Pros: No setup required. The Gabe Golf Swing Trainer is simple, and you can hit golf balls with it. It can make drastic improvements to your swing tempo and transition.
Cons: At $150 for one club, it’s an expensive training aid. Only available in a 7-iron and sand wedge.
Who it’s for: Golfers with transition issues in their downswing, and any golfer looking to load more on their right side in the backswing.
The Gabe Golf Swing Trainer has truth serum built in at two points:
- The marble in the shaft.
- The flight of the golf ball.
For most of golfers, maintenance in bite size portions is always a good thing, and the Gabe Golf Swing Trainer provides the perfect tool for a golfer to properly ingrain important swing fundamentals.
If you keep up with the weekly Tour photos on GolfWRX, then you know how popular the the training aid has become with the best players in the world. The first time I saw the club while trolling on Instagram, I thought it was quite weird looking… and naturally I wanted to give it a try. I’m just that kind of guy, since I don’t play all that much, I’m looking for something I can swing in my living room while I watch Seinfeld re-runs. And with a club that’s in the bag of so many Tour players, I figured there had to be some serious benefits to the product.
As I’ve since found out, the club itself has a metal marble in the shaft that when properly loaded falls from the head to the grip, loading like a bullet in a gun. When the player initiates a proper downswing, the marble takes the ride to a nice click when the club is released.
The beautiful thing about Gabe Golf Swing Trainer is the instant feedback. The legendary Medicus Swing Trainer had this in certain ways, and while I wasn’t a huge fan of it, the feedback was jarring and undeniably positive. If you perform a swing correctly with the Gabe Golf Swing Trainer, the results are cut and dry, too.
Here’s how it works.
It should be of no surprise that a popular swing trainer on the PGA Tour is developed by a two-time PGA Tour champion, Gabriel “Gabe” Hjertstedt, especially when you know a bit about the man himself. Hjertstedt first came onto my radar when he won the BC Open in 1997, and followed that up a couple years later with a win in Tucson. As it turned out, we were working with the same swing instructor, and met face-to-face for the first time after his win in Tucson.
Hjertstedt stresses simplicity in golf instruction, so it’s no wonder he came up with the idea for such a simple product. In his words, here’s how it happened.
“It just started as a shower idea,” Hjertstedt said. “I was getting frustrated teaching some of my clients who couldn’t make a proper backswing. They were always over-swinging. I needed to find a way to slow them down a little, give them enough time to load up and make a proper swing. Now afterward, having used it on myself and students for almost two years, I am now starting to understand the benefits even more. It’s changing the way people are playing golf. People that used to cut the ball are now drawing the ball. The feedback is amazing.”
And obviously, the Tour feedback has been amazing as well.
“Charley Hoffman was the first guy that really that got it, he went on to win a couple of weeks after. Danny Lee the same shortly after.”
After using the product for a few weeks, I believe in its simplicity and that you can’t cheat with it. The feedback is as cut and dry as hitting an old blade; you either wait for the marble or you don’t. You either hit it properly and the ball goes where you are looking, or you don’t.
My swing fault is a handsy, inside takeaway followed by an across-the-line position at the top. If my timing is good I hit it where I’m aiming, but if not, the club gets stuck and the ball could go anywhere. After making 20 swings with the Gabe Golf Swing Trainer, I was able to get the club on-plane, and from a correct position at the top of the swing, I could identify what needed to be done on the way down to hit good shots. Video and Trackman can’t provide this kind of feedback because FEEL is what better players are ultimately searching for.
As far as the product itself, the training aid was crafted with attention to detail. It comes with a KBS Tour shaft, a hand-forged head from a company in Texas and can be built to your specs. Most training aids are not customized to spec, and I believe this is a vital part in the product’s effectiveness. The black forged head certainly has that “cool factor,” and with a playable sole, the turf interaction is actually quite similar to any top iron head on the market. If I were to compare it with an OEM club, it would probably be the Ping S55 as far as address and turf interaction.
So if you’re struggling with transition, tempo, plane or loading in the backswing, and like to hit real golf balls with your swing aids, there’s just no reason to not give this club a shot… unless the $150 is too steep or unjustifiable, which I can understand.
I would 100 percent recommend the Gabe Golf Swing Trainer to better golfers (10-handicap or less) and would encourage the higher-handicappers to use it as a compliment to proper instruction from a local professional.
To learn more about the Gabe Golf Swing Trainer visit www.GabeGolf.com
Top 5 insider takeaways from Hideki Matsuyama’s 2021 Masters WITB
When it comes to players on the PGA Tour, there are few as detail-orientated as Hideki Matsuyama. His equipment testing sessions are non-stop week to week in his tireless pursuit of accomplishing greatness on every swing.
Even as recently as two weeks ago, Matsuyama was spotted at the WGC Matchplay testing no less than 5 different putters. He eventually settled on the one that ultimately helped him win the Masters—but what about the rest of his clubs?
Earlier this year GolfWRX got an insider look at Hideki’s “what’s in the bag” including the how and the why and these are the top five most interesting notes.
He plays a heavy driver shaft
The general rule in club fitting is golfers with smoother tempos can use lighter weight options since their load profile puts less stress on the shaft—we’ve even seen some extreme examples of lightweight options being testing on tour by other players.
For Hideki, using a Graphite design DI 8 goes against that even though he has a fairly smooth tempo and a tiny pause at the top of his swing, but it should be noted he also swings his driver between 115 and 120 mph. It just goes to show the importance of player preference and feel when it comes to finding what’s right.
Srixon tour team – “Hideki is constantly testing driver shafts, including lightweight options. He has found that heavier shafts allow him to generate more clubhead speed with his swing. Hideki also believes that heavier shafts help create and support his unique tempo.”
He prefers a more “game improvement” look to his driver
Even with his ballstriking ability, Hideki—like many other players on the PGA Tour—prefers to use a driver that offers a higher MOI to increase ball speed and forgiveness on shots hit around the face. That means choosing the Srixon ZX5 over the ZX7, even though he has used both with great success.
Srixon tour team – “We had success with both the ZX5 and ZX7 drivers. Hideki played both models in numerous PGA tournaments this year. The deciding factor for Hideki to choose the ZX5 over the ZX7 was distance. The ZX5 setup generated more ball speed and carry distance. The ZX7 setup allows him to maximize his control. During a tournament, Hideki played the ZX7 and hit over 80 percent of his fairways, but it was not carrying as far as the ZX5. He went back to the ZX5 mid-way through that event.”
Hideki is very specific about lead tape
Some golfers just slap on lead tape until it feels right, but not Hideki. He takes his lead tape and testing seriously to the point where he uses precut pieces around iron heads to get things just right.
Srixon tour team – “We travel with pre-cut lead tape in half-gram and one-gram increments, and Hideki will apply the tape to different areas of the club (muscle, flange, hosel, shaft), depending on how the club feels while testing. When iron testing, Hideki likes to have a full set built rather than just a few lofts. We do this because if he likes the iron while testing, then we have the full set ready to go for him to test right away.”
He players softer iron shafts than his wedge
Much like his heavier driver shaft, Hideki’s shaft of choice in his wedges goes against conventional fitting wisdom. He uses True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 wedge shafts compared to S400 iron shafts and for most players on tour, it would be the other way around.
According to the team at Srixon, he prefers the stiffer profile to help with flighting the ball down and controlling his launch window.
He is always tinkering with his highest-lofted wedges
With course conditions varying week to week, Hideki is always working with different bounce variations to maximize the efficiency in his short game. Even though he does play with his bounce combinations, the overall sole shape stays constant along with the look he prefers from address.
Srixon Tour team – “Hideki doesn’t change his 52-degree sole often, but he is constantly tinkering with his 56 and 60. All three soles have a subtle C-grind shape. The 56 and 60-degree have an aggressive heel relief. Hideki also utilizes a similar subtle leading-edge grind that is in his irons. He plays his 60 and 56 weaker to help remove the offset and maintain a very straight, smooth transition from the hosel to leading-edge.”
How to gap your clubs with Rapsodo MLM
When it comes to improving your scores on the course, there are few things that are going to help more than gapping your clubs using a launch monitor. Knowing your yardages with each club allows you to make confident decisions on the course and hit it closer to your targets.
This is the reason you see professionals at the highest level on the range every week dialing in their distances using launch monitors.
Now, up until recently, access to a launch monitor has required you to book time at a coaching or club fitting facility with the right equipment, or in extreme cases, investing thousands of dollars into a high-end photo or doppler radar system that costs about the same as a new mid-range 4-door car.
These systems are great but certainly don’t fit the mold of something affordable and portable for personal use—this is where the Rapsodo MLM comes in.
What is the Rapsodo MLM?
The Rapsodo MLM (mobile launch monitor) is a personal launch monitor device that utilizes the camera in your phone or tablet in conjunction with an internal radar to track your golf ball after impact.
The resulting culmination of data gives you ball speed, clubhead speed, smash factor, launch direction, launch angle, and most importantly in the discussion of gapping: distance.
Beyond the provided ball data, the Rapsodo MLM’s app offers a shot tracing function and video capture of each swing, and when sharing your GPS location, also provides an overhead shot map of your dispersion—an endlessly useful tool to have at your disposal on the range. The best part is for those looking to get into the personal launch monitor market, the Rapasodo MLM is only $499.
How to best use your Rapsodo MLM to gap your clubs
You should think about your set of clubs is like a toolbox with each club serving a function and having a purpose in your bag. The more often you are able to test, the more knowledgeable you are going to be, and the quicker you are going to improve.
Here is a quick guide on how to gap your clubs.
- Go through the whole bag – Once you have taken the time to warm up, start with the highest-lofted club, and work your way up to the longest. You want to hit at least 7-10 shots with each club to build an average. A cool feature of the MLM app is it not only gives you your averages but creates an easy-to-understand graphic that also showcases your minimum and maximum ranges.
- Pay attention to any overlap – As mentioned off the top, you want each club within your set to serve a purpose and when two clubs are overlapping in distance you need to make adjustments. On a basic level, bringing this data to a club-fitter can make getting your lie and loft angle adjusted easily and with a purpose, or on a more advanced level it could demonstrate the need to change up some of the clubs in your bag.
- Put your new knowledge into action – Now that you are armed with this newfound information and confidence in your clubs take it to the course to see how it can be put into play. Need to stay short of a dogleg? Making the right choice off the tee has never been easier. Have to carry a hazard? Play the club you know will cover the carry distance.
One of the greatest skills better players have is knowledge in their game and no matter how much you play – the more good choices you make on the course when it comes to club selection the better you are going to play.
Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (04/12/21): Copper Goodwood putter
At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.
We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing, including equipment or, in this case, a custom milled putter.
Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a Goodwood custom plated in copper.
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Hideki Matsuyama’s winning WITB: 2021 Masters
Driver: Srixon ZX5 (9.5 degrees, flat) Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8 TX 3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Titanium (15 degrees) Shaft: Graphite...
Corey Conners WITB 2021 Masters
Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 degrees @8 degrees, standard, D4+) Shaft: UST Elements Gold 6F5 (tipped 1″) 3-wood: Ping G425 LST...
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Driver: Titleist TS3 (9.5 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60 TX 3-wood: Titleist TS3 (15 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei AV...
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Driver: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond (9 degrees) Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD BB 7 X (Custom Black, 45.5 inches, tipped 1 inch,...
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