There are countless aids currently in the market that are designed to help improve your golfing experience.
While most of them come and go, golf alignment sticks – also called alignment rods or driveway stands which have stood the test of time.
Most players love them because of their affordability, versatility, and ability to improve your golf alignment.
But, Can You Carry Alignment Sticks in Your Golf Bag?
Yes, you can. Many players and instructors carry alignment rods in their golf bags, so the sticks are close by when needed. The rods don’t count as part of your golf clubs but can help sharpen your alignment. That said, they are not usually allowed in professional tournaments and can lead to disqualification.
What Are Golf Alignment Sticks?
They can be used in numerous ways, but their primary function is to serve as a framework around which you can easily form your stance, swing, and alignment while golfing.
Simply put, golf alignment sticks are aids that ensure accurate alignments.
In the olden days, you had to bend down and place whatever club you had alongside your foot before stepping back to check whether you had estimated the alignment accurately.
Alignment sticks eliminate the need to do this because you can use them over time to train your body to judge the right alignment without the help of visual aid.
Where Can You Bring Your Alignment Sticks?
If you want to know whether you can carry alignment sticks in your bag, you might also wonder where you can use these aids.
There are numerous places where using alignment sticks is allowed and perfectly normal.
Such areas include:
1. Practice Green
Be alarmed if you happen to see an alignment appearing in the ground of the practice green.
The dangers this arrangement presents are too graphic to contemplate.
Fortunately, most golfers that bring their alignment sticks to the practice green only use them to align their feet and to put strokes.
A smooth, one-dimensional putting stroke is an invaluable tool in golf, and the sticks can help you achieve it.
That said, you may also spot some golfers placing their alignment sticks perpendicular to their feet to help them measure the attacking angle they are striking the putt with – this is rare on the green.
2. Driving Range
This is one of the likeliest places that golfers will utilize alignment sticks in the hopes of becoming better players.
Professional golfers also use them at the driving range to help them determine a swing plane or as a hand extension.
3. Golf Course
Alignment sticks are useful on the golf course only if you have some extra time to work on your swing (when no one is awaiting behind you OR when you’re waiting on the group ahead of you).
Should You Use Golf Alignment Sticks?
Alignment sticks are highly-trusted golfing aids that can eliminate the room for error in your alignment, swing, and putt.
If you have them, you don’t need to guess whether your body is aligned properly in relation to the golf ball – you can verify it.
Furthermore, you can use them to create an ‘opening’ through which you hit your shots.
Note: Many tournaments do not allow players to use golfing aids, including alignment sticks. Always read the competition rules before packing yours.
How to Use Alignment Sticks
Even if you are one of those players that can accurately align their feet by laying a club on the ground, you might still need an alignment stick.
This is because it is not possible to stick a golf club into the ground to help you align your swing path.
Alignment sticks reduce the room for error, leaving you feeling confident about your alignment and swing.
Furthermore, alignment sticks are easy to use since you simply have to lay them on the ground in a straight line towards your target and check whether your body alignment falls along that line.
Over time, you can phase out the sticks and teach your body to naturally line up correctly with your target.
Besides determining body alignment, you can place alignment sticks on the ground at different angles for different drills to help improve your swing plane.
Their versatility makes them a must-have golfing aid.
Why Is Alignment in Golf Important?
Alignment is one of the most crucial elements of a golf swing.
This is because, with proper alignment, you can easily adjust your shooting aim so that the ball lands where you need it regardless of ball movement in the air.
Most instructors will advise you to keenly observe how the flag blows during a crosswind and adjust your alignment accordingly.
Doing this reduces the margin for error and saves your strokes from hazards.
Subsequently, it can never hurt your game to carry alignment sticks in your golf bag for when the winds start blowing.
Six Factors to Consider When Buying Alignment Sticks
The benefits of using alignment sticks are undeniable, but what kind of sticks will give you value for your money.
If you are going shopping for these irreplaceable golfing aids, here are some crucial factors you should consider:
The best alignment sticks do not have to be expensive.
In fact, you can easily work with two pieces of bamboo, so an affordable set can get the job done as well as a premium one.
That said, you should never substitute affordability for quality – you don’t want to be shopping for another pair of alignment sticks after one month of using your first one.
To get the maximum benefit from your alignment sticks, you should buy a set that is easily visible against the backdrop of the green course.
Try finding a shade that is a sharp contrast to the surrounding grass or fairway, so it doesn’t get lost in the grass.
Golfing involves several activities that could put your alignment sticks in danger of being stepped on, whacked, or kicked around the course.
Hence, you want to pick a durable pair that will withstand all the rigors of golfing and last long.
Golf alignment sticks should help you determine the planes surrounding your swing’s geometry. They can’t do this if they easily bend because then the alignment won’t be straight, and your swing will be off.
You should avoid sharp sticks and instead opt for rounded-ended sticks that will minimize the risk of injury.
6. Alignment Stick Covers
These covers are specifically designed for use with alignment sticks to prevent the sticks from poking into your golf bag and causing tears.
The covers also protect you and other golfers from possible injury when the sharp point of an alignment stick is sticking out from the ground.
Most alignment sticks were formerly made outside major golfing brands, but today big golfing brands such as Titleist, TaylorMade, and Callaway produce their own alignment stick covers.
These brands are responding to an increase in demand from consumers.
For example, Callaway alignment sticks are designed like tent poles to make them incredibly easy to store and portable.
The company also recently began producing Callaway Mavrik alignment stick headcovers.
If you are worried that carrying alignment sticks might ruin your golf bag, pick up some covers the next time you walk into your favorite golf club shop.
Golf alignment sticks don’t involve any complicated technology, and they are very versatile – how you use them is only limited by your imagination.
If you are worried about them affecting your golf club count, you shouldn’t be because they don’t count (unless it is a professional tournament).
You also need not worry about them tearing your golf bag because you can buy alignment stick covers.