Everyone has a chronic problem (or two or three) in their golf game. For some, it’s the dreaded yips, while others struggle big time with slicing off the tee. For me, it’s alignment. I am forever offline when I go to hit my ball.
My pre-shot routine is pretty standard. I go into my “think box” behind the ball, find a small target way out in the distance, find a natural marker (dirt mark or blade of grass) just ahead of my ball that lines up with my target, step into my “play box”, making sure my feet are parallel to the line made by my ball and the marker I chose, do one practice swing, look up at my target again and then and hit the ball.
I am sure I have everything “just right”, but more often than not, I’m just wrong. I can’t tell you the number of times my coach, Ginny, will stop me just before I hit the ball and say, “Drop your club along your toes…Now step back behind the tee box and look where you are aiming.” Oh dear…
The other issue I have in golf is coming over the top. I don’t slice the ball usually (because I overcompensate with my hands on the downswing), but it doesn’t go as far as I’d like because I don’t get the right to left spin on the ball.
Ginny has given me some helpful tips to solve this problem – e.g. reminding me to hit the ball at “5 o’clock” and practicing my downswing very slowly to really feel it and create that muscle memory. She’s even had me pretend I’m going to send the ball to Ichiro in right field, but actually hit it towards the 2nd baseman (yes, I like baseball).
These two issues plague me more than most and I’ve often wondered if I should get something to help me while I was in Maui in November. Well, I found the right swing aid for me. It’s called the “Swinkey“.
The Swinkey an ‘all in one’ toolbox of training aids that you can carry in your golf bag. It includes:
- A weighted fitness pole
- Alignment aids
- A putting stroke trainer
- A club protector
It even has a camera monopod on the top so you can set up your video camera on top of your golf bag. No more lugging around my tripod.
The Swinkey fits in your bag like a club, sitting a bit higher than your driver so you don’t have to worry about your clubs being broken by over-zealous baggage handlers. Given the shape of my new travel bag when I got to Maui, I am happy I had the Swinkey in there. What is it with luggage handlers?! Sometimes I think they fancy themselves as training Olympians, using our bags to practice javelin or hammer throws.
Anyway, during my 3 weeks golfing in Maui, I used my Swinkey to warm up every day. I started by swinging the weighted pole.
It made a cool swishing sound and felt great – much better than just swinging my driver or a couple of irons around. I also used it to balance myself as I stretched out my back and legs.
Once I was warmed up, I set up the alignment poles and practiced with my 7 or 8 iron – making easy shots that got me swinging easy.
When it came time to work on my “draw”, I stuck one of the alignment rods into the ground on an angle so that when I swung down on the ball, I was forced to keep my club inside the rod.
The first few times I tried it, I whacked that rod right out into the range.
Haha…I knew then, that I had the perfect tool – instant feedback without even looking at my ball.
The Swinkey also offers some useful putting tools as well. I didn’t really practice putting while in Hawaii, but I definitely plan on using these tools now that I am back at home.
Now… I have made some pretty stupid impulse buys off the Golf Channel over the past few years, looking for the perfect training aid. So before trying the Swinkey, I was pretty skeptical.
But I have to say, the Swinkey surprised me. It really is a great “all in one” tool for any golfer of any caliber.
Prices for different models range from $69-$119. Swinkey is a great Xmas gift for your golfguy or golfgal. It even comes in lots of different colors, including one with the Canadian flag on it (a friend of mine has that one).
And if you want one for yourself, just leave the Swinkey website open on your partner’s computer. I find that works every time! 😉