David Leadbetter Swing Setter Review

While no substitute for instruction from a PGA Professional, the Leadbetter Swing Setter promotes key swing fundamentals.

Leadbetter With The Swing SetterYou may have seen the David Leadbetter Swing Setter on television and wondered, “What in the heck can a golf club that makes clacking noises and looks like a weapon do for my game?” As I began this review I intended to find out if using this goofy looking contraption could improve my grip, swing plane, release, and tempo like it promised.

Leadbetter, the Swing Setter’s creator, is among the world’s most recognized golf instructors and founder of the David Leadbetter Golf Academy. He has made a name for himself instructing players like Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Charles Howell III, and Aaron Baddeley. The Swing Setter is his attempt at providing a tool that any player can use to improve swing fundamentals.

You might be interested to know that I am a high-handicapper and can expect to score somewhere in the nineties on any given day. My goal is to be in the eighties on a regular basis and I feel that I’m getting closer to achieving that goal. I’ve been playing golf in earnest for a year and my first lessons with a PGA Professional coincided with my acquisition of the Swing Setter. I feel I was given a better foundation to understand the Swing Setter by getting straightened out by a professional.

Leadbetter says the Swing Setter is:

…a perfect tool for golfers who want to get better but just don’t have the time. As little as six minutes twice a week will give you the feel for a great swing, solid ball striking and will improve your distance, accuracy and consistency. The SwingSetter™ is the most complete golf training aid ever devised.

Of course he’s is going to say that: it’s his product. When I first pulled the Swing Setter out of its box I was skeptical of its ability to improve my game. I wasn’t sure that it would live up to all the hype. What I began to discover is that some of the principals I was learning in my lessons were reinforced using the Swing Setter.

Leadbetter claims that the Swing Setter develops your grip, swing plane, release, and tempo. Anyone who studies the game of golf will agree that all of these are keys to a consistent and productive swing. Following is a review of each component of the Swing Setter. Can it be used to improve your swing?

Your only connection to a golf club is your grip and the Swing Setter forces your hands into a strong grip position. A strong grip doesn’t mean that you squeeze the club hard but indicates that your hands are turned more to the right (for righties): your right hand is more underneath the golf club and the left hand more on top. This strong grip position might feel unnatural at first but is an important first fundamental. I had developed a neutral grip through my own self study, trial and error and had to make adjustments to properly hold the Swing Setter.

This stronger grip has made it easier for me to keep the clubface square at impact. The “weak grip” that I had used previously tended to leave the clubface open causing the ball to start right of the target line. Generally, stronger players and longer hitters have a slightly stronger grip than normal, and most higher-handicappers would do well to take a stronger grip.

The molded grip has helped me hit the ball on the target line on a more consistent basis instead of into the weeds on the right. I actually had to weaken my grip slightly relative to the Swing Setter’s grip position to prevent a hook – the grip may be aligned a tad too strong. It has been refreshing to end up in more fairways these days and I give this tool credit for straitening me out.

One quick note: make sure that you get the grip that fits your hand. There are several grip sizes available.

Swing Plane
As the science of golf has grown so has talk of a proper swing plane. Hogan made discussion of swing plane commonplace in his Five Fundamentals. I believe that my understanding and application of proper swing plane has improved in recent weeks. I give credit both to lessons and the Swing Setter for helping me in this area.

Swing Setter Plane PointerThe Plane Pointer draws a visual line off the grip end of the club and provides visual feedback to determine if you are on the proper swing plane. My understanding of swing plane improved as I paid attention to the Plane Pointer. If nothing else it reminds me where the swing plane is as I pick it up from time to time.

I really have struggled to release the golf club at the proper time in the last year. I used to have a late release coupled with an outside-in swing path. You can imagine the kind of frustration this produced. The golf ball would start right of the target line and slice further right. I threatened quitting on many occasions but stuck with it because I love the game so much. Through professional instruction and use of the Swing Setter that shot has virtually disappeared from my game.

When the Swing Setter is used properly, there are two clicking noises you’ll hear at specific points in the swing. There is a click just before halfway in the backswing to ensure wrist cock and a click at the point of impact to ensure proper release. Leadbetter says:

The Swing Setter’s Adjustable Magnetic Balls (settings vary depending on strength and swing speed) promote a correct setting of the wrists on the backswing – setting the stage for an accelerated release through impact. The key to “swinging easy and hitting hard.”

The Swing Setter does a good job of teaching release. I know it has added distance and greater consistency to my game. It promotes a very strong finish position. I have finally achieved that coveted position where my right wrist is over the top of my left wrist after impact. Heck, my swing looks just like Ernie Els now. Errr, not. All that to say I have been pleased with the results.

The Swing Setter provides a visual, audible, and tactile response the moment of clubhead release. This translates to more consistency and a greater connection to the point of impact.

I didn’t feel that the EZSee Clubface helped me see the clubhead at impact but it did provide a way to ensure that my grip was lined up properly relative to the clubface at address.

Before using the Swing Setter I was what I would consider a slow tempo player whose back-swing tempo was disconnected from the rest of my swing. I had a very slow takeaway and was overly deliberate, wanting to get all the parts of the swing right. Leadbetter claims in his instructional material that, “Your tempo may have to be sped up to accomplish the snapping on the back-swing as some people, believe it or not, actually swing back too slowly.” That would include me. My tempo has improved by using the Swing Setter. It has also made me more efficient on the golf course.

Swing SetterThe biggest benefit for me has been that I have a connected swing. I can feel when any one part of my swing has become disconnected from the rest. It is easier for me to understand the cause of miss-hits and has helped me self-diagnose and fix any problems I’m having on the course.

One thing that I didn’t about the Swing Setter is that it caused a considerable amount of wrist pain. The Swing Setter is approximately 50% heavier than my 5 iron. The added weight intended to help you feel the club at all points during the swing puts a lot of pressure on your wrists in the process.

I have to admit that using the Swing Setter is fairly addictive. When I pop into the living-room I almost compulsively grab it. I’ve followed the exercises described in the instructional materials and have found most of them helpful in achieving a sound swing. Granted, some of the exercises you could do with a golf club too.

It would be easy to reinforce bad swing habits while using this training tool if the material contained in the instruction manual and DVD is not fully understood or practiced. It can be difficult to put concepts to practice in golf because what may “feel right” may not “be right.” Some quality time with a real PGA Professional is going to help you understand what you should be aiming to achieve in a golf swing unless you have an above average eye for a proper swing. My use of the Swing Setter was enhanced as I took lessons. I don’t feel that I would have understood all of the concepts presented by the Swing Setter’s instructional materials had I not exposed myself to hands on teaching with a PGA Professional.

Leadbetter LogoI have enjoyed golf more and have seen greater improvement in the individual parts of my game as a result of using the Swing Setter. Don’t expect the Swing Setter to make a professional out of you, but do expect that you’ll begin to understand four key swing fundamentals: grip, swing plane, release, and tempo.

44 thoughts on “David Leadbetter Swing Setter Review”

  1. Thanks for the review. I have been tempted to get one of these things but I haven’t dropped $120 yet.

  2. Thanks for the review. A friend whom I haven’t seen for a year was hitting driver beautifully, great swing, greate finish, great distance. She said all she did was using this Swing Setter. I am torn between getting a Swing setter or a medicus dual hinge dirver.

  3. Good review. I was considering getting one of these but decided not to after reading a bad review online. Your review and some others that I have read lately are making me reconsider. A comment on the grip: I hope that the training grip does not promote putting the right hand underneath the handle as that would not be fundamentally correct. I have the same training grip that I bought separately and from what I can tell it does not promote putting the right hand underneath (although your previous grip may have been very weak).

  4. Gary,

    My previous grip was neutral. The Swing Setter promotes a strong grip, but does not put your right hand under the club. It’ll promote a good neutral/strong grip, nowhere near as strong as say, David Duval. If you’ve seen his left hand, its cranked way over. Nothing to worry about there.

  5. Thanks for an excellent, comprehensive and balanced user review on the Swing Setter, which I’m thinking of buying now that the price is falling a bit in the UK in the Jan sales (about £69).

    After asking about a small grip size, I was told by an on line pro that a medium grip is suitable for all players (I think he doesn’t have any small size grip swing setters in stock!!).
    Although I take a small glove size I cannot play well with small size grips on my clubs, I can’t hold the club well enough in my hands (never could – even at a young age!).

    As I use standard grips on my clubs would a Swing Setter in a medium grip be OK?
    H/C 16 Age 72.

  6. Eddie,

    Thanks for your kind words. I couldn’t say for sure if the medium grip would fit you. I use “standard” golf grips and a medium fits me fine. I’d get to a golf shop nearby (if possible) and try one out to make sure it fits you.

  7. I’m using the Swing Setter for a couple of weeks and it really helps. I guess the key is to read the instruction manual and to see the DVD very carefully, and several times. The DVD has a very good explanation of the golf swing and the way to use the swing setter to improve it.
    In my case I have improved accuracy, distance and ball flight.
    Great tool!

  8. Thank you
    for the helpful comments I to have thought about the Swing setter,and have been nervious because the reviews I have read indicated a faster swing speed would result and I have always felt that was going to cause problems ,but your review is well balanced and addresses this issue

  9. Great review jeff, many thanks. However as we are now over a year since your review what are your thoughts on any progress you have made. Your goal was to score in the 80’s last year – has this been achieved and would you say it was due in part to the swing setter. Do you still train with it? I am tempted to buy one and would be influenced by your response. Many thanks.

  10. I’m in the middle 80’s now. While I don’t use the Swing Setter much these days I believe it helped me after I’d picked up the game.

    My thoughts haven’t really changed since writing the Swing Setter review but I’ve largely replaced it with drills and lessons.

    To be honest, course management and choosing high percentage shots has lowered my scores as much as anything.

  11. Excellent review. I’m considering purchasing the Swingsetter and this balanced review assisted me greatly with my decision.

  12. Excellent review. I found the swing setter on an online auction and won it for $25 including tax. I hear that the magnetic balls can wear out over time, but figured it was worth the $25 to check it out.

  13. Excellent review. I found the swing setter on an online auction and won it for $25 including tax. I hear that the magnetic balls can wear out over time, but figured it was worth the $25 to check it out.

  14. I just want to ask about how the SwingSetter is shiped.

    I mean that I am in Pakistan and the only way I can get this product is to purchase it online and get it delivered on my Pakistani postal address but I really need to know if it is dispatched in a secure crush prof box (specially if it comes in pieces that are later joined with each other)?

  15. it comes in one piece. it’s a pretty durable peice of equipment though. just make sure they put extra padding or something and it should be fine.

  16. I am very interested in buying it. Yet I was wondering if the med grip is still too big for woman wearing small glove? Can anyone give me some advice before I spend the money? I am really looking forward to improving my swing….=(

  17. I am very interested in buying it. Yet I was wondering if the med grip is still too big for woman wearing small glove? Can anyone give me some advice before I spend the money? I am really looking forward to improving my swing….=(

    I’m unable to say how the grip would work for you although if you’re wearing a small women’s glove a small grip makes the most sense. The best thing to do would be to demo one. Happy hunting.

  18. I was very intrigued by the reviews, so I decided to get one. Mine should be here in a couple of days. My goal is to use it over the winter and hit the range dome at least once a week. I was hitting the ball great in the middle of the summer (shot a couple of 71’s actually), but have fallen off. I shot a 97 last Saturday, then a 88 the next day (granted they were tough courses playing from the back tees), but I still felt my swing has become inconsistent at the end of this year. I am hoping this tool will help with inconsistency. I will keep everyone posted.

  19. Jason, I have just bought the swingsetter for the same reason “inconsistancy”. Good luck!

    Today I have started using it but can not get the lower ball to click at impact even at a setting of 1. I have tried varying the tempo but no luck. The top ball click fine during the backswing. I am wodering if the unit is defective or am I doing someting wrong? Can anyone please give me some advice?

  20. Hi,

    I bought one from Golfsmith about 2 months ago and I’ve been having the same problem of getting the lower ball to click even I set it at one. I also tried a various ways by adjust my tempo, swing faster, and with more power and it still wouldn’t click…I then just concluded that it’s because I am a woman player…hehehe…Yet, I guess it’s really not the case…does anyone know why and how it should cause the lower ball to click or if it’s a hint I am not swinging correctly or something?…


  21. I just got my SwingSetter last night and I am lovin’ it.

    Salman and Viv, I also had trouble with getting the lower ball to click on the lowest setting. The way I was able to remedy this was to keep the wrist cocked a little bit longer creating some lag on the swing. Give it a try! 🙂

  22. I just got mine yesterday. Is not an easy gadget to maneuver in just a half hour or anything like it. I read on another thread that it gets easier as you practice through the weeks. I’m a male with considerable strength and I’m having a hard time at impact snapping the top ball at level 1 and the second one at level 2 🙁 . But like I read I should get better with practicer.

    Question for anyone: Are both balls suppose to snap EXACTLY AT THE SAME TIME at impact? So far, at release I get one to snap and then the other one a few inches (like 10)pass impact. Any help will be appreciated.

  23. I am a 3 handicapp player and live in the Orlando area where the Leadbetter school is located. I have used the setter for one and I went out and shot a 73. One of my best rounds. I had a great teacher in my dad but this thing is the best thing I have ever done for my game. Those having trouble with the bottom click try starting the downswing with your lower body allowing the arms to drop down in the space and click the ball. Good luck

  24. I have had a swing setter for about 2 years.
    Been to the leadbetter acadamy too.
    Still shooting in the 100’s.
    There are ways to make the swing setter click (without doing it properly).

    Not happy with my purchase.

    Not happy with the instuction.

    Just not happy with my game.

    Might be flipping the club a little too much.

    That’s how I make the balls click.

    I’ve seen my wing on the V1 system.
    My swing plane sucks !!!

  25. I,M sorry that you are having so much trouble with this device. I can’t concur with you. This gadget have brought my game down 10 strokes at the very least. I use to shoot in the 100,s just like you. After 2 weeks of using the swingsetter and FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS, I have posted so far a 87, 89, 90 and an 88. You might wonder how. I’ll tell you: stop doing what hasn’t work. I bet my house you are still comming “over the top”. Beleve me this: If you don’t come from the inside you’ll never stop that slice or weak shot.
    You have to drop those hands at the begining of the down swing and approach the ball from the inside. It’s just that way just like the law of gravity, you can’t defy it.

    Trust me. I’ve been there.


  26. Sorry to hear about the challenges you’re facing. Have you watched Leadbetter’s DVD “From Beginner to Winner”? It’s a great video. I shot 102, then watched this video 7 times, literally memorizing some of his swing concepts and a week later, shot 93!! I don’t have the Swingsetter, but am considering getting it because I travel quite a bit which makes it hard to practice. But supposedly, one can use the Swingsetter in a small space.

    There’s also a chance your 100+ scores are related to pitching, chipping and putting, more than your full swing. I have not been particularly enamored by Leadbetter’s short game tutorials, but it’s not because the principles aren’t sound. It’s just that I prefer a little more of a “feel” or “fluid” approach to the short game – ala Raymond Floyd or Lee Trevino. However, Leadbetter’s Sand Trap tips are fantastic and in fact, I used them in my last round and got out three times out of three. One of my playing partners said: “How do you do that? Do you hit behind the ball?” My answer was straight from Leadbetter: “Open your stance, open the clubface, and then swing along your body line, not the target line …” The ball comes out every single time, guaranteed! It’s the best sandtrap tip I’ve ever heard. There’s so much focus on things like: “imagine your hitting the shape of a dollar bill” or “hit behind the ball and follow through …” Those ideas are important, but Leadbetter’s swing thought about the body line vs target line brings the other concepts into greater clarity.

    On the practice range, hit 40 balls with just your wedge. 1/4 wedge shot, 1/2 wedge shot, 3/4 wedge shot, full wedge shot, then down to “mini-wedge shots”. You can apply your full wedge shot to your full swing too. And your half wedge shots should apply to your understanding of “impact.”

    Do this and I’ll bet you break 100.

  27. I`m not sure about a beginner giving advice on Golf training aids , nothing personal, but you really haven`t experienced much of the game, especially if shooting in the 90`s consitantly.

    I think one has to try different teaching methods to appreciate which works. No doubt the most effective I found is through a Golf Pro, but this was good fortune. I visited a few pro`s, all not worth the money until I found one that new what he was talking about. Pure luck. Some of these guys are good players but couldnt teach a cow to eat grass!

    After many years of playing ang getting down to 8, with quite a few 75`s Gross on the card, I can say that there is a place for teaching aids, providing they do more good than harm.

    Even so, with my swing and hitting straight most of the time, when I block, I block! No training or teaching will stop the odd bad shot: so timing, arm rotation, release don`t mean anything in those instances!!

    However, this article is about training aids.

    I found the old method of hitting a tyre works. It helps to return the clubface square and improves the hitting position too.

    No doubt this Swingsetter tool is useful as I promotes setting the wrists, releasing through impact and good timing, all highly important for more consitant golf. By the sounds of it, it works. But is it useful if you have those already and some other fault causing problems? This is the problem with training aids.

    Just by playing 3 times a week you will get better, without any training or coaching. Mix that with a good training aid, a few lessons and practising your short game will have you in the 80`s no problem.

    The key to good scoring is in the short game, trust me. NOT 250 yard drives. Practise your chipping and putting 75% of your total practice time and you will get lower scores!

    Dave Pelz Short Game Bible and Putting Bible will reduce your scores if you practice what he teaches. But of course most golfers want 250 yard drives and ignore the short game.

    Those who are top players would have been great players anyway. Its natural talent and god given. Dont mistake lots of training and practice will make you good either, for some, they just dont have the capability mentally or physically to play good golf. Thats life!

  28. Chris,

    Do you hit the tyre as hard as a normal swing? I am a little apprehensive of hitting it for fear of hurting my wrist. I have always thought of it to be a good drill, since IMHO if a golfing holy grail exists, it exists in the moment of impact.

    Nice post. Not many substitutes for a little bit of talent and the sheer volume of experience.


  29. Have been using the Swing Setter for 3 solid years. It is a daily exercise for me. I am now 85 years old. My handicap is 17-18. I have stopped warmup sessions on the range prior to golf tournaments. If I change a club, etc. I do practice with new material on the range. But my tournament warmups are strictly Swing Setter oriented. I have never had the opportunity to meet David Leadbetter. I have read much of his teaching material and, of course, studied the Swing Setter DVD. I thought that his initial golf writings were too detailed, and step-by-step oriented. Not anymore. His Swing Setter, as far as this one individual is concerned, has revolutionized a golfer’s ability to learn the golf swing. Best to all, DH

  30. Hi Dick and Everyone,

    I hope my handicap is 17-18 when I am 85! Right now I am 47 and my handicap is 15. In the 26 years I have been playing I have NEVER been below 15.

    I began using the Swing Setter 7 days ago and have not noticed any significant improvement as yet. I feel it is helping me cock the wrists early on the backswing (a trait common on Leadbetter DVDs) and keep the swing in plane. I have yet to get an significant improvement in the timing and tempo at impact. I am confident it will come with more use.

    I think the product is very well made and I am happy with the purchase.

    Cheers, Craig

  31. I’m a 9 handicapper because of my short game and irons. I struggle with the many drivers I’ve bought over the years. High Pushes, low duck hooks and short ( Snowed In – Upstate New York, so an indoor swing aid might help.

  32. Just got a swing setter from a friend. He has lost the instruction manual and the DVD. Does anyone know if it can be downloaded???
    Help please im looking forward to using this tool.

  33. Where can i buy the dvd instructional for the swing setter ?
    Can any one help m ewith these info…rgds, Diego (colombia, south america)

  34. Hola Diego,

    That question has been asked before on this forum. Because of its lenght I don’t think that the video is available for download. I do have the DVD and perhaps I could send it to you. I lost my swingsetter some months ago and I have no use for the DVD without the tool.

    E-mail me so we could start arrangements.

    Muchos saludos,

    San Juan, Puerto Rico

  35. Hola Diego,That question has been asked before on this forum. Because of its lenght I don’t think that the video is available for download. I do have the DVD and perhaps I could send it to you. I lost my swingsetter some months ago and I have no use for the DVD without the tool.E-mail me so we could start arrangements.Muchos saludos,PatrickSan Juan, Puerto RicoPatrick

  36. Hi diego,
    I sent u n e-mail last week to the address that u provided. Perhaps is in you spam box.
    Regards, Patrick

  37. Hi have you in stock a David Leadbetter HMX Golf Swing Trainer/Golf Training Aid .
    Thanks Nick

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