My wife has always been very supportive and hasn't seemed to mind me cluttering up the garage, the garden and now the house with these brightly coloured items....until now.
Generally, golf swing improvement aids or golf putting training aids are small bits of kit that attach to a club and are reasonably portable. Explanar on the other hand comes in a huge 44kg box, and is a large steel hoop that stands 8 feet tall and 13 foot wide and dominates an entire room. It is big, shiny and solid and looks like it will last a lifetime.
As my garage was full of other golf equipment, I decided to assemble my shiny new Explanar Home System in my living room early one Friday evening. Later that evening, long after my wife had given up trying to watch TV and gone to bed, I managed to finally get it fully assembled. For a piece of training kit that costs £615 (including delivery) I would have hoped the instructions could have been a bit better – colour photos would definitely have helped. But this is only a small gripe about what is probably one of the most useful training aids I have ever used.
Explanar was designed by PGA Master Professional Luther Blacklock as a training aid that could help any golfer develop the correct golf swing action. It has been endorsed by leading coaches such as fellow PGA Master Professional Pete Cowen and Butch Harmon to name a few; so it must be good! Even Tour Players are using it and recently Explanar celebrated their ‘first Tour win’, when YE Yang won his first PGA Tour title at PGA National when he secured the Honda Classic.
It consists of a weighted power roller that you swing around a large adjustable steel hoop that stands on a solid base. Assuming a golfer has the basics of a good grip and posture then all they need to do is adjust the hoop to their height and then swing the weighted power roller back and forth around the edge of the hoop on their optimum swing plane.
It really is that simple; but it does come with a useful golf swing DVD by Luther Blacklock if you really want to fill you head with even more golf technique!
The one part of the DVD I did scoff at was the safety demonstration; that was until a friend of mine nearly took my chin off swinging the heavy power roller whilst I was still adjusting the height of the hoop! You have been warned!
The real safety question I wanted to answer was whether it was safe to use Explanar to change my golf swing; and the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’.
I have been trying to rectify some problems in my golf swing for many months. I have what my more polite friends call an ‘unorthodox swing’. I have a tendency to take the club away with my arms outside the line and disconnected from my body in the backswing, and then re-route it across my body to a reasonable, if a little steep, position at the top, before dropping it inside the swing plane on the downswing (a la Jim Furyk).
I have been working for several months on many drills to help me take the club on the correct inside path and back up and down on the correct swing plane with moderate success. But finally after only a few hours on Explanar I have started to develop an instinctive feel for the correct positions and I am much closer to a better hand line and my correct swing plane than I have ever come close to before.
Blacklock says Explanar creates ‘swing feelings’ and this is exactly what it has done for me.
It is not a substitute for lessons, I still go to see London’s leading golf instructor Dave Wilkinson at the Knightsbridge Golf School. He tells me Hugh Grant has an Explanar on his roof – but he too still drops in for lessons.
And the jobs of other PGA Pros are safe; after all it can’t teach you course management, straighten out your putting and improve your bunker play. In fact hundreds of teaching professionals have bought the Explanar Professional System at £1,999 to help them accelerate the improvement of their students.
The Explanar can help groove new swing positions that you have been trying to reach, it can allow you to practice your golf without leaving the house and braving the elements and it can help you exercise the correct ‘golf muscles’.
I am not sure why, but my wife thought it was essential that I mention that Explanar is offering a ‘Golf Training Aid Amnesty”. If your garage is like mine and full of old swing training aids that are past their sell by date, then return them to Explanar and they will refund the original cost up to £130 against your purchase of an Explanar system.
I like my Explanar and I have a feeling that it will be in my backroom for many months (my wife isn’t exactly thrilled but she’ll be delighted for me when I finally get to single figures).
The Explanar Home Edition at £615 is probably the most expensive golf training aid you are likely to buy.
But what price do you put on a lifetime of better golf?
(Has anyone else bought one or used one? Let me know your thoughts?)