By: Amy Jacquin
If you golf, you want to be good. So we test the Grip Mentor... It's a swing aid that promises instantanteous results.
We recruit some Heartland News guys to help us out... Steve Sotak, Randall Kamm, John Dissauer, and Chad Fryman. They start on the driving range, all working to improve their peformance.
But any one of them would gladly settle for a swing like that of Mike Litz, co-owner and manager at Bent Creek Golf Course in Jackson.
He's helping us evaluate the Grip Mentor... a swing aid endorsed by Dr. Jim Suttie. Dr Suttie is a PGA Teacher of the Year.
"The only thing that touches the instrument we're playing, is your hands and your grip," Mike emphasizes. "So it's very imprtant you have your hands on the club properly to start with. But to say that every grip is identical would be incorrect."
First, Mike analyzes their swings without the Grip Mentor. Steve golfs a lot, and is the best of the bunch with a good grip already. He's followed closely by Randall, who also hits pretty accurately. John hasn't played in a year and a-half, and admits his sporadic shots result in an inconsistent swing.
"This is ugly!" mutters Chad as he prepares to hit the ball. Chad, doesn't golf much, especially since his recent shoulder surgery. "Oh, I hit it!"
Now we break-out the Grip Mentor, and each one gives it a try.Steve doesn't notice much change, since his grip is pretty good already. Randall likes the reinforcement it offers. John hits a little better, but the plastic piece bothers his hand. And Chad hits four nice shots in a row!
"Wow!" exclaims Chad. "That's the first good hit I've had! And I'm the worst of the bunch!"
Now the true test... Amy Jacquin has never even been on a real golf course before!
"You just focus your eyes and do what you do... focus on the ball," Mike gives Amy some advice. Amy takes her first swing and hits a pretty nice shot!
"I give it an A+!" she laughs. But she's just kidding, and shrugs it off to beginner's luck.
The rules of golf prohibit grip aids on the course, but we want a field test... so we head to the 18th tee at Bent Creek, and each guy hits two balls, one without the Grip Mentor, and one with.
Every one of them hit the ball farther and straighter with the Grip Mentor.
Mike says the $20 Grip Mentor keeps you from thinking about your hands when hitting the ball.
"Obviously it's not going to keep you from slicing, hooking, pinching, casting, over-gripping, early releasing, or only hitting the ball straight," Mike summarizes. "There's no magic cure for any of those things."
The Grip Mentor also comes with an instructional video showing tips on posturing and setting-up your swing.
"This is a guideline, and merely a guieline," Mike emphasizes. "It would be pretty consistent, and a good way for most people to get started."
The Heartland News crew mostly agrees.
"I think if youre a real beginner, it's good to get the fundamentals correct," says Steve.
"You get it on there, and it's a mental thing," says Chad. "I was able to hit it better."
"That's how I felt, too," agreed Randall. "Get your hands in place and swing the club. I liked it."
"I didn't like the feel of the plastic," John is the only one to disagree. "I think you're better off getting lessons and saving the money."