Golf Tips sees scores of new training aids come through the door every year, from high-tech gadgets equipped with full-color screens and radar or GPS capability to low-tech devices that depend on the immutable laws of physics, and more than a little engineering inspiration, to accomplish their goal of helping golfers lower scores and have more fun. But every so often we latch onto one that we just can’t part with since it’s so darned effective, taking just a few moments each day or week to work its game-changing magic. These five are in that category.
MISIG STRETCHING SYSTEM
MISIG is short for “Most Important Stretch In Golf,” and that’s no lie: A few reps with this modified resistance band-based system made specially for golfers will put you in that vaunted Jordan Spieth or Rickie Fowler position at the top of the swing — the one where your left shoulder is under your chin and your right shoulder is well behind you, loaded for the next monster drive. MISIG melds stretching, training exercise programs into a simple but powerful package built around one of the most important fundamentals in the golf swing: the takeaway. One of three bands of varying lengths and thicknesses — choose the one that’s best for your fitness level — attaches to an upper arm band on one end and a sliding, padded handle on the other. You’ll develop a proper once-pice takeaway as you slide the handle along a plastic shaft from address to the top of the backswing. By keeping the elbow locked through extension and wrists hinging properly, MISIG increases range of motion, captures more degrees in the backswing and stokes clubhead speed. A good daily training routine is five to six times up the bar per set; you’ll soon develop stronger golf muscles and avoid injuries due to increased flexibility, loosened tendons and muscles, and improved extension — and also gain a better understanding of the mechanics of the swing, including the proper transition at the top.
This has long been a Golf Tips favorite, for good reason: The Orange Whip quicky and efficiently ingrains balance and tempo into every golf swing — the foundations of true and repeatable power and accuracy. Just look at any Tour pro in motion, as PGA Class A Pro Jim Hackenburg did over the years, and you’ll get the concept that led him to design and produce the Orange Whip. “Most amateurs, and many pros, are very concerned with positions of the golf club during the swing,” Hackenburg says on his website. “They get lost in trying to achieve various positions they are convinced are necessary as they attempt to hit at the ball rather than swing through the ball. I took the focus away from position and their hitting action, put it squarely on their motion, and by doing so their results (and positions) greatly improved.” It’s also a solid workout, engaging the core muscles and increasing flexibility thanks to the weighted orange ball at the end of the whippy shaft. We take it everywhere, counting on it to get us in rhythm and swinging easily but powerfully with a few increasingly wide swings. It’s a godsend when you just don’t have enough time for a full practice warm-up. Within minutes working with Hackenburg’s Foundation Drills, indoors or out and any time of year, you’ll groove that perfect release point. It’s available in four lengths (one for juniors), and there are now wedge and putter models, too. Combine the Whip with the Orange Peel, which lets you simulate uneven lets, to truly dial in balance and the right swing plane.
SWING CLICK PLUS
We first caught sight (and sound) of this nifty, simple gadget at the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, and have since had a chance to check it out during practice sessions, both during rehearsal swings and while actually hitting balls on the range — in fact, there’s nothing holding you back from using it during a casual round. The premise is simple and the feedback immediate: You just strap the ballpoint pen-sized SwingClick to your lead forearm, being careful to line up the device with your middle finger, start taking normal-sized swings, and the auditory cues and clues start coming. It makes a clicking sound at the three main junctures of a swing — at the top, at impact and at follow-through. Muscle memory, a smoother transition and better overall rhythm results, and it works with any club — because it’s attached to YOU, not the stick. And the new Plus’s sleeker design and more adjustable strap makes it truly one-size-fits-all. It weighs next to nothing and slides easily into your bag so you can keep that newly ingrained tempo going as you start your actual round. The original SwingClick is available as well, but go with this one and get clicking with your natural tempo right quick.
With its three telescoping, collapsible antenna-like sections fitted with golf ball-sized “markers” at the intersection of the extensions and at the end of the center one, The HackersRx is multi-functional, full game training station for every club in the bag, offering visual feedback to aid in nailing down those three fundamentals — aim, stance and ball position — as well as flighting the ball higher or lower or setting up for fades and draws on demand. Lay it down as a “T” with the center extending forward from your feet for simple target alignment and ball placement for each club — off the left heel for driver, just left of center for most irons and center for wedges. Turn the trailing extension inward a few degrees to gain a quick visual on the required approach path to produce a draw. Drop it in a bunker with the attached marker just behind your ball and a couple inches toward your trail fit for an easy visual on where to strike the sand for a standard explosion shot. Pretty darned simple and effective … and no batteries required.
Invented by a man named Kelvin Miyahira and perfected by four-time Central New York Teacher of the Year Marty Nowicki, Impact Snap concentrates on building the correct movements throughout the swing for what’s perhaps its most important lever, the wrists. Basically a sawed-off handle with a square grip that’s loaded with a moving weight designed to “snap” at the moment of impact if wielded properly, Impact Snap keeps the hands rotating correctly as well thanks to a short, curved rod that extends from the “body” end of the grip, with a yellow golf ball on its free end. Swing it back and through, and the sweet three-part sequence that leads to straight, long strikes — cocking of the lead wrist (top hand), flexing of the trailing wrist (bottom hand), and rotation of the lead wrist as the swing reaches maximum velocity at or just after impact. The idea is to set the club at address with the ball touching the underside of the trailing forearm, take it back to about the halfway point of the backswing with the ball point toward the ground as the wrists cock, then coming back to impact and uncocking the wrists so the ball again touches the same forearm, but no further — no flipping or chicken wing is possible from there into follow-through. It’s all about muscle memory, and it works. Like a snap.