Training aids are a dime a dozen these days. Everything out there promises to correct your swing or fix a problem, but very few actually deliver. In my experience, the best training aids are those that are based on traditional, time tested instruction. We’ve all watched the scene in the movie Tin Cup where Roy McAvoy is clad from head to toe in all kinds of useless swing aids. I think the key to a good golf training aid is to keep it simple. I recently was sent such a training aid. It’s called the ‘O’ Beam, and it is designed to help you with one of the all time most used pieces of putting advice – Keep your head still!
The ‘O’ Beam is simply a laser that attaches to your hat brim and projects a “O” shaped beam of laser light from the end. The idea is simple – position the O on the ball and keep it there while you putt. At first you may be thinking what I first thought. “I don’t need a laser to tell me to keep my head still, I keep it still anyway!” Let me tell you, the first time I put the ‘O’ Beam on and hit a putt with it I was shocked at how much my head actually moves during the stroke!
The feedback from this device is of course immediate. If you move your head even slightly, the laser light moves dramatically. It’s very difficult for me to keep my head perfectly still, so I started very slow making practice swings and worked my way up to full strokes. Every time I made a full stroke and hit the ball it rolled on line. While it’s not easy to make a perfect stroke keeping your head completely still, I don’t think any instructor would expect that. The nature of a putting stroke means that your head will tend to follow your swinging shoulders a bit no matter what. However, any excess head motion should be addressed, and this simple device certainly helps!
My only problem with the ‘O’ Beam is that in the very bright Florida sunshine, the red laser becomes a little hard to see. The laser simply isn’t powerful enough to shine bright enough in the full sun. While it’s certainly not impossible to see, it is more visible in overcast conditions. It’s also very easy to use indoors, which is where I predict most people will use it anyway.
Champions Tour player Chip Beck has endorsed the product, along with Renee Powell who is a former LPGA Tour player and now the PGA/LPGA Head Golf Professional at Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio. Inventor Katie O’Keefe talks about the ‘O’ Beam:
“I have been a golf instructor for 10 years and have enjoyed helping players of all ages and abilities. I learned in a short time that two major problems most players have are improper setup and excess head movement. The setup and head movement are, in my opinion, the most important parts of the golf swing. I believe that a proper setup is the prominent foundation to a good golf swing. If you have a solid setup you can make a simple repetitive swing. Minimal head movement is necessary in a solid golf swing; however, it is imperative in a solid putting stroke. Too many times I have heard the expression “keep your head down.” That is something that you will never hear me say. You will, however, hear me say, “Keep your head still.” Obviously it is impossible to keep your head absolutely still, but minimizing your head movement will dramatically improve your putting stroke and lower your scores.
Why does minimal head movement improve your putting stroke, you ask? Good question! When the golf ball is addressed, you have established your ball position and setup. When the club is put into motion for the putting stroke, the most efficient way for the club head to return to the ball square and on the intended path is for the player to have minimal head movement. That is why the ‘O’ BEAM is a great aid – it provides you with instant feedback on how much your head moves, thus helping you train yourself to keep your head still.”
The ‘O’ Beam works because it’s easy to use and carry with you in your golf bag, and it provides instant feedback. If you want to reduce excess head movement and improve your putting, give it a try! The ‘O’ Beam costs $49 and is available online at their website.
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