(Written By: Matt Saternus)
One of the very, very few things in the golf swing that is not debatable is that good players have their weight forward, or towards the target, at impact. Bad players, like the majority of the guys on your local driving range, finish their swings falling over, spinning around, and doing everything other than imitating the PGA Tour logo. With all this in mind, a swing trainer that is designed to help golfers with their weight shift, like the Orange Peel, should be a slam dunk. But is it? Read on for the juicy details.
Ease of Use/Set Up – 10 Points
The Orange Peel is one big hunk of plastic, no set up required. Throw it down on the range, take the appropriate stance (more on this later), and you’re ready to go.
Effectiveness – 30 points
Though it would seem to be a uni-tasker, the Orange Peel can be used to address a number of different balance or swing issues.
- If you stand on the center of the Orange Peel, the raised ends will simply amplify your weight shift, helping you to move behind and then through the ball.
- Standing towards the front of the Orange Peel simulates an uphill lie which will help players to “get behind” the ball in the backswing.
- Standing towards the back of the Orange Peel simulates a downhill lie making it easier to get to your target-side foot at impact.
- Players who struggle with “outside-in” or “inside-out” swings can stand with their toes or heels, respectively, on the edge of the Peel to help feel get their swing more “on plane.”
So, the Orange Peel has many potential uses, but is it effective in these uses? My answer is a wishy-washy “maybe.” There is no doubt that standing on the Orange Peel and making swings helps you to feel a good weight shift. The major problem is that you can’t hit balls while you’re standing on the Orange Peel. Ok, to be accurate, you can hit balls on the Orange Peel, but the Orange Peel places you approximately 2 inches above the ball. That may not sound like a lot in writing, but it forces you into a significant posture change.
Ultimately, the Orange Peel is best used for practice swings, whether with an Orange Whip or a real club. Though this has some value, we all know that doing something in a practice swing and doing it while trying to smash the ball are very different.
If the Orange Peel could be used while hitting balls, it would be a home run. As it is, it’s just a single: good, but far from great.
Longevity – 20 points
The Orange Peel is 44”X28” and weighs 21 pounds. It’s not exactly the kind of thing you can easily leave in your bag or in your trunk for those impromptu range sessions, nor is it the kind of thing you can use discretely. For the guys with practice stations in their backyard (or at least enough clearance to swing a club in the garage), the Orange Peel definitely will have more longevity, but that’s a very small minority of golfers.
Furthermore, while the Orange Peel can be used to fix a number of different problems, it is likely that a given player will only use it for one reason. This makes the Orange Peel is a bit of a one-trick pony which decreases its longevity.
As for the Longevity of the device itself, it should last forever, which does boost the Longevity score a bit.
Value – 20 points
The Orange Peel sells for $179 through the Orange Whip Trainer website, which places it at almost double our $100 “average” price. That kind of price can be excused if the trainer is dynamite, but the Orange Peel is not that.
The Peanut Gallery – 20 points
For this Peanut Gallery, I showed the Orange Peel to the normal Peanut Gallery and I used it with some of my most balance-challenged students.
The Peanut Gallery was as blunt as they’ve ever been: they were not impressed with the Orange Peel. They got the idea behind it, but felt that the drawback of not being able to hit balls with it was too much to overcome. When I told them the price, the reactions ranged from face-palming to laughter.
My balance-challenged students, on the other hand, enjoyed the Orange Peel. The primary issue that these students faced was not finishing their swing on their left (front/target) side. By having the students stand on the Orange Peel and make full swings (without a ball), they were able to feel a proper weight shift. Being able to do this with a ball was not automatic after using the Orange Peel, but they did have an idea of what they were working towards.
Ultimately, I think that buying an Orange Peel might be a good investment for a teaching professional, but it’s not something I would recommend for the average golfer. While it has a number of uses, the Orange Peel will likely only serve one purpose for each golfer, which significantly hurts its value. Most importantly, the Orange Peel is best used for practice swings, not hitting balls. Though making swings on the Orange Peel can help a golfer to feel what they should be doing, the fact that you can’t hit real shots from it severely limits its effectiveness.
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