The Latest in Teaching and Training Aids
By: Dr. Barry Lotz
|The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly.
Recently I received a spate of the supposedly latest and greatest training aids that guaranteed miraculous overnight solutions to improve my swing and short game.
Well, as you can imagine, training aids are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get inside. Thanks Forrest for a great truth.
We tested all these products at the Rancho La Quinta Country Club using their staff PGA teaching pros headed by Shaun Shearer as well as our usual group of testers and those of the PGTAA (www.pgtaa.com).
Consistent rhythm and tempo plus, balance, are the gel that keeps the swing moving freely and repetitively. The key to great golf is to find your own ideal rhythm and tempo and then maintain it.
Sonic golf enables golfers of all abilities to capture this most elusive aspect of the golf swing. With the Sonic Golf System-1, for the first time, you can literally hear the rhythm, tempo and timing of your swing in real-time, as you swing, and tune in to the most fundamental success factors of the golf swing.
The Sonic System-1 is simple, straightforward, and amazingly effective. Hear “casting from the top”. Hear jerky transitions from backswing to downswing. Hear the release of the clubhead before, at, or after the ball, and hear the sweet sound of a smooth, fluid, rhythmic golf swing – in real-time, every time.
The Sonic Golf System-1 technology is inserted inside the shaft of your club fitted with Sonic Golf’s custom Golf Pride grip. The swing motion is transmitted wirelessly to a belt-worn receiver, which converts your swing motion to continuous musical tones you hear on the headset unit. Slow swings are low pitch and quiet tones. Swinging faster and the pitch and volume gets higher.
AccuPutt Putting Trainer
This is an excellent aid that can be used from home. The best feature is the ability to see the line throughout the stroke, which enables one to see if the ball is pushed or pulled. If one is able to understand why the putt is off line then the stroke can be corrected. The device definitely can build a memory that can be repeated and will create a more consistent stroke if used regularly.
AccuPutt uses a type-1 laser to shoot an invisible line down the center of the practice green – the opening on the special patent-pending putter must travel perfectly straight to avoid breaking that line. A green LED on the base unit shows when the laser line is unbroken, but if the putter strays at all from the perfect stroke, a red light is activated instead – giving the user critical instant feedback while they practice their stroke.
The aperture in the putter is even adjustable so that as a user’s putting improves, they can continue to challenge themselves until their putting is pure, consistent, and deadly accurate.
The only negative is the putter used is not the putter one uses on a daily basis.
RoboCup Automatic Ball Return Robot
Spending just an hour practicing putting and you can be assured of sore back. RoboCup is the only ball return device designed to work on every practice green.
When your putts drop 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 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 for an ideal Father’s Day or spring/summer gear or tech-inspired gift. Without the cord – $49.95
The SensoGlove for correct grip pressure – how to avoid the “Death Grip”
Practicing with the SensoGlove will teach you the correct grip pressure for a smooth, consistent swing that delivers greater distance, enhanced precision and lower scores. It has adjustable pressure settings that allow the user to select a grip that works for them and stores this information. It also measures each finger’s pressure. A lighter grip improves distance and accuracy with every club, including chipping and putting.
SensoGlove’s built-in digital computer actively monitors your grip with sensors placed strategically throughout the glove, providing instant feedback at all the points of your swing. SensoGlove’s audio feedback warns you at the moment your grip becomes too tight, allowing you to learn and maintain correct grip pressure at every point of your swing.
The lightweight digital computer can be removed and replaced without removing the glove, so you can use it only when you need it.
The gloves are exceptionally durable and are available in men’s and ladies sizes S-XL for $89.00. If the glove wears out, keep the computer and simply reorder another glove for $25.00.
As per ProStance devotee, Padraig Harrington, “The ProStance is a great tool for any golfer at any level. It helps build balance and stability for every part of the game from putting and chipping to the full swing”.
This device works well for advanced players working on their balance and weight shift. I noticed that for players who do not have good balance at all, had difficulty making a swing. As per Shaun Sheareer, “I believe that the Pro Stance is great for average and advanced players and will recommend it to my advanced players”. Unfortunately you have to have a teacher there to watch for if you are unbalanced an amateur golfer, they themselves, will not know how to fix the balance problem. “I found the Pro Stance to be helpful with players who tend to have their head ahead of the ball at impact and this teaches the feeling and balance necessary in the swing to keep the head back and then complete the weight shift on the follow through.”
KC Putting Device – A Putters Dream
More like a putter’s nightmare. This device looks great in the case and then you open it up and see all of the cheap plastic parts you have to put together and then have to read the manual to put it on the putter.
The idea of the device is great and you are able to see the path of your stroke and see where the ball is positioned. The device also enables you to see what line the ball starts on and if it is consistent with your stroke. Not recommended.
True Ympact Swing Trainer
The True Ympact is excellent for players with casting problems and for players who would like to feel their hands in front of the club.
The device does not let you release the club early. It is difficult to hit shots with the device on, but once you remove the True Ympact your swing will feel great. You can tell instantly that the True Ympact had started to build a different memory into the swing and the shots were more solid and a more consistent ball flight was evident.
Our testers and PGTAA (www.pgtaa.com) teachers and students who tried this saw an increase in distance after hitting about 50-60 balls. I will use this with my students and recommend it for a training aide for them to purchase.
The Perfect Link
The Perfect Link is the best putting aid out of the group as it keeps your left arm in perfect position throughout the stroke. The device keeps your forearms close together on both the back stroke and forward stroke.
A bonus feature is that the Perfect Link will also help your chipping technique.
It is ready to use right out of the box and can be used not only on the practice putting green, but in the comfort of your home as well.
Our testers found that by using The Perfect Link to warm up before each round, it has ingrained a memory in their putting strokes that they I can take and feel out on the course as well. At the PGTAA (www.pgtaa.com) we have had multiple students and teachers try the device and they all saw improvements in their stroke. It especially helps with a more consistent stroke on shorter putts.
TruePlane Putting Trainer
Trueplane is used by more than 250 tour pros and these players have more than 200 wins on the main tours including 11 Majors since getting Trueplane. One of Trueplane’s biggest endorser is Masters Champ Trevor Immelman.
Trueplane has been used on tour since 2001. I believe that an inside-to-inside stroke is best because it is just as simple as a straight stroke and is easier to achieve and more natural. On many occasions many of our testers who said they preferred a straight stroke tried Trueplane and found that it felt great.
To use the Trueplane, you simply slide the putter along the guide following the red line for the perfect stroke. The Trueplane includes a guide rod for perfect putter alignment as well as a smart looking carry bag.
Also available is Uniputt.
Uniputt provides a quick and simple way to eliminate wrist movement from the putting stroke and provides immediate feedback enabling you to improve your putting in minutes. This simplifies the stroke and makes it more solid and consistent. Eliminating wrist movement is an important part of the ideal pendulum stroke used by pros and recommended by coaches.
Eliminating wrist movement is an important part of the ideal pendulum stroke used by pros and recommended by coaches. Uniputt provides immediate feedback enabling you to improve your putting in minutes.
ProPlay 640 Personal Video Training Tool
Bridgestone Golf Balls
We used Bridgestone’s B330, B330 RX and Treo balls. All our testers raved about the feel of all three of these balls especially the Treo. While doing our wedge testing as well, the RX received the highest ranking from our better players, while the Treo was the favorite of the higher handicappers.
Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, the California Golf Writers Association, and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers”, “How to Build Business Relationships through Golf” which is in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s bestseller list. His latest book,” The Right Mind for Golf”, is to be released in August 2009.