The 10 Best Golf Training Aids of 2021

These tools can help players improve their on-course performance

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The Rundown

Best for Alignment: Tour Sticks Alignment Sticks at Amazon

“Every golfer should have a set of alignment rods in the bag for warming up before a round or for dedicated range sessions.”

Best for Putting Practice: Eyeline Golf Groove Putting Laser Plus at Amazon

"The sleek tool comes with a case and can fit easily in your golf back, so you can bring it with you to all your practice sessions to start saving strokes on the green."

Best Affordable Launch Monitor: FlightScope Mevo at Amazon

“The device uses 3D Doppler radar to send club head speed, ball speed, spin rate, carry distance, and launch angle data to a smart phone app.”

Best for On the Course: Arccos Caddie Sensors at Amazon

“The software also serves as a GPS rangefinder and offers AI-powered strokes gained information so the golfer can better target areas to improve.”

Best for Improving Tempo: Orange Whip at Amazon

“The extra heft and length compels golfers to swing in better rhythm and balance while practicing with the device.”

Best for Promoting Extension: The Tour Striker Smart Ball at Amazon

“This training aid helps golfers keep their arms together during the swing for more fluidity and better shots.”

 Best for Seeing Impact: Acu-Strike Practice Mat at Acu-Strike

“The Acu-Strike Practice Mat lets you know where impact has happens and what direction the club head is traveling thanks to a fabric surface that leaves a dark mark where the strike occurs.”

 Best for Boosting Speed: Super Speed Golf Training System at Amazon

“You can’t bomb it 300 yards off the tee with mediocre swing speed, and this helps you learn how to swing faster.”

 Best for Feeling Impact Position: SKLZ Smash Bag at Amazon

“Swing the club into the SKLZ Smash Bag and it stops the club and the swing at the impact position so players can get a better idea of where their chest, hips, feet, balance, and hands are when the club hits the ball.”

Best for Putter Face Alignment: Pelz Golf DP4007 Putting Tutor at Amazon

“A line on the board points the way to the target, but if the ball isn’t struck properly, it collides with metal marbles giving the player feedback for improvement.”

For golfers looking to get better at the game, training aids can be true difference-makers. Fortunately, there are a number of good tools on the market to facilitate improvement. 

“As a general rule, training tools are all good,” says Laird Small, master instructor of Pebble Beach Golf Academy at Pebble Beach Resorts. He says the the key is to find one that helps you with your swing motion, whether you're working on your full swing or your short game. “Training tools are designed to help you feel the correct motion, and where you make your mistake,” Small says. “Once you feel the difference, you can make a distinction in your motion.” That is the point where substantial gains can be made. “The next step is to take it to the course,” Small says. “Remember, changes can take some time to implement and own. It is also very easy to overdo the correction and that may lead to another problem.”

According to Sean Cain, director of instruction at The Kingdom at Reynolds Lake Oconee in Georgia, some devices can help improve a swing or impact position, but they aren’t one size fits all. “There are some great training aids out there, but they are so individualistic as to their application of the player to be truly effective,” Cain says. Of course, like with most things, there are some tools players should avoid. “The training aids that I would stay away from are the ones that promote a one-size-fits-all approach,” Cain says. “Due to the biomechanical differences of the body, even the ones that tend to be more universal will be used differently from player to player to be effective.”

Small thinks the best tools target specific areas of improvement.Avoid training tools that don’t specifically address your swing or short game problems. All training tools should help you feel the difference between what you do and what you should do,” Small says.

So whether a player has issues with alignment, tempo, impact, or putting, there’s an aid that can help. Here are our 10 favorites for all facets of the game.

Best for Alignment: Tour Sticks Alignment Sticks

Every golfer should have a set of alignment rods in the bag for warming up before a round or for dedicated range sessions. As the gold standard, Tour Sticks are a versatile tool that can help square your body to the target and ingrain that feeling for when you’re on the course. You can also use them to practice swing plane drills or to keep your putter on line. They are affordable and offer so many ways to help you practice, there’s little reason not pick up a set.

Best for Putting Practice: EyeLine Golf Groove Putting Laser Plus

The EyeLine Golf Groove Putting Laser Plus attaches to the grip of your putter and shoots perpendicular laser lines to display on the putting surface. Golfers then use the lines to keep their face and path alignment on track throughout their stroke. The sleek tool comes with a case and can fit easily in your golf back, so you can bring it with you to all your practice sessions to start saving strokes on the green. And considering the shortest of putts counts just as much as the longest of drives, we suggest spending time on putting training.

Best Affordable Launch Monitor: Flight Scope Mevo

If you want to dial in your distances the same way the pros do, you’re going to need a radar system. Of course, the Trackman models tour stars use are wildly expensive. But the Mevo is an infinitely more affordable option. The device uses 3D Doppler radar to send club head speed, ball speed, spin rate, carry distance and launch angle data to a smart phone app. So players can gather data on their swing, improve launch conditions and figure out just how far they hit each club.

Best for On the Course: Arccos Caddie Sensors

The Arches system is a training aid you use on the course. Sensors that players attach to each club paired with a smart phone app automatically track shots during a round. The software also serves as a GPS rangefinder and offers artificial intelligence provided strokes gained information so the golfer can better target areas of their game that require improvement.

After 90 holes played using the system, the golfer also gets access to A.I. caddy advice, which is fantastic during practice rounds and can be made USGA competition conforming by flipping into tournament mode, which turns off the live elevation adjustments.

Best for Improving Tempo: Orange Whip

Tempo, tempo, tempo - is one of the keys to a precise, repeatable golf swing. The Orange Whip presents players with a weighted orange ball attached to 47 inch-long, hyper-flexible driver shaft and grip. The extra heft and length compels golfers to swing in better rhythm and balance while practicing with the device. It’s also less clunky and clinky than using two or three irons at once to stretch out on the first tee.  

Best for Promoting Extension: The Tour Striker Smart Ball

The Tour Striker Smart Ball

Courtesy of Amazon

This training aid helps golfers keep their arms together during the swing for more fluidity and better shots. The genius of the Tour Striker Smart Ball is its simplicity. The device is just an inflatable ball attached to a lanyard worn around the neck. The aim, when practicing with the Smart Ball, is to hold the ball between the forearms throughout the swing promoting more extension and helping players eliminate the “chicken wing” that typically ends in poor contact.

Best for Seeing Impact: Acu-Strike Practice Mat

Acu-strike mat

Courtesy of Acu-Strike

During range sessions on mats or bashing foam balls in the garage during the winter months, it can be difficult to know at what point the sole of the club is interacting with the ground. You could be hitting it fat or thin and not know it and then committing the error to muscle memory - and those are hard for your body to forget. The Acu-Strike Practice Mat lets you know where that impact has happened thanks to a fabric surface that leaves a dark mark where the club head struck it and the direction it was traveling. So you can adjust your swing path accordingly and the dark mark wipes away with a rub of the club the other way.  

Best for Boosting Speed: Super Speed Golf Training System

For players who want to hit it farther… and that’s all of them, speed is the name of the game. You can’t bomb it 300 yards off the tee with a mediocre swing speed and you have to learn how to swing it faster. The Super Speed Golf Training System features an overspeed training regiment using three “clubs,” one 20% lighter than a normal driver, another 10% lighter and one 5% heavier that players swing according to the brand’s online lessons they call “swing protocols.” Golfers advance through the program as they develop more speed.

Best for Feeling Impact Position: SKLZ Smash Bag

Perfect for indoor training during the winter or a rainy day, a impact bag helps you feel what you’re trying to accomplish with the swing. Swing the club into the SKLZ Smash Bag and it stops the club and the swing at the impact position so players can get a better idea of where their chest, hips, feet, balance and hands are when the club hits the ball. It also works as a trainer on the range, so golfers can try to execute any modifications they are making using a ball immediately afterwards.

Best for Putter Face Alignment: Pelz Golf DP4007 Putting Tutor

A 300 yard drive and a six foot putt count the same in golf and for most players the key to shooting lower scores for most golfers is improved putting.  But to be good on the greens, players need to get the ball started on line with a square club face. The Pelz Golf Putting Tutor helps with both of those goals. A line on the board points the way to the target, but if the ball isn’t struck properly, it collides with metal marbles giving the player feedback for improvement.

Final Verdict

There are some great training aids on the market for golfers looking to hone their skills. Choosing one should depend on what area of their game needs improvement. But we think most golfers would benefit from throwing some alignment rods (view at Amazon) in the bag for practice sessions. The Arccos (view at Amazon) is also a great choice for players who want to use data to analyze their game and hone in on areas for improvement. 

What to Look For in Golf Training Aids

Look for aids that can help your personalized game. If you consistently hit it fat, think about one that helps with impact. If you’re concerned about ball flight, a launch monitor might be the ticket to success. 


FAQs

What part of my game should I target first?

This of course is a personal choice, but pros tend to agree that your short game is the key to scoring well. So consider starting with aids designed to help your chipping and putting.

How much should I be spending on golf aids?

Super serious equipment like high-end launch monitors can measure every little thing you can think of—launch angle, spin rate, degrees of loft, etc.—but those are not necessary for most golfers. A lot of really helpful tools are out there for under $100.

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