So, you say you miss your belly putter? Say hello to Golf In Sync.
You may have glimpsed this deceptively simple training aid earlier this year on Golf Channel, where it was featured in a series of commercials immediately preceding and following the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. The device — a rigid five-foot stick that links the shaft of a golf club to the player’s forward arm — made its debut at the show in 2015.
And while it’s designed to help users develop their motion through every aspect of the short game, from putting to bunker play, players who are back to struggling with a short or even counter-balanced putter in the wake of the anchoring era ought to seriously consider making it a central element of their practice regimen.
Invented by Swedish teacher Niklas Eliasson, Golf In Sync is designed to encourage a synchronized swing powered by body rotation, with the arms, hands and club naturally following the body’s motion. Designed primarily for the short game, the tool can also be a boon to those struggling to improve their swing plane and club awareness, since it provides additional feedback about where the club is throughout the motion.
The primary benefit of anchoring a long putter, of course, is that it takes the unpredictable short-twitch muscles of the hands and forearms out of the equation, all but ensuring a square face at impact, even grip pressure and a more predictable, repeatable stroke. Switching back to a short putter is sure to exacerbate the difficulties that might have prompted the change in the first place.
With Golf In Sync, the shaft “anchors” the shorter putter to the player’s lead forearm, helping to teach the feeling of a simple pendulum putting stroke with a regulation-length putter. It becomes very difficult to manipulate the putterhead through impact, helping to train the very liberating sensation of simply pulling back and letting it go.
Even if you’re not a former belly putter person, an extended, lightweight rod that can be attached the shaft of a club — putter, wedge or iron — can come in handy in a variety of ways, as can the ability to fasten the rod to the upper arm.
Undo the velcro strap that holds the rod the correct distance from the shaft, and presto: the Golf In Sync becomes an ideal tool for monitoring and measuring swing plane, and for fostering a one-piece takeaway on pitching and chip shots.
Nitpicks? There’s a couple.
The hinged clamp-and-wingnut combination at the end of the rod could be less complicated; a simple clamp that snaps open and closed ought to make things a bit easier, and less likely to result in an incorrect installation. It would also be nice if the Golf In Sync was a one-piece affair; as it stands, it’s a bit too easy to misplace the arm strap.
The instruction manual that comes with the Golf In Sync leaves a lot to be desired in terms of the quality of the English, but it’s easy enough to understand, and entertaining as hell to boot.
“In golf is already the angle of the blade of the club,” one section reads. “Golf In Sync deletes the possibility to save the shot with hands…. In order to hit the ball with a clean hit, you must have the balance on ‘correct’ foot, left for rightplayers.”
Of course, in this day and age, all you need are the videos, and there are plenty to watch on the website at golfinsync.se.
Instructors who have integrated Golf In Sync into their programs include Dawn Mercer, director of golf instruction at the Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort, in Palm Harbor, Fla.; Martin Chuck, Tour Striker Golf Academy and Coaching Programs, in Chandler, Ariz.; and Martin Hall of Golf Channel fame, director of instruction at Ibis Golf & Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Without a doubt, and broken English notwithstanding, the Golf In Sync is a valuable addition to any serious player’s training toolbox.