Like training aids. I can’t tell you how many gadgets, gizmos, and garbage I’ve tried over the years. Those worth remembering can be counted on the fingers of one Cabretta glove (medium-large).
But at the PGA Show last week I did something almost unheard of: I actually bought a training aid. Paid for. With my own money. Non-reimbursed. (Which I believe violates the first rule of golf writing: “Keep your wallet in your pants.”)
The product is called the Orange Whip Trainer, and on first glance it appears to be nothing more than a shaft with a hard rubber ball (the size, shape, and color of an orange) at one end. I went looking for OWT’s booth at the show because I’d been introduced to the product a few weeks ago by a good friend who is also a teaching pro. She had one in her bag, and while hitting a few balls on the range said, “Try this.”
There are numerous products that try to groove you a swing. Ones that make noise, hinge, shine lights, strap to your hip and other body parts, or are connected to a giant metal hoop. They try to get you on plane, in the slot, square at the top, holding back, following through, and finishing high.
The elegance of the Orange Whip is its simplicity: Just swing it.
The flexibility of the shaft and the weight at the end promote a swing that fits you. What I really like—because as anyone who has ever watched me knows, I swing way too fast—is how easy it is to feel good tempo. And that elusive lag at the top as the weight shifts from going back to going forward.
According to the website, it also helps find your ideal plane and sequence of motion, adds to flexibility, and improves balance. While I’ve used it only a few times (mine has yet to arrive), I felt all those good things after just a few swings.
A long list of Tour pros uses the OWT, including Justin Rose, Vijay Singh, D.A. Points, Matt Kuchar, and Retief Goosen, as well as a bunch on the Champions Tour (where flexibility is especially important) and LPGA Tour. And it’s used by a number of noted teachers such as Hank Haney, Michael Breed, Jim McLean, and Martin Hall.
The Trainer—which comes in three lengths, based on your size and/or age—is also an exercise tool and comes with simple directions for light stretching exercises as well as others to help the core golf muscles.
Maybe because I paid for the Orange Whip I’ll actually use it. At worst, it will be in my bag to help me loosen up before a round (there are exercises for that, too). At best, I’ll have to eat my words and admit to finally finding a training aid that works.
The Orange Whip is $99 or $109, depending on model, and can be ordered from the website, where you’ll also find tons more information and training/exercise suggestions.