For students who may struggle with compressing a golf ball, PGA Professionals Adam Smith and Megan Padua say that the Tour Striker can deliver some terrific results
Golf does not discriminate. The game can be difficult for all types of players, whether they are male or female, youth or senior golfers, high or low handicaps. One of the most problematic areas of the game is consistent ball striking. That’s why PGA Professional Martin Chuck, Tour Striker LLC and Tour Striker Golf Academy at the Raven Golf Club – Phoenix, invented the Tour Striker in 2008. The unique teaching and training aid is designed with little to no clubface below the club’s sweet spot. The Tour Striker is designed to help golfers hit the ball with a forward shaft lean and a downward strike, much like touring professionals do so well.
The Tour Striker has had some great success since the company’s launch and has sold thousands of units worldwide. Furthermore, golf instructors across the country have come to rely on the training aid to help improve their students’ ball striking. Among the satisfied teaching professionals are Salisbury Country Club PGA Director of Instruction Adam Smith and Maidstone Club and Belfair Plantation PGA Golf Instructor Megan Padua, who use the Tour Striker regularly. As you will read and see in the accompanying video, Smith and Padua use the device a number ways and for various drills which have been very well received with their pupils.
From Adam Smith…
On his lesson tee at Salisbury Country Club in Midlothian, Virginia, Adam Smith uses the Tour Striker to help players get better contact and more centered hits. Smith, keeps this instrument as one of many useful training aids in his teaching bag on his instruction tee.
“I find the Tour Striker is most effective when used by better players or low handicapped players who need more consistency for centered strikes. I typically will use the Tour Striker when my students aren’t sure if they’re hitting the actual sweet spot.” Smith says that as soon as his students start to use the training aid, they receive immediate feedback and can instantly feel where the ball is making contact with the club, good or bad.
“The Tour Striker is a great diagnostic tool for the centeredness of a hit. It helps a good player with consistency.” He suggests thinking twice about using the Tour Striker with a higher handicapper, however. “Not every training aid works for every golfer, as we know,” continues Smith. “I find that higher handicappers get more frustrated trying to hit a small sweet spot. These players need other drills and should swing their oversize irons, not a blade.”
How does the 2008 Middle Atlantic PGA Section Teacher of the Year decide to use the training aid in a lesson? A lot of times, it depends on the student’s overall demeanor.
“Everyone is different,” explains Smith. “Sometimes working on drills and using teaching and training aids can help students, and other times they can backfire. The Tour Striker can be difficult for some students to hit and get ideal results, as can a lot of other teaching and training aids.”
If Smith knows one of his students may become frustrated by using a training aid, he tends to stay away from them. However, other students relish the challenge of making solid contact with an abstract club such as the Tour Striker and Smith can successfully train them to make the correct motion and swing during his lesson.
Furthermore, Smith says that he has had success using the Tour Striker with students who struggle with topping the golf ball. He says that the training aid has helped these students not only create a descending attack angle, but also achieve a forward shaft lean at impact, as many, if not all, of the touring professionals achieve.
While Smith says he currently uses the Tour Striker with just a handful of his students, he says the aid has become very popular with those golfers who get good feedback from it. Smith encourages these students to borrow the Tour Striker during their practice sessions on the range. He likes to lend out his tools and encourage productive practice.
“If a student comes to me and regularly borrows the same training aid, like some have with the Tour Striker, I know that they are making the best of their practice sessions. I often suggest that they purchase one for themselves, to keep in their bag and use during practice, to improve their game.” Adam Smith has indeed had success using the Tour Striker in his instruction program and plans to continue using the aid as it continues producing positive results for his students. While he says he may only use the Tour Striker for five minutes during a private lesson, the feedback the aid provides is tremendous for his students’ understanding of their own swings and almost always results in ball striking improvement.
From Megan Padua…
Megan Padua is always eager to try out new teaching and training aids and incorporate them into her instruction program and when she first saw the Tour Striker, she immediately wanted to test it out. “I thought the Tour Striker had a very interesting look to it and as a golfer and a teaching professional, it instantly appealed to me,” says Padua. “So I tried out the aid and really saw the value and great feedback it can provide to students of all types, not just the experienced golfer.”
Padua was also fortunate enough to work with Martin Chuck, the Tour Striker’s inventor, at the Tour Striker Golf Academy at the Raven Golf Club – Phoenix. Padua was given the whole story of how and why Chuck invented the training aid and how it has helped his own students. “He told me that he had originally designed it, or rather sketched it, on a napkin,” Padua explains. “That was pretty neat to hear how a simple concept drawing on a napkin turned into a great selling training aid that is used by masses of great teaching professionals across the world that delivers great results whenever it is used.”
Padua, a 2013 GRAA Top 50 Growth of the Game Teaching Professional, admits that she does not use the Tour Striker in every lesson, but encourages her students who are familiar with the device to practice with it often. “I consider the Tour Striker a valuable practice aid as much as I do a teaching aid,” says Padua. “I typically use it in my lessons to show my students how to properly hit golf balls or to allow them to feel proper compression of the golf ball. It is up to them to continue to practice with the Tour Striker to improve their technique.”
It is because of this philosophy that Padua keeps extra Tour Strikers around so she can send them home with her students so they can continue to work with the aid and the drills they worked on during their sessions. And it is because of her lending program that her students fall in love with the Tour Striker and ask to buy a unit for themselves, which many of them have. Padua explains that even though she has not joined, Tour Striker offers an incentive program for golf professionals to sell the aid to their students all while earning extra revenue that they may not have otherwise realized.
Padua’s go-to drill for the Tour Striker is “waist-high,” or as some teaching professionals may refer to it, “nine o’clock to three o’clock.” Padua says that keeping the swings short at first is key, especially with an aid that can be difficult to hit in the air.
“Initially, almost all students will struggle to hit the ball in the air when using the Tour Striker because they are unaware of how the golf club is supposed to work,” explains Padua. “The Tour Striker teaches them how the club should contact the ball. That is why it is important for them to start small and perfect their downward strike and forward shaft lean with half, or even quarter swings. Once they master the shorter swings and consistently compress the golf ball and launch it in the air, we can start working with them on three-quarter swings and then ultimately full swings.”
Padua also claims that the more teaching professionals use the Tour Striker, the more likely they are to find new ways to use it, like most other teaching and training aids. For example, Padua first started using the Tour Striker for ball compression and to teach her students about the angle the club should be at during impact, but has since found that the training aid also helps with her students tempo and rhythm. If golfers start to fall out of rhythm and develop a tempo that may be too quick, it will become increasingly difficult to hit the Tour Striker properly. All in all, Megan Padua has come to rely on the Tour Striker to help improve her students’ swings. In her own words, the aid makes her job a bit easier and the feedback the Tour Striker delivers to her students is quick, reliable and invaluable. She does not plan to quit using the device any time soon.