons.

Make it a point to set some sort of feedback device up for all your practice, it’s necessary to gauge improvement.

Make next year your best golf year by doing something now!

Love your practice, enjoy your golf,


Tom Tucker is a World Golf Teachers and United States Golf Teacher Federation-certified golf instructor. He may be contacted via his website or at the Plum Creek driving range in Batavia, NY.