By: Matt Saternus

As an instructor, I know that the hips play a huge role in producing a powerful, repeatable golf swing.  The problem is that there are very few training aids that give golfers any feedback on what their hips are doing.  For this reason, I was very excited to see Hip Trax unveiled at the PGA Show this past January (I even gave them one of my PGA Show Awards).  I’ve had Hip Trax now for a couple months and I’m ready to tell you if this is the training aid that will put you on the path to a club championship.

Ease of Use/Set Up – 10 Points

Setting up Hip Trax takes only about a minute.  Clip the laser belt around your waste, lay out the target mat, and set up to it.

To understand what you should be doing with Hip Trax, you need to watch a 10 minute video.  It’s not exactly “The Usual Suspects,” but it gets the point across.  Once you know the basic exercises to do with Hip Trax, you can go back to using the DVD as a coaster.

Score: 8.5/10

Effectiveness – 30 points

Though I have two major reservations, I think that, on the whole, Hip Trax is an effective training aid.

If you watch the training video, you see that all of the different exercises are variations on “Keep the laser on the dotted line.”  If you keep the laser on the line, you are getting your hips to rotate, tilt, and bend correctly (at least according to the manufacturer).  Some of the higher level exercises also incorporate your upper body so that you can work on sequencing your swing properly.  I think that for the average golfer, this can be very informative.

In addition to teaching the golfer the correct movement of the hips, Hip Trax also provides a workout.  Regular use of Hip Trax should improve the strength and flexibility of the golfer’s core which should result in fewer injuries and better performance.

Now, my two reservations:

1) There is no clear direction about how to set up to the ball.  When you watch the video, it asks you to address the ball, then adjust the laser until it hits the target line.  While watching this, I envisioned people taking very unsound address positions and never realizing they have a problem.  I’m aware that Hip Trax cannot necessarily be responsible for bad set up positions (it doesn’t claim to teach set up), but I think some guidance would be helpful since it is well known that proper pelvic position is key to an effective golf swing.

2) Hip Trax can only be used at low speed.  While learning the right movements is important, doing them in slow motion can only take you so far.  As anyone who has tried to change their swing knows, doing something slowly is much easier than doing it at full speed while trying to hit a ball.  Again, Hip Trax does not claim to work at high speed, but if there was a way that it could do so, it would certainly boost its effectiveness.

Score: 25/30

Longevity – 20 points

After the “new toy” shine has worn off, Hip Trax becomes like any other indoor training aid or piece of home gym equipment: if you really want to work and get better, it’s there.  If not, it’s going to gather dust.  Using Hip Trax is easy and convenient, but the results are a lot more fun than the process.

Score: 15/20

Value – 20 points

Hip Trax retails through the Laser Gym website for $199.99, double our “average” training aid price.  While I am willing to accept a slightly higher price for a training aid that’s fairly novel and effective, the high price will likely deter many golfers.

Score: 16/20

The Peanut Gallery – 20 points

The Peanut Gallery was impressed by Hip Trax, largely because it’s so different than most training aids that they have seen before.  Overall, they enjoyed the challenge of trying to keep the laser on the dotted line and found that there were enough different exercises to keep their attention.  While there were not any buyers at the $200 price tag, those who struggle with unorthodox lower body movements did say that they were interested in spending more time with Hip Trax.

Score: 17/20

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think that Hip Trax occupies a fairly unique space in the world of training aid and it does its job well.  While there are a couple improvements I would like to see down the road, I don’t think that should discourage golfers from taking a look at Hip Trax if they are interested in refining their swing while improving their core strength.

Score: 81.5/100

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