Golf is a difficult game to master. And to help you through it, inventive minds have come up with thousands of different training devices. From the Swing Jacket, to the Medicus, the SpeedStick, the Inside Approach, the Impact Bag and the Birdie Ball, there's something that will help everyone's game.
There seems to be no end to the inventiveness of golf training devices. The Centour Golf Club Trainer is designed so that only a swing that is on line, and has a squared club face will pass through the ball.
The good folk at Almost Golf sent me a box of their practice balls the other day for review. (More of you should send me stuff for review). After trying them out at the club and in an elementary school's playing field, I've found a lot to like about them.
Like most training balls, they don't fly anywhere near as far as a regular golf ball. If I really smash it, I can get one to go about a hundred yards -- but that's it. And, their light weight makes them safe to hit around breakable things like windows, cars and kids.
Ok, you say, there are lots of balls like that on the market: whiffle balls, open cell foam balls, styrofoam balls, etc.
The difference is that the Almost Golf balls actually fly like regular balls. A good shot flies true; a poor one will slice or fade just like a regular ball. They say you can draw or fade them just like a regular ball. I can testify to the fact that the Almost Golf balls will fade; but as I can't hit a draw with a regular ball, I also can't hit one with the Almost Golf ball.
So I guess they do fly true.
I used them to practice my wedges in the back yard and also hit a few with a driver at the elementary school (you can't hit woods at my club's practice range). I think both sessions helped.
The best part, though, is that my boys can whack them around the back yard without endangering the glass sunroom. My two-year-old, in particular loves to hit them.
What's the downside? Only one. Like all short flight balls, you don't quite get the sensation of hitting a real ball. But that's a small complaint, compared to the advantages of being able to see true flight characteristics in a confined space.
I give this one five golfballs (out of five).
My pro friend uses a couple of yardsticks as his primary training tools. With them, he can check to see if a player's stance, alignment and swing path are correct. With this Practice T from Eye Line golf, you can check all of those things yourself.
The Powerball is a handheld gyroscope designed to build wrist, arm and shoulder strength in golfers. After you pull the cord to set it spinning, the manufacturer says that it generates 40lbs of pressure. Now, some people have begun powerball leagues where the object is to see how fast you get it spinning.
I bought a Birdie Ball the other day at a local golf shop for $1.95. It is a small plastic tube with beveled edges. You set it up with the open ends facing the ground and the sky. Then you hit it like a normal golf ball. The thing tumbles end over end with a reverse spin, just like a golf ball, has a nice arcing flight and lands a short distance away. I hit it with a sand wedge a few times and it flew the width of my back yard. The manufacturer claims that the maximum flight is about 40 yards.
Even better: you can fade and draw (or hook and slice) this thing just like a regular ball. My son says that it makes different sounds depending upon which way you hit it. (I'm quite deaf, so I'll have to take his word for it).
All in all, a first rate product. Much better than those plastic balls because it actually feels like you are hitting a real ball.
The Impact Whiz swing trainer has a bar across the back of the club that is said to stop the urge to scoop the golf ball by forcing you to swing the clubface down into the ball with a decending blow. Scooping is, of course, a no-no and is the cause of all sorts of bad results.
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