December 19, 2019

On the Right Path

By Al Petersen

If your students need assistance down the proper path to a better swing, perhaps Speed Trap 2.0 should be in your lesson plans.

The device, which is pretty cool in its simplicity, gives users a visual for the correct path of the clubface on any type of swing, in addition to instant feedback if any part of the motion is off line.

Since there’s a good chance your students have a swing that’s too out-to-in or in-to-out on the downward path, the Speed Trap points the way to a more on-plane swing.

Simply aim the plate down the target line and put tees in the holes to secure the horseshoe-shaped plate to the ground. Then attach the four foam rods to the Velcro circles on each corner.

Now your students have a path to follow. If the clubhead hits any of the four rods or the plastic plate, you and they know that something is out of whack.

“I use the Speed Trap to help players understand the importance of swing path,” says Adam Smith, PGA Director of Instruction at The Country Club of Virginia in Richmond. “In my opinion, since golf shot direction is controlled by path and since golf ball spin is controlled by face, using it is essential when helping my students understand how to get their golf swing on the proper path.” 

Smith also likes to use the Speed Trap as a complement to his high-tech gadgets.

“I use it during TrackMan sessions because of its swing path visual assistance,” he says. “It’s a great teaching aid in the short game area, as well. The foam posts that Velcro onto the deflection board act as swing alignment indicators. When a player swings off track, there is low impact collision and instant feedback. It’s portable and easy to use for all short game shots. Long pitch shots and short chip shots are made easier using the Speed Trap.” 

It’s recommended that rods be placed at their widest possible position when getting started so users get used to the proper swing path and not frustrated by constant bumping. After they use it a number of times, move the rods closer together, which will force a more precise swing. Lower-handicap golfers will probably prefer to work as narrowly as possible, while higher handicappers might like to keep things fairly wide to get a good groove and more confidence.

If your student slices the ball, position the rods to force an in-to-out swing; if they hook or pull the ball, do the opposite.

Sometimes, swinging the club isn’t even necessary, since the plate and its lines also work as setup guides for the clubface regarding squareness and positioning.

“I use it for all the clubs in the bag, and even without students taking a swing on occasion because the Speed Trap is also a good alignment tool,” says Trent Wearner of the Trent Wearner Golf Academy in Denver. “Sometimes it’s as basic as a clubface that isn’t square at setup, or oftentimes the toe is up at address. The Speed Trap is a good visual for that, beyond the benefits it has for swing path.”

Wearner, like Smith, appreciates the simplicity of the Speed Trap and likes to work it in with his high-tech lessons.

“Some people grasp things better with video or 3D pictures or other high-tech teaching methods, but some students need to see it by swinging and getting instant feedback,” Wearner says.

“That’s what this does. They can see it, basically, and learn to trust it themselves, so the message doesn’t get lost in a bunch of numbers.”

Wearner also occasionally positions the Speed Trap at angles that exaggerate an in-to-out or out-to-in swing path to enforce the concept. Another benefit, he says, is to simply use it as an alignment tool for starting the backswing correctly.

“So many people start the club back wrong, which can get everything off track from the beginning,” he says. “Just taking the club back correctly can start a good motion and produce a good path from start to finish. Using the Speed Trap helps a person get off to a really good swing.”