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|The design of the Tour Striker makes it impossible to get the ball airborne without forward shaft lean. (Courtesy of Tour Striker)|
New Tour Striker training club encourages players to hit down on the golf ball -- not scoop -- just like the PGA Tour pros.
Many high handicap golfers share the same malady. They don't hit the little ball first.
They scoop, trying to help the ball up in the air. Even when an instructor can demonstrate the fault, most students have a difficult time grasping the concept that the ball must be struck with a slightly descending blow, hitting the ball first then the turf.
It's really a matter of trust.
So teaching professional Martin Chuck had an idea: What if he could design a golf club that encouraged players to hit down on the ball, with the hands ahead of the clubhead at impact? If a player tried to scoop the ball with this club, the ball would never get airborne.
"I found myself teaching so many golfers who were trying to scoop the ball at the bottom of the swing," said Chuck, who works at Tetherow Golf Club in Bend, Ore. "That was how they tried to get the ball in the air. I wanted to create a club that would teach them to hit down on the ball with forward-shaft lean."
So Chuck invented the Tour Striker, which he believes automatically changes a golfer's swing and ball striking. By using this training aid, they quickly learn to apply forward-shaft lean, which will increase lag, add clubhead speed and improve impact position naturally while practicing.
The product has been pretty successful since its introduction in May on an infomercial that has been running on the Golf Channel. Endorsed by TV commentator and player Gary McCord, the clubs feature distinctive designs that have little clubface below the "sweet spot," unlike a traditional golf club. The idea is that golfers will intuitively teach themselves how to deliver the sweet spot of the club to the ball.
"Tour Striker is a club that teaches golfers the tour players' secret to ball striking," McCord said. "Why are professional golfers as good as they are? Well, because regardless of their swing style or shape, their impact position -- a downward strike with the shaft leaning forward -- is the same. And that's what will happen to golfers of all skill levels when they start practicing with the Tour Striker."
There are three Tour Striker models available -- the original Tour Striker 8 iron, Tour Striker Pro 7 iron and Tour Striker 56-degree wedge training clubs, the latter of which is particularly helpful in the short game. Suggested retail is $99.
PGA Tour player Kevin Streelman said it also helps with path and retaining the angle of the club and the arm.
"Most amateurs have a hard time coming over the top, and they cast the club a little early," Streelman said. "This action results in them losing both their lag position and their impact position, and ultimately any power they've created. The Tour Striker ensures that golfers maintain the optimum position, so it's really a great practice tool to constantly work on your game."
Training aids that allow you to hit balls are always a bonus because you can see results right away and trust that the motion you are making is the correct one.
Most amateurs truly don't understand that the divot for an iron shot should be in front of the ball, not underneath it and certainly not behind it, and the only way to accomplish this is to lean the shaft forward at impact.
Leaning the shaft can be as simple as relaxing the hands as you accelerate through impact, allowing the clubhead to lag behind but telling someone that isn't nearly as good as a pragmatic demonstration.
Once a player sees the design of the Tour Striker, the concept is instantly understood, because the only way to get the ball in the air is to figure out to get that clubface to the ball first, and that isn't going to happen if the clubface is ahead or even with the handle of the club at impact.
The bottom line for a lot of golfers is this might be the best $99 they ever spend. The club comes with a video, and there are also models available for women and juniors.
For more information, visit www.tourstriker.com.
July 30, 2010
Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in the Houston area. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 15 years in the golf industry. Before joining the WorldGolf.com team in 2008, he held positions at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Read Mike's golf blog here and follow him on Twitter here.
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