The Water Glass
When I was a kid we lived in a building on the site of one of Stanley Thompson`s lost golf courses. It wasn`t lost then. It was where I first learned to play. My dad loved Jack Nicklaus and I rooted for Billy Casper (I have no idea why I chose Casper except that his name was the same as The Friendly Ghost).
Since I couldn`t practice a full swing in the house, I would get my kicks back then putting into a water glass. I`d put the glass down by the TV and then putt a dimpled Spalding across the carpet. If I missed the Å“hole I`d have to reach under the console to retrieve my shot. I had to be careful not to putt the ball too hard for fear of breaking the glass. During major weeks I`d putt on the parquet floor to replicate the slick greens. If I got the glass just right I`d send it spinning around. It was fun but what I really wanted was one of those tin holes. The glass was free.
The Tin Cup
I think that everyone had one of these “ eventually. How much do you love rolling the rock right up one of those lips and watch the lever click over as the ball goes into Å“the cup. Were you as delusional as me thinking that you lipped out if the ball missed the hole but went over one of the other levers? Wrong. Even if you pound the ball into the cup every time you were always hitting to a target much larger than a real hole. You`re not learning much of anything. It cost $6.00
AJ On Golf
My first real training aid as an adult was the DVD series AJ On Golf. I know that you`ve seen the commercials but now I`m going to share AJ`s Å“secrets without you having to spend a dime.
Secret #1 “ The face of the golf club is a doppelganger of your right palm (if you`re right-handed. If you pull it up from the ground the face fits in your hand like a ping pong paddle. You have no problem hitting a ping pong ball. Do you? Then you shouldn`t have a problem hitting a golf ball.
Secret #2 “ The face of the golf club is like a baseball bat. Anyone who has played a little knows how to time a hit to right left or centre field. Right? It`s the same idea.
I only watched this once. It did not add 30 yards to my drives. It did not lower my handicap by 30%. It cost me $130.00.
Oooo. I love this one. It really works. I`m like many other players with a swing that comes over the top. Just like the ad, I fixed my over the top move in less than 6 swings. I never did hit the foam arm that follows your target line. I don`t use it anymore. I worked it out to $17.00 per swing.
The accompanying DVD tells you to set up the club face ahead of where the ball would be. You should bring the club back slowly and use a controlled swing through the hitting area. This will give your muscles a chance to learn the proper mechanics.
I used this religiously for three weeks and found that my swing did improve. I can now strike the ball more consistently and have eliminated most whiffs. Cost: $75.00
The Golf Simulator
This past winter I joined an indoor golf league at Carruther`s Creek. We played every Monday night. I wasn`t sure if it was helping or not but I knew I was having fun. When I went to Florida over March break I played a couple of rounds and found that I was hitting both my driver and irons considerably farther than last season. The simulator we played on didn`t have a putting feature so that part of my game was woeful.
The simulator league cost $14.00 per week for a round of golf.
In addition to these tools I have swung the Speed Stick and The Medicus but had no interest in making an investment in either. I find David Ledbetter`s new Å“Swing Setter interesting. I`m hoping to win one at a golf tournament. If I do, I`ll let you know how it works.