In this article we review the top impact bags on the market and share some handy drills to help you improve your strike. We also cover common errors made when training with an impact bag.
When I turned pro I spent hundreds of hours trying to improve my ball striking, and a good couple of winters using an impact bag – here I’ll try to share everything I learned, along with which impact bags features are most important.
Before we begin – if you’re buying an impact bag purely to increase your clubhead speed and distance, then don’t, there are far more effective and safer options. Check out our review of the best training aids for increasing swing speed or our SuperSpeed golf review.
If you’re buying an impact bag to improve your ball striking and technique – great, impact bags are a great tool to help you achieve this.
Below is our round-up and top picks.
Tour Striker Smart Bag
In first place, we have the Tour Strike Impact bag, this training aid is $15-20 more than a standard impact bag, but here I feel it is worth the extra cost, as it is designed with a little more care and attention to detail.
The Tour Striker Smart impact bag features a patented system with sloped edges to encourage the correct forward shaft lean at impact. This is a key feature, as you’re not looking to thump the bag, rather learn an impact position where you can squeeze and compress the golf ball. The correct impact can only be achieved with some level of forward shaft lean.
This smart golf training aid also has some handy visual cues for where your shaft should be at address and impact. This is a nice additional extra, but not a game-changer in my opinion.
Finally, the Tour Striker Smart Bag comes complete with a plane board (plane pillow) that can be attached to the side of the bag. As you can see in the video above, this can be used to provide feedback on your swing path through impact.
The swing pillow can be very handy if you want to work on your swing plane/swing path along with your ball striking. You can use the swing pillow as demonstrated in the video, or shift it backwards and just use it for feedback as you approach impact to reduce your in-to-out or out-to-in swing path.
The Tour Striker Impact bag is made from high-impact resistant vinyl, ensuring that it’s durable and can take a good battering over time. This is ideal if you’re planning a long winter or season working on your swing.
The Tour Striker Smart Bag offer a great blend of function, durability and adaptability. If budget isn’t an issue and you want a great impact bag then this should your top pick.
Golf Insider readers recieve an extra 10% off all Tour Strike products. Enter code: WS-2955 at checkout
Eyeline Impact Cube
Next, we have another well-known brand in the training aid world – Eyeline golf. For many years I’ve used one of their putting aids and here we’ll cover their version of the impact bag – the Eyeline Impact Cube.
Just like the Tour Striker bag, this swing aid has sloped sides built-in, allowing you to create that all-important forward shaft lean at impact. The Eyeline Impact Cube goes a step further, with varying angles on all sides to cater for the ideal wedge, mid-iron and driver impact positions.
This impact bag is made out of ultra-durable Ballistic Nylon. Its funky red design and cleaner edges are cooler looking than the other impact bags in this review. However, this is not just for aesthetics. As shown below, these clean lines make it ideal to add varying constraints into your practice to work on your swing path too.
The Eyeline Impact Cube is top of the price range when it comes to impact bags. This is the key reason it doesn’t rank top in our roundup, but if you are serious and you want to splash out it is a great practice aid.
It is super durable and has a clean design making it ideal for serious golfers looking for a long-lasting swing aid.
Impact Bag by Gary Wiren
This was my old friend for the 18 month period where I was trying to go from a flicky, hooky 5 handicapper to an assistant professional who could hit some proper iron shots. I’ll try to not be too sentimental when talking through this review.
This impact bag is basic, sturdy and does what you would expect. It lacks the slanted edges of the two choices above, meaning you don’t get this firm resistance at the exact angle you want, but it still will provide a great tool and will last you a very long time.
If I could go back, I would have grabbed a Tour Striker Smart Bag or Eyeline Cube (if they existed back then), but this impact bag is 90% as good as the two we have featured above and is 30-50% cheaper. Just be aware that if you really pack this bag out with padding you won’t be able to create the forward shaft lean position as easily.
A very solid, durable choice. Probably the right option if you’re on the edge of deciding how much use you’ll get from your impact bag but you still want a quality product.
The rest of the bunch
In the past 8-10 years we’ve been flooded with copycat impact bags, most taking the Gary Wiren, rounded bag design. When I come across these new products I always ask if I can have a play.
From experience, these will often take a good bit of striking, pushing and squeezing, but read the reviews, you’ll see the most common complaints with less expensive impact bags are i) the seams giving way and ii) handles falling off.
The Partage impact bag pictured above fairs better than most in this price range based on the reviews. Check it out if you’re after a lower cost impact bag.
What most golfers don’t know about impact bags
Impact bags come empty and require filling at home. This often surprises golfers, but view it as a positive, you can now tailor how plump or empty your impact bag is and also tweak the weight depending on how you fill it.
Old towels and rags work best, foam, beads and any other packaging can be used as a substitute. Fabrics tend to work well as they provide a medium weight and a good level of compression and you squeeze and slide the bag (see the drills below).
How to properly use a golf impact bag
Golfers everywhere are looking for ways to improve their game, and impact bags have become a favourite tool in doing so. However, making a large volume of full swings against an impact bag is a pretty bad idea.
Instead, try using an impact bag in one of the following three ways.
Impact bag drills
Below are my favourite impact bag drills. Use them to improve your swing technique, accuracy and strike.
Address to impact
Our first impact bag drill is called ‘address to impact’. Place your impact bag against a wall or door frame. Set up in your golf stance applying soft pressure to the bag with a mid-iron, then without making a backswing press into the bag until you create some shaft flex.
Without trying, you’ll find your weight shifts forward, your body starts to unwind towards the target and your hands are leading the clubhead – all the ingredients for a great impact position.
Repeat this drill 3-6 times before having a break and returning for 2 more sets. This is a great drill to learn the kinetics of a great impact position. Take this feeling and try hitting 50 and 75% shots on the golf range.
Push through impact drill
This impact bag drill is particularly good if you suffer from flicky hands through impact, resulting in thins, tops and hooks.
Set up with a mid-iron pressed against your impact bag. Make sure you have a 6-feet of clear space in front of the impact bag.
1) Press into a powerful impact position, as described in the drill above.
2) Push and slide the impact bag along the floor, until it is fully out of reach.
In stage two you should feel all the effort comes from your trunk and core, while your wrists and arms hold firm to maintain a strong, straight line between your lead arm and club shaft.
This drill trains you to correctly rotate through your golf shots. It also helps you keep the club face squarer for long through impact – key characteristics of elite ball strikers.
The classic impact bag drill
Most golfers drop the bag on the floor and start hitting! I wouldn’t advise this approach for fear of overuse injury (tendonitis). If you want to practice with more of a dynamic movement, start small.
Draw the club back 6 inches, drive into the bag and push it through. Slowly building up the swing length and reps but please consult a PGA professional or qualified trainer before you embark on any form of training.
This drill is a good progression from either of the first two drills above. Master the appropriate impact and follow-through, then slowly build into this third drill.
Golf impact bags – Summary
In summary, opt for an impact bag with good durability and where possible and slightly slanted face. These features are ideal for optimising your impact position. The Tour Striker Smart bag and Eyeline Cube are amongst the best on the market, but they do come with a higher price tag.
Enjoy the drills if you do grab a bag and let me know as your ball striking progresses.
Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider UK
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