Including: "The Bull**** Filter"
(Written By: GolfSpy Matt) As the official "training aid guy" around here, I look forward to the show because no other category is as unique as training aids. From big companies like Sky Golf to guys running their own operation out of their garage, anyone can be a napkin sketch away from creating a training aid that will revolutionize the way we practice...or one that just takes up a lot of space in land fills. This year I saw a lot of great new aids and a lot of crap if I'm being bluntly honest.
Thankfully, I had my bulls*** filter to help me tell you the difference.
Now, it should be said that I haven't had much, if any, chance to test these products yet. I am hopeful that before the year is through, I will have a chance to put each of them through a full MyGolfSpy review. So really, this is largely like the NBA Draft of training aids: I'm putting a premium on potential. That said, here's what I think about the "Best Training Aids of the 2013 PGA Show".
Best Update: Swingbyte 2
Those of you who read our High Tech Swing Trainer Shootout know that I wasn't the biggest fan of Swingbyte. But, to the great credit of the folks behind Swingbyte, they didn't send emails cussing me out, they took the feedback and made their product better. The hardware inside of Swingbyte 2 is the same, but the way it attaches to the club promises to eliminate the slipping and spinning that plagued the original.
Also, the new app includes video and (big deal alert) target line recognition. Ok, I'm aware those of you who aren't launch monitor nerds may not be as aroused by that as I am, but it's a big deal. A REALLY big deal. As much as I'm dreading High Tech Swing Trainer Shootout 2.0, I am really looking forward to testing Swingbyte 2.
Best Party Crasher: SkyPro
With the High Tech Swing Trainer category becoming more crowded by the minute (I think my dog is actually developing one right now), I was not expecting to leave the show excited about another newcomer.
Then I saw SkyPro. Powered by Sky Golf, the company behind Sky Caddie, the Sky Pro brings some new technological advances to the table that will push the category forward tremendously. I also think that the user experience may be one of the most consumer-friendly I've seen. Again, this is all speculative until Shootout 2.0 happens, but I think the "established" companies in this category have good reason to be afraid of Sky Pro.
Best Trainer That Angry Golf Hulk Doesn't Need: Max Xcel
Everyone (except the aforementioned green fellow) wants to hit the ball longer, and for years, instructors have recommended weighted clubs. The problem with a weighted club is that you can't hit the ball with it, and, even if you could, it's not your real club. Max Xcel has developed a very simple solution to this problem: a weighted sleeve that goes over the grip of your actual golf clubs. They claim that this builds up hand and forearm strength which will, over time, lead to greater club head speed.
The Shakira (Hips Don't Lie) Award: Hip Trax
Stop rolling your eyes, that's funny and you know it.
The hips may be the most ignored body part when it comes to the golf swing, which goes a long way towards explaining why most of you are terrible at golf. Laser Gym has combined their laser belt (my unofficial terminology) with a floor target to let golfers know what they should be doing with their hips in the golf swing. I predict that use of this device will lead to lower scores and better dance moves.
Best "Why Didn't I Think of That?": The Pill
Some of the best training aids require no explanation: you see them and instantly know what you should do with it and how it could help your game. That was my response when I saw "The Pill". "The Pill" is a golf ball with the "sides" sliced off so that you have less margin for error when putting. Knowing how much I love sadistic training aids, I think this is a surefire winner.
"I Don't Know Why, but I think This Will Work" Award: Tempo Trainer
After inspecting it on the show floor, I think that the Tempo Trainer may provide the clear feedback that many other "lag" trainers fail to deliver. Honestly, I can't explain why I think that; nothing to go on but an instinct forged from dozens and dozens of training aid reviews. I can tell you that one is coming in for review, so I'll have a hard answer for you in the near future. Stay tuned.