We’ve been exposed to a few training aids from time to time while attending the Golf Academy. The golf industry is flooded with them, and while some of them are ridiculous, some of them actually work. There’s even a web site dedicated solely to golf training aids. The thing is, if you know what swing flaw you’re trying to correct, you can probably make a household training aid yourself without having to spend hardly any money.
It just so happens that in October of last year, Golf Digest’s Luke Kerr-Dineen wrote an article titled, “19 Random Things That Make Fantastic Training Aids.” One of my classmates forwarded it to me over the weekend, and I thought I would re-post it here. Feel free to click on the link. It has little videos briefly describing each training aid.
1. Soccer Ball – the dreaded chicken wing. If you have one, place a soccer ball between your forearms and make sure the ball doesn’t fall to the ground as you swing.
2. Butter Knife – if you’re thinning your chips it might be because you’re too wristy through the ball. Place a dull knife in your lead arm’s wristwatch (sharp side on top of your glove) and hit a few short ones. It’ll keep your wrists nice and firm. Also, BE CAREFUL!
3. CD Check – having your eyes over the ball when you putt will help groove a straight-back, straight-through putting stroke. To help with this, use the reflection of a CD as a mirror. You’ll want to lock eyes with yourself as you putt.
4. Cookie – a lot of people get nervous and tense-up before they hit their shot, which usually leads to sketchy results. To practice staying nice and loose, hit some balls with a cookie in your mouth. If you clench down and break the cookie, there’s too much tension in your swing.
5. Flashlight – to get yourself swinging on the correct path, grip a flashlight like a golf club, and then flip it so the light is facing your stomach. From there, you should slowly take your backswing. If the light is traveling in a straight line away from the ball, your swing’s in a good position.
6. Towel – if your arms start acting independently from your body during your golf swing, hitting the ball consistently — especially under pressure — becomes all but impossible. Work on this by tucking a towel under both of your arms, and hit balls making sure it doesn’t fall out.
7. Headcover – the towel drill is great for keeping both arms connecting, but if it’s only one of your arms that’s going rogue, use a headcover. Place it under whichever arm you’d like and keep it there as you swing.
8. String – place a string in the ground — one by the ball and the other where you’d like to aim — and start hitting putts. You’ll quickly be able to tell if you’re pushing or pulling putts because the ball will start right or left of the target you’ve already set for yourself.
9. Swiss Ball – a lot of amateurs — slicers especially — use too much upper body on their downswing. To work on the correct motion, place a Swiss ball against a wall. As you practice making your downswing, use your hips to compress the ball against the wall.
10. Pencil – to help you knock your short putts firmly into the hole, place a pencil just in front of the cup and start hitting putts (it works best if the pencil is supported by two tees). If the pencil stops your ball from dropping in, you’re not hitting your putts hard enough.
11. Salt – this one’s a visual drill. Pour a bunch of salt on the face of your lob wedge, get into the bunker and make some practice swings. If the salt flies off, it means you’re closing the face as you swing. You want to keep that face open, because it’ll make it easier to slide that clubface under the ball from the sand.
12. Driveway Reflectors – you can use driveway reflectors for lots of things, but they’re probably best used for alignment. Place one just outside the ball, pointing directly at your target, and the other along your feet, parallel to the first reflector. It’ll make you feel as though you’re swinging along railroad tracks.
13. Tennis Ball – struggling for confidence on your short putts? Hit a few into the hole with a tennis ball, then do the same with a regular golf ball. It’s a visual trick that’ll make the hole look like a canyon.
14. Toilet Paper – another good trick for your putting is to lay some toilet paper on the ground and down into the hole. It’ll give you a clear visual of the line your ball, and your putterhead, should be traveling as you putt.
15. Golf Tees – the “Gate Drill” is Tiger Woods’ favorite way to practice his putting. Place two tees a putterhead’s width apart and place a ball in between. Once you’re able to hit putts cleanly without nicking the tees, it means you’ve perfected your impact position.
16. Toothpaste – gripping the club to hard? Try this: Close your eyes and grip a full bottle of toothpaste as you would a golf club. If you open your eyes and find toothpase all over your shoes, you’re gripping the club too firmly.
17. A Club – keeping your wrists firm on your chip shots will minimize the chances of thinning and chunking your shots. If your wrists are too active and you’re too afraid of the knife drill, hold a second club in your hands as you hit chip shots. The goal is to keep the second club from hitting you as you hit your shot.
18. Water Bottle – if you want to swing a certain way, make yourself swing that way. If you’re taking the club too inside on your backswing, place the water bottle just inside the ball. It’ll force you to swing outside of it.
19. Box Drill – if you want to save your water bottle for drinking, you can accomplish the same thing with a box. Place it lying down just outside the ball, and make sure you don’t hit it.