This anticipated new training aid engrains good habits and helps golfers shallow the swing plane on transition
By: Tony L. Starks
The latest offering from Tour Striker was co-developed by company founder Martin Chuck and fellow PGA Professional David Woods – the PGA Director of Golf at The Vintage Club in Indian Wells, California.
The close friends often banter about the golf swing and strategies to help their students improve, and after viewing an instructional video where Chuck illustrated swing plane by attaching one end of a workout band to his belt loop and the other end to the lower part of the shaft, Woods was struck with an idea.
“I envisioned that we could hit full shots only if it was not fixed to the right side of the body and it was on a rail structure that would allow the band to move from side to side and allow the golfer to follow through,” describes Woods. “As we talked it through and experimented, we were able to develop what is now known as the Tour Striker Plane Mate – which is coming to market here in June.”
To use the training device golfers place a belt around their waist, on which the stretch band is attached using a railing. The other end of the band is then fixed to the shaft of the club at a point nearest to the center mass (or the balance point), which is slightly up from the hosel.
Here’s how it works. When golfers address the ball and begin taking the club away, they feel resistance on the band all the way to the top of the backswing. For the player, it may feel like the backswing is much steeper than it would be if he or she were not attached to it. When the golfer relaxes in transition and starts rotating towards the target, the tension on the band pulls the club into a shallower position and prepares them for proper impact conditions.
“One of the most talked about concepts among players and coaches presently is shallowing the club in transition,” says Woods, the former coach of Masters winner Mike Weir. “That’s what the Plane Mate is known for right now, but it’s more than just a shallowing mechanism.
“The great thing about this aid is that it does so many different things. It’s not a one trick fix. It’s awesome for developing the proper take away, it’s great for extension and it also helps with shallowing the plane on transition and exit rotation,” he continues. “One thing that we didn’t count on was using it as a fitness tool. If you make several practice swings applying tension to the band and then a couple of practice swings without it, you can barely feel the club immediately your swinging gets faster because the club feels lighter and you just basically had a workout.”
With its Mountain Course ranked among the top in California, The Vintage Club is a popular destination for PGA Tour professionals. With that said, Woods has been able to gather their feedback on the product.
“These guys already shallow the club properly, but they love it for the feeling of extension and the reminder to make sure the club doesn’t get behind the hand path on the take away,” he says. “What they like the most about it is the waking up of their hips on the through swing – making sure that the left hip is pivoting aggressively out of the way, the handle is exiting low left and the band is staying to the right of them as they finish.”
Ultimately, the Plane Mate promotes a swing with more rotary body motion, more passive hands and aggressive acceleration into the finished position. However, before tearing open the box and ripping full swings, Woods suggest that users began by hitting pitch shots off a tee using a 9-iron then slowly building up to full swings.
“It’s also important that golfers take their time when first using this product,” he adds. “As coaches, our job is to help golfers understand all the different variables this aid addresses and how to properly apply it to the student’s game.”
The buzz is building around Plane Mate, much thanks a progressive social media campaign. However, many top coaches have had the chance to demo the product and see first-hand how effective it can be and are also showing signs of excitement. As a result, the Plane Mate has pre sold more units than any prior Tour Striker product.
“It’s a multi-use product that the anticipation is high for,” says Woods. “We’re excited to bring this to the golfing community.”