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clearwaterms

Training aids, gimmicks, tools of the teaching professional, or devices that benefit the average hack

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For those fans of cinema we all remember the scene when Rene Russo meets Kevin Bacon for the first time to get Golf lessons in the movie Tin Cup.  She is wearing every bizarre training aid she could purchase out of the back pages of Golf Digest.  Kevin Bacon goes on to tell her all about how the golf swing isn't about mechanics and things like that it is a romantic thing that you have to feel, yada, yada, yada.

The only thing I feel on the golf course is the pure delight of a well hit 7 iron into a green 150 yards away, and the more often felt frustration of the wedge that was skulled 120 yards, when I was 90 yards away with a perfect lie.

So that being said, this past winter when my wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I said nothing except that I want to be able to make golf lessons a financial priority (not one as high as the mortgage, or feeding ourselves, but higher than an ugly birthday tie.

My wife, who always has the best intentions, and no concept of golf, took that to mean gift certificates to the place I get golf lessons (I have been going to the pro at my local Golf Galaxy for around 2 years on and off) so she asked my inlaws, and brothers and sisters to get gift certificates from Golf smith.

Now this isn't a story about best intentions or the miscommunication of marriage.  So that being said, I took a lesson last week and we have been working on my back swing and more importantly looking at my balance on my follow through and using it as an indication of where my elbows, and body weight is throughout the golf swing.  So we used this thing called a balance board and it appeared to work during my lesson, and afterwords I was hitting a lot of very nice shots.  Has anybody used this before and what do they think?  Is it worth the $50 or will it be like most things and end up sitting in my closet next to the snow ski boots that I really needed and have used 2 times which sit next to the yoga ball that my wife needed and i don't think she has EVER used.

What types of training aides do people find that they bring to the range and actually use (or in the backyard, etc) on a regular basis?  I thought about getting a mat and a net, but realized that in reality I probably won't use it nearly as much as $150 worth of range time anyway.  I have a fairly nice range that i can chip, pitch, putt etc and a medium sized bucket is $10.

http://www.golfsmith.com/product/30035603/the-balanced-golfer-balance-board/?lcode=CI&ci;_src=17588969&ci;_sku=30035603&prof;=21&camp;=7814&affcode;=cr545521&cid;=22856679191&networkType;=search&tcode;=GOOGLE&cm;_mmc=Google-_-Product+Listing+Ads-_-All+Product+Listings-_-{keyword}&url;=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.golfsmith.com%2Fproduct%2F30035603%2Fthe-balanced-golfer-balance-board%2F%26lcode%3DCI%26ci_src%3D17588969%26ci_sku%3D30035603&gclid;=CKjCjvb46rQCFYp_QgodB3QAOg

Picture of Rene Russo (because threads with pictures of attractive women always get more attention)

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The only thing I see wrong with all those things is "where was Kevin Bacon in Tin Cup?"
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touché

But that doesn't help me as to weather or not the training aid (or all training aids in general) or worth the money.  I have this gift certificate and like a kid in a candy store, I can't decide what I should buy.  My wife suggested I use the gift certificates for golf balls, tee's, etc.

But that is like getting a gift certificate for Target and spending it on Groceries, sure that is that safe logical, Suzie Orman thing to do.  I want to do something else with it.  So before I spend all of it on silly head covers, I figured I would look at some things that might actually get used.

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Other than alignment sticks and a tour striker I've never seen anyone at the range with a training aid.  I've bought two items I'd consider training aids, a Tour Striker Pro, and a birdieball indoor putting mat.  I've been very happy with both of them.

I just got the birdieball mat and have found it very helpful in improving my putting.  I plan to do a full review of it for the Sand Trap, but in short, I bought the 4' x 13.5' mat with different stimp ratings in each direction.   It's flat, but you and place pieces underneath to create breaks and hills to simulate real greens.   It rolls up and stores in a bag (unlike some competitive products) when you're not using it, so it's practical for occasional use.  Ultimately I think it will improve my putting, but until I get back on a course and putt on real greens I can't be certain.

The TourStriker is also a good aid if you want to focus on compressing the ball with your irons.  Without seeing your swing I don't know if that is an issue for you or not.  I'd watch the YouTube video and ask your instructor before you buy it.

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OP - I believe balance is critical to improving ones ball striking ability within the swing.  I've never used a balance board before like the one you linked, but if it helps you with your balance - I don't think it would be a bad investment.  But a cheaper alternative may be to buy two of these balance disc.  I've seen instructors use these on Youtube and thought about buying them.  Basically you stand on them and make controlled swings.  For around $25 investment, they look like they could do the trick that you have with that balance board?

http://www.amazon.com/Inch-Balance-Exercise-Training-Stability/dp/B001KOD92Q

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I've seen a few training aids at the range. One was a tour striker, the other a swingyde, and the other were the same balance discs like Beachcomber described, but was a little smaller. A guy was practicing in the stall next to me and was tinkering around with these balance discs for a good part early in his session. I ended up talking to him for a little and he turned out to be a professional trying to play his way onto a tour. You didn't really need to ask him because his golf swing and ball flight said it all. Other than that, not many people bring training aids to the range in my experience.

http://www.amazon.com/j-fit-Balance-Pods-Pair/dp/B0018EC2IU/ref=pd_sim_sg_3

Originally Posted by Beachcomber

OP - I believe balance is critical to improving ones ball striking ability within the swing.  I've never used a balance board before like the one you linked, but if it helps you with your balance - I don't think it would be a bad investment.  But a cheaper alternative may be to buy two of these balance disc.  I've seen instructors use these on Youtube and thought about buying them.  Basically you stand on them and make controlled swings.  For around $25 investment, they look like they could do the trick that you have with that balance board?

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Kevin Bacon? I just cannot imagine Rhen Mckormic from Footloose staring in my favorite movie of all time :(. But I agree with the tour striker is a good aid. I got a lot from Phil's short game DVD also.
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The Slice Eliminator, I use it in my backyard practice area where I hit into a net. The Slice Eliminator (look it up on Google) helps you keep from coming over the top among other things. It costs about $30 to $40 depending on where you buy it.

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I was intrigued by the Gyro-Swing when it was on Fore Inventors Only on TGC and I ended up getting one.  It really helped me eliminate a slicing problem and changed my normal ball flight to a draw.  I use it every now and then just for maintenance.  They can now be gotten for less than $100, which is a lot less that I paid.

I also just got a Gold Flex and have started using it for pre-round stretching and between rounds swing training and golf muscle building.  It is too early to see what the effect is.  The first time I used it pre-round I shot my best round in 2 years.  But the very next day I used it again and my score soared by 13, so the results are decidedly mixed.

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Tour Angle 144 ; best training aid I have ever used. I keep it in my bag and used it at the range and before every round. I really helps me maintain my one piece takeaway and provides immediate feedback on everything from 1/2 wedge swings all the way up to the driver. I have taken lessons in the past, and the instructors tried to tell me about one piece take away, wrist hinge and releasing the club head, but the Tour Angle 144 finally made it all make sense. I like the fact that I can use it with my clubs without making any modifications, and it is so compact that no one knows I'm using it.  Now if they would only make one for my putter...

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