The Golf Swing Shirt Review: Swing trainers are a tricky business, no doubt. Caddy Shack, Tin Cup and other golf movies have well-documented the lengths people will go to find a swing worthy of Augusta National. Unfortunately, it is just not that simple. Nope, no one device can magically give you all the answers. However, there are some training aides that can help give you a ‘feel’ for a more sound technique.
One such aide I recently discovered is the Golf Swing Shirt. After spending a few weeks and multiple practice sessions with the Swing Shirt, I can honestly recommend it to anyone. Coincentally, the the Golf Swing Shirt has been well recieved by one of my golf heroes, Jimmy Ballard. In a recent interview I had with Jimmy, we discussed the Golf Swing Shirt and he reiterated his support for the product.
If you know anything about Jimmy Ballard, you know his main teaching philosophy is “Connection”, and the one thing the Swing Shirt does very well is promote a connected swing. This is particularly important since staying connected is one of the most critical elements to a consistant and powerful golf swing.
If you look at their website you will find that the Golf Swing Shirt philosophy is partially derived from Hogan’s book and his “Five Lessons”; specifically, as it relates to the importance of connection of the arms to the upper body. This was something Hogan learned from Sam Byrd who was Jimmy Ballard’s teacher. What the Swing Shirt does is give you the feel of the triangle that Hogan and Ballard describe where your arms form a triangle with your chest that you move to the right, and then move to the left, using the ground and your legs as leverage to move the triangle.
The Swing Shirt is made out of a moderate-weight stretchy fabric, and it looks like a basketball jersey, with an extra ‘trunk’ on the front that you put both arms through. This ‘trunk’ or extra sleeve on the front of the shirt keeps your arms on top of your chest, and connected to your chest during the swing, so that you can feel the sense of using your chest to support and move your arms back and forth, rather than just using your hands and arms to flip the club around your body. After you’ve hit some balls with your arms in the sleeve, you can move your arms to the ‘normal’ arm holes, and then hit some balls while keeping the shirt on to see if you can repeat the feeling.
The result is that you are able to use your big muscles of your legs and core to move the golf club, rather than just flipping at the ball with your hands, or getting into the dreaded ‘chicken wing’ of the left arm, and the ball flight is much more consistent, and much straighter.
A couple of quick ideas that I think will help anyone use the Golf Swing Shirt:
-Get the correct size. Sizing is on their website and is based on height/weight. It needs to fit to work correctly.
-Good posture, including standing as upright at address as possible is the only way to have connection keep the club on plane, and not go ‘around’ your body.
-The shirt is good at keeping your arms on top of your chest, and together through the swing, but you shouldn’t ‘tuck’ your right elbow at address, or setup with the right shoulder lower than the left. Hogan had a balanced, upright address, where his shoulders were fairly level, and his right elbow pointed loosely at his right hip socket. During the takeaway, the right arm is higher than the left, if being viewed face on, or in a mirror; and it needs to stay that way, as the triangle moves to waist high on the backswing. From waist high, the right arm simply folds and moves up into the ‘throwing’ position, as the shoulders finish coiling. If you ‘tuck’ your right elbow, the golf swing shirt won’t keep you from going around yourself, losing connection, and introducing all kinds of timing issues.
-Make sure not to forget chipping and putting. Connection is the heartbeat of the golf swing, and this tool will help you with all of your clubs!
You can learn more about the Golf Swing Shirt on their website.