On all my strokes I go through a process of alignment. I'll first try to describe and then I'll explain the reasons why I do this.
When I first take my stance and get lined up, my body is set so that my hips point a little to the left of the straight line to the target. Then, without changing the position of my body, I realign my hands, shifting them back about a half inch so that they will not be quite so far ahead of my club head. This shifting squares my blade to the line.
This stance, with the left hip slightly open, gives me the feeling from the start of the swing that I've got my left hip out of the way. I feel that I cannot help but swing from the inside out, and that nothing will obstruct me from following through on the line to the target. (When I'm 100 yards or so out, my hips point about six feet to the left of the pin; 200 yards out, about eight yards to the left of the pin.) I do not know how this method will work for other golfers, but for me it is quite natural, simply an extension of how I align myself when I putt. As I say, its merit is that with the left hip slightly open and the hands reset, I feel all cocked for the shot, all primed to swing from the inside out and to follow through on line.
from DOUG FORD Putnam CC, Mahopac, N.Y.
Ford's preliminary position
Position after resetting hands
NEXT WEEK: MARLENE HAGGE ON THE PUTTING STROKE