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Accessory Reviews

Review: The Orange Whip Putting Wand

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Pros: Intuitive and familiar device. Its overall weight and flexible shaft force users to pay attention to the length and pace of their strokes, as well as where they contact the ball on the face. Works for both right- and left-handed golfers.

Cons: Just two lengths, 33 and 35 inches. Round rubber grip, unlike the flat-front ones sold on most putters. The putter head looks like a slab of rubber, unlike any Anser or mallet model on the market. Some consumers might be put off by the drastic difference in appearance.

Bottom Line: If you are an inconsistent putter who struggles under pressure, the Orange Whip Putting Wand might be your ticket to a smoother, steadier stroke.

Overview

The Orange Whip Putting Wand bears resemblance to a putter. It possesses every element (grip, shaft, head) of a club you would purchase to effectively roll the ball across a putting surface. The genesis of the putter, in the words of inventor Jim Hackenberg, was found in a training aid that looks a lot less like a putter, the Putterball.

“The developer of Putterball recommended using it as you would a regular putter and just hit putts with it,” Hackenberg said. “It was a great idea, just difficult to use, very little margin for error.  I loved the idea because it reminded me of Newton’s Cradle concept, which delivered the energy of one swinging ball into the target ball. Also, very similar to playing pool and the importance of center contact.”

Hackenberg liked the concept of the Putterball, but said it was too hard to use, with too much face curvature for most golfers to be able to make solid contact. That’s why his device has far less face curvature, making it easier to use while still providing feedback on mishits.

There is a series of drills that you can perform to improve lag putting and the moments of takeaway and acceleration. These drills are found in the company video here.

IMG_1813

The counter-balance, that small, white weight that looks suspiciously like a golf ball and screws into the top of the grip, works in tandem with the club head to promote greater rhythm in the swing. Inventor Hackenberg is also hedging his bets on the eventual replacement of anchored putters by counter-balanced putters. If you wish to try the club without the counterweight, simply unscrew the ball and have at it.

The Putting Wand can be purchased in 33- and 35-inch models. It sells for $109 on the company website.

Performance

The Orange Whip putting wand will legitimately expose your rhythm flaws. If you have a tendency to start the hands back too quickly, the shaft of this device will over-flex and you will feel the head get out of sync with your hands. If a stabbing motion at the beginning of the through swing is your flaw, once again the shaft will wobble and the head will awkwardly contact the ball.

I followed the instructions step-by-step and became a believer. My first move was to swing the putter back and forth for some 20-to-30 repetitions. Although my initial attempts were a bit twitchy, I promptly slowed (and found) my rhythm. I then rolled a number of 10, 20 and 40-foot putts, switching from the Orange Whip to my putter and back again. My results were quite similar to those promised in the aforementioned video.

IMG_1811

Looking back, the size, color and shape of the head didn’t provide nearly as much initial distraction as did the whippy shaft. The wet noodle forced me to slow down and repeat my newfound rhythm. Once I focused on consistency of unhurried pace, my strokes with the Orange Whip Putting Wand grooved in. I was then able to carry this metronomic sensation over to my regular putter and onto the practice green.

Looks and Feel

Why orange? A vibrant color with so little association with golf (especially during the pre-Ricky Fowler days) leaves an immediate chromatic impression. Jim Hackenberg admits he had a sentimental reason for that critical decision.

“I chose orange color because I knew the Whip would have a ball on end of shaft and it was about the size and weight of an orange,” he said. “Plus, I really like the color. I’m an Oregon State U graduate, their colors are orange and black.”

The orange ball at the end of the shaft refers to the full-swing trainer, the Orange Whip. When it came time to market the Putting Wand, Hackenberg knew to not mess with a proven appearance.

The face-on-ball contact sound of the Orange Whip putting aid is inaudible. No clickclack nor thlock. Nor is there a ding or dong. The ball releases from the soft-rubber club head with true roll and, in conjunction with proper swing rhythm, achieves proper distance with an appropriate strike. Your attention always returns to the first priority: controlling the whippy shaft with proper swing rhythm. The color and size of the club head retreat to the background.

IMG_1808

Speaking of the club head, its visual referent for Hackenberg is that of a Bulls-Eye “on steroids.” For those of a certain youth, the Bulls-Eye is a traditional blade putter that receive international attention and usage from the 1940s until the wide acceptance of cavity back and mallet-head putters in the 1980s.

Curiously, the company opted for a round grip on the device, not the flat-front model found on most putters. According to Hackenberg, the grip is round because it encourages a golfer to execute a pendulum swinging motion and not a “controlling swing” that tries to guide the putter face.

“It’s very difficult to find rhythm when you are controlling the putter face,” he said.

Takeaway

IMG_1810

The biggest drawback for me with this device is the lack of curvature of the face. In my mind, it doesn’t begin to curve close enough to the sweet spot. You can miss a putt by a half inch left or right of center and not notice.

That said, I am a fan of the Orange White Putting Wand. Repetition is the cornerstone of success, so repeated swings (as directed) with the Orange Whip Putting Wand will lead to a calmer takeaway and start to the downswing for starters. The less spastic or herky-jerky the stroke is under pressure, the more likely a golfer is to putt better. And who wouldn’t pay $109 for that?

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.orangewhiptrainer.com/index.php” oemtext=”Learn more from the Orange Whip” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DGDEEBY/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00DGDEEBY&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=7HSO4CUYPZ56ZETN”]

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. jeff

    Oct 30, 2014 at 12:57 am

    i bought two 3/8 diameter fiberglass shafts 5 ft long i cut one in half and put an old belly putter head on it gripped it with yoga material sanded down the end for even more whip and i have an excellent whip putter trainer i am going to market it as the “wobbly whip” and sell them for 209 dollars whoohoo im getting wobbly just thinking of all that money this is going to bring in!!!

  2. Don Sterkel

    Mar 31, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    After 40 years of yippy putting and 30 years with long putter I purchased to prepare for the “ban”- to my surprise I found out I’m a better left-handed than right-handed putter with great tempo and a short solid stroke. Bought an Otey Crisman vintage putter on Ebay and putting and the game is fun again. I’ve tried many putting training tools (including almost all from Pelz

  3. RG

    Feb 10, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Egads and Gadzooks!

  4. Ronald Montesano

    Feb 8, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Tony, Scooter, Dan and Dwaine:

    My suggestion, as indicated in the review, is to try it. You’ll be enthused by the manner in which it calms any tendencies to stab at the ball.

    • Scooter McGavin

      Feb 8, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      As indicated in my comment, I have tried it.

  5. Dwaine Ingarfield

    Feb 8, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Yikes.

  6. Tony Lynam

    Feb 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I’m sorry, but it is one of the worst ways you could spend $109 dollars.

  7. Scooter McGavin

    Feb 6, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    I’ve tried this and didn’t care for it at all. It only grooves you to one tempo, and not everyone has the same putting tempo. Know what’s better than $109? A free metronome app for your phone or ipod. You can pick what tempo you want to putt with, unlike with this.

  8. Dan

    Feb 6, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Silly

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Accessory Reviews

GolfWRX Spotlight: Crossrope weighted jump rope & app

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An 18-hole round of golf averages out to just under five miles of walking, which on its own is a good workout. Once you throw in some potential uphill trekking you get some serious cardio too, but if you all looking for a quick workout between rounds of golf look no further than Crossrope.

Crossrope – The details

Crossrope is a system of the weighted jump rope that allows you to quickly switch the weight of the ropes you are using to boost your workout—they range from 1/4 lbs all the way up to 2 lbs depending on the kit you start out with. There is an accompanying app that helps you go through multiple workout routines and is available free, or you can upgrade to the entire library of workout routines along with more workout tracking options.

This is NOT your middle school jump rope

The handles are heavy duty and feature precision bearings to allow the rope to move smoothly around as you go through a routine. They are also ergonomic and fit into your hand naturally, which making gripping easy, something that is really nice when you’re swinging a 2 lbs coated steel cable around. The handles also come with a fast clip system to make changing cables depending on your selected workout easier too.

The ropes themselves are made from braided steel and are almost impossible to tangle, allowing them to be easily transported and stored when not in use. All in you are getting a premium piece of workout equipment that is effective and easy to store—hard to same the same thing about a treadmill.

When it comes to a workout, skipping rope is one of the most effective cardio workouts you can do, and with Crossrope, you can get both cardio and low impact weight training when using the heaviest ropes, and follow along with the guided workouts.

As someone that hadn’t used a jump rope in over a decade, starting out lighter was a nice way to ease in before moving up, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy and fun some of the workouts in the app were. If you are looking for a fun way to add something to your workouts, or you just want to try something new to get you into golf course walking shape, this could be right up your alley. To learn more check out crossrope.com

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of

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One of the coolest parts of being in this part of the golfing world is being able to shed light on smaller companies that typically get overshadowed by their bigger corporate brothers.

So, this post is about one of those products that is definitely competitive against top golf shoe companies, and it’s made by a company called Athalonz, which is based out west in Arizona. Typically known for its innovative baseball cleats and insole packages, Athlonz newest addition takes the patented design to the world of golf with the EnVe golf shoe.

These have started appearing on the world long drive circuit due to the amount of traction they get, allowing players to swing harder. So for the last few months, I have gotten to wear them and see if they are as good as the company claims.

Athalonz EnVe: Living up to claims

The main selling points of these shoes are focused on two things

  1. Design that delivers more power and stability
  2. Custom comfort that lasts all day

These are somewhat difficult to combine into one shoe, and though they are on the heavier side, Athlonz are completely worth it for the benefits. It is obvious that they made strides to hit each box on the list for a great shoe. The patented design has been adapted from their baseball cleat and introduces a spikeless golf shoe with a circular design that allows the player to gain traction through the golf swing. This gives a player the chance to swing harder and faster without losing their footing. They also offer insole packages that help with correct bodyweight placement to help add an extra layer of consistency.

Secondly, it’s very noticeable that there was plenty of thought given to comfort with a roomy toe and custom insoles to fit your style. Additionally, ankle padding helps to provide more stability and comfort.

On another note, they have a good sense of style with a more classic, casual take. In addition to the pictured white/brown color, there’s a black/grey colorway as well.

After multiple months of wear in all types of conditions, these shoes have performed great for me with all the traction I need and while feeling great throughout the round.

Verdict

I am a person who tends to support smaller companies when I can if they make good products. Any support for them goes a long way—especially in the golf business. Since these shoes will set you back about $150, I wanted to be sure they are worth it for the money and they absolutely are. Seriously, for anyone looking to boost their shoe game and help alleviate aching feet and ankles, give these a shot.

 

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Accessory Reviews

GolfWRX Spotlight: Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII

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Every golfer should have an accurate, reliable, easy-to-use rangefinder. With the new Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII, you get all of that and more in one of the smallest, lightest packages on the market.

Not only do you get a ton of features, but when you consider these devices start at only $199.99 for the 20 G II and then $229.99 for the 20i GII ( slope adjusted version ), you get one of the best values in a rangefinder from one of the most well-known consumer optics companies in the world.

Review: Nikon CoolShot 20 GII and 20i GII

First Target Priority and 8-Second Continuous Measurement: “First Target Priority” is Nikon’s way of making sure you are picking up the flag and not a tree behind your intended target. There is nothing worse than thinking you have your distance dialed in to then have a shot fly over the green. With how quickly it lets you know the ranger finder is locked, getting that distance and double-checking can happen remarkably fast.

In the eight-second continuous measurement setting, the rangefinder will continuously measure the field of view as you scan the target area for approximately eight seconds. This setting is great when playing unfamiliar courses or trying to figure out the exact spot to a dogleg, tree, or hazard on your intended line.

Bright, 6x Monocular: Nikon is known for its glass and multi-coating technology, from telephoto camera lenses to rifle scopes, if it’s Nikon glass, it’s going to be clear, fog-resistant, and high-contrast for easy viewing. From a viewing experience perspective, the Coolshot 20 GII’s 6x monocular has an adjustable diopter for sharp focusing, along with long eye relief—meaning you can keep your glasses (or sunglasses) on when acquiring your target.

Slope-Adjusting ID Technology: With the 20i GII you have the option to get the slope-adjusted distance for any shot thanks to Nikon’s ID Technology. The mode can be turned on and off by the user to comply with USGA rules to make it legal for tournament rounds. Having tested it out on hilly terrain it’s easy to see why so many golfers mis-club going into greens when elevation changes become a lot more dramatic.

Review

The Nikon Coolshot 20 GII’s size and weight make it ideal for anyone who regularly carries and wants the benefit of knowing distances but without having to worry about weight—it weighs about the same as a sleeve of balls.

The size allows you to hold the units stable. However, I could see for those new to the rangefinder space, it could take some time getting used to when first getting acquainted with it. The best bet for this is to take it to a range or just step outside with it on your next walk and get used to hitting targets before you take it to the course—plus it makes for a fun game to see how good you really are at estimating distances.

Overall, for the price and size, it is one of the best rangefinders on the market. Plus, with a five-year warranty, you can be assured of years of use with the Nikon CoolShot 20 GII rangefinders.

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