I've just got back from an annual golfing trip to Portugal. 4 days out in (near) sunny conditions and 15 degrees celcius better off than the British Isles, a fantastic retreat for any golfing junky during the harsh winter. Even better when taking 12 golfers who I teach out there to enjoy the finest that Portugal has to offer.
During these few days I do some individual tuition and I had a conversation with one of the guys on the final day of the stableford tournament that I organise. He was having a little trouble with lining up and, in his perception, his off-line shots were caused by poor alignment. So convinced he was his alignment was 'wonky' that everytime he got up to the ball he was adjusting his set up to the point that he was so unsure about where he was setting up, each swing was very different to the previous one because he was adjusting his swing to help counteract the effect (as he thought it) of his set up.
Now you might be thinking 'why didn't you just fix his set up and get him aligned properly?'
The fact is he WAS aligned properly, he just didn't realise it and blamed the errant shots on mis-alignment when it was the swing that was making the ball go where it was. In this case he swings the club a little left, meaning he's prone to pulls and over-fades.
The perceived poor set up was making him question and even searching for flaws in his set up, never committing 100% to the set up and therefore the swing. Every shot was a battle to overcome the set up.
My point here in this blog and to this player was to try and make sure that on the course you are not searching for flaws in your set up before you've even taken the club back. You need to be 100% committed to the set up and alignment before you take the club back, not second guessing yourself or, even worse, trying to correct the perceived poor set up during the swing itself.
Dave Alred, the ex-England Rugby kicking coach puts it brilliantly...... 'Trust the swing and set up on the golf course, repair the swing and set up on the range'. In other words, don't try and correct the action when out on the golf course, go out there and trust your alignment. If there are faults in the set up or swing, fix them when you're on the practice area or driving range.
Stop finding flaws and find positives when out on the course and scores will inevitably come down, the mind will be quieter and confidence will take over!