November-December 2012

Great gear and must have training aids

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The Orange Whip ($109) isn't new, but it's still our top pick for helping to improve tempo, balance and rhythm. It doubles as the perfect tool to loosen up before a round, too. There are also several drills and training exercises you can do with it. Add the Orange Peel ($209)—which, granted, doesn't have the portability of the Orange Whip, but is a great product nonetheless—and you have the total package. The Orange Peel is a device you stand on to help you better your swing, "alter your swing plane and improve your balance." Both training aids, either together or separately, are among the most effective training aids we've tried in a long while.

Why did this take so long? We love the idea of having a golf GPS device in a watch! The Garmin Approach S3 ($349) makes finding your correct yardage a piece of cake. It runs in GPS mode for up to 8 hours (and four weeks in watch mode) and has a super-easy-to-use interface that tracks distances, how far you hit that last shot, keeps score, has an enhanced Green View mode and more. Better yet, right out of the box it contains data on more than 27,000 golf courses worldwide, with updates and additions that are free of charge. Simple to wear and easy to charge (you even can plug it in and print out a scorecard), the Garmin Approach S3 is fashion-forward as well.

If you really want to build a better swing, you need to build a solid foundation. The Plane Swing ($855) helps you get off on the right track and start curing a bunch of common swing flaws right away. It's a big device, and not a cheap one, but it works incredibly at helping golfers ingrain the proper golf motion. We particularly like the PowerSLIDER add-on, which when used with The Plane Swing, adds resistance as you glide the club along the rail for muscle-building while fixing your stroke.

One of the most overlooked aspects of the golf swing is the right arm (left arm for lefties) during the golf swing. How you hinge and position your arm is critical if you want to stay on the proper plane and have a repeatable, powerful golf swing. This is where The Right Angle 2 ($49) steps in. Designed to fit around your right arm (it works on the left arm, too, for left-handers), The Right Angle 2 helps you position your right arm perfectly during the swing. The resulting effect is a perfect 90-degree angle at the top of your swing and a correct unhinging motion through the downswing. The auditory clicker feature is a cool one, using sound to let you know when you're in or out of position.

One of the most overlooked aspects of the golf swing is the pivot. And it happens to be the one thing that, if corrected, can make a huge impact on your golf game, both in terms of power and consistency. The PivotPro ($79) not only helps you feel what a perfect pivot should feel like, but also trains you to pivot your body as you swing. Simply hook your right foot in, and start swinging. We've tried it, and it works wonders. And it helps us not only perfect our pivot, but avoid swaying and sliding too much during the golf swing.

We think obstructive training aids (the kind that get in the way and immediately let you know if you're doing something wrong) are some of the most effective tools you can use to improve your game. The Benderstik ($99) by Mike Bender, PGA, does just that and a whole lot more. It can be used to help correct a handful of swing flaws such as the chicken wing, excessive head movement and more. The Benderstik can be configured to help out just about every part of your game.

Okay, it's not exactly a training aid, but the new Bionic RelaxGrip ($15) glove is just as effective. The double-row finger-grip bars help make it easier to hold the club without needing to excessively squeeze the club, which restricts wrist hinge and release. After all, a relaxed pair of hands is typically a faster pair of hands. Anytime you squeeze the handle too hard, you're likely to reduce your speed of releasing the clubhead into the ball.


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