How to choose the right ball
Have you ever been curious to how tour players practice on the range prior to tournament play? We attended the Humana Golf Challenge (PGA) and the ANA Inspiration (LPGA) and here's what we observed.
Other than hitting balls, some tour players used a swing analyzer to determine shot distance, swing speed, ball speed and smash factor.
Did you know that Patrick Reed's wife uses her smartphone to videotape Patrick's swing during practice rounds? She will play it back to him after his swing and if he doesn't like it, he will drop a ball where he last hit and repeat the swing.
David Leadbetter was on the range at the ANA Inspiration with his pupils that included Lydia Ko, Michelle Wie, Danielle Kang and Jessica Korda. He had Lydia put a visor-like gadget under her right arm. She had to swing her club without letting it fall. Vijay Singh used a headcover to do the same.
Izzo Speed Pro Golf Swing Trainer
The Izzo SpeedPro (available at TGW) will measure both the ball speed and clubhead speed. Simply set it up at the range and swing away.
The speed is displayed in large LED digits or if you don't want to take your eyes off the ball, you can turn on the voice option.
After you swing the club, the speed will be announced.
Currently sells for $119.95.
Orange Peel Balance Trainer
The Orange Peel Balance Trainer (available at TGW) is an interesting training apparatus you can use at home. Depending on where you stand on it, the Orange Peel will give the sensation of the slope you are simulating. Slopes include uphill lie, downhill lie, sidehill lie and more.
To train on it, you stand on the Orange Peel with a club or Orange Whip trainer and swing. By recreating the slope, you can practice working on your body stability.
Currently sells for $179.95.
ProActive F4 Turbo Swing Trainer
At the Humana Golf Challenge, the F4 Turbo Swing Trainer was seen on the driving range as a training device to strengthen core muscles to gain extra distance using a driver.
The ProActive F4 Turbo Collapsible Swing Trainer (available at TGW) folds up quickly like an umbrella. It uses the technology of power resistance to build strength.
Currently sells for $49.95.
Opinion: Bring your Own Mat
When you go to Yoga class, you bring your own mat. But when you go to the driving range, should you bring your own mat? According to Doc Wordinger, mats provided by the driving range may not be the best mats for you to practice on. He explains that mats are not equal and that most mats do not give the golfer the feedback required when they hit the ball. Unless the golfer practices on real grass, the mats at most driving ranges are simply insufficient. Doc explains that there are mats on the market that allows the club to sink into, after impact with the ball. The correct way to hit the ball with a descending blow will cause a divot in front of the ball. If you bottom out your swing, the divot would be before the ball. With the right mat, you would feel the difference. Hitting a ball on a TrueStrike mat will give you the same feel as if you were hitting it on the fairway. But the TrueStrike mat isn't cheap. It's definitely for the serious golfer or a homeowner who wants to practice golf in the backyard without digging up the grass. If you're in the market for a practice mat, be sure to check out Doc Wordinger's article.