There are hundreds of golf training aids on the market, but we’d like to highlight three we think are essential for any golfer’s full swing toolkit.
Our criteria is effectiveness and convenience. If a training aid helps you improve, gives you performance oriented feedback, and fits comfortably in your golf bag, then you are onto a winner. On the other hand, if the aid doesn’t fit in the trunk of your car or takes 10 to 15 minutes to assemble, it’s probably not worth the effort, and it’s guaranteed to get some odd looks on the driving range. Just keep it simple.
One of the most popular training aids we see in the golf bags of both professional Tour players and recreational golfers alike are alignment sticks. About meter long and made of fiberglass, these handy devices are very thin and come in a variety of bright colors.
They are popular because of their versatility, easy availability, and relatively low cost. A golfer can use them to help with proper alignment, ball position, body motion, and the swing plane. We recommend getting two alignment sticks for the purpose of the following drills.
Railroad Alignment Drill
If you struggle to get properly aligned – even the pros have this problem – then use your sticks whenever you practice. They will take the guess work out of the aiming process. Simply lay two alignment sticks on the ground, parallel to each other and the target line, with the outer stick outside the target line, and the inner stick inside the target line, creating the image of the railroad track.
Now, position your body – feet, hips, and shoulders – parallel to the inner alignment stick, and the club face aligned perpendicular to the outside stick.
Using the alignment sticks in this way will help you groove your swing on the practice range, and give you a good image to carry onto the course.
Golf Ball Placement Drill
Ball position varies depending on the club you’re using and, like alignment, is not always the easiest set-up key to monitor. Put two alignment sticks in T-shape form, and you’ll see exactly where the ball is positioned in your stance. Doing this also ensures good alignment, since the second stick is parallel to your feet.
For short irons and wedges, ball position is fairly centered in the stance, but slightly forward of center for mid-irons, hybrids, and fairway woods. The driver is played off the instep of the front foot.
If you tend to slice, you’ll probably feel like the correct position – as confirmed by your T-form sticks – feel and look more toward the back of your stance. Adopting these new positions with your alignment sticks will help you start attacking the golf ball more from the inside and straighten out that over the top move.
If you struggle with a hook, these same positions will feel more forward and encourage you to strike the ball more down the line – and less from the inside- which should help temper that particular swing fault.
David Leadbetter SwingSetter
After 30 years of teaching, David Leadbetter was inspired to design a training aid that would help golfers at any level improve their performance, without having to leave the comfort of their home. The SwingSetter, which debuted in 2006, helps perfect your grip, swing plane, tempo, and release – four keys to great golf swing.
This is the perfect training tool for golfers who want to get better but just don’t have the time or can’t practice due to the busy schedule. The SwingSetter is not designed to hit a ball and fits easily in any golf bag.
The pre-molded grip addresses the No. 1 fault in golf – a poor grip. the fins and markings on the grip guide your hands into the perfect position – more toward the fingers – giving you the ability to hinge your wrists more easily. In addition, the SwingSetter telescopic plane pointer – which extends out of the butt end of the grip – shows you if you have set the club on plane correctly.
The Swingsetter’s two magnetic balls help develop your ideal tempo and release. The upper ball detaches and makes a distinct “click” when you have set your wrists correctly at the midway point in the backswing. The lower ball separates and “clicks” after impact to indicate that the wrists have fully re-hinged and released.
The SwingSetter gives you the visual feedback of all the key components to great swing technique.
We have seen great improvements with both amateurs and professional clients when training with the SwingSetter. It’s complete training aid that comes with a six-minute training program designed by David himself. When executed two to three times per week, it will give you the feel for a great swing, and improve your distance, accuracy, the ball striking.
The Swingyde is a popular, lightweight, golf training tool designed to create the correct swing positions, including the proper wrist hinge at the top of the backswing. We have used this training tool with Tour players and beginners, and it gets results. It’s suitable for both right- and left-handed players and can be used while hitting balls.
We recommend using the Swingyde with an 8 or 9 iron at first, and making practice swings until you get comfortable connecting with the tool correctly in the backswing and follow-trough.
The Swingyde will help you set the wrists correctly when the left arm is parallel to the ground in the backswing, while maintaining a square face position. From there you can simply complete your turn.
On the downswing, this device encourages keeping the wrists in a powerful lag position, without leaking power by casting or throwing the hands away from the body. At the same time, the Swingyde will help put the club face squarely on the ball, resulting in greater distance and improved accuracy.
Swingyde is one of the bedrocks of the training aid market. It’s simple design and practical application have made it one of the most popular aids on the market, and one of the most regularly used items in the teaching community.