2013 PGA SHOW – “Training Aid Awards”

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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.

Website: HERE

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.

Website: HERE

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.

Website: HERE

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.

Website: HERE

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.

Website: HERE

"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.

Website: HERE

Which Product Would You Like To See Reviewed?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Darryl May 26, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Bought the Swingbyte 2. The data collection is very impressive, however after a couple hundred swings the unit fell apart. First the alignment tab covering the USB hole flew off on a swing (no big deal). Then the tabs holding the locking mechanism shattered on a swing. Finally the unit would simply shut down on some hits (it was fully charged). Like I said from an information analysis perspective awesome kit, but some serious work needs to be done to make it more durable. I was very sad to bring this back.


T.W. May 8, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Looking for a short game aid called chipstix, chpstx” it fits on grip of wedge


Pras June 22, 2013 at 7:34 am

Matt.. when do you plan to do shootout 2.0 ? cant wait. or if its already done ?


Yohanan February 3, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Matt – Can’t wait for the swing trainer shootout 2.0. Thanks in advance and if you need help let me know! Sky Pro looks interesting. I guess a gps device with training analysis and swing trainer/portable LM would be ideal and expensive. Swing Byte 2.0 could be the winner this year with the improvements. Will be checking out SB 2.0!



Dhuck Hooker February 2, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Does that Hip thing ship have a DVD with Shakira demonstrating how to rotate the hips? With lasers shooting out of them? I’d buy that in a minute.

Actually, I think she is a golfer.


Troy Vayanos February 1, 2013 at 10:12 pm

The ‘Pill’ looks to be a great little tool that most golfers would benefit from.

It’s just so simple and it’s hard to believe it took all the way to 2013 before it got released.

I would love to read a review on this.


Gregg Long February 1, 2013 at 11:55 am

The HipTrax product definitely has the best potential to improve your game. All of them are good ideas, though.


Scott Messner February 1, 2013 at 10:18 am

The SkyPro looks very promising. I’d like to see how it stacks up feature to feature to SwingByte and SwingTip. I would expect more features as since it’s made by Sky Golf it will most like have a premium price tag.

The Pill. Really why didn’t any of us think of that? Looks like a great simple idea.


GolfSpy Matt February 1, 2013 at 10:21 am

If I recall correctly (a big IF), the Sky Pro is priced right in the heart of that category. That said, it does bring some features we haven’t seen yet. I have high hopes.




Kenneth J February 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm

On the Golf Digest list, they show the Sky Pro at $200


Adam Tsouras February 2, 2013 at 10:20 am

You are correct Kenneth J, SkyPro is available for pre-order at $199.95. Reservations can be made through the “Pre-Order Your SkyPro” link at the top left of the website


pablo February 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Still amazes me the companies don’t build an Android version of their apps.


David W February 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Me too, there are less than a quarter of a million iphones activated every day while more than 800,000 androids are activated every day. Android is leaving iphone in the dust as far as users and as far as hardware it passed iphone a long time ago.


gary clark January 28, 2014 at 4:35 am

This is perfect for androids


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