Two Cheap (nearly free) Golf Training Aids
Two of my favourite golf training aides are simple to use, effective and virtually free. They are;
- a piece of chalk
- an old golf club
A piece of chalk is a terrific training aid. When used correctly it can be used to improve chipping, pitching and iron play. Costing about a dollar it could be the cheapest golf aid there is. Here’s how to use it.
Draw a chalk line on some carpet or a golf mat. The objective is to strike the line with the golf club. You get instant feedback because when you hit the line the chalk is removed. If you miss there’s no hiding from the truth – you need to keep going until you can strike the line with your iron.
This drill is fantastic because the mind is not cluttered with rules and regulations about how to swing. The objective is to swing the club in a way that enables the chalk line to be struck. It doesn’t matter how you hit the line – just that the line is struck. When you can hit the line consistently you’ll have a repetitive golf swing that will give you great results.
This drill can be used by beginners right through to elite golfers. Better golfers can become very precise by attempting to hit a specific point on the line while learning golfers can have the objective to strike any part of a thick line.
Please note that when taking this “chalk line drill” to the golf course the actual position of the ball would be behind the line. The idea is that you strike the ball first (on a slightly descending path) and then hit the line. Hopefully by spending some time with this you’ll be able to do this instinctively without getting bogged down with technical thoughts.
This drill can be adopted with green side bunkers with the chalk line replaced by a line in the sand. With your focus on striking the line first, you’ll improve your bunker play without thinking too much about the intricacies of sand play. Just make sure the ball is placed an inch or two in front of the sand line when you’re ready to try it out for real.
This objective based learning can even be applied to the driver swing. Instead of hitting a line you can place your attention on clipping the top of a tee. This is harder than it appears but I can guarantee it will help your golf game. When you can swing at full speed and lightly brush the tee your golf swing will have more control than most.
On old golf club
When I became involved in a scientific study of the golf swing I learned that the golf swing is essentially a throwing motion. The whole golf swing can be broken down to a simple throwing action. The better you can make a throwing motion the better your golf swing becomes.
And this is where the old golf clubs come in because I want you to learn this throwing action. Before you start throwing golf clubs all over the place there are a few guidlines to keep in mind;
- Be safe. Make sure you can throw the clubs without hitting anyone or other objects. Throwing golf clubs can be dangerous and I’ve seen golf clubs go backwards and sidewards. You’ve been warned – be careful!
- Throw the clubs straight directly at the target. This is your objective. Many people throw the clubs to the left (if they’re right handed) of the target but this is not good. You want to apply power squarely to the back of the ball and you’ll only do this if you can throw straight.
- Start slowly. Don’t go at full speed too early. Start with small swings and gradually pick up speed.
- Don’t over think. Simply focus your attention on throwing the club down the fairway with a natural action. For most, throwing (even if it’s with two hands) is a simple skill that doesn’t need to get complicated. It’s this throwing type action that leads to a better and more reliable golf swing.
- For best results you want to break your practice up with some club throwing and then some real shots.
- It’s worth repeating. If you’re going to try this please be careful!
Chalk and an old club won’t break your budget. Most people will probably have them lying around the house and if you don’t you can pick them up for a few bucks. Better still, these objective based training aids and drills allow you to improve your game without too much hassle and thought. They allow you to get better naturally and quickly – which is always a good thing. Especially if you’ve been bogged down with too much swing theory and are looking for a way to break the shackles.