Swing Oil – Supplement Science or Clever Marketing?

Swing Oil“Swing Oil” is a slang term golfers sometimes use referring to a stiff drink or painkillers to help them loosen up to play golf. In my personal experience, when I talk about taking some swing oil it usually means popping three Advil about an hour before teeing off. I have a friend who’s version of swing oil is downing a spicy Bloody Mary before the round. Whatever your definition of swing oil is, the folks at Back 9 Beverages have a new one for us.

What Is It?

Officially, Swing Oil is a supplement drink specifically for golfers that promotes flexibility and focus. Going beyond physical skill and endurance, Swing Oil exists to help you with the mental aspects of the game like focus and alertness so you can play your best. How does Swing Oil help golfers? Each 3oz drink pouch provides 7 key ingredients to help you get loose and stay focused for 18 holes.

What’s In It?

  • GLUCOSAMINE (100mg) & CHONDROITIN (50mg) – Helps you loosen up and stay loose. Found naturally in our joints, bone marrow, shellfish, and fungi. Glucosamine helps rebuild cartilage and many people take it as a supplement to treat arthritis and osteoarthritis.
  • TURMERIC (40mg) – This spice often used in Middle Eastern cuisine is said to have anti-inflammatory properties, although there isn’t much scientific evidence for use of turmeric as a therapy for inflammation.
  • TAURINE (100mg) – Taurine is a type of amino acid found throughout the body, particularly concentrated in the brain, eyes, heart and muscles. It is commonly used in energy drinks as a low calorie energy booster.
  • CITRULLINE MALATE (100mg) – This hot new supplement for body builders is a non-essential amino acid just like Taurine. Citrulline Malate is thought to reduce levels of lactic acid and ammonia which is produced during physical activity. In layman’s terms, Citrulline Malate helps your body recover from a workout faster.
  • GINSENG EXTRACT (100mg) – Ginseng has been used for thousands of years in Chinese traditional medicine. In terms of benefits, ginseng is supposed to help focus and concentration.
  • RHODIOLA ROSEA EXTRACT (50mg) – Rhodiola Rosea – also known as “golden root” – is an adaptogen herb. This group of plants can help your body adapt to physical, chemical and environmental stress, and rhodiola is thought to be one of the most effective in this family.

In English Please!

To recap, Swing Oil contains ingredients to help you loosen up before your round, keep you loose all day, give you a boost of energy, help you focus, concentrate and control stress, and help your body recover once the round is over. It’s important to note that the usual disclaimer that comes with any dietary supplement is also applicable for Swing Oil: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” Now that the legal matters are out of the way, we get to the important question.

Does It Work?

Does Swing Oil work as advertised? If you ask me it does. Like many people, I normally take 600mg or 800mg of Advil (Ibuprofen) before a round to help me loosen up. I would prefer not to take it, but my game suffers demonstrably when I don’t and maintaining a +1 handicap without much practice is hard enough. To see if Swing Oil really works, instead of taking Advil, for six weeks I drank two 3oz pouches of Swing Oil before playing and one at the turn. In that time I played 11 rounds, including three tournament rounds. 8 of the 11 rounds I played were at par or better, with five rounds in the 60s. In that time my USGA handicap index went from a +0.2 to +1.5. (I’ve since slid back to +0.8 as of 4/15/2017)

Now, it’s entirely possible that I went on a temporary hot streak like many golfers do, but this hot streak started and ended about the time I started using Swing Oil. Could it be a simple placebo effect? I’ll let you make your own determination. While the effectiveness of any nutritional supplement depends largely on who’s taking it, I think for me it had a positive effect. My testing was obviously not scientific in any way, but my observations can be summarized with the following:

  • Swing Oil alone isn’t as effective as Ibuprofen for use as an anti-inflammatory. This isn’t a surprise, but I think it’s worth noting. If anything Swing Oil is a good complement to Advil, and may reduce the need to take as much as I do to get the desired effect. Perhaps in the future I’ll combine Ibuprofen and Swing Oil to get the benefits of both!
  • While taking Swing Oil, I felt alert and mentally sharp. As advertised, Swing Oil helps you stay alert and focused for 18 holes. This is the single most important benefit of any supplement for me. Eliminating mental errors by staying sharp for 18 holes can save me 3 to 6 strokes. Everyone makes bad swings, but for low handicap golfers and professionals, being patient and making good decisions on the golf course often makes the difference between a round in the mid-70s and one that is under par.
  • Swing Oil tastes pretty good. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Strawberry-Banana flavor, but I enjoyed the Orange flavor. Lemon-Lime was my favorite. Many supplement drinks taste chalky or medicine-like, but Swing Oil just tastes like a sports drink, albeit with a thicker consistency a bit more like a light gel. Swing Oil goes down smooth and tastes great so you won’t dread taking it like those horse pill supplements.
  • Swing Oil is a bit pricey. Like many specialized supplements, they can get a little expensive. A 12-Pack on their website goes for $34.95, which comes out to $2.91 per pouch. If taken as directed, you have one before playing, one during the round and one after for recovery. For a once a week golfer, a 12-pack is therefore a one month supply. Buying in bulk saves you some money however. The 60-pack sells for $159, which comes to $2.65 per pouch. Shipping is free.

Team Swing Oil

PGA Tour player and former world #1 Jason Day endorses Swing Oil, and several players on PGA Tour Champions are using it. That’s gotta be worth something, right? Kenny Perry gave Swing Oil a fantastic endorsement recently during the 3M Championship, and his colleague Gene Sauers claims he hasn’t taken Advil before playing since switching to Swing Oil.

If you need something to help loosen up and stay sharp on the course, you may want to try Swing Oil. The price may be a bit steep for some, but if it works you’ll probably make that money back from your buddies anyway!

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