Jump to content
Matt Saternus

Thoughts on Training Aid Reviews

Recommended Posts

Our Sponsors

As I start my second year writing for MyGolfSpy.com, I've been thinking about how I can improve. One category that I feel like I jumped into deeply last year was training aids. Some were good, some were bad, many were ok. As I think about the fast-approaching PGA Show and the many training aids that I will see, and perhaps have the chance to review, I thought it would be a good idea to ask the MGS readers what they'd like to see in a training aid review.

 

I'm open to any thoughts, questions, or ideas that you have, but I do have a few specific questions that I'll use to get the ball rolling:

 

My current scoring system awards points for the following: Ease of Use/Set Up (10), Effectiveness (30), Longevity (20), Value (20), and The Peanut Gallery (20). Are there any categories that I'm missing? I tweaked the scoring balance a bit last year, but I'm open to doing that again if there's a compelling case for it. Again, I'm open to all thoughts.

 

How long do you use a training aid before you expect improvement or say, "Enough"? I feel like one thing I did last year was really look for the good in everything. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing because I don't want to trash a product that I've barely glanced at. At the same time, I'm not providing a useful service to my readers if I use a product far longer than they would just to find something nice to say about it. For example: I'm currently testing a putting aide that promises a very specific benefit. How long should I use it before testing that benefit? Does it depend on the product? I expect a wide range of answers, but I'm curious where the average is.

 

What are you willing to spend on a training aid? My "Value" section is usually based off the idea that most training aids cost $80-100. For that kind of money, what do you expect? How do you feel about training aids that can be "copied" with cheaper, household items (extreme example: $20 "alignment sticks" versus $1 driveway markers)? Does that detract from the value?

 

What is the single biggest factor in whether or not you will buy a training aid? Price? Effectiveness? Ease of use/something you would actually use?

 

I think I have more, but it's off to work. Please don't be shy with your comments, it's all about making MyGolfSpy better!


Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Effectiveness is the only thing that matters to me. I think there are a lot of "gimmicks" out there that can hurt you a lot more than help, so if you're willing to try them, then I'm willing to listen. I do however think you should choose them wisely, by that I mean choosing something that is going to actually help the majority of the golfing population, without hurting yours or their current swing. For example, products such as the Tour Striker (which is my favorite training aid EVER) or Hank Haneys Plane Finder.

 

I'm all for reading reviews on training aids, but please don't jeopardize your swing for a review.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really? Only one comment so far? Slow news day...:P (Thanks for your thoughts, JBones).

 

I had one other question that I couldn't quite "verbalize" earlier that was really at the heart of this thread:

 

How much should my individual philosophy/views/thoughts/etc play into a review? This question becomes particularly important as I look at putting aides. There are many things that I believe about putting that are far from the conventional wisdom. This leads me to look at certain putting aides and think, "This will not really help people." However, it's possible that it will help someone who believes in it. What would you, the reader, want to see in such a situation? An explanation of who it might benefit? A judgment based on what "most" golfers would think about it? My unfiltered opinion all alone?

 

As I said before, your feedback will only lead to better reviews. Thanks!


Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read the article on the tour striker and thought that was excellent. That is the only "training aid" that has really interested me. Well, I also considered a nose ring, fishing line, and a treble hook to keep from raising my head during chips or maybe getting some other body parts pierced and attaching a decorative chain but decided that was a bit too much. :D And it would interfere with the follow through. :D Most of these training aids seem gimicky and you seem to take that into account. I really like the way you have divided it up and did not think of anything you left out.


 

Driver:      :mizuno-small:  ST190G on Fujikura ATMOS Black

Fairway:   :mizuno-small:  ST190TS 15° on Fujikura ATMOS Black

Hybrids     :mizuno-small:  CLK 22 & 25 (set to 20° & 23°) on Fujikura SPEEDER

Irons:     :mizuno-small:  MP5 5-P on True Temper Dynamic Gold

Wedges: :mizuno-small: MP-T5 52*, 56* & 60* on True Temper Dynamic Gold Wedge

Putter:    :cameron-small: 2018 Select Newport 2

Balls:      :titelist-small: Pro V1X

Shoes:     :footjoy-small:

Range Finder: Precision Pro  NX7 Pro

All grips are BestGrips Micro-Perforated

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What would you, the reader, want to see in such a situation? An explanation of who it might benefit? My unfiltered opinion all alone?

 

As I said before, your feedback will only lead to better reviews. Thanks!

I think those two things would about cover it. For me, if I'm going to read a review to help choose a training aid, I have two questions......does this apply to my "flaw" and how effective is it towards fixing my "flaw".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never quite understood training aids. How many other sports have the plethora of gadgets, gizmo's, appliances, contraptions, devices or apparatus aimed at improving performance. Most sports rely on repetition, form, and practice.

What did you strap on to learn to throw a baseball or football? Any device you can remember that you used to

improve your stroke with a basketball? I can't think of anything that helps you strike a soccer ball, handle a puck or

volley a tennis ball. Pool, swimming, ping pong, badminton, skateboarding....not much out there. There are no shortcuts to becoming proficient at any sport. The best .....and most underused training aid is your mind.

As no golf swing is the same there is no "One size fits all." Balance, rhythm, tempo, alignment, ball position, setup, and grip, are generally seen as the basics. These are different for all golfers. Look at Ray Floyd, Jim Furyk, Calvin Peete or Lee Trevino. Nothing the same here....other than their positions at impact. Their swings were exclusively and uniquely their own.

Google "Golf Training Aids" and you'll get 8,460,000 results. Do the same for "Top Rated Training Aids" and you get a whooping 15,600,000 results. We as golfers are obviously convinced that these "aids" really work.....otherwise there wouldn't be these kind of returns. If we broke down the best aids for the full swing and used them, we'd look like Kevin Costner in Tin Cup.

Had an uncle that changed his sticks every year.....newest and best of everything. He was living proof that great tools in the hands of a poor carpenter will still make a lousy cabinet.

My point, if I have one, is we as golfers think there is a double secret tool out there that when used, will ultimately construct the perfect golf swing.....when we know there is no such thing. Our sport is no different than any other....there are no shortcuts....no matter how hard we want to believe there is.

Instruction, fundamentals and practice....these are the things that are common to all sports. Golf is no different...no matter what we want to believe.

That being said....I'm goin' out, strappin' on my V-Harness, puttin' on my Wrist Rite, grabbin' my Tour Striker (the best aid by far), and continuing my search for the perfect golf swing.

Keep swingin'.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Blownfuse: I agree with you to a point.

 

The problem with golf is that the swing happens in a very short amount of time and very few people (probably none) can accurately tell you what they're doing. The list of examples of this goes on for days and includes not only average golfers but some of the greatest players ever. As I say every day at GolfTEC, "Feel is not real."

 

The value of a good training aid is giving you accurate feedback. Let's take the Tour Striker as an example, since we both like it. "Flipping" the club is an extremely common fault, however, if I asked 10 random golfers "Do you flip through impact?" I can almost guarantee that all of them would say, "No." The Tour Striker gives you immediate feedback that tells you either "You flipped it" or "You had a good impact position." It is necessary because most people (myself included, some days) can't feel the difference between flipping and not flipping.

 

Also, training aids have a big market in golf because we play golf alone and the VAST majority of golfers don't take lessons. Basketball, football, soccer, etc, are primarily "coached" games. If people had regular golf instruction, it's likely they would not have so many training aids.


Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt,

 

I like your comment that "feel is not real." What do you use with your students to replace the concept?

 

To define feel in any sport is illusive at best.....in golf, almost impossible. How many times have you heard athletes say

"I had no touch," or "I lost my stroke." And it's not just golf.... I've tried to find a simple definition that wasn't some kind of

metaphysical psychobabble...and I've failed miserably. This is as close as I've come.

 

Feel is an expression used in golf to reflect the experience the golfer has during the execution of a shot which may be measured in the time interval following impact necessary for the golfer to verbally accurately predict the quality of the shot.

Now that's a mouthful....and for most purposes.... unusable.

 

My spouse has over the past few yrs become infected with the golf addiction virus. As she progresses and we talk more

about the subtleties of the game the word "feel" creeps into our conversations. Feeling connected, feeling the club head,

feeling the release.

 

I guess without visualization there can be no "feel."

 

I'd be interested to hear how you cope with this concept.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Blownfuse, feel is pretty important to me. However, it has to be accompanied by something so you can know the difference between the right feel and wrong feel. Taking lessons is the best way to do this, especially if you can watch a video of yourself afterwards. Once you know how a good swing feels, you can repeat it.

 

As far as training aids, I think the Orange whip is a perfect "feel" tool. You always hear about feeling like you're "pulling down on a string" during your swing to give yourself the correct tempo and release. The orange whip is the only tool that I've used that actually helps tremendously in this department.

 

So when I look at training aid reviews, I look at a few things:

 

1) Does the aid actually help an area I need to improve?

2) Does the aid impart a strong response to a good or bad swing? The response can be visual ball flight or feel.

3) Does the aid "force" me to completely change my swing? (for example, the planefinder is not helpful if someone doesn't have or want a one-plane swing)

4) Can I trust the feedback? (OptiShot comes to mind here, after using an aboutGolf simulator, I'm not sure I would buy the OptiShot)

5) Is it practical to use and/or do I look like a complete dork using it? This can be countered by how effective the tool is.

 

One of the reasons I don't like the plane finder is without the aid, you don't have the feedback. Others may disagree with me here. With a "good" aid (imo) like the tour striker or orange whip, you can still see/feel the effects after you've put the aid down. From the sound of it, the Can't Miss putting aid fits in this category, and it very well may be my next purchase.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt,

 

I like your comment that "feel is not real." What do you use with your students to replace the concept?

 

To define feel in any sport is illusive at best.....in golf, almost impossible. How many times have you heard athletes say

"I had no touch," or "I lost my stroke." And it's not just golf.... I've tried to find a simple definition that wasn't some kind of

metaphysical psychobabble...and I've failed miserably. This is as close as I've come.

 

Feel is an expression used in golf to reflect the experience the golfer has during the execution of a shot which may be measured in the time interval following impact necessary for the golfer to verbally accurately predict the quality of the shot.

 

Now that's a mouthful....and for most purposes.... unusable.

 

My spouse has over the past few yrs become infected with the golf addiction virus. As she progresses and we talk more

about the subtleties of the game the word "feel" creeps into our conversations. Feeling connected, feeling the club head,

feeling the release.

 

I guess without visualization there can be no "feel."

 

I'd be interested to hear how you cope with this concept.

 

 

The term "feel" is problematic for exactly the reason you illustrated: it can mean a lot of things. For our purposes here let's talk about it in this way: "What the player feels that they do during the swing." Example:

 

Student: "I feel like I kept my hips square to the ball at the top of my backswing."

 

The way that I deal with this is to put the student in the correct position and ask them what it feels like. Personal example: my shoulder align too far left at address. To get to square, I need to "feel" very closed.

 

Now we get into a new problem: eventually square will feel square and what I think/feel is closed will actually be closed. This is why it is important to continually monitor your swing, preferably with a coach/instructor.

 

In short, I don't want to take away a student's feel, feel is very important. I just want to align their feel with reality through visual feedback.

 

Hopefully that made sense, if not I'll try again this evening. :)


Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wdgolf: Thank you for the feedback, I appreciate it.

 

One more point in response to something Blownfuse said:

 

You mentioned that the word "feel" creeps into your conversations with your wife as in "feeling connected," etc. I think ideas like that are good, in some cases great, but the problem is that "connected" may mean different things to you and I, or it might mean nothing to either of us! This brings me back to the process of, "Let me show you exactly what I'd like you to do and you tell me what that feels like." The learning process is much easier if I can adapt my language to fit your feel instead of you trying to feel what I say.

 

Easy, right? :blink:


Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not a fan of training aids and can't think of any that I have ever bought. I did learn to play well at a young age so that may be why I never felt they were of much benefit. Here are my requirements for a training aid if I ever chose to buy one:

 

1. It would have to be something that had a benefit that continued for as long as I played the game. An example might be a weighted club. That would almost be more of an exercise aid than a swing aid. I don't want to buy something that will lose it's effectiveness after a short time.

 

2. Cost is important. Probably wouldn't spend over $100 regardless. If the price is more than that, and I'm interested, I would be looking for a less expensive alternative or try to make one myself. (I have a weighted club I made from a standard club.)

 

3. I think putting aids are useless for building a putting stroke. I think putting is a product of how you think instead of how you stroke the ball. A putting aid would have to have a strong mental aspect and even that probably would not influence me to purchase it. The only exception to that statement is this... putting is about confidence, if a training aid increases confidence, it is beneficial.

 

4. I do buy golf books and like to read about the swing and swing theories. I'm likely to try all kind of ideas, but it is always without using a training aid.

 

Just my thoughts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

good discussion here.

 

I'm working on a few putter training aids myself, and am really curious to people's thoughts/input on what they want to learn/see, and also if they even believe in training aids at all.

 

I go back and forth between wanting a promise from an aid and then just saying YES or NO if it did what it promises for myself, or going more the route you have gone breaking things down in more detail.

 

This game is SO mental, talking to the guys at TaylorMade about their sole plate technology, and how it doesn't physically really change much, except visually it does, which is along the lines of the TrueAim stickers.... so in that case, a training aid comes into play differently for each user.

 

gonna be a fun and interesting year for training aid reviews I think!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One more point in response to something Blownfuse said:
You mentioned that the word "feel" creeps into your conversations with your wife as in "feeling connected," etc. I think ideas like that are good, in some cases great, but the problem is that "connected" may mean different things to you and I, or it might mean nothing to either of us! This brings me back to the process of, "Let me show you exactly what I'd like you to do and you tell me what that feels like." The learning process is much easier if I can adapt my language to fit your feel instead of you trying to feel what I say.

Easy, right? :blink:

 

 

Oh man....my head hurts...but you make perfect sense...scarey huh?? What or how I interpret feel will be completely

different from what my wife experiences. That being said, it makes perfect sense for her to explain to me.....in her terms...

what she is "feeling." It's a great way to approach it. Thus your're the teacher.

 

It's SOOO easy to produce sensory overload...especially when working with someone who may not possess the same

vocabulary as yourself. You know...the whole women are from Venus...men are from Mars. I never want to inundate her

with so many different thoughts that she's unable to pull the trigger..so we stick the discussions to the range only. At least doing that her head won't explode.

 

It's one of those cases where less is more....so I try to only give her 1 and no more than 2( as long as they are related) things to concentrate on. Have you ever seen a woman's head explode....it's messy...really messy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Blownfuse: I'm glad that i was clear. I definitely agree with you about 1 change at a time: there's simply no way for the body to do more than one thing at once, particularly when it's not something the body does naturally.


Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...