The PGA Professional & accomplished instructor explains the motivation behind his popular training aids
Golf Range Magazine: Can you give us the brief history of Tour Striker, and how you developed the training aid? Was your education and experience as a PGA Professional paramount in the development process?
Martin Chuck, PGA:The Tour Striker was born on the lesson tee. As a PGA member and director of golf, I was very active on the lesson tee. Students with the wrong intent on how the club works are much harder to teach than students who understand how equipment influences the ball. By creating a club that makes a golfer think about the correct delivery – a club delivered with forward shaft lean and a subtle downward strike – students quickly overcame the idea of trying to help the ball into the air with the bottom of the club face.
GRM: Was it clear to you, right away, how this product could help your fellow PGA Professionals be better instructors?
Chuck: After some brief prototype testing with early students, it was apparent that the tool immediately changed the players’ intentions with the club. Once a student has a clear idea of the actual application of the tool, the body takes on a different role in its delivery of power and precision. I knew right away that this training club would help my PGA peers transfer their knowledge to students faster with the use of this tool.
GRM: What’s the biggest benefit of the Tour Striker?
Chuck: It immediately changes intent. Golfers who feel like it’s their job to help the ball into the air quickly find out that while they may have mild success doing that with a standard golf club from time to time, the correct application of face to ball provides an amazingly more solid strike.
GRM: As your company and business have grown, what new products have you developed?
Chuck: After the original Tour Striker, my next product was the Tour Striker Educator. It’s a highly effective training device to help people get their wrist and the club in a reliable position at the top of the swing and into impact. After that, I reinvented the common impact bag by adding a removable “plane pillow.” It built upon the standard impact bag, providing a few more features to help golfers build their swing. We call that product the Tour Striker Smart Bag. From there, we added the Tour Striker Smart Ball – an inflatable, flocked ball that is worn around the player’s neck by a lanyard and held between the forearms. It helps golfers manage their arms, and thereby their wrist angles, when they swing. I have also developed a means for golfers to use aim sticks a variety of ways, because hitting off mats doesn’t allow golfers to push an aim stick into the ground. This product is known as the Tour Striker Plane Station. My daughter, Sami, inspired a product we call the Tour Striker S.A.M.I. – an acronym for Structural Awareness Motion Instrument. It is a pair of specialized badge reels that can be worn a variety of ways on the golfer to provide feedback. Finally, we have a product called the Tour Striker Power Impact Pro. This product is a length of rubber tubing with a golf grip on the end and attaches nicely to any fixed object. It can help you improve your flexibility, strength and impact alignments. We have a handful more products coming out this year.
GRM: Generally speaking, to what degree should instructors and coaches utilize training aids during lessons?
Chuck: Every student is different and every teacher sees things differently. I like drawing the information out of the student. To do that, I find that if I give them external clues through the use of feel-based training aids – through their own feels – they develop the desired change. They still need a watchful eye, but the fewer words I use the better they do.