5 helpful golf training aids

You don’t need to be a golf professional to help your child practice better, especially if you provide practice aids. While there are many gadgets available for golfers that promise to make you a scratch golfer, several have been around for years and make learning and improving a fun and easier process.

Here are five golf training aids that can help your child:

1. Hitting Nets

Let your child practice in the backyard or other confined area with a practice net. You can use chipping nets, which catch balls hit from a short distance, or nets that let your child take a full swing. These devices won’t help with shot-making (tactical playing) skills, but will allow your young golfer to work on swing techniques. To make practice more fun, look for training nets with several holes in them that allow your child to play target games.

2. Range Finders

One skill your child will need to be a competitive, low-scoring golfer is the ability to know how far from the pin or water he is. The better you know your distance from your next target, the more likely you will be to pick the right club and use the right swing. Range finders help you accurately determine where you are from your last shot and to your next target. Some are electronic, using GPS to help you measure your distances. Others are simple magnifying glasses marked with lines that give you a close approximation. In some cases, the course you’re playing will offer you a free range finder on your cart.

Ranger finders are often not legal for match play, so check your league rules if your child is playing in a competition. Try them out on the driving range or during practice rounds to help your child develop her own range-finding skill and club selection strategy.

3. Putting Surfaces

Manufacturers offer a variety of putting aids that provide different green situations. Simple mats come in a straight line, while others include hills and breaks. A putting product with a ball return sends the ball back to you after each successful putt.

4. Golf Simulators

If you want to practice playing, rather than just hitting, look for a golf simulator in your area. These are large screens that project real courses for you to play. The screen has a variety of sensors in it so that when your shot hits the screen, it will “send” your ball to a spot on the course that’s similar to where your ball would have landed, based on how you hit the screen. Once you see where your ball “landed,” you choose the club you’d normally use for that position to hit your next shot. Depending on how sophisticated the simulator is, it can detect whether you sliced or hooked your shot and “land” your ball accordingly.

5. Straight Line

A yardstick, piece of string or even another golf club can be a very helpful training aid for fixing a slice or hook. Laying a line parallel with your desired swing path helps you maintain a straight swing as you try to swing along the line. Start your practice without the aid to see where your child’s balls go. Discuss the technique you want her to use to fix any problems, then have her swing with the line in place. Place the line in front of your child’s feet, just past the ball. After she sees the effect on her swing, let her practice another 10 to 12 swings. Once she’s I a groove, remove the line and have her practice more swings, visualizing the club, rope or other item that was just there.

RELATED: Your golf game may be suffering because you are making these mistakes

Steve Milano

Steve Milano has been writing and lecturing on youth sports for more than 25 years. He ... View Full Bio

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