I am more likely to grow antlers than be caught on the driving range with a hula hoop or a giant rubber medicine ball or any of the other million dumb– and even dumber-LOOKING– swing aids invented to embarrass golfers so completely that they encourage harder swings just so you don’t look like a total pussy. I’m also a born skeptic when it comes to fast-track methods to accomplish something that can really only be achieved by long hours of practice and dedication.
That said, I was duly impressed at demo day at the recent PGA show in Las Vegas by a gadget called the Powerchute. Essentially this swing aid clips on to the shaft of your club in two places and creates tremendous resistance when you swing. Try it a few times and you realize that it also seems to set your swing up for the right sequencing in terms of hip rotation, the breaking of the wrists, and other dynamics. I can’t explain it any better than to say it just feels right. But the real moment that you realize it’s working is when, after taking, say, five swings with the Powerchute on your club you remove it and take a normal golf swing.
You know that sound you hear five seconds after an F-15 flies overhead– that sort of turbo-charged ROAR? That’s what your next swing will feel and sound like. Not only does the product promise to increase swing speed but I found an even greater benefit was that my follow through was far more complete than before.
I remain skeptical of all golf swing training aids but as a professional journalist I must tell you that I went out and shot a career-best 79 at Shadow Creek two days after using the Powerchute. Connection? You decide.
If you see a guy at the driving range with a black billowy contraption stuck to his club– and he’s wearing a wig and dark glasses– it just might be me. Long drive champion Jason Zuback and another golfer named Jack Nicklaus attest to the advantages of the product on a perky video on the company website.