Written By: Matt Saternus (@GolfSpy_Matt)
No less an authority than Harvey Penick said that a heavy club is the one training aid that every golfer should have. Here’s the problem: today’s marketplace is full of training clubs in varying lengths, weights, and flexes all promising wonderful benefits, from improved balance and tempo to longer drives. So which one should you buy?
We’ve brought together some of the best-known and newest heavy clubs for a heavyweight slugfest. So let’s get ready to rumble!
Tale of the Tape
Ease of Use: All of these devices are simple to use, no assembly required.
Value: All of these trainers fall around the “average” price of a training aid. While there is a $40 gap from the most expensive to the least, I don’t see price overwhelming utility in the buying decision.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Despite being the heaviest, the Orange Whip is also the most balanced of the heavy clubs in our test. It gives you a strong suggestion about what you should be doing with your swing without threatening to rip your shoulders out of their sockets if you don’t do it.
+ Options: with 3 sizes, there’s an Orange Whip for every age and fitness level
+ Money back guarantee
- The price. At $10 more than any other club in our test, and $40 more than its direct competition, the Orange Whip demands that you pay a premium to have the original flexible heavy club.
A direct descendant of the Orange Whip, the Gold Flex takes the idea of a heavy head to the extreme: its balance point is almost 10” closer to the head than the Orange Whip which makes it feel MUCH heavier in transition.
+ A shorter (40”) option for ladies, kids, and possible indoor use
- The extremely heavy head might be too much for some people to handle
Billed primarily as a strength and distance trainer, the PowerStik has a greater percentage of weight in the head than any other club tested. In spite of that, it doesn’t have that same “heavy in transition” feeling as the flexible heavy clubs. Bonus feature: it stands up on its own.
+ Shorter length allows for indoors use
+ Lifetime warranty
- Inability to try before you buy
The Tempo Trainer website focuses largely on the ability of this device to help you warm up before playing and to ingrain good mechanics.
+ Unique sliding weight feature discourages casting and promotes accelerating into impact
- Feedback from sliding weight can be muddy, especially for faster swingers
A Word of Warning
Despite what the manufacturers say, heavy clubs, particularly the flexible ones, are not a panacea. Swinging the Orange Whip or Gold Flex will not instantly give you a bunch of “lag,” nor will it cure your slice. In fact, it is conceivable that these clubs will exacerbate your problems.
Please do not take that as a contradiction to what Mr. Penick stated (I do not pretend for a moment to have golfing knowledge on par with his). I intend it merely as an elaboration upon his statement: heavy clubs are great training aids when combined with knowledge of what you are supposed to be doing. I would suggest that such knowledge be gained through working with a qualified teaching professional. I think Mr. Penick would agree.
What Should You Buy?
So what should you buy? Ultimately it comes down to what you want from your heavy club and how you’re going to use it. If you plan to use your heavy club indoors, the 48” long clubs probably won’t work. If you need a strong reminder to start your downswing with your lower body, the flexible clubs are a better choice than the steel-shafted ones.
You should be able to find both the Orange Whip and the Gold Flex at any big box golf store, so I would recommend a demo session before you purchase either one. If you decide the flexible shaft isn’t for you, consider the PowerStik and Tempo Trainer.