Every so often, a training aid grabs the market and enjoys a really nice run. In 2018, the Power Package was one of those devices, and after a full season of using it with some students, I’ve got some thoughts.
Endorsed by Tom Pernice Jr. and Lanny Wadkins, the Power Package aims to fix a number of swing flaws and increase distance. Simply put, the Power Package attaches near the bottom of your grip, and while making a backswing and in your follow-through, you guide your forearms into the “cups.”
Read on to see how I felt about the Power Package.
Some may remember that, years ago, Greg Norman endorsed a popular (for the time) training aid called the Swingyde (“swing guide”). The Swingyde was a sort of primitive fore-runner to the Power Package. It lacked a second cup, it lacked the foam padding, and it lacked the width in the cups that makes it somewhat easier to feel and use. Having seen and even used (very briefly) a Swingyde, I immediately thought of that erstwhile (knockoffs can be found for as low as $3) training aid, and the many upgrades that the Power Package has made were quickly apparent.
The Power Package attaches to the bottom of your grip and, via two bent and curvy arms, places a foam-lined “cup” above each of your forearms. During the backswing, golfers are instructed via the helpful “Getting Started” videos put their forearms into the cups, keep them in the cups throughout the early part of the downswing, and re-connect with the cups mid-way into the follow through. Doing so, Chris Walkey, inventor, says will create more power (via more lag/less flipping), a more on-plane swing, and more consistency of both path and face.
Setup and Esthetics
I found it very easy to set up the Power Package. On any club, you:
- Unscrew the thumb screw and slide the Power Package up about an inch or so on the bottom of the grip.
- Adjust the Power Package so that the leading edge aligns with the leading edge of the clubface (or slightly right of it for a stronger grip).
- Tighten the thumb screw and begin hitting shots.
If you want to see that in video form, well, here you go:
Like I said, very easy. There are two basic adjustments you can make:
- You can slide the Power Package up and down on the grip depending on how much you want to set your wrists.
- You can turn the Power Package right and left to accommodate a stronger or weaker grip.
The Power Package is a bright orange, lightweight material. The black “base” houses a hex nut and the thumb screw, while the black cups are padded with a little foam. As the entire Power Package weighs only 76 grams (about 2.7 ounces) and attaches at the base of the grip near the balance point for measuring swing weight, the effects on both the static weight and swing weight of the club are minimal.
Disappointingly, the Power Package comes in four models, offering variations for both mid-size grips and lefties (and lefties with mid-size grips). I say “disappointingly” because all of these variations could have been accounted for within a single SKU. Specifically, as both of the orange “arms” slide into the base, the Power Package folks could have simply not glued them in. If golfers could swap the arms, voilà, they’d have a lefty Power Package. (The arms could be secured with a pin or a screw if the inventors feared them working loose.) Grip sizes could have been accommodated in any number of ways, most obviously by either using a removable rubber spacer or including a second oversized clamp for larger grips (after all, if you can swap the arms, you can swap them into a new clamp).
At $79.99, please make sure you select the correct options — though I recommend getting the oversized grip option because you can make it effectively smaller with a small piece of rubber or something.
The Power Package in Use
The Power Package is a simple tool. Once installed, you hinge your wrists until each of your forearms nestles into the two foam-lined “cups.” Depending on how high up on the grip you’ve installed the Power Package, this will be at about 90°, give or take perhaps 20°.
The instructions for use are simple:
- Swing back and put your forearms in the cups pretty early in the backswing.
- Swing down, keeping your forearms in the cups throughout the early part of the downswing.
- Re-connect the cups to your forearms mid-way into the follow-through.
Here’s a video of me doing this on a simple “punchy” chip shot.
As you can see, I’ve put my forearms in the cups, swung down, and re-connected with the cups on the follow-through. Pretty simple.
As I tested the Power Package more and more with my swing, I liked it more and more. The Power Package works for my swing pretty well. In fact, I can use the PowerPackage to feel a bit more pressure in the right forearm cup to work on something I’ve been struggling with lately, and it does a great job of helping me feel the proper positions in my drills and practice.
Having liked the Power Package for myself, the first two golfers I gave the Power Package to also seemed to like it – they could swing back, put their forearms in the cups pretty naturally, and swing through, re-connecting with the cups as they re-hinged their wrists in the follow-through. The follow-through didn’t always re-connect, particularly at higher speeds, but with shorter swings and slower speeds the cups connected with their forearms every time.
Things seemed to be looking good.
Then, practicing with a scratch golfer student of mine, he asked “what’s that orange thing?” I gave him an 8-iron with the Power Package attached… and watched him struggle mightily. You see, this fella is a rather barrel-chested guy, and he had developed a golf swing in which his trail (right) elbow both comes pretty high off his rib cage and also gets pulled pretty far around his body, bending his lead arm slightly.
So, while his lead forearm would find the corresponding cup, his trail forearm was nowhere near its cup. When he made swings where he attempted to keep his elbows closer together in order to keep his forearms closer together, he struggled. He could either hit the ball really well or he could make an uncomfortable swing that strained his flexibility and led to bad swings and shots with lower clubhead speed.
In further testing, golfers who let their elbows come apart struggled to work with the Power Package. Not everyone can make a Jason Dufner style swing (though to be clear, Dufner is at the far end of the spectrum) and keep their elbows close together. There are a good number of golfers playing to the low single digits who can’t use the Power Package with their default swing.
Is the fault with the Power Package, or is the Power Package highlighting a swing flaw? I set about answering that question.
As you can see above, the cups are oriented about 43° apart. So, if you can get a view of the club down the axis of the shaft, a golfer’s forearms should be around 43° apart in order to fit into the cups. Here’s Bubba Watson, and if you’d rather not click the image to see the angle between his forearms, it’s 69° and 63°. Bubba’s forearms would not fit into the cups.
Okay, you’re saying, that’s Bubba Watson, and he’s got a pretty weird action. Maybe he’s an outlier. So, I give you… Jim Furyk. He is, at times, over 70°. But yes, you’re right again: that’s another weird swing, another outlier. Fine. I agree.
Justin Thomas is around 55°. Brandt Snedeker is in the upper 60s. Jack Nicklaus and his flying right elbow would have had a hard time keeping his forearms in the cups. Justin Rose might, in the low 50s. Carl Pettersson clocks in around 80°… and I’m not sure he hinges his wrists enough to find the cups anyway, unless you put the Power Package higher on his grip.
Make no mistake — a healthy number of the guys on Tour are within five degrees of 43°. Adam Scott is usually there, as is Tiger Woods. Dustin Johnson would fit into the cups on the backswing, I think, perhaps due to his unique wrist conditions. Hunter Mahan would probably fit.
Phil Mickelson, almost looking right down the shaft is 15° off from 43° at 58°. The white line is at 43, and the red at 58. The cups would be centered at about the ends of the white lines, and Phil’s swing would need the cups to be where the red lines end.
Now, I’m not claiming these numbers are 100% accurate. Any time you represent three dimensional objects in a two-dimensional photo and “measure” things that aren’t parallel to the plane of the camera’s film or sensor, measurements are off. I attempted here and throughout my research on this to use only images looking close to straight down the shaft to minimize this error, and the pictures shown here also represent what I’ve found to be true in real-world testing where I can move my perspective to provide authentic, accurate measurements.
But, margins of error accounted for, I found that when a golfer’s trail elbow migrates in the direction I refer to in my teaching as “toward your shirt seam,” or you have more than a little of what’s called “internal rotation” of the trail shoulder, you’ll have difficulty putting your forearms into the cups. The more the trail elbow also separates or lifts off the rib cage, the tougher it gets as well.
Perhaps a Power Package video will shed some light on this:
In this video, Gary is having trouble finding the cups during the backswing… because his right elbow is spreading out too wide from his left elbow. Gary is built similarly to some of my students, and many strain to keep their elbow down at their sides like Gary is able to do in the “after” photo here:
Gary has certainly made the necessary changes to “find the cups,” but I disagree for the most part with the diagnosis. I took two photos from the video, likely from a GoPro or similar camera attached to the shaft and looking toward the grip end of the club, which provided very good angles to view the forearms and the Power Package:
On the left, Chris Walkey’s forearms are about 42°, so his forearms fit into the cups. Gary misses the cups, in my opinion, because his arms (and elbows) are too far apart, not because they’ve rotated improperly. Walkey mentions this in the video, but in my opinion the rotation isn’t the key issue – the distance between the forearms/elbows is the issue. I can keep my forearms in the cups and rotate the club (and my forearms) all sorts of directions. Rotation isn’t a big deal here; the width of the forearms is what matters.
Anyway, if Gary can make this swing with his right elbow staying mildly externally rotated (i.e. external rotation of the right shoulder keeps your right elbow pointing more in front of a golfer, and internal rotation points the right elbow behind the golfer), good for him. But a lot of golfers can’t get to this position – even those on the PGA Tour – and yet still play at a pretty high level.
The Power Package also claims that it can help you with a swing that’s “off plane,” but that claim, too, falls down when you play around with the Power Package and try to make off-plane swings keeping your forearms in the cups. Though you’ll find that laying the club off quite a bit is difficult, it’s not too difficult to go well across the line, particularly if you don’t mind lifting the trail elbow up into the air:
And, of course, it’s quite easy to get well under the plane (illustrating my point just above about how keeping your forearms in the cups is not about rotation as much as elbow spacing):
Finally, PGA Tour players and better amateurs will often roll their forearms over on the follow through, too. It’s not something I prefer to teach, but a good number of players do it, particularly with the driver or longer clubs. The Power Package does not accept such a follow-through here, either:
Am I spending a lot of time on this? Absolutely. But this is what the Power Package purports to do. The Power Package claims to help golfers with their plane, their lack of distance, their slices and hooks, and their shanks… but I found that the “acceptable” range for the Power Package was just too narrow for my tastes.
Additionally, it’s quite possible to make a very good golf swing — a golf swing capable of winning major championships on the PGA Tour — without ever finding your forearms fitting into the cups, on the backswing or the follow-through. Perhaps if the Power Package had the capability to move one of the cups around a little — to increase the angle from about 45° to whatever you and/or your coach decided it should be — you could use it to work with your swing. But until the Power Package 2.0 comes out with this feature (I have no knowledge of any future development plans; I’m just making a point), the Power Package will only work with those comfortable at about the 43° angle.
As it is, the Power Package is just a bit too limited. In my testing, the Power Package:
- Doesn’t do a great job of tolerating “slow hingers” (Steve Stricker) or “unusual hingers” (Ryan Moore for a time, Rickie Fowler, Raymond Floyd). Golfers with swings like those fellas may have trouble slotting their forearms into the cups.
- Doesn’t help you get “on plane” very much. It’s quite possible, as shown above, to swing back very shallow or well across the line, all while the cups hold your forearms.
- Forces a relatively slow rolling rate of the forearms through impact and, again, relatively quick re-hinging of the wrists. I suspect that only a minority of PGA Tour players would slot their forearms into the cups on the follow-through.
Don’t get me wrong! For my swing, the Power Package works really well. I hinge at about the rate it seems to like, I keep my right elbow close enough, and I can use it to feel more pressure against my trail forearm to help me stay shallow enough in transition and on the downswing. For me, it works really well. And for maybe 30% of my students, their swings would fit the Power Package too.
But for the rest of the golfers out there, I feel it’s just too limiting. It may not work with their unique and often still very good swings at all. It may force them into changes that don’t have a real benefit, simply for the sake of making a “one swing fits all” type of motion.
I mentioned above that the Power Package comes in four SKUs, and I’ll re-iterate how disappointing that is given the possible solutions, particularly given the $79.99 price tag. Had the Power Package had a little more customizability, or at least the ability to swap righty and lefty, the price tag would be easier to justify for instructors and coaches, if not for players.
At the end of the day, I was disappointed by the Power Package. If your swing fits within the model — your forearms are about 43° apart, you hinge at the proper rate, and re-hinge without rolling much in the follow-through — it can work wonderfully to reinforce your habits. But if your swing doesn’t keep the elbows and forearms quite as close together, possibly because you can’t physically do so, the Power Package may prove to be a frustrating training aid that asks you to do something that may not help you and which may not even be possible for you to do.
And, as with many training aids, you won’t know if you’re one type or the other until you plunk down $79.99 to find out.