Golf training aids: Don’t buy until you’ve read this

Golf training aids review – Long game

Golf training aids range from the wacky to the wonderful. In my time as a golf professional I’ve come across a wide range of golf training aids that I’ve used personally and some that my students have rocked up to lessons with.

The key question is: are they worth it? Or are you better off heading to the range without a pink flamingo lodged under your arm. After a little searching I couldn’t find a decent piece written on when and why to use golf training aids. Therefore I wanted to create a proper guide for golf training aids that focuses on what swing faults they will and will not help with.

Golf training aids – Please read this before you buy

Here is what most golfers don’t understand. Golf training aids don’t cure a slice, stop you fatting it or prevent the yips. They focus on giving you better feedback on factors that cause these outcomes. For example – a slice is caused by an open club face and an out-to-in swing path at impact.

An open club face is caused by a poor grip, poor left wrist position, bad release. An out-to-in swing path is caused by – a poor grip, poor posture, steep downswing plane. It is these swing principles that golf training aids focus on.

So before you dive in and buy a golf training aid, you need to understand which swing principle is causing your errant performance. If you don’t know, go find a good pro or drop me an email.

Buy a golf training aid once you know “I need to refine my left wrist position”. Or “It is my poor weight transfer that causes my fat shots”. This understanding will help you buy a golf training aid that will truly help you improve.

If you want more nerdy information on how training aids work, read below. If not feel free to use the links to skip to the golf swing aid of interest to you.

Golf training aids

Tour Striker

Swing Setter

Golf Tempo and Grip Trainer

The Hanger

Impact Bag

Orange Whip

Eyeline Speed Trap

Golf Impact Ball

SkyPro Swing Analyser

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Golf Training aids – How do they work?

I would suggest golf training aids can fall into three categories. Firstly, objects/devices that can help improve your technique. Secondly, aids that provide more detailed feedback on your shot outcome. Lastly, a device or object that allows your to practice away from the golf course or range – such as a putting matt. This review focuses on training aids that improve your technique, and therefore golfing performance.

To understand how they work we need to get a tad geeky and understand what actually causes us to get better at golf. To improve at golf we need repetitions of swinging a golf club. For each repetition we need feedback on what we did (our technique) and whether it was effective (the shot outcome).

These two pieces of feedback are critical. If they are not present or not detailed enough we will not learn – period. Many golfer’s fail to improve their technique, because they don’t know the difference between a good swing, and one which repeats their fault. If you can grab the correct training aid it can be wonderful. Get the wrong one and it sits in a cupboard under the stairs.

If you take nothing else away from this piece, remember this fact and next time you practice. Consider how you can get more detailed feedback on your technique and shot outcome. If you would like more info on how to practice read this.

Below is a list of golf training aids that I’ve used for my own game and during lessons. I will add to this as you make recommendations to me. Many claim to solve not only your slice, but will also help you lose weight, improve your love-life and solve world famine… You get the idea, in this review I want to cut through the crap and say what each will and won’t do for your golf game.

I hope it is of use.

Ps  – You can click on the titles or pictures to see products prices. These are affiliate links. If you click and purchase the product via these links it does not cost you any extra, but as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please feel free not to use the links if you wish. Thanks and happy golfing, Will.

Tour striker

golf training aid review tour striker
Click on this image to check it out on Amazon

The tour striker is one of the most popular golf training aids out there. If you’re wondering what it does, the clue is in the name. The Tour Striker aims to help you strike your iron shots like a tour player.

Pros: The smaller head encourages you to make a more centred strike, but critically, the face is raised off the ground. This raised face adds an interesting constraint to your practice.

To strike the face, and get the ball air bourn, you have to get your hands forward at impact. It also encourages you to create a descending strike through impact. If you fail to do this, the ball will shoot across the ground.

Cons: The Tour striker does provide good feedback and a fun way to practice improving your strike. However it isn’t a magical cure. Before buy be clear if you are trying to get your hands more forward at impact, or have more weight on your lead leg at impact (which in turn will achieve the above). These subtleties will really help you progress. Another common error for amateurs seen using this device is a weak left-hand grip. If you have a weak grip and attempt to create a tour-like impact position, you will lose your shots a seriously long way right. Fix your grip and slice first.

If you’ve check off these points and want to improve your striking then go ahead. I would suggest the 7 iron model for most. If you are a single figure golfer and want a challenge, opt for the pro 5 iron version.

Buy if: You want to improve your strike and are working on a descending strike, or improving your hand and body position at impact. Or you already can strike the ball well, but are a little inconsistent.

Don’t buy if: You’re looking for a magical cure to make you hit it like a tour pro, or you have a poor grip.

Swing setter

Golf Training aid swing setter
Showing the Swing Setter golf training aid mid-backswing. Click on this image to check it out on Amazon.

For many years I underrated this golf training aid. The premise is simple – you attach this to your golf club and as the picture shows you will receive instant feedback when your wrists are, or aren’t fully hinged.

Pros: However, it does one other very useful thing that even the manufacturers don’t state. The plastic cup will only fall correctly on your forearm, if you have a neutral left wrist position. If your wrist is bowed or cupped during the backswing or downswing the cup will miss your arm. A cupped left wrist during a downswing can be a critical factor leading to a slice or fade. For poor wrist setting and wrist position it provides great feedback. A pro I work with uses this every week to check how his arms and club move in his downswing.

Cons: If your grip is poor to begin with it will not do the above. You may actually find it frustrating to use. A key buzz term used around this device is ‘improving your lag‘. Your ‘lag’ is the angle you maintain between your lead arm and the golf shaft. Lag correlates highly with club head speed (ears prick up of anyone wanting to be a big dawg off the tee). The amount of lag you maintain in your downswing is highly dependant on how your pelvis and thorax unwind in your downswing. The fancy term for this is your kinematic sequence. Without decent body movement in your downswing you will be fighting a losing battle trying to hold your wrists in a hinged position. If you want more info on swing technique and lag check out this video.

Buy if: 1) You have a reasonable grip and want to work on: setting the club during the backswing/downswing. 2) You are trying to get rid of quirky wrist actions. 3)You are working on your lag with body movements.

Don’t buy if: You are trying to improve your lag, but have not addressed how your body should move in your downswing.

SKLZ Tempo and Grip Golf Trainer

Golf training aids tempo and grip trainer
Click on this image to check it out on Amazon.

This is effectively a shortened golf club, with a weight on the end. However, it is surprisingly nice to swing!

Pros: The grip training aid does focus on the most critical aspect of golfing technique – the grip. Using this grip aid will get your left hand in a better position, and should enable your hands to work more as a unit. However, it is not fool-proof it is still possible to place your left thumb in the correct position and have your left hand in a ‘weakened’ position. If you’re looking for a nice feeling club to swing in a confined space, and want the grip trainer this is a good option.

Cons: The bend in the shaft and the extra weight in the head claims to help you “drop the club on the inside and encourages your hands to release through impact”. However, in my humble opinion, this won’t happen. Even if this does occur whilst swinging the trainer you will see minimal transfer to your game. It also makes claims about improving rhythm. As a geeky biomechanist I prefer to quantify rhythm as what segments are moving, in what order, and at what velocities. I’m afraid I see limited benefit to ‘rhythm’ here.

Another slight limitation is with the end of the trainer not having a club face to square up. I feel this addition would add more value when working on your grip. All in all nice feel, good for grip, but lacks precise feedback on your swing.

Buy if: 1)You want to practice your swing in a small space with a realistic feeling club. 2) You want to improve your grip at home.

Don’t buy if: You want to work on the rhythm of your golf swing, or you want to improve your swing path and have room to swing a normal golf club.

The hanger golf training aid

Golf training aid the hanger
Once attached the plastic wing provides feedback on the club position relative to your forearms. Click on this image to check it out on Amazon.

The hanger golf training aid is a similar product to the swing setter. But ohhh my is this one expensive piece of plastic!! It promises to fix a slice and do all sorts else.

Pros: What is does it do? It gives you feedback on your left wrist position through the swing. To keep the plastic wing in contact with your arm, you have to keep your left wrist flexed (bowed). The good news is that this left wrist position does have a strong impact to your club face angle at impact and therefore shot shape.

Cons: How much for a piece of plastic?? Also it is quite fiddly to attach to your golf club. It will help you reduce your slice. Many players using it will find a better left wrist position through out there swing and impact. However, most slicers would be better off improving their left grip first. From my experience coaching, achieving a good left wrist position is near impossible without a sound golf grip.

Secondly, the hanger golf training aid claims to resolve many swing path issues. It may affect your swing path, but I would advise golfers to check their posture and set up first.

Buy if: 1) You know you specifically need to work on your left wrist position. 2) You want clearer feedback on your club ~ forearm relationship

Don’t buy: If you do not have a sound golf grip and posture. Both of these are far more impactful when trying to improve a slice.

Impact Bag

Golf training aid impact bag
Click on this image to check it out on Amazon.

It’s a classic golf training aid! I’ve had many hours crying whilst attempting to shifting one of these. They have actually changed in the past 10 years (possibly due to the suing culture). Now you purchase an empty heavy-duty bag and fill it with items, such as a towel or padding. If you read the sales blurb this thing pretty much suggests you’ll start hitting your irons like Tiger back in his prime, so let’s take a slightly more critical look at it.

Pros: Used correctly this can make a real difference to how you strike the golf ball. If you’re looking for a good descending blow with your irons this will help. Particularly if you also have some good coaching points to work on.

Although you can just swing and hit the dam thing, I personally feel there are two ways to use this training aid, which are far more useful. The first one is to practice an impact position from a set up position. Simply place your impact bag against something that won’t move too much, I use a door frame.

From your set up you just need to try and apply force into the bag simply by pressing – no backswing. To achieve a firm press into the bag a few things should happen quite naturally. Your weight should be predominantly be through your front foot. Your hands will be ahead of the club head; and your hips and chest will be facing towards your target. This is a great impact position and really emphases a feeling to take onto the range and course to strike down into your iron shots.

The second drill requires the bag to be able to slide. Repeat the above, but this time we’re going to work on your body and club face rotation through impact. Form the impact position described above. Now just turn your body through. The aim is to keep the same relationship between the club head and hands post impact. This is a great drill for anyone who struggles with a hook, as it really focuses on the club head staying square to the path, but the body staying in control of this movement.

Cons: From the essay above you can tell I like this – it served me very well when I was learning to compress my iron shots. Most people actually use with the aim of improving their club head speed and distance. The essay I’ve written above explains how this will happen via changing other swing principles. However, I would not recommend it as a work out device or to purely improve club head speed. It will send some serious forces through your joints and soft tissues, and doesn’t have any strengthen affect on the muscles you will use to accelerate the club in your downswing.

Buy if: 1) You want to improve your striking by: transferring more weight onto your front foot, having your hands further ahead of the ball at impact. 2) You have a hook and you wish to work on your club face and body rotation through impact.

Don’t buy if: you want to use this to get stronger and hit it further. Go get a basic work out plan for improving strength for golf.

Orange whip training aid

Golf training aid orange whip
Click on this image to check it out on Amazon.

Variations of this golf training aid have been around for 20-odd years. The golf clubs with a rubber shafts have been replaced with this fun orange bobble on a stick, but what is the point?

Pros: The website for the orange whip promises a lot. It suggests you can use this golf training aid for warming up,  improving your driving distance and strength training – please don’t.

In my humble opinion this has one use. It is a good use, but I don’t see any scientific under-pinning for its other claims.  The orange whip will help with your swing timing and swing tempo, that is all. Let me give you some detail of how this works.

The orange whip is a bendy stick with a mass on the end (the orange ball). When you accelerate a mass a force is applied. The bigger this force the more the stick bends. Therefore this training aid gives you feedback on if you have a smooth acceleration of the golf club (swing tempo) during your swing. If you are too quick at accelerating the golf club the stick will bend a lot.

Cons: I don’t know what else it does? And for many golfers, a quick acceleration at certain points during their swing isn’t a bad thing at all.

Many golfers find it useful, here is why I think that is. All golfers can hit greats shots, but they can also hit terrible shots. This is a matter of timing. The better you get your golf technique, the less you will rely on timing to hit good golf shots.

This training aid helps golfers focus on their timing. This will always be important in golf, but I doubt it will transform your golf game.

Buy if: You really want some feedback on your swing timing or swing tempo.

Don’t buy: If you have a slice or a hook, or want to improve distance. Instead invest this money into a golf lesson with a great PGA pro.

Eyeline golf speed trap

Golf training aid eyeline speed trap
Click on this image to check it out on Amazon.

First, let us get past the name… I could throw some scrabble letters out of a window and form a better name. This golf training aid claims to do two things – improve your swing plane and improve your strike. Does it work?

Pros: Once set up, this device will provide you with highly accurate feedback on your swing path. Based on how you set it up you can focus on the down and through swing, or just one. Having this cumbersome object close to your swing path really does make you re-focus on what type of golf swing you’re trying to grove. Another big bonus is that these pieces of feedback are very close to your impact point, so they really will relate to your ball flight. IF you really struggle with having a square swing path this could be of use.

The second positive is the matt itself. Placing the ball close to the back of the cutout gives great feedback when trying to make a ball – turf strike. This can be useful in your long game, but also your short-game. During coaching, I love to give pupils a task to complete to self-manage their progress. For me, golf training aids come into their own when they give precise feedback on a coaching point I’ve trying to improve.

Cons: It is dam expensive for a matt with some foam bits sticking out. The other issue is that it will only give you feedback on your swing just before impact. If the beginning of your downswing resembles someone chopping wood (very steep), you’ll struggle to improve your swing with this device alone. A far cheaper option  is a good old fashioned water bottle, or pushing one of these alignment sticks into the ground.

Buy if: 1)You hook or slice and want specific feedback on your swing path close to impact. 2) You struggle with your strike and want a ball-turf contact. 3) You want to be that golfer with a swanky looking training aid.

Don’t buy if: You slice/hook, but you’re struggling with the start of your downswing.

Golf impact ball

Golf training aid - Impact ball
Impact ball golf training aid – places between your forearms. Click on this image to check it out on Amazon.

Next, we have the golf impact ball. This golf training aid claims to help you swing your arms, shoulder and torso in harmony. By placing this object between your forearms you receive feedback via the impact ball either staying firmly in place, or falling out.

Pros: This training aid doesn’t really state a swing fault it aims to cure. However, from previous experience I can tell you it really does give many golfers a novel feeling. Once in place, you will feel inspired to rotate your forearms and torso more during your backswing. The same occurs during the downswing. This can be really helpful to flatten out a golfer’s swing plane. It gives a simplified feeling to a golfer who tends to lift their arms too much in their backswing. It also gives great feedback on how to correctly rotate the club face during the take away, for anyone who gets the club face very shut in their takeaway. Both these can be great to improve both long game and pitching technique.

Cons: It provides a nice feeling, but not all golfers find it comfortable to swing with. I personally feel it is fine up to 3/4 swings, but wouldn’t want to use it for full out iron or driver shots. A key reason it has mixed reviews is again down to individuals’ grips. With a good golf grip this works. However if you have a weak left hand grip, you’ll find the ball won’t secure properly. If you have a strong left hand grip and weak right hand grip (quite common in low teen handicappers) you’ll struggle to fit this between your arms.

Buy if: You wish to flatten your swing plane and shaft angle. You want to keep your body and arms more in sync. You get the club face very shut in your take away. You pull many golf shots due to poor swing plane or connection.

Don’t buy if: You have a slice because of an open club face, or you have a poor grip.

Skygolf Skypro Swing Analyzer

This golf training aid is truly one from the modern era. The swing analyzer will provide you with a wealth of information on your swing principles including:

  • Address: Shaft Angle & Shaft Lean
  • Clubhead speed & Swing tempo
  • Halfway Back: Takeaway Angle & Face Angle
  • Top of Backswing: Backswing length (degrees)
  • Halfway Down: Return Angle & Face Angle
  • Impact: Shaft Lean, Shaft Angle (relative to the ground), Angle of Attack, Face Angle (FOR PUTTING ONLY)

What is missing? Mainly club face angle at impact for longer shots and centredness of strike on the club face.

On the surface this is an incredible golf training aid…. HOWEVER, I do have experience building such devices. SkyCaddy will not give away their secret sauce of how this is built, but I’m pretty confident it will be a 6DoF gyroscope with a hefty smoothing algorithm.

What does this mean to you and your golf? It means this golf training aid will tell you the difference between a wildly over the top swing path and a neutral one. It will also tell you the difference between a 65 and 80mph club head speed, but it won’t be able to detect 1-2 degrees of separation.

Buy if: You really want consistent feedback on your swing path, club shaft angle, club head speed and you are looking to make big changes.

Don’t buy if: You’re looking to make less than 5% swing changes and want feedback. You’re going to need Trackman (which is dam pricy!)

Summary

So there is coaching and playing perspective on some of the top golf training aids I’ve used and recommended over the past 15 years. What you can hopefully see if that they can all be of great use. However, they need to be carefully matched to the golfer’s precise need. Focus on the swing principles causing your fault.

I really hope to build this post over the coming months, so please don’t be shy. Leave a comment below with other golf training aids you’d like to see me cover. Or if you have a swing fault and want help on what to buy get in touch.

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This post includes affiliate links to products used. If you click and purchase the product it does not cost you any extra, but I do earn a small commission. Please feel free not to use the links if you wish. Thanks and happy golfing, Will.

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6 Replies to “Golf training aids: Don’t buy until you’ve read this”

  1. Thanks JW. Tour striker and Orange whip have been put forward so I’ll get hold of both and update. Let me know if there is anything you are trying to improve in your swing you’d like me to cover. Will

  2. Great write up. Really helpful that you indicated which tools help correct what flaws. I will be using them, but not buying any. Instead I will try a plastic clothes hanger as a swing setter, a old sports bag stuffed with a cushion as an impact bag, and a steal a foam ball from the kids as an impact ball. Then use the money save to get some lessons 🙂

    1. Ha, great plan Jabra! I’d say that is a wise use of your money. Please send me a pic of these DIY products when they are done ;). Also, let me know what you’re working on and I can trying to come up with some ideas for how to generate feedback with the golf equipment you have. Will

  3. I bought the eyeline golf speed trap. I general hit all iron and driver shots left. I thought this might help me. However , I hit the plate on about every iron shot. What can I do to correct the issue, besides giving up golf and sticking to bowling….. second year golfer

    1. Hello sir, let’s give golf another go before you scrap it completely.

      It’s tricky to say for sure without seeing your swing in person. However, if you are having many miss-strikes this article should get you going in the right direction: https://golfinsideruk.com/why-do-i-top-thin-fat-my-iron-shots/

      Then this second article is more general to coaching yourself, but having a basic understanding of ball flight and swing principles is really useful:

      https://golfinsideruk.com/how-to-be-your-own-golf-coach/

      Let me know how you get on.

      Kind regards,

      Will

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