But Wait…There’s More!
By Jim McNaney
We’ve all heard that line. Whether it’s a new knife set, the latest cleaning product or even golf training aids, advertisers always claim their product is not only the best…BUT THERE’S MORE!
In golf, it is usually the product that “guarantees to eliminate your slice” or make your short game problems “disappear overnight.” Then, as if that wasn’t enough…THERE’S MORE!
My normal response to anything that “guarantees to have the secret” is RUN! Having spent over two decades in the golf business, I’ve seen thousands of training aids come and go. The ones that have no real value tend to go away quietly but even the best available need to be used correctly or they can do you more harm than good.
I played golf for years with one of my best friends. When I got into the business, I started helping him with his game as well. To this day he is an avid golfer and works very hard on his game despite being a father of 3 teenagers. In short, the man loves golf.
A few years into my golf career, I moved to Florida. Over the course of my three year stint at Innisbrook Resort in the Tampa area, my buddy and I didn’t get to see each other more than once a year and usually that was over the winter so no golf swings were taken. Without me there he decided to borrow a training aid called the Medicus from his father.
For those that don’t remember, the Medicus is a club that hinges in the middle of the shaft. Used properly, it really does help some players smooth out either their takeaway or their transition. Used properly, it can help some players stay on plane at the top of the swing.
The key phase is “used properly.”
My buddy unfortunately did not know how to use it properly. You see, the feedback you should get when using this product is the club would break at the hinge if you were too quick or off plane. The problem is, you can cheat. If you rotated your forearms a certain way, the club would not break. The feedback you would get would seem to make you think you had made a proper swing. One problem, the face would then be wide open and you would have to make some sort of adjustment to square the face up again. Without someone there to tell my buddy that, he cheated (unknowingly). It has taken us several years to get that improper motor pattern out of his head.
This is not an isolated example. The Medicus is actually a very good training aid for a lot of players and it has stood the test of time, but you need to know what the training aid is specifically meant to correct and how to use it properly.
Don’t get me wrong, I love training aids. Generally I like the training aids that make you do something correct not keep you from doing something wrong.
Two of my favorite golf specific training aids on the market are the Impact Ball, and the Sequence Stick. The Impact Ball sits between your forearms and makes you keep moving your arms together throughout the swing. The Sequence Stick makes you separate or connect two sliding balls on a club-like shaft. When the balls are moved in the proper order they simulate how the hands and forearms move at certain points in the swing. What I also like about the Sequence Stick is it is very hard to “cheat” with it.
But you don’t have to spend a ton of money to use my other two favorite training aids…driveway stakes and swim tubes.
For just a couple of bucks you can have two of the most efficient and versatile trading aids. Swim noodles can be used for everything from balance to swing plane. Driveway stakes can be used for swing plane, alignment, chipping at impact, putting and the list goes on.
At the end of the day, the key to any training aid is using it correctly. It doesn’t hurt to have a Teaching Professional teach you how to use it correctly as well. And please remember, if they are promising something that seems to be too good to be true, it probably is and there generally isn’t anything more either.