With lockdown number 3 in full affect and the end date still unknown, I didn’t want to repeat the mistake I made in lockdown 1 and not do anything constructive with my golf. Especially as lockdown 1 and 3 are not confined to a few weeks.
So, I’ve taken the plunge into getting my hands on some training aids! Personally I’m a bit of a sceptic when it comes to training aids, some of them look complex, some seem gimmicky and they are not particular cheap.. More so the ones that boost how they can cure a slice or make big claims about what they can do for your game.
The two training aids I have are the Speed Trap by Eyeline golf and the Total Golf Training. I’m not using both at the same time, don’t worry. With my back garden set up and having the ability to chip I’ve started with the Speed Trap. This is not a full review, but it’s a full review on how it can be used for chipping as always it’s an impartial and independent review. So let’s take a closer look.
What is it?
A training aid duh…
I want to quickly point out that I am using version 1, there is version 2 out which has a little more colour helping with line up and some cables around the pillars in case you knock one flying whilst at the range.
It’s main aim is to help with shot shaping. “Hit straighter shots, eliminate your slice or hook, or grove a baby fade or draw”
That’s the headline from their website… Doesn’t make much sense for a chipping review right? On paper I agree and the claims to help with shot shaping was one of the reasons I got it to work on it down the range or practice ground at Derllys Court.
However, if you take a little closer look it actually has an element that can help with strike.
Definitely aimed at those who catch shots fat, like me! Especially from 100 yards and in. It encourages a downward strike and prevents a scooping action and gives you instant feed back.
The Speed Trap in action
Set up is easy, no issues with having to read an instruction manual. To start with I was using it with out the pillars which are there to encourage, give a visual and feedback on shot shaping and swing path. I have a simple and repeatable technique for chipping so really want to just refine this more and make sure I was eliminating the heavy shots. Hence not starting with the pillars.
1st impressions of using it were pretty good, there is a quick start guide that comes with it plus a quick search on YouTube and there are a number of videos aimed at chipping.
My 1st session was frustrating though, more heavy shots than what I thought I’d have. The instant feedback comes from clipping the plastic plate. Don’t worry it doesn’t damage the club. It also works without the ball, so a couple of swings without the ball and no clipping of the ball worked quite well. Adding the ball in adds a little pressure, but still my 1st session highlighted that there were improvements needed. I was simply hanging back and trying to scoop the ball up rather than delivering a downward strike and moving my weight.
Like I said you can use this with or without the ball for chipping and full swings even with the pillars to help “grove your swing” I won’t go into too much around the full swing though… That will come at a later date.
Can the Speed Zone Really Help?
It doesn’t take much time to get a session in, around 30 to 50 balls takes around 20/30 minutes in the garden. It’s a great way to get some repetition in which we all need to improve and it makes you practice with a purpose.
With a bit of focus on my technique/swing I was able to see a real difference within less than a week. Starting with the ball on the “Full Swing” line before progressing back to in between full and pitching, then back to pitching. There is a chipping line but this seemed a little impossible. Version 2.0 seems to have created more space compared to the original version I’m using.
I was using 5 golf balls per round when I started and I was making clean contact with 2 out of 5 in the 1st few sessions even on the full shot line. Fast forward 7/10 days and I was hitting on average 4 heavy shots in a full session of 30 to 50 shots.
The Speed Trap was focusing or even forcing me to correct my set up and deliver a downward strike. It does help if you have a basic understanding of a chipping technique, but I thought my chipping was reasonable before I started and this really did pressure test and help me work towards improving it.
If you have a poor technique it’s not the end of the world, the aid is very intuitive. What I mean by this is you naturally find a way to improve, so if you are a poor chipper that’s fine it just might take a little longer. In fact if you struggle with chipping this might just be the right aid for you.
So, can it help? Yes, the sceptic in me has been a little defeated which I am pleasantly surprised with.
Taking it to the next level
Up until week 2 I was only using the Speed Trap plate and not using the foam pillars. Now that I was able to improve my technique and strike I thought it was time to add the foam pillars in.
There are 4 pillars, two on the front and two at the back. The 2 at the front bring all the attention to impact which fits nicely with the downward strike element. Adding all 4 is to make sure your takeaway and down swing is all square and moving down the target line.
Anything overly out to in, or in to out your club head will clip a pillar. Depending on the pillar that is hit will give you feedback to your swing path. Simple right?
For me I used a mixture of 2 and 4 pillars. More so the 2 pillars on the front. This was to encourage a square club head and club path at impact. Whilst still working on that downward strike and not clipping the plate.
I must admit it’s a little daunting seeing the pillars at address. The slight upside if you can overcoming this, is that it adds a little pressure which I think is a good thing. Trying to replicate pressure we might face on the course is never a bad thing.
Overall, I was avoiding hitting the pillars and was able to keep the heavy shots below 5 per sessions. The odd session I was using all 4 pillars to make sure my swing was all inline from take away to impact.
With all 4 pillars on the Speed Trap looks pretty busy, which for some will be off putting. I get that, I am not overly keen on it. However a few swings in and you can see the benefit of them.
The doubter in me was silenced when it came to using the Speed Trap to work on my chipping. My strike had improved due to the aid helping me refine my chipping technique. It confirmed I was delivering a downward strike and I was square at impact and through the swing.
It was easy to spend the 20/30 minutes needed to get some repetition in. I was fitting this in my lunch break and on the weekend. Without any real impact to family or work life. Not having to set anything up meant I was spending more time hitting golf balls and not messing about with setting things up.
The result? I was more accurate than I have ever been (from my previous session in the garden). The plate is set up to a target and all were online.
I was able to use my 52, 56 and 60 degree wedge and the same results were visible across the 3 clubs. It was visible the extra spin that was added thanks to the downward strike and my heavy shots were dramatically reduced. What more could I really ask for?
It’s an aid that I will continue to use just to keep grooving in good technique, and one that is easy to take to the course for a nice little practice session as well.
Would I recommend it? Yes 100%, is it suitable for everyone? I genuinely think it could help most golfers with chipping.
I would completely recommend this to anyone that hits chip shots fat. It is a cheaper version than the fat plate plus it’s more versatile due to the shot shaping aids which will be reviewed at a later date.
It is not the cheapest you can by direct from Eye Line for £73 plus shipping which is on sale at time of writing and is for version 2.0.
There is a cheaper “Unbranded” version which is a copy of the Speed Trap 1.0. This is available from Unbranded Golf at £46 just bear in mind that you will have to wait for over a month delivery hence the cheaper price. It might be worth checking out Ebay for 2nd hand ones.
|Easy Set Up||With all 4 pillars it can look “Busy”|
|Intuitive design||Basic skills/understanding needed to move path|
|Improves strike, Shot Shape and Swing Path||Chipping line hard to achieve (changed on version 2.0)|
|Instant feedback given|
|Can be used with or without the ball|
When the ranges and courses are open, I will be using the Speed Trap on the shot shaping element of the aid and will give a full review on that.
If you have any questions on how I’ve been using the Speed Trap or you are intrigued to see how it may work for you. Get in touch on the contact page or on social media.
Until Next Time, Stay Safe.