Review: Powerchute


For the past month I’ve worked with a swing trainer called the Powerchute. I’ve given it an extensive test and the results are in.

What is the Powerchute?

It’s a swing training aid that aims to increase clubhead speed and lag, and improve timing and lag. In addition it strengthens the fast twitch muscles.

You attach the powerchute to your club and it becomes a small sail, that uses the wind created by your swing as the resistance you swing against. I was skeptical at first. I watched the videos on the website and Jack Nicklaus using it and I was still skeptical. It wasn’t until I took my first few swings with the powerchute, and then without it, that the wow factor hit me.

The first swing after you take the powerchute off your club is an amazing. The club feels lighter. The backswing feels normal, and then you start your downswing. My first swing without the Powerchute was so fast that it threw me almost off balance.

After using the Powerchute for a few months now, my old weakness: driving, has turned into a strength. Working with the powerchute daily has really helped with that trouble spot for me. I find that I’ve developed much better sequencing, even better lag, but more importantly I am able to use that lag properly. The resitance from the Powerchute has forced me to use my body and my hands properly to finish the swing correctly.

Over the last few months, the Powerchute has become my favorite swing trainer. I really enjoy heading down to the basement, where I have my golf practice area setup, to make some Powerchute swings. I feel that not only am I practicing solid fundamentals, but I am developing good golf fitness, and in the right muscles.

I can honestly say that the more I use the Powerchute, the more I want to use it. I’ve found new uses for it to help my game overall. It really is the only swing trainer I use now.

Golf Fitness

Now, to the fitness part of the powerchute. I’ve been told that the Powerchute, strengthens the fast twitch muscles that you use in the golf swing. These are the muscles needed to generate speed and power. The Powerchute achieves this by providing a plyometric workout. What are plyometrics? The following is from Wikipedia.

“Plyometrics (also known as “plyos”) is a type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sports. Plyometric exercises may also be referred to as explosive exercises.”

The golf swing is all about controlled explosive power. It requires finesse, touch, feel, and power. Plyometric training is a perfect fit for golf. A friend of mine trains using Kettle Bells to achieve this, and he happens to be a director of golf so I know that those are great exercies for golf.

I do find that the Powerchute provides a plyometric workout and a very good one at that. The faster you can swing with the powerchute, the more resistance you create, and the more you work out those fast twitch muscles.

Zen Chili Rating for Powerchute

5 Zens out of 5

• Improves power, lag. sequencing and fitness virtually automatically
•No need to think about it, swing it, feel it

5 Chilis out of 5

• Well made product that can take a beating. Ingeniously designed.

At first I found I struggled when I switched from Powerchute swings, to iron swings. They felt too fast. Over the past few months everything that’s gone into the driver has also gone in to improve my iron play.


The Powerchute has been amazing to work with. I was so skeptical at first, but it has improved my power with all clubs, my balance, and my fitness. I have zero hesitations about recommending it. It is worth every penny.  Check it out at:

Tour Striker gets me back on track

If you’ve played golf with me in the past month you would have known that my ball striking has put me in a bit of a slump.  My distance control was off, and my shots were coming up short.

In a few minutes the Tour Striker brought my ball striking back.  An hour and half and two buckets of balls later, I’m feeling much better about my ball striking.  The difference is dramatic.

Sadly, before this session I was having trouble hitting my 8 iron 150 yards.  It was extremely frustrating.  This afternoon, my 8 iron was a much more respectable 165-170 average carry, with several carrying 175-180.  Now that’s what I’m talking about.

I knew I was on the right track when I started to hit what some low bullets with the Tour Striker.  These bullets went no higher than about 30 feet, but they carried about 200 yards.  The Tour Striker pro that I use is the equivalent of an 8 iron, so that’s some serious contact.  In an earlier conversation I had with Martin Chuck, the inventor of the Tour Striker, he assured me that when I’m hitting those low bullets, it means I’m very close to excellent contact, just millimeters away from perfection.  He’s right.

Shortly after the those low bullets, with a minor adjustment I began to hit them high, super high and solid, and they just carried forever.  It felt so good after this past month of less than perfect ball striking.

My new favorite practice putting game – Split Nines

If you want to add some pressure to your putting practice to make it feel a bit more like what you’ll feel on the golf course then try this game.

If you want to add some pressure to your putting practice to make it feel a bit more like what you’ll feel on the golf course then try this game.

The game is split into two halves, your front nine and your back nine.  On your front 9, each putt is like you’ve hit the in regulation.  Every putt made is a birdie, every putt missed leaves a par putt (you must putt in, 3 putting does count as a bogey).

On your back nine, these are your greens missed in regulation.  Every putt is for par.  Miss and your next putt is for bogey.

So, on the front nine, you want to get as quickly and as far under par as you can.  Be sure to mix in 3 shorter putts (4-6 ft), 3 medium putts (6 – 12ft) and 3 longer putts (more than 12 feet) in each nine.

You’ll find after you finish the front nine and start the back, the pressure really starts to mount as you try to remain under par.  Give it a shot, and tell me what you think.  I’ve found it to be an awesome way to practice.

PGA Tour: Tee-to-green key to Donald’s rise


Interesting article with an in-depth look at Luke Donald’s stats.  With Luke Donald ranking low on the driving distance category you would have expected him to rank higher in accuracy, given that his low ranking in distance would put him at a disadvantage on approaches from the rough.

I’ve always considered myself a decent iron player, but I’ve made a concerted effort as well to improve my accuracy off the tee.  I’ve noticed an improvement in my scores from that.  Here’s what Luke had to say about his improvement in this area.

“At the beginning of the year the focus was to get my percentages up, getting it more in the fairway, hitting more greens,” Donald said. “I think the last few years — I’ve said this before — I think I got it to a point where I was trying to hit the ball too hard.

“My swing got to a place I didn’t really like, and it was affecting me quite heavily off the tee. … For as far as I hit a ball, I needed to hit more fairways than I did.”

Tour Striker – Day 12 – Confidence Building

Over the past 12 days working with the tour striker I’ve seen a significant improvement in my ball striking. For a while and before re-acquainting myself with the TS my distance control was inconsistent.
I’m now much more consistent with my distance control and my I’ve added about 15 yards with each iron.
I’ve found that not only is the TS a great practice tool, but it is also a fantastic way to check your ballstriking.
The Tour Striker helps with consistency
Twelve days ago I was very inconsistent with the TS. If you take a look at the last few posts you’ll see me talk about the inconsistencies. Yesterday on the range my strikes with the TS really surprised me. Not only did the ball fly high and far and straight but it just felt great.
I’ve been working on the on practicing with each hand separately and wow is that a challenging drill. It’s really good though. I’m very pleased with progress I’m making with the Tour Striker.

Tour Striker – Day 3 of 30 – a plan comes into focus

This morning I headed to the driving range early.  Got there around 6:50 am, got set up and hit balls into the foggy morning.

I was encouraged by my practice session on Monday evening.  This morning it was a slightly different story.  I hit a couple of toppers which right away told me that I had too little shaft lean.  When I corrected that I hit a number of low flat stingers.  The balls took off low, stayed lower than 30 yards high and carried about 175 yards into the fog.  They felt solid.

I decided to reach out to Martin Chuck, the inventor of the Tour Striker to tell him about this month long test with his product as well as to get some advice on how best to take advantage of the time.

Based on his suggestions I will be working on the following over the next 30 days.

Tour Striker Practice Game Plan

1. Learn how to let the club land with forward lean. Do this with both hands and with each hand individually.
2. Monitor where you are touching the ground with hands together and individually. Seek to get similar results with the club landing inside the left heel.
3. Hit some “9 to 3” shots trying to get the leading edge of the TS as close to the ground as possible. Keep the left arm on the upper chest, don’t chase the target line.
4. Get use to anticipating the “thud” of touching the ground, not smashing, just touching.
5. Take this “9 to 3” into fuller swings with a focus on balance and rhythm.

I plan to take about a week with each of these guidelines (give or take a few days).

Low Flat Bombs

The exciting thing about hearing from Martin was that to cure my low flat bombs I need just a touch more shaft lean.  So things are not that far off.  All in all it was an encouraging session.  I had a lot of very solid strikes and my distance control feels somewhat more consistent.

I’ll be working to add that little bit extra shaft lean and see what happens with these low flat bombs.

Stop quitting on your putts

One night while I was on a golf trip in Maryland a few weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to have some putting contests in the room.  The carpet was probably rolling about a 10 so it wasn’t too quick.  We played a version of leap frog and set the cup out about 12 feet away.  The thing that quickly became clear was that it was hard to hit the putts short enough in the beginning to set you up for a good potential leap frog run. It took me some time but I finally figured out why that was.

What I’ve realized is that I was decelerating on those short putts and when you do that it becomes very difficult to have any consistency or to actually control the speed of your putts.  Our minds don’t react well to deceleration.  They can’t judge have quickly something is slowing down as well as they can judge how quickly something is speeding up.  At least that’s true in my experience, although I’m sure there are some of you out there who will disagree and that’s fine.

For putting though you always want to be accelerating.  One of the best ways to practice this is actually with short putts.  It will really train in feel an in an amazing way.

As I worked with this technique last night, in a very short while I gained tremendous feel for distance.  The main thing I did was to ensure that on every through-stroke you feel an acceleration compared to your back swing.  Try this out, take some short putts and really focus on feeling the acceleration into the ball.  You’ll start to get a lot more feel, and your putting will improve.

Feedback from the Technical Staff at Optishot

BPsSince I’ve seen that a number of people commenting in the Optishot review had some technical issues, I decided to ask the manufacturer for a response to their complaints. I have not had any significant issues with the optishot and in fact really like the product. Over the winter it provided me with a solid golf experience at home and allowed me to work on things in a a warm environment as the snow fell outside.

Here is what the technical folks at Optishot provided. I hope it helps anyone who is having some technical issues with their unit.

The best way for an individual to get technical support is to follow the link below, fill out the form and use it to ask questions. Then we will get back to them as quickly as we can.

However, inaccurate swing results is the most common cause of frustration. There are three possible parts to this issue, lighting in the room, Swing Pad integrity, and software adjustments.

The most common cause of inaccurate results is lighting. Following the guidelines below will help mitigate erroneous swing results.
Incandescent, halogen, and day light in even small indirect amounts will negatively affect performance.
OptiShot works best when used in a room with fluorescent lighting.
Warehouse lighting such as Sodium Vapor or Metal Halide also work very well.
Shadows from objects such as the club shaft and the golfer also may negatively affect performance.
Overhead light is generally better than light from the side of the room.
Something else to keep in mind is that irons will tend to produce more accurate results compared to woods. Drivers like the R9, R11 or the King Cobra for example do not work well with OptiShot because of the intricate design on their underside. We have found that drivers with a smooth and reflective bottom will yield more accurate results with OptiShot than those with an irregular and non reflective bottom.

If your lighting is properly set up and you are still having an issue try running OptiShot with the Swing Pad connected and turn off or at least dim all the lights in the room and observe the infrared sensors. With the exception of the Green/Red status light, every other bulb should glow faintly red. If some are out that should be lit then the Swing Pad should be replaced.

If your lighting is properly set up and you are still getting inaccurate results then you could create a custom club set (click link below). Select the actual club you are using, take a few swings and observe the results. If the results are not quite what you would expect then you may edit a number of factors that may bring your swing results in line. For instance, if your club face is always open you could try setting the club’s offset to something dramatic like -5.9 and observe the results. Then you could dial in that number bit by bit until the ball flies true. Next you might edit the club’s speed adjustment up or down from 100% (200% maximum) to bring the club head speeds in line with what you would expect. Then observe the distance the ball is traveling. If that is off you could make an adjustment to the Distance Adjustment up or down from 100% (200% maximum) until the distances are correct. You would then do this for each club.

Jonathan B Cole
Technical Support Lead
866.941.3644 ext. 306
Dancin’Dogg Golf
Leading the Home Golf Revolution!

Rickie Fowler – He gets it

Watching Morning Drive this morning, I was in total agreement with the comments that Brandel Chamblee (@BrandelChamblee) made about Rickie Fowler.

“You understand the best way to play golf, this is my opinion, is to go out there and try to hit shots…You know,it’s the big lie to me, that you can go out there and swing perfectly.  And I understand why guys do it.  I mean literally they’re trying to play this game in the most organized fashion, there’s so much money out there, and if you can stay on tour a long time, you can get ridiculously rich. So what are you gonna do? You’re gonna work out, you’re gonna get a sports psychologist And you’re going to take all these lessons ’cause you want everything to be perfect. And Rickie’s like ‘No, I’m gonna go out and I’m gonna hit golf shots. I’m gonna hit it high, I’m gonna hit it low, I’m gonna draw it, fade it.’  And I know it’s because of the way he was taught the game. His teacher was very much into hitting golf shots. And that’s why he plays fast.  Because he’s not out there thinking about a pre-shot routine, and he’s not out there thinking about swing mechanics. He’s out there thinking about golf shots.”

There’s a ton of wisdom in what Brandel said this morning.  This is why Rickie is the future of golf.  And I think he is going to stun us with what he is going to accomplish in his career.

I want to contrast this style of play with Tiger Woods.  And my intention is not to bash Tiger but to look at differences.

Tiger Woods when he was dominant could hit every shot in the book and then some.  He created that famous stinger and it appears he doesn’t even have that shot any more.  Tiger said he is thinking about his swing and swing mechanics now before every shot and it looks that way.  When he gets off track, he goes into repair mode, and it’s mechanics, mechanics, mechanics.  The artfulness seems to be have left him, at least for now.

On the other hand, Rickie Fowler (and several other players, most notably Bubba Watson), look like golf artists.  They see shots, and they hit shots.  They use the golf course as their canvas and they create masterpieces of golf.  Plus they’re really fun to watch.

So where does this leave us (the amateur golfer)?  Well, for one, I know when I’m playing my best it’s when I’m seeing and hitting shots and when I’m not thinking about mechanics.  There are times when golf seems so much easier.  Conversely, when I’m playing poorly, it’s all about mechanics.  The swing ends up feeling like it’s separate from me. And it feels forced.

If you’ve read this blog for a while you know that I’ve moved away from mechanics to a feel based approach, where I not only see the shots I’m trying to create, but try to feel what it’ll feel like to hit them.  And every shot is unique and feels differently.  This makes golf more fun, and the end result for me has been better scores, more fun, and not having to practice as much.

Other posts about Rickie Fowler:

Pro’s slow motion swings

Rickie Fowler – a result of Consistent Coaching

Stuck in a slump?

How to make swing changes stick

Recent experience has taught me that you need two things to make swing changes stick.  Practice and time.  Now while these may seem self evident there is more going on behind the scenes in the subconscious mind than meets the eye.

We’ve all heard the phrases “Practice makes perfect” and “Perfect practice makes perfect”.  We all know that tour players have practiced all their lives to get the level they are at.  The thing is that they are not always practicing the same things in the same way.  They have built up enough skill level, that as they dial one thing in, they can work and address another part of the game.

What am I getting at?

As amateur golfers we don’t have the luxury to practice to practice like a tour player.  In fact, for most of us, we rarely get to practice.  I’ve tried to combat this by investing in some things that bring the practice home, and while that does address much of the problem, there is another part of practicing that has to be thought through as well.

That is, practicing the right things in the right way.

If you’ve had a lesson with a golf pro, they probably got you to do so some things that felt a little strange.  And if you’re like most golfers, you probably forgot about that feeling very shortly after and didn’t really practice it.  The end result is a wasted lesson, and no step forward in your progress.

I think part of the reason we forget to practice those things is because they feel so strange.  And when that happens, we are less likely to use it.  Combine that with very few practice sessions and it is virtually inevitable that you will forget what you learned.

How I’ve been practicing differently

I’ve been focusing on the things I have learned, and how strange they feel.  The thing I’ve realized is that I don’t necessarily need to be doing full swing. Initially what I start out doing is conditioning my body to get used to how that feels.  That position, swing thought etc, that feels strange, is often a big key to getting to the next level.  However, it’s hard to practice because it feels so strange.

Every day, I focus on something like that, that feels a bit strange.  It could be the forward press in putting, it could be the feeling of holding on to your angles and your lag, it could be a feeling that you don’t sway when you turn, or not laying off the club too much etc.

These things feel weird because they are not a part of your swing.  You need to get used to them, you need to get comfortable with them.

Making amazing progress

It’s amazing the things that happen once you start to integrate these things into your swing.  Not only do they become a part of your swing, but as you really integrate them, they take on their own strength.  They become a part of your swing that you can count on, that you can trust.  And when that happens, your swing changes and your results change.

So when your instructor gives you a piece that feels a bit strange, hold on to it, work with it, make it a part of you and you will be rewarded with a more solid game.