Matt Kilgariff, Director of Player Development at The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe (Calif.), encourages his students to give training aids a try in order to speed up the learning curve and achieve more consistent ball striking.
One of the main reasons golf is so challenging is that as “the golfer” you are not able to “see” your own form and position. Enter training aids. Training aids allow students to visually see, experience and feel the proper position for their body, ball, and club. Another benefit of training aids is that they can help speed up the learning process.
When introducing a training aid to a student, I ask them to begin by using it without hitting a ball. This way they can become familiar and comfortable with the aid while gaining an understanding of the muscles they need to engage to get into a new and preferred position. After several slow-motion swings, I remove the aid to see if they can duplicate the motion.
Next, I have them add the ball and hit into a net or screen, since I am not concerned about ball flight at this time. After that we then move to the range or course to practice the technique learned with the benefit of the aid.
Golf training aids are big business. There are countless products already on the market with new ones coming out frequently. However, in my 20-plus years of teaching this great game, I often find myself going back to a few tried-and-true aids to coach my students. Below are three of my favorites and the ways I use them to train.
This is the best training aid when you are trying to help your student understand the proper sequence of the takeaway and club face alignment. I believe that club face dictates swing path. I often see students drag the handle of the club, which leads to sliding on their backswing. Utilizing Swingyde can help correct swing sequence and prevent sliding.
Attach Swingyde to your student’s club. Ask them to set their wrists immediately without letting anything else move. This will allow the student to get the proper feel before the club starts to move on the takeaway.
When your focus is on face angle, be sure to install the Swingyde with the leading edge of the club matching your student’s spine angle when the club hits parallel to the ground on the takeaway.
Right Angle 2
Does your student struggle with solid contact? Then the Right Angle 2 is what you are looking for. This training aid helps your student understand what it feels like to keep the proper arc throughout the swing, creating a more consistent strike. It is our job as golf instructors to make students “miss the ball better.” By training them to keep a wider arc throughout the golf swing they will be able to keep the club squarer longer through impact, thus creating a less dramatic “miss.”
Tour Striker Smart Ball
Does your student want to stop chunking, blading, and shanking the ball around the green? Then try the Tour Striker Smart Ball. This training aid will give your students the confidence of knowing what it feels like to hit a proper chip and pitch shot. The Tour Striker trains golfers to hit with their big muscles meaning their full body verses just their hands and arms.
Start with their short game and have them work their way up to a full swing. In the full swing, the Tour Striker will help them maintain the proper arm structure from takeaway to finish. The goal after using this aid, is for your student to walk away with the understanding of what it means to stay connected throughout their entire swing.
Encourage your students to give training aids a try in order to speed up the learning curve and achieve more consistent ball striking.
Matt Kilgariff is a PGA professional who spent much of his career working for Butch Harmon and the Harmon Family. He is currently the Director of Player Development at The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Prior to joining The Bridges, Kilgariff was Director of Player Development at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. Matt has also been part of TaylorMade’s National Advisory Staff since 2012.
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