Okay if you're like me you have probably given up on the Golf Channel. Sure it's great when there are big tournaments going on, what could be better than around the clock coverage of The Masters or British Open? And I have to admit, as far as reality television goes, The Big Break isn't half-bad. But the rest of the time? Endless, shameless infomercials touting the greatest new product ever introduced.A new golf club that bends in five different places, or how about one with a laser. The great thing though is that every single one of them will transform you from a 37 handicap to an 8 handicap! You will gain 30 yards off the tee and hit the ball straight! And all you have to do is make three easy payments of $39.95. Order now and you can even get a free instructional video so you can actually learn how to use this ridiculous gimmick you are about to buy.
Do I sound cynical? Maybe I am, but the only thing that annoys me more than these antagonizing commercials and the pretty boy golf professionals in them is the fact that they work! No matter how outrageous or expensive the training aid, people will still want it. These are usually the people who can't justify spending $200 on a new driver because they don't see the benefit. They are the same people who refuse to spend $100 for a couple of lessons. They will use the same spikes until they are so worn down that they have to be drilled out of the bottom of the shoe, but they feel just fine going ahead and ordering a Medicus 2000 for $150.
I suppose maybe in a way I should applaud the people at Medicus. After all they managed to take a $15 5-iron, cut the shaft in the middle and put a hinge in it and find people who are suckers enough to pay ten times that. Whether the club works or not they are going to make their money. But what about the people that buy them? Next time you are about to pick up the phone to dial the 1-800 number stop and think to yourself; do I even know how this thing works? Yeah it bends in the middle but how the hell is that going to help me?
If you don't know what's wrong with your game or what you need to improve then how can you possibly think that one of these products is going to be the ultimate cure?
The first thing you have to do is take a lesson to find out exactly what your swing faults are. Now that you know your flaws you can start looking at which device will help out your particular problem. But wait, by this point any decent teaching pro should have figured out some of your flaws, hopefully taught you something about your swing and given you some good drills to fix it. Now you know what you need to work on and what is wrong with your swing. No need for that training aid now. And instead of a couple hundred dollars you may have spent $40 or $50.
Sure you are going to have to go to the driving range and practice now but you didn't seriously think that funky back/shoulder/wrist/hip brace was going to work overnight did you? First you are going to have to wait to get it in the mail, then it will probably sit in the box for a couple days, then you have to take out the instructions and spend a couple more days trying to figure out how to use it, and then you have to start practicing with it. Hardly a miracle cure.
Golf Digest just picked the Inside Approach as the best training aid of 2004. The Inside Approach is just a modified version of a trick teaching pros have been using forever: stick a shaft in the ground at a 25-degree angle, place a golf ball under the elevated end of the shaft, in order to hit the golf ball you will be forced to make an in-to-out swing. The marketing geniuses have taken this idea, added some plastic and foam (by the way the plastic will shatter if you hit it the right way), stamped Jack Nicklaus' name on the box and added a nice big price tag. Did you really need to spend $130 for the Inside Approach when an old steel or graphite shaft would have done the same job?
Or you can look at it another way; the Inside Approach is based on a simple training method that has been around for decades and was voted as a better training aid than any of the other gimmick golf clubs available. Doesn't say a whole lot for the new technology of the training aids does it?
Plain and simple these things are a waste of time and money. Even the select few that do work effectively are way overpriced. If you want to improve your game and aren't sure how to do it go see your local teaching pro. Most of them will be more than happy to see you (that is how they get paid after all) and can give you way more information than the newest training aid ever could. You will get all the drills you need to practice with and even if you buy several lessons over the summer chances are you are still saving money.