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Training Aid Review – Hip Trax Core Laser

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By: Matt Saternus

As an instructor, I know that the hips play a huge role in producing a powerful, repeatable golf swing.  The problem is that there are very few training aids that give golfers any feedback on what their hips are doing.  For this reason, I was very excited to see Hip Trax unveiled at the PGA Show this past January (I even gave them one of my PGA Show Awards).  I’ve had Hip Trax now for a couple months and I’m ready to tell you if this is the training aid that will put you on the path to a club championship.

Ease of Use/Set Up – 10 Points

Setting up Hip Trax takes only about a minute.  Clip the laser belt around your waste, lay out the target mat, and set up to it.

To understand what you should be doing with Hip Trax, you need to watch a 10 minute video.  It’s not exactly “The Usual Suspects,” but it gets the point across.  Once you know the basic exercises to do with Hip Trax, you can go back to using the DVD as a coaster.

Score: 8.5/10

Effectiveness – 30 points

Though I have two major reservations, I think that, on the whole, Hip Trax is an effective training aid.

If you watch the training video, you see that all of the different exercises are variations on “Keep the laser on the dotted line.”  If you keep the laser on the line, you are getting your hips to rotate, tilt, and bend correctly (at least according to the manufacturer).  Some of the higher level exercises also incorporate your upper body so that you can work on sequencing your swing properly.  I think that for the average golfer, this can be very informative.

In addition to teaching the golfer the correct movement of the hips, Hip Trax also provides a workout.  Regular use of Hip Trax should improve the strength and flexibility of the golfer’s core which should result in fewer injuries and better performance.

Now, my two reservations:

1) There is no clear direction about how to set up to the ball.  When you watch the video, it asks you to address the ball, then adjust the laser until it hits the target line.  While watching this, I envisioned people taking very unsound address positions and never realizing they have a problem.  I’m aware that Hip Trax cannot necessarily be responsible for bad set up positions (it doesn’t claim to teach set up), but I think some guidance would be helpful since it is well known that proper pelvic position is key to an effective golf swing.

2) Hip Trax can only be used at low speed.  While learning the right movements is important, doing them in slow motion can only take you so far.  As anyone who has tried to change their swing knows, doing something slowly is much easier than doing it at full speed while trying to hit a ball.  Again, Hip Trax does not claim to work at high speed, but if there was a way that it could do so, it would certainly boost its effectiveness.

Score: 25/30

Longevity – 20 points

After the “new toy” shine has worn off, Hip Trax becomes like any other indoor training aid or piece of home gym equipment: if you really want to work and get better, it’s there.  If not, it’s going to gather dust.  Using Hip Trax is easy and convenient, but the results are a lot more fun than the process.

Score: 15/20

Value – 20 points

Hip Trax retails through the Laser Gym website for $199.99, double our “average” training aid price.  While I am willing to accept a slightly higher price for a training aid that’s fairly novel and effective, the high price will likely deter many golfers.

Score: 16/20

The Peanut Gallery – 20 points

The Peanut Gallery was impressed by Hip Trax, largely because it’s so different than most training aids that they have seen before.  Overall, they enjoyed the challenge of trying to keep the laser on the dotted line and found that there were enough different exercises to keep their attention.  While there were not any buyers at the $200 price tag, those who struggle with unorthodox lower body movements did say that they were interested in spending more time with Hip Trax.

Score: 17/20

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think that Hip Trax occupies a fairly unique space in the world of training aid and it does its job well.  While there are a couple improvements I would like to see down the road, I don’t think that should discourage golfers from taking a look at Hip Trax if they are interested in refining their swing while improving their core strength.

Score: 81.5/100

COUPON CODE: MyGolfSpy readers can get 20% off Hip Trax.

Enter code “golfspy”  at checkout.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave S June 24, 2013 at 11:59 am

Great review… I’ve seen this thing, but wanted to know how it actually worked in practice.

The biggest issue I see – and is one you pointed out – is that you can only use this in slow motion. I know for a fact I cannot turn my hips as far in slow motion as i can when I’m using my body’s twisting momentum while going full speed. If you try to go full speed, you’d likely have to have someone watch the laser for you to get an idea of how far you’re rotation and/or if you’re maintaining the correct line.

Another thing… IMO the “Value” score should be below 10/20… 199 bucks for this thing?! I’d MAYBE consider buying one at a $99 price point, but $200 is outragous.

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Drew June 24, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I agree on the markup…must have huge margins on this from what I can see.

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RP Jacobs II June 24, 2013 at 1:53 pm

It probably would be of use to a great majority of amateurs as the average Tour Pro rotates their hips at 2.5mph, while Bubba, Tiger, Justin and the biggest bombers hitting over 3mph, however the average amateur rotates at 1mph. Any aid that can improve that number should be a welcomed addition, in addition to hopefully getting the sequencing down.

Great write-up Matt!!

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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Drew June 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Wonder if that is mostly from lack of flexibility. I know I am certainly in the camp of needing to do more hip streches but is horrible at doing it consistently!

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Dave S June 25, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Yeah i think it’s probably a combination of hip flexibility and consistantly doing hip rotation exercises to build core strength… but like everything else, you and I will probably never have the free time available to dedicate to working on this like Tour Pros do… so I’ll just accept my 1mph rotation speed and try to hit it straighter!

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dick June 27, 2013 at 10:17 am

Have to chime in with some thoughts, My swing is different in slow motion than at full speed. I was watching Ai Miyazato warm up at a LPGA event. She was effectively swinging at 50 – 75% of her normal swing speed. This seemed to me to be a good exercise to work on tempo and swing sequence. So off I go to the man cave and start hitting balls in the net at half speed. Took awhile to figure out how to put the club on the back of the ball.
Great write up, but I think I’ll keep my two hundred bucks.

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Sam F. June 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I picked up this golf swing training device at the PGA merchandise show a few months back and have been using it ever since. I have been taking it to the range and using it while hitting balls. I have been extremely happy with it and noticed it really helping with my coming over the top fault. Like most of you have mentioned, the price tag is a little steep, but hey I spent $200 for 2 hours of golf instruction at my local course. Great Review!

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