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WRX Q&A: Chris McGinley on the Swing Align golf training aid

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As we all well know, there’s no shortage of golf training aids on the market. Whether you think the seemingly endless stream of gadgets and gizmos flows primarily from folks who think they’ve uncovered the secret to improving your golf game via a particular aid or from enterprising individuals keen to capitalize on golfers’ combination of desperation and disposable income, I think we can agree that some tools and training aids are foundational—staples of instruction, if you will.

After talking with Chris McGinley of Swing Align and giving the product a test drive, I think this is one training aid that could rise to “staple” status, thanks to its simplicity and the essential information it conveys.

My conversation with McGinley, below.

GolfWRX: Most learning aids have an interesting origin story. How did Swing Align come to be?

Chris McGinley: Our golf swing trainer, Swing Align can trace its roots back to an inventor named Allan Strand who developed the Dandy Putter, which was used to win 17 events on the PGA Tour. Allan studied and worked with many Tour players during his Dandy Putter days, including Vijay Singh, Gil Morgan, Ernie Els, and Henrik Stenson. In 2011, he started to develop a device to help golfers achieve more consistency in their ball striking and the “Eureka” moment came when he attached two arm cuffs to a wooden rod to help hold them together along a straight line to indicate a golfers alignment.

GolfWRX: The key benefits of using Swing Align are said to be improved alignment, rotation and connection throughout the golf swing and a more consistent swing plane. Did you start with creating a simple golf swing trainer for alignment and evolve the concept from there?

CM: Even when the Swing Align was a rough prototype, it was immediately clear how great it was at teaching both alignment and connection. What was really exciting was, as we tested and refined new prototypes, how versatile this golf swing training device proved to be in improving a number of important golf swing fundamentals.

GolfWRX: When did you know that Swing Align was a viable product?

CM: After just one test session at Carlsbad Golf Center in 2017, we knew this golf swing training device was unique in its ability to help golfers with alignment, rotation, swing plane, arm-body connection and swing sequencing. In the hands of golfers and instructors, we knew this golf swing trainer would greatly help practice sessions and lessons by providing that visual and “feel” feedback that’s critical to golf swing improvement.

GolfWRX: Given your background in bringing some of the best-selling and influential golf equipment to market (as VP of Marketing at Titleist), what game-improvement impact do you think Swing Align can have for the golfers who take advantage of it?

CM: I was very fortunate to work at Titleist during the significant growth of its club business, and that certainly helped hone my sense for good product and for the desire golfers have to improve (McGinley is now VP of Product at Honma). When working with golfers on their equipment, you can’t help but see the areas that they need help within their golf swings. Swing Align reinforces so many of the golf swing fundamentals that I see golfers at all levels struggle with constantly.

GolfWRX: Here’s a question plenty of WRXers will be wondering: What’s the process of putting Swing Align on?

CM: Well, to be honest, some golfers are intimidated to strap an alignment rod across their chest! However, the device is easy to slide up your arms or snap directly on your biceps because of how flexible the cuffs are. And once you put the device on its easy to use and you immediately see the benefits. You don’t even have to swing. You’ll feel the connection belt, you’ll understand the alignment aid. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

GolfWRX: What has the feedback been from teaching pros?

CM: Instructors appreciate how Swing Align helps reinforce what they are teaching. And it gives their students an effective tool for continuing to learn and improve in between lessons. Many of our instructors use Swing Align during their lessons because the strong feedback it provides compliments what they are telling the student. The feeling of a proper swing is hard to get across, even for instructors. Swing Align excels at illustrating feel.

GolfWRX: Beyond alignment, what else can Swing Align help with?

CM: Getting the club on the proper plane while rotating is a challenge. Many golfers come out of their posture and take a poor path back to the ball. Many golfers don’t know how to square the clubface using their body rotation, so they flip at it with their arms or hands. The alignment rod helps show you how to stay on plane and the connection belt forces your arms and body to work together to deliver the club correctly.

GolfWRX: You mentioned some golfers wear Swing Align on their upper body and lower body. What are the benefits of each?

CM: One of the more interesting exercises is to put a Swing Align device on both your upper and lower body to rehearse the amount and sequence of rotation during your swing. Many golfers don’t use their lower body enough. Wearing two devices really helps you see and feel one of the most complicated concepts in the golf swing – proper sequencing.

GolfWRX: How much does the average golfer really struggle with alignment?

CM: Every golfer struggles with alignment, even the best in the world. That’s why Tour players always have their instructor or caddy constantly check them. Most average golfers set up poorly, often with their shoulders open or their spine tilted forward in an effort to see their target line. If you start in a bad position, it is really hard to recover. Swing Align makes setting up square and aligning your upper body and lower body to the target line as easy as looking down.

GolfWRX: Are there short game and putting applications with Swing Align?

CM: Absolutely. Many golfers fail to rotate sufficiently when chipping. For slower-speed shots, Swing Align really helps you develop the proper mechanics. When golfers putt, lower body stability is a common problem, so using the device above your knees and concentrating on keeping your lower body still helps you putt much more consistently.

GolfWRX: What’s the best way for a golfer to reach your company so they can demo Swing Align?

CM: Go to the website and order it! We offer a full money-back guarantee. We also offer special programs for golf instructors to help them get it into the hands of their students.

GolfWRX: One final question: Looking to the future, will this be the first of many learning aids from your company or is Swing Align more a stand-alone signature product?

CM: We have just finished development of a new putting-specific version of the device that will be launched soon.

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