Golf instructors have a very difficult job. Not only do they have to properly diagnose what is wrong with a swing, but they also have to communicate the solution in a way that the student can understand. I believe this gap in communication is why so many golfers fail to improve their swings despite their teacher’s best attempts.
The main reason this is happening is because the student can’t feel the right swing. They might nod their heads when it’s being explained to them what they need to do, but when they go to make the change their body fails to listen to the brain.
This gap in understanding is why so many swing trainers have been invented over the years. A great product can help the golfer feel the right moves they should be making rather than have someone verbally explain it to them. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many truly great swing trainers. They have been more informercial fools gold than they are legitimate.
I recently tested what is probably the most popular swing trainer out there today, the Orange Whip. This product has found its way into the bags of some of the most prominent teachers and players around the world, and I think it’s for good reason. The Orange Whip works.
The two keys to the golf swing
I believe the golf swing is not as complicated as most people make it out to be. I’ve seen thousands of players’ swings, and I believe that by fixing two issues their games will improve dramatically.
They are tempo and balance.
Most recreational golfers fail miserably at the two most crucial elements of a successful golf swing. If they could focus their time and effort on just tempo and balance rather than swing planes and hand positions they would see dramatic improvement in their ball striking.
The story behind the whip
Jim Hackenberg set out to be a PGA Tour player years ago. When he came to the conclusion that his dream would not be realized, he focused on becoming a teacher.
Jim began to see a pattern emerging amongst his students. He noticed that they were not swinging the club in proper rhythm, and it was affecting their ability to make proper contact with the ball. He couldn’t quite communicate, or pinpoint the exact change they had to make to fix their problem though.
A friend invited him to caddy for him on the PGA Tour, and Jim took the opportunity as a way to observe the most elite golfers in the world, and find out how he could help his students. He began to notice that the best players had an effortless, athletic swing regardless of what kind of positions their club would be in. In his mind he began to envision them swinging a ball and chain, and the idea of the Orange Whip was born.
Jim started building prototypes in his home, and using them with his students. His goal was to recreate this rhythm through the use of a flexible shaft that was counterbalanced with a weight at the end of it. He knew if used properly his product would help golfers feel the tempo he was looking to recreate.
After seeing immediate success with his students, Jim decided to develop the product for the mass market. He packed up his bags, moved to South Carolina, and starting building the Orange Whip in a rented house. Fast forward years later, and his product has become one of the most successful training aids in the history of golf. Almost every top 100 teacher uses the Orange Whip, and you can see it in the bags of many of the top touring professionals.
Hundreds of thousands of whips have been sold around the world, and it’s a great story of entrepreneurship.
I was interested to try out the Orange Whip because I have been suffering lately with my driver, and I believe the problem was rooted in my transition. The moment when you reach the top of your swing is probably one the of crucial elements to get right. Most golfers rush the transition, and start their downswing without allowing the club to properly hinge, and pause briefly. I believe this was the main issue that was plaguing me. Like many other players, I just couldn’t wait to get that club back to the ball!
I had high hopes that the product could help me get this feeling back, and restore the proper tempo that I’ve been missing.
There are a number of drills that are available on their website, but the main use of the Orange Whip is to just swing it in a constant motion for about 5-10 minutes a day.
My first session with the whip felt a little bit awkward. It’s much heavier than I expected, and I’m sure many other people are taken by surprise the first time they use it as well. I performed the recommended sets of swings, and to be honest I actually felt a little bit fatigued afterwards, and parts of my forearms and shoulders felt sore. It’s actually a legitimate strength training tool that will work out your golfing muscles.
I continued doing my sets for the next couple of days, and I did not swing a golf club. The beauty of this product is that it won’t work unless you are using it properly. If you lose your balance or your tempo, the weighted ball will let you know immediately, which is the greatest feature of this trainer.
The swing I was making felt completely controlled and in rhythm. My wife even noted how beautiful and balanced it looked! Most importantly I could feel that hinge at the top of my swing, and the slight pause. It was a bit exaggerated because of the weighted orange ball, but it started to click in my mind on what I needed to do with the actual golf club.
One word of caution, please make sure you have enough room to swing the Orange Whip if you are using it indoors. It’s quite heavy, and if it makes contact with an object, or a person…it can do some damage!
On The Course
When I first picked up a golf club after a few days with the Orange Whip, I panicked. It felt like a toothpick!
Luckily order restored after about 5-10 minutes of swinging, and the weight of the club returned back to normal (so don’t freak out if this happens to you). I warmed up on the range before my round, and I was absolutely launching the ball. My swing felt effortless, and I was really focusing on that feeling of the hinge at the top of my swing.
Did it work on the course though? Thankfully yes. I’ve been losing my driver all over the place this year, and it’s forced me to keep it in the bag most of the round despite the fact that it can be a great weapon for me. Over the next three rounds I hit more fairways with my driver than I had in quite some time (7/8 in my most recent round).
I also began to incorporate the swing you make with the whip into my pre-shot routine. I’m trying to focus on the rhythm completely, and bring that feeling into my actual swing. Is it working every time? Of course not, it’s golf! However, there is no question I have been hitting a few irons more solidly, and my drives have improved dramatically.
How I would use it
While it’s always great to take lessons from a teaching pro, sometimes it’s just not in the budget. I think you can get your money’s worth if you train with this product, and start incorporating the feeling you get to your actual golf swing.
I believe your time will be best spent when you go back and forth between the whip and your golf club. When I first started using it, I hadn’t swung a golf club for a few days and I think that was a mistake. If you can go back and forth between the two, the rhythm and tempo will start transferring over to your swing.
Are you going to miraculously fix your swing with this product overnight? Probably not. There’s no such thing as alchemy in golf despite what some companies will tell you. The Orange Whip will point you in the right direction, and you’re going to have to put work in to groove your swing. However, over time I believe this product can help golfers solve some of the main problems that affect us all.
I completely support using this product because it will get you thinking about your balance and tempo. If you can conquer those two things even partially you’re going to be hitting some great golf shots.