The Latest in Teaching and Training Aids
By: Dr. Barry Lotz
Use these and see your game improve.Every part of the golfing experience had been changed with one exception – the way that golf is being taught. There is nothing else in the world that is similar to golf instruction. If children were taught to walk using the same type of process used in the traditional method of golf instruction, we would be a world of slugs.
Golf companies have spent millions upon millions of dollars and countless hours and energy to improve every aspect of the playing experience for the golfer. These companies have done a wonderful job of giving us better clubs, better balls, better courses and access to more teaching aids than any time in the history of this great game. The technology that the golfer can get his hands on is simply mind boggling.
All of this new technology that is at our finger tips is worthless if we do not understand the proper way to use it. How much would a computer that is 20 years more advanced than anything on the market today be worth, if we were unable to turn it on?
I continuously receive some of the supposedly latest and greatest training aids that guarantee miraculous overnight solutions to improve my swing and short game.
This last batch was some of the best we have reviewed in a long time. There are teaching and training aids available for every facet of your golf game. From having a proper stance to sinking the last putt, there is something available to help anyone. The best advice here is to not get confused.
We tested all these products at The Citrus Country Club and Torrey Pines, using their staff teaching pros, Shaun Shearer and Mike McCormick respectively, as well as our usual group of testers and those of the PGTAA (www.pgtaa.com).
A caveat: Whichever training or teaching aid you decide on to rectify that part of your game that is lacking, you must use it regularly to obtain the benefits!
The Orange Whip Golf Swing Trainer
The Orange Whip is designed to be a dynamic, interactive tool that allows the user to feel and achieve the sequencing and motion of an athletic golf swing, supported from the ground up. Simply put, it trains the user to swing on an ‘ideal’ arc, and develop dynamic balance centered in the core. After swinging the Orange Whip, you will find that you will quickly develop many of the proper motions and positions in the swing that you were not previously able to achieve with a golf club.
The most common amateur mistake of “coming over the top” is immediately corrected when swinging the Orange Whip. Now those swing faults are replaced by improved rhythm and balance, a connected rotation throughout the swing, and proper sequencing and lag where the body initiates the downswing.
Performing drills with the Orange Whip teaches the fundamental motions and positions of a proper golf swing. For the better player it allows them to better feel, evaluate and understand weaknesses in their golf swing as well as strengthen and reinforce proper fundamentals. On the other hand, beginners and high handicappers will immediately learn to swing with momentum and stop hitting (chopping) at the ball.
When using the Orange Whip, the secret is to remember to start slowly with your swings and gradually increase the range of motion, always maintaining your balance. As one can see from the photo above, there are three models available:
Orange Whip Trainer:
The Trainer is the longest version and most physically demanding. It can be difficult to control for seniors, women, beginners or shorter golfers. This model is
Also, the development of flexibility and range of motion is greater when compared to the other two versions. The extra length also encourages more patience in the transition to avoid the “quick” swings and the common “over the top” swing fault. $109.00
Orange Whip Golden:
The Golden Whip is universal for both men and women and is easiest to use for most seniors, women, beginners and shorter players. Swinging the Golden is similar to swinging a long iron or hybrid. The Golden shaft is shorter and slightly stiffer, which allows for faster transitions. $109.00
Orange Whip Hickory:
The Hickory Whip is for Junior golfers aged approximately 7 – 12 and golfers under 5’0’’. Designed to accommodate juniors, the Hickory has a smaller diameter grip and lighter weights on each end. For adults, swinging a Hickory most resembles swinging a wedge. Great for re-creating short game motion and technique. The Hickory requires the least amount of space to use safely, indoors or out. $99.00
Tour Lock Pro Counter Weighting System
Once in a great while a new idea comes along that actually helps players hit the ball a little more solidly and a little more consistently. You could put perimeter-weighted irons, graphite shafts, lightweight steel shafts, low-profile fairway woods, hybrids and titanium drivers into that category. It’s a short list.
Counter weighting golf clubs is not a new idea. Golfers throughout history have come up with some creative, homegrown methods for adding weight to the butt of their clubs, including cementing fishing lures and buckshot into their shafts. The grip itself functions essentially as a counterweight. Jack Nicklaus and Mo Norman both improved their feel by back weighting their clubs, as have many top professionals since.
The key technical change when counterweights are installed is that the center of gravity of the club is moved toward the hands, and therefore towards the player’s center of gravity, increasing control. With swinging clubs, the Power Transfer Ratio may also be increased, given the lighter club head feel in spite of the added aggregate weight behind the ball. On the green, the added weight slows and steadies the putting stroke, and the raised balance point makes the club feel shorter and therefore more under control.
Performance and feel are improved by installing a weight or combination of weights into a given club depending upon a given golfer’s preferences and swing tendencies. A club can only be optimized with this technology if it is “Optimal Weight Ready”; meaning a hole has been fitted in the top end of the grip to accommodate installations into the shaft. Tour Lock internal weights, which come in several different masses, may be installed anywhere inside the shaft of a golf club, and adjusted positionally to further calibrate a given fitting. Tour Lock Pro counterweights sit in the butt end of the shaft, and are available in ten different sizes, ranging from 8 to 100 grams.
Weights are frequently used in tandem (an internal weight and a counterweight together) to achieve the perfect configuration to improve a player’s game.
Current devotees of Tour Lock include Brendan Pappas, Scott Piercy, Sergio Garcia, Pat Perez, Steve Pate, Se Ri Pak, Tommy Armour III, Thongchai Jaidee, Jeev Milka Singh, Alex Prugh and many more.
Many have seen immediate improvement in their performance, including increases ranging up to twenty yards of carry distance with a driver, a tighter dispersion pattern and improved ball flight. Testing shows that optimizing the weight of a club produces a more consistent, tighter contact dispersion with the clubface, improving feel, raising the “Smash Factor” and facilitating a more accurate, repeatable swing.
Tour Lock has finally taken back weighting to the next level by making it simple to install, interchangeable and affordable for every golfer. Both internal weights and counterweights conform to all USGA and R&A Rules of Golf and are fully permissible in competition at any level.
The best way to take advantage of this technology is to contact a Tour Lock Certified Fitter who can assess a player’s tendencies and preferences, ascertain an optimal setting of weights for a given club, and fit the weights expertly. The effort is well-worth the results. Of course, you can also simply purchase weight kits, a few simple installation tools and play around with these until you hit the right formula.
Complete set fittings run between $350 and $450 depending on the composition of a player’s bag.
Driver and Putter fittings are $55.
Wood and Hybrid fittings are $45.
Iron and Wedge fittings are $35 for composite shafts / $25 for steel shafts.
TaylorMade TR3 Alignment Stix
Seen protruding from many of the Tour player’s bags are fiberglass rods in all colors. These “new style” rods, formerly known as old shafts, now known as “Alignment Stix” , work extremely well to correct target alignment, ball position/alignment, swing plane and weight shift issues.
There is a Connection Pod allowing for easy and simultaneous adjustment of the rods with a slide and snap connection that holds the rods at perpendicular angles. The positioning lines on the rods enable consistent ball placement.
The packaging is both excellent and informative as to the uses of the rods.
$29.95 for 3 fiberglass rods www.tmaxgear.com
Perfect Connection Golf Swing DVD Set by CJ Goeck
$67 for DVD $57 for digital www.perfectconnectiongolfswing.com
Laser Range Finder
The Red Hot features Laser Link’s pistol-shape design, where users point the red dot in the viewfinder at the target and receive distances on the display below. The Red Hot also features vibrate mode, so you can receive measurement confirmation without irritating your playing partners.
While much bulkier and heavier than GPS units, laser range finders are more precise. Anything you can accurately target in the crosshairs can be measured. And they obviously work on any course you’re on without having to download from a website or pre-map the layout. They also speed up play and give precise distances compared to GPS units which basically give a location and are not as accurate.
You will be thrilled with this unit – you can focus on your game without being distracted.
The Big Cup – 3 Putt Avoidance Trainer
15-Minute Golf & Zoom Boon Golf Trainer
To enhance the value to you of the Zoom Boom trainer, it’s still helpful to have golf lessons or to be talked through proper swing technique. Hence the 15 Minute Golf DVD. With this 15 Minute Golf DVD, Lance McWilliams teaches you some simple, yet highly effective skills that will absolutely help your swing, and lower your golf score.
In fact, so far, McWilliams has guaranteed that anyone who purchases and watches the DVD will get it. If they don’t, he will give them a personal lesson. So far, through sales of 250 DVDs, no one has called for their free lesson, he said.
An interesting part of his process is that one of the things almost every video or book tells you NOT to do, he tells you TO do and shows you why it is a must that you understand how to use the Zoom Boom to obtain that effortless power and consistency that we are looking for.
We highly recommend this product.
$99.00 Zoom Boom $59.95 15 Minute Golf DVD
GolfBuddy World Platinum Golf GPS – A nice touch
GolfBuddy has made large strides with the release of the GolfBuddy World Platinum, which incorporates full hole graphic layouts and the ability to target any point on the course for distance readings.
The new GolfBuddy World Platinum is a fast and reliable way to get accurate distances on the course and with a vivid color touch screen, Direct Overhead Hole Imaging and clear yardage displays. The golfer can instantly see how far it is to any point on the hole. This is the Rolls-Royce of GPS rangefinders!
At retail, GolfBuddy is outselling all other brands of GPS rangefinders 3 to 1. Instructions are easy to follow and Rick Smith’s DVD is an added bonus.
And because the GolfBuddy World Platinum combines true GPS and TouchPoint instant measuring with mapping courses on foot, the distances shown are supremely accurate.
The GolfBuddy World Platinum GPS rangefinder is the ideal piece of equipment to help you improve your course management. The device is extremely easy to use – turn it on and with the Golf Buddy’s unique automatic course and hole recognition feature, the correct course and hole will load automatically each and every time, eliminating the need to navigate cumbersome menus to load the appropriate view.
Target information is pre-loaded into the unit and you may add up to 11 of your own personal targets per hole. The Golf Buddy’s large, easy-to-read screen gives features the dynamic green view which changes the shape of the green depending on your angle of approach.
The unit also features a score-tracking module, driving distance mode, and multilingual capability. Included is a lithium-ion rechargeable battery that powers the unit.
Become a PGTAA Golf Instructor.
Is Dad a great golfer? Retired? Loves to teach? Then the PGTAA – Professional Golf Teachers Association of America, the world’s premier purely teaching association, has both home study and on site courses available.
PGTAA members are ubiquitous in all facets of the golf teaching industry, such as directors of golf, head and assistant head professionals, high school and college coaches and golf course and driving range owners/operators.
ProPlay 640 Personal Video Training Tool
RoboCup Automatic Ball Return Robot
Spend just an hour practicing putting and you can be assured of a sore back. RoboCup is the only ball return device designed to work on every practice green.
When your putt drops into the hole, RoboCup’s innovative design automatically shoots the ball right back to you.
RoboCup runs on 4 AA batteries and will return the ball up to 14 feet, depending on green speed. A set of batteries will last for 15,000 putt returns. Combine it with the RoboCup Caddy Cord, shown in the photo, and even missed putts shoot back to you.
The RoboCup (with Caddy Cord) is available for under $60, making it an ideal Father’s Day or spring/summer gear or tech-inspired gift. Without the cord – $49.95
We tested the B330-RXS balls which Bridgestone Golf released this September. These are specifically geared for golfers with moderate swing speeds (85-105 mph). While doing our wedge testing specifically, the RXS received the highest ranking from all our testers, both low and high handicappers alike. Many felt the RXS compared favorably with the Pro V1, if not better.
Be prepared to spend the time and effort, as the answer is in the dirt, or in this case, the training aid.