Training gizmos from 5 of Colorado’s top instructors
November 15 marks the official end of the golf season in Colorado but also the unofficial opening of game improvement season. With ever-shortening days and the chance of snow, we can get to work on becoming better golfers.
Which can, admit it, be oh-so-boring. So I called on five of Colorado’s top golf instructors to break up the monotony with their recommendations of training aids. They delivered something for every budget and every skill level – just in time for holiday gift shopping.
Trent Wearner: The Pool Noodle
Wearner, a three-time Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year acclaimed for his work with juniors, suggested this non-technical training aid – available every spring in dollar stores – for working on the full swing as shown in this video. He tucks the pool noodle in his golf bag, perpendicular to the ground with the butt pointing toward him as he takes his setup position with his hands 2-3 inches away from the butt of the noodle. He then takes a big side step toward the target before practicing his swing. “The point is many people swing up to the top and get their body too involved in the rotation too early and when they come down the hands hit the swim noodle,” he says. “Instead, we want our hands to return between the swim noodle and our legs.” The flexy noodle allows for pain-free feedback.
Stefanie Ferguson: Exercise Bands
Members who entered some of the CGA’s competitions and play days might have received a tee prize of a bright blue rubber band – about an inch wide and 3 feet around with a knot in the middle and the cool CGA logo on it. At the Women’s Summit in March, Ferguson demonstrated a series of golf-specific (not gender-specific), pre-round warmup exercises using that band, and she uses a variety of bands and tubes in her work as ExperienceGolf lead instructor and MSU Denver women’s golf coach. “One of the most important things to do before playing or practicing golf is to prime your body to swing – we do this by running through a dynamic warmup,” says Ferguson. “This will help to get your body ready to swing and has been shown to increase the amount of distance you get.” Shop for “resistance bands” and “exercise bands,” starting at only about $5.
Ed Oldham: The Divot Board
Retailing at $99.99, the Divot Board gives instant feedback on where and at what angle your club is striking the ground. Oldham, a Golf magazine Top 100 teacher 2024-25, Colorado Golf Hall of Famer and director of instruction at the Ranch, is best known for his work with LPGA star Jennifer Kupcho. He also recommends the Live View Camera, but notes that he’s otherwise not a big fan of gizmos. “Too often, golfers use training aids for the entire practice session, so little if any learning takes place,” he says. “My suggestion with most training aids is, use it briefly to create a feel then try to duplicate the feel without the training aid.”
Leighton Smith: The Orange Whip
You’ve probably seen this flexy stick with the orange ball on the tip. It retails at $119.99 and has a variety of accessories. Smith, Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year and owner of the Colorado Springs golf lounge Tribe Golf, says he loves the Orange Whip because “it’s a blend of a warmup tool, tempo trainer and also allows people to FEEL the sensation of releasing the club.”
Elena King: ProSENDR
Created by PGA Tour teaching gurus Sean Foley and David Woods, this combination of a wrist cradle and compression sphere has quite the following despite its $169 price tag. “It’s one of the newest and hottest training aids right now,” says King, an LPGA Top 50 instructor who founded ExperienceGolf and leads the teaching team at CommonGround. “It is very helpful with wrist orientation and educating the proper position of hands and wrists through impact, with real time feedback.” King also likes the most sophisticated tool we’ve seen, subscription-based Sportsbox: “You can capture your swing on your phone or tablet and it analyzes it within seconds. I think it is a super useful tool for the more advanced player and those that practice a lot.”
Veteran journalist Susan Fornoff has written about golf for publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, ColoradoBiz magazine and her own GottaGoGolf.com. She became a CGA member when she moved from Oakland, CA, to Littleton in 2016, and ghost-writes as “Molly McMulligan,” the CGA’s on-course consultant on golf for fun. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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