The boss of golf training aidsAugust 1 2014
There are so many golf training aids on the market that it can be difficult to make a decision as to which you should use, or indeed whether you should practice with a training aid at all. Many golfers seek the advice of a teaching professional, however most golf instructors tend not to use golf training aids and will typically just describe the movements and positions they want a golfer to incorporate into their swing and get them to repeat the movements with a normal golf club.
Most of the more popular golf training aids are designed to rectify what their manufacturers will tell you are “swing faults” but if you are considering buying a golf training aid it is important to understand that not all the actions described as swing faults are necessarily incapacitating.
For nearly every so called “swing fault” there is a high-profile PGA tour player who has that particular action in their swing. For instance, many of the most popular training aids focus on keeping your swing on plane, but some of the best golfers of all time have a two-plane swing including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Hale Irwin and Tom Watson.
Jim Furyk, who was the number one player in the world and consistently tops the accuracy statistics on the PGA tour, is famous for a swing which is completely off-plane. His swing would be ruined by golf practice devices which are designed to keep you on-plane such as the very popular weighted clubs and hinged clubs. Laser attachments that fit on the butt of your club, swing fans and swing jackets would also destroy his swing.
Some of the other more popular training aids are designed to give you a perfect grip. Most of them will force your hands into an overlapping grip, yet many of the more successful golfers such as Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods use an interlocking grip. Mo Norman, who many regard as the greatest ball striker of all time, had a 10-finger baseball grip, as did Hall of Fame Member Beth Daniel, PGA Tour players Bob Estes and Dave Barr and Masters Champion Art Wall Jr.
Other golf training aids are designed to limit your head movement and keep your eyes on the ball at impact, but many PGA players have a lot of head movement in their swings and at least three number one golfers – David Duval, Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk face ahead of the ball prior to impact. Robert Allenby has a similar action.
Other popular golf training aids are designed to develop a good weight transfer but many successful PGA players are moving to a more compact swing which doesn’t involve a massive transfer of weight to the back leg like the old fashioned swings. Gary Edwin, who has coached many successful PGA players including Peter Lonard, Rod Pampling, Paul Gow, and Peter Senior, advocates a swing where there is no weight transfer at all and most of the weight is on the front foot throughout the swing.
Whilst golf training aids can sometimes be very useful, they may not be promoting an action which is necessarily beneficial, and it is often better to work with your natural tendencies rather than putting your swing into a straight jacket.
Furthermore, most golf training aids have a very narrow focus such as “swinging on-plane” or “keeping your elbows tucked in to avoid the chicken wing” and so on, and the problem with a very narrow focus is – what happens when you take the training aid away? The golf swing is a holistic action. If you change one part of your golf swing, you necessarily change other parts of your swing which the training aid may not cater for. When you take the training aid away, the swing no longer functions holistically and the major objective of accuracy and power may not be achieved.
For most golfers it is better to simply practice the positions and mechanical movements that you are trying to incorporate into your swing with a real club and an unencumbered holistic real swing. With enough practice you will eventually groove-in the swing changes that will consistently get you back to a good impact position which enables you to hit the ball out of the center of the club with a square face, maximum power and accuracy.
The Swing Boss is not like most other training aids. It is not designed to constrain your swing in any way, but rather, it is designed to give you something to focus on that is the most cost-effective and convenient simulation of a real swing.
It gives you great feedback because it records both the position of the ball on the club face and the angle of the club face at impact. Initially when you change your grip or try to develop a more “in-to-out” swing path, or make any of the other swing changes required, you will find it very awkward. However with repetition you will soon incorporate enough good habits that you won’t have any swing thoughts when you are standing over the ball on the course. Grooving-in good swing habits with The Swing Boss is a lot of fun.