Search the Internet for "golf training aids" and you'll find a variety of gadgets that attach to your body, your club, the ground, your golf bag, etc. You'll find flimsy and bulky devices ranging in price from $5 to $500. These training aids usually only fulfill a couple purposes, whether it's fixing swing plane, ingraining an effective putting stroke, or improving swing speed. Hopefully from this review we'll see how the Pipoe differs by offering an affordable, multi purpose practice aid to golfers, that can be used for as long as you play the game.
Walk into any golf store and you'll find a section for training aids. Like I said, most try to specialize in only a few functions, there are aids for grip, alignment, impact, swing synchronization, and fixing swing faults. Usually the package features a well-known instructor telling you so and so will fix this fault and you'll be on your way. To me most of the aids on the market aren't replicating an improved motion closely enough to a "play" swing, which can lead the body to distinguish this practice as being something other than a positive influence for your actual golf swing. Your swing will not be directly influenced by these training aids, at least not in the long term. Don't get me wrong, I like training aids, but I think practical, easy-to-use aids are the best. Andy Poe, creator of the Pipoe, tells us:
I noticed a couple things in the way people practiced and the consistent issues people were having. I also noticed that training aids were one dimensional and expensive. If they worked in theory then you should need them for a minimal amount of time and move on. I don't think swing changes come that easy, and can be costly. We wanted something that addresses numerous swing flaws, Pipoe does just that.
I think for most golfers, when it comes to training aids, there is a lot of hope without a lot of positive results. While you shouldn't expect a training aid to change your swing, what a training aid can do is give you a feel for how the proper motion or how exaggerated the feel needs to be in order to change the picture. One of the ways to most effectively control and effect swing change is to hit balls on the range with your goal being to implement that exaggerated feel into an actual swing. This is one of the key areas where golfers fail with their practice. Being able to practice with a training aid would make improving much easier, and of course, people are always looking for shortcuts, but it's wrong (and there aren't any shortcuts). The reality is this: with proper practice, training aids will gradually influence feel, which influences the actual golf swing. With the Pipoe, training while practicing becomes that much easier.
So, for $30 we're not just getting a training aid but a practice aid. A practice sidekick that we can bring with us to the putting green, chipping area, driving range, at home or on the course.
We wanted to take a training aid, and make it a true practice aid. Develop a solid foundation in your practice routine from every aspect. Pipoe does that and more.
Which brings me back to the first point, the way people practice. There are plenty of good aids out there. But we wanted to take a training aid, and make it a true practice aid. Develop a solid foundation in your practice routine from every aspect. Pipoe does that and more. You can use it to warm up, workout and yes… a dog toy (not recommended). The cards are the size of a cup, for putting in the living room or the hotel like we did in college. Even for a crowded putting green before a shotgun start. We took everything we wanted to make Pipoe great and found some more along the way.
I tell students I teach all the time to make practice swings at home, whether it's slow motion, with their head against the wall, etc., this is some of the best practice you can do. This is where I feel the Pipoe will definitely come in handy to golfers, as well as on a rainy day, during the winter season, or just want to get in a little practice before bed.
Construction and Build
The Pipoe is made from what the inventor calls "an incredible material" chosen for its durability. Poe has put his product through some rigorous tests. Except for the occasional indentation from soft spikes and discoloration from grips, the Pipoe can take some abuse.
The Pipoe comes with Drill Cards that list 10 different drills you can do with the Pipoe. The drill cards are easy to follow. Each one has a detailed picture and lists the steps to doing the drill. The Pipoe can attach to your bag with the clip that comes with it, with or without the drill cards.
Pipoe in Use
I have been one to stay away from most training aids, they seem gimmicky and the few I've had I only used on a handful of occasions. Not saying it's the training aid's fault I didn't utilize it more, just that I'd rather practice simulating the motion myself. I don't think that having a device making me do a specific motion will "teach" me anything. Once I take the aid off I still have to perform the motion myself. What I like about the Pipoe is that it's a piece of equipment that's easy to include into my practice. I can hit balls with it between my arms, standing on it or with it under one of my arms. I can also turn it into a warm up tool or a "basket" to chip balls into. Here is an example of some recent practice I've done with the Pipoe.
I really like making swings with the Pipoe between my arms. In the past I've tried small soccer balls, tennis balls, medium sized tennis balls to try and get the right feel for squeezing my elbows together but nothing has worked out that well due to size, slipper texture, and convenience. The Pipoe adjusts to how much pressure you want to apply and doesn't slip.
Standing on the Pipoe to work on banking my right foot, something many have heard me talk about a lot, was easy enough. I feel safe and know I will not slip, and that the Pipoe can take the abuse of having half of my weight on it without problems. The Pipoe did restrict how much I could extend my right leg into the followthrough. So, that's something to be aware of if you want to hit full shots while standing on the Pipoe.
In the first swing in the first video, I'm working on lowering and gradually straightening my arms down, almost like a hit and stop drill but easier on the hands. Trying to throw the ball just in front of the golf ball to feel how the left arm moves down my chest to have low point forward. The second swing is working on my extension into the followthrough. If I stay in flexion, I can't throw the ball that high. I'm extending my legs, arms and chest to launch the Pipoe. This is very much what you want to feel on the followthrough to hit high draws. And the pitching practice is just taking the lid off the Pipoe and trying to pitch balls into it.
Obviously after a range session the Pipoe gets a little dirty but it's very easy to clean with a wet towel or hand wipes. The Pipoe easily bounces back into place after being squeezed, stepped on, or thrown. It was a lot of fun to put it to the test and it still looks brand new.
For $30 the Pipoe is a great value because of all the different kinds of practice you can do with it. It's simple, affordable and convenient. It can fit it in or attach to your bag without adding much additional weight. You can take it to the range, putting green, or use it at home. You're not just limited to the drills that I've done or that Pipoe recommends, you can come up with your own to benefit your game.
I can definitely see myself using the Pipoe in the future, especially with my son. It will really help keep practice interesting and creative. My favorite drill is squeezing it between my elbows, you can see from the videos how far forward my hands are at impact because of that. So, check out the Pipoe, it's a refreshing take on what training aids should be and how to practice.