Pros: Well built, easy to use, simple instructions
Cons: Too long for indoor use in normal house
I received the Orange Whip Training Aid as part of the Member Review program. If first heard about this training aid on the Stan Utley site, a well known short game and putting expert. Utley claimed that he rarely uses or endorses training aids, but this was the exception. Stan liked the Orange Whip because it promotes a smooth swing sequence and will identify when you are out of balance or off in your swing sequence timing.
From the Orange Whip site:
THE ORANGE WHIP is the ultimate golf swing trainer and fitness tool for today's golfer and athlete. It is versatile, dynamic and the most effective swing aid on the market. Consistent use of the Orange Whip will improve your golf swing and provide an essential core-muscle workout.
These are significant claims. So I was excited to try this out.
One of my weaknesses is flexibility in my upper body. I was anxious to see if the Orange Whip could improve both the backswing and the follow through. I also wanted to see if it would identify out of balance issues.
The ORANGE WHIP has a long, flexible weighted shaft similar to a driver shaft with a heavy weighted ball at the tip and a counter weight at the butt end of the shaft. It differs from other copy-cat flexible trainers like the SKLZ Golf Flex in that the tip weight is much heavier. The grip is similar to leather wrap grips. The ORANGE WHIP is 47 1/2" long and weighs a hefty 1.76 pounds.
It is not promoted as a swing speed trainer either like the Momentus Golf Swing Speed trainer.
Being very heavy and flexible, the ORANGE WHIP is designed to be used as a low impact strength and flexibility trainer. The idea is to start gently swinging the ORANGE WHIP back and forth in gradually longer swing arcs building to a full swing. But as with any training with weights, you should warm the muscles up first.
The instructions provide two warm up drills, The Torso Twist and Hinging Forearm Rotation.
The Torso Twist didn’t do anything for me. It did not feel any benefit or warm up. I would recommend instead to do arm circles with light weights and light weight rotation instead. This will warm up the shoulder muscles and rotatory cuff more effectively. You should also warm up the hips and legs.
Hinged Forearm Rotation.
Hinging Forearm Rotation definitely warmed up the wrists and forearms. Take care not to be too aggressive with this the first few times or your wrists will be sore the next day. Being 1.76 pounds with a long shaft, the ORANGE WHIP can put a lot of torsional stress on your wrists.
The primary Full Swing Drill has many benefits.
Primary Swing Drill at A4
First, as you build to a longer swing you will notice issues when out of balance or off in your swing sequence timing. The weighted end will move off its smooth arc and go wild. Check out the site for video examples.
Secondly, as you build to the full swing, you will start to really feel it in your core muscles around your trunk. You really work the abs and lats and will feel some fatigue, which is great. I do a lot of core workouts, some golf specific, and this is a good addition.
Lastly, ORANGE WHIP doesn’t emphasize this on their site, but you should try to really focus on form during the drill. Try to maintain all your backswing, downswing and finish keys. Do the drill slowly at first. Then build to faster speeds. But always focus on form.
I am lucky to have a large mirror at my work gym to watch my form. I brought the ORANGE WHIP to this gym to use in front of the mirror. If you have one, this will really help.
I have used it for two weeks (five days each). I noticed after a couple of days that it was easier to stretch to a higher top of backswing (A4) and better finish (A10). I am 52, so it takes me a bit to warm up, but getting there was faster after just two days.
A4 position. Note the stretch in the lats, lower shoulder muscles and tricep.
Similar results at A10. Older guys like me have trouble
Getting to this position.
I expect after using it all winter, along with my other weight and flexibility training, my flexibility will improve. The one advantage the ORANGE WHIP has is the finish position. It is hard to find stretching exercises to work this area and I feel the ORANGE WHIP will help a lot. It is heavy and will put a gentle stretch on the shoulder and arm muscles at the finish if I maintain good form and not be too aggressive.
For the swing, I seem to have a smooth swing already (thanks Evolvr) because I had no issues with the Full Swing Drill with respect to timing and balance.
Because the yellow ball end is very big and bright, you can really see if your swing path is in-to-out or other. If you put down an alignment stick, you can watch the ball pass over the stick and see the path. I even did a bit of experimenting with subtle changes to see how it affects the path.
On the course
Being near winter, I haven’t brought the ORANGE WHIP to the course yet. I did use the same methods to warm up though (Hinged Forearm Drill and Full Swing Drill). This helped a lot on these cold New England December days. I even used the method during the round while waiting to tee off so I wouldn’t stiffen up. At 52, you stiffen up during a round. Go figure.
One thing the ORANGE WHIP does force you to do it take back the club head in one smooth deliberate motion. If you are too early in flexing your wrists, or try to go back too fast, it will show. This should really help on the course for those times I get a bit too fast on my takeaway.
In the end, I think it will take a few months of dedicated work with the ORANGE WHIP to really see the benefit. There are no instant fixes. I spent last off season getting my shoulder flexibility back after surgery and working on balance, core strength and swing path.
Now with the ORANGE WHIP I will work on a smooth, repeatable takeaway and increasing the length of my swing both back and finish. I tend to finish too short and my ball flight can get lower during a round as I stiffen up.
I will also get the medium length ORANGE WHIP for use in my range practice and for my wife to use. I am keeping the long one at my gym for daily work.
I will post an update in March to give the flexibility and other results.