Use these and see your game improve.
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 were 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, using their staff teaching pros, headed by Shaun Shearer, 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!
You must decide on a golf training aid that can help cure a particular problem area of your golf.
The Orange Whip Golf Swing Trainer
The Orange Whip can be seen in the bags of numerous pros such as Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington, David Frost, Ben Crenshaw, Richard Beem, Stephen Ames, Jason Gore, Bruce Fleisher and a host of many more. A great endorsement in of itself.
This is a simple, versatile, effective and well-designed training aid with multiple benefits for golfers at all levels. It can be used as a swing trainer, core fitness and flexibility tool, and to warm-up before you practice or play.
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 teach 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
recommended for people 5’6’’ and above. As the ability of the golfer increases, the height of user becomes less of a factor. Swinging the Trainer is most similar to swinging a driver. Because of the Trainer’s length, Balance and tempo easily develop because the user must wait for the momentum to gather.
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. Easiest to use for most seniors, women, beginners and shorter players. Swinging the Golden is most 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:
For Junior golfers aged approximately 7 – 12, 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
One of the better products that offers immediate and visible results is the Tour Lock interchangeable club weighting system. Every club in your bag now fits your swing! Tour Lock Pro is a revolutionary weighting technology that allows every golfer to personalize and improve the performance of any golf club, from putter to driver.
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 range by 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.
Laser Range Finders
Laser Link Golf simply has the best product in the range finder domain for ease of use, accuracy and style. If your course has the Laser Link Reflector System, this latest unit will thrill you. If your course is still in the 18th century, demand that they get the FREE reflector system.
The Red Hot is the latest golf laser rangefinder from Laser Link. A change from Laser Link’s QuickShot, the Red Hot has the ability to measure distances to any target, not just flagsticks that employ a reflector, as is the case with the QuickShot.
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 also 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 who basically give a location and are not as accurate.
I personally like to play fast and dealing with a GPS unit or some iPhone or Blackberry App is not my preference. I want to know how far it is to the pin without having to get involved in calculations and pressing more than one button to get my information.
This 8 ounce unit with a laser link reflector will give you a distance of 5 – 800 yards (5 -731 meters), while a course without a reflector gives you a range of 5 – 400 yards (5 – 366 meters).
This is a Class One laser and requires a 9-volt alkaline battery, as opposed to charging a GPS. It has an accuracy factor of +/- 1%! – Very different from a GPS unit.
The unit‘s many other features include the ability to measure landmarks, such as trees and bunkers up to 400 yards away. It has both a vibrate mode for silent use and an easy-to-use mode button.
You will be thrilled with this unit – you focus on your game without being distracted.
MSRP: $389.00 www.laserlinkgolf.com
The Big Cup – 3 Putt Avoidance Trainer
The reason the best players in the world make their short putts is because they hit the ball with confidence. The ball pours into the hole, instead of dribbling in the side. The problem with training devices that shrink the hole is that it makes your stroke tentative.
Have you ever tried putting to a smaller hole? Your stroke changes dramatically for the worse. The Big Cup is 8.5 inches, a normal cup is 4.25 inches. Using the Big Cup you can learn how to hit those four to five-foot putts with “make it” speed because you have removed the fear!
This training aid is a confidence booster that will train you to make an aggressive stroke and make more putts.
$27.95 plus S&H www.thebigcup.net
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!
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.
The unit comes preloaded with all available courses across North America (the only GPS to do so) with the ability to load even more world-wide courses.
Information is presented in a clear manner, and the menus are well organized. On top of that there are no additional subscription fees or other charges for accessing the golf course database – users simply pay for the device.
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. A lithium-ion rechargeable battery and backup AAA batteries power the unit.
Become a Professional 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.
With the advent of Tiger Mania, increased emphasis in junior competitions is growing and with more baby boomers retiring and taking up golf, now is the perfect time to explore a career in teaching golf. For more information on the PGTAA, please visit www.pgtaa.com, or call 1.888.90.PGTAA
ProPlay 640 Personal Video Training Tool
Another technological masterpiece that EVERY golfer should have is the ProPlay 640 GPS Video (GPS stands for Golf Performance System). What a great, useful and worthwhile product! A desirable gift every golfer would love to have!
Noted instructor, Jim Flick, thinks this practical device is the best thing since apple pie! With this device you can take your practice range game to the course!
ProPlay allows you to instantly review your swing while playing golf. Video frame by frame playback, video analysis and markup, one button operation, variable speed playback and side by side playback, are just a few of this tool’s features.
This rugged and well-designed unit is compact enough to fit in a pocket and can be taken anywhere.
MSRP: $449.00 www.proplaygps.com
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 used 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.
Overall the Bridgestone B330-RXS is an excellent golf ball that provides Tour-Caliber performance for golfers with slower swing speeds who want long driving distance off the tee with great spin and control in the short game. Our higher handicappers, those with a slower swing speed, saw their ball speed increase slightly but picked up and average of 12 yards over the Pro V1.
This multilayer urethane ball features a very soft gradational compression core with Tour-level spin, feel and control around the greens, but optimized for moderate swing speeds (85 to 105 mph) off the tee.
The B330-RXS utilizes the same industry leading Seamless Cover Technology that Bridgestone balls have become known for, and features a 330-dimple pattern for optimal trajectory and consistency of ball flight.
It definitely is a ball that offers both distance and exceptional feel around the greens.
The B330-RXS features a street price of $42.99 per dozen (suggested retail price of $56 per dozen)
You cannot blame the training aid if you don’t use it! Be prepared to spend the time and effort, as the answer is in the dirt, or in this case, the training aid.