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Golf Training Aids

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Golf training aids can often give you that little extra help to improve your game of golf. They are available for every aspect of the game - your swing, putting, aim, grip - even measuring the slope of a green. There's quite an array of golf aids out there with varying degrees of usefulness. Here's a small list of available golfing training aids to give you an idea of what to look for, starting with golf aids for the swing. They're not arranged in any order of importance.

1. The Swing Hat is composed of a microchip incorporated inside a comfortable golfing cap with earphones. Instant audio feedback is relayed to you about your spine angle, and the tempo of your stroke. It has an adjustable metronome and motion sensor. It is designed to help you improve while you are performing the swing or putt.

It's concept is based on the two basic principles of a good golf swing. First, that your spine angle remains constant, and second, using your own personal "tempo", which can be found by experimentation.

2. The Swing Analyzer is a portable device packed in a holster. It aims to help you maintain control of lateral rotation, and rotation of your trailing hip. It lights up, vibrates and beeps every time you are not swinging correctly! It can be usd to monitor your putting strokes as well.

3. The Swing Glove. This golf training aid helps develop a feel for proper wrist and hinge movement. The glove extends up beyond the wrist and has a swivelling aluminium rivet sewn inside which eliminates wrist cupping and loopy swings. It forces the hand to remain in the correct plane throughout the entire stroke. After several uses one gets the 'feel' of a proper hand and wrist action.

4. The Impact Ball again provides its user with the feeling of the best stroke to increase distance, keeping the club face square. Other methods teach you to memorise the mechanics, and this is often an unnecessary distraction. The method takes the focus away from the ball, and concentrates on the body and golf club working together. The large ball-like device, fits between the forearms and prevents those "flying elbows", "ckicken wings", scoops and slices. There are two sizes, one for men, the other for women.

5. The Leader Board Swing Trainer lets you feel correct balance, and helps achieve proper timing in the swing. It consists of three pads covered in artificial grass. One is the "hitting pad" on which the ball is placed. The right foot is placed on the second pad which sits atop two rails, and slips backwards and forwards as the stroke is made. The third pad is for the left foot and remains stationary.

The device teaches the user to put less weight on the back foot. Drills are suggested which target the components of the swing, and train the body to move in the proper sequence. Power cords are also available for resistance training to develop the muscles used in the swing.

6. Putting Greens and Putting Mats come in many shapes and sizes, with slopes and measuring rods. A few incorporate an auto return ball feature and other gizmos. They all help with alignment to give a straight stroke path, and a feel for slopes up or down.

7. Putting Glasses have markings on the lenses to align the golf ball, the feet, body posture and also align the track and distance to the hole. The idea is based on right or left eye dominance.

8. Forward Facing Putter. The golfer faces the hole with feet pointing to the target, and the putter is held by the side of the golfer and pushed forward. The motion is rather like that of croquet. Apparantly it is easier to read the green, and the stroke is said to be more natural.

9. Green Readers locate the slope, and the angle of that slope. Modern instruments provide an instant readout. They give a good indication of how much to adjust your stroke for uphill or downhill putts. It is against the rules to use them in actual competitions, but it is quite legitimate to use them in practice rounds on the same greens before the competition.

10. Practice Nets come in all sizes from mini ones to large cages 10' X 10' X 10'. Some have a target at the end, and others have an auto return device for the ball. They need a baffler if regular golf balls are used to practice.

11. Speed Sticks help you to hit the ball further by increasing the speed of your swing. The faster you swing the club, the further the ball will go. You simply swing the stick and read the indicator, then set it to zero again.They can be used indoors and outdoors. A "speed gauge", calibrated in miles per hour, tells you what the speed is. No guesswork, and you can track your progress.

12. A Thumb Caddie keeps your golf grip consistent throughout your wing to give straighter and longer shots. It keeps your hands in the proper position, eliminating hooks and slices. The device slips onto any club.

There are numerous other devices available which should not be too difficulkt to find, but the old addage, "Practice, practice, practice" still holds good. Golf training aids are after all only "aids".


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