Thursday, 26 March 2009

Explanar Takes Some Explaining to My Wife

In my quest to get to single figures I have brought home many, many weird and wonderful contraptions and peculiar paraphernalia for lost and desperate golfers.


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?)

5 comments:

Hole High said...

The Pro at my course has just invested in an Explanar and I had my first lesson on it yesterday. He has done a deal where I can go and use it before hitting balls on our range at anytime. Was back up there again today to get another fix of this superb training aid. I am sure it will take time to see results but convinced it will sort out my "over the top" problem

Michael said...

Can you give us an update on how you are doing with the Explanar and how you feel it has helped you?

Please email me at mbovaird@mac.com

Thanks!

Michael.

david@greenseekergolf.com said...

Hi

I see you originally posted back in March. What do you think of the Explanar now? Are you still using it regulary and are you seeing benefits?

The thing that worries me about these kind of aids - is that they are so different to your natural golf swing - that they are just not "golf" itself. A bit like trying to use a Tennis swing or fishing cast to cure a fault in golf - therefore not sure how effective this kind of device is.

It would be good to see a follow up post? Just an idea...

Thanks
David
http://www.greenseekergolf.com
david@greenseekergolf.com

Ken said...

Hi,

I was lucky enough to have purchased the EXPLANAR from my neighbour recently for a token amount of A$150 for the EXPLANAR and he was happy to accept. I got a BARGAIN and it's now in my front verandah.

I'm 55 and have always been a reasonable golfer, been down to 3hcp for a brief period a few years back, but been consistent between 5 to 7hcp for many years.

My problem was that I always got the club too far behind me on the backswing and usually hit a strong

draw, a hook was my bad shot. On the downswing, I tended to start with my upper body and left the club too far behind and lost power even though I have a fast tempo swing. My tempo had to be fast to try and square the club at impact.

If my tempo was out, HOOKS all day.

I initially found it difficult to use the EXPLANAR as I've never released the club, I used to try and swing along the target-line thinking that I'd hit the ball straighter, I was WRONG.

Quite often I would follow through with the left arm in the chicken wing position, bent at 45-90 degrees pointing to the target.

I started using the EXPLANAR but thought I'd have to use it for muscle memory exercises, I persisted for a few months, started hooking real bad and stopped using EXPLANAR as thought it was contributing.

Then it started to happen.

I started watching closely the Australian golfer Michael Sim with honestly, the best swing in golf, full-stop, barr none and noticed how smooth his swing was and the relationship between his upper arms and elbows, he stayed very connected and his elbows only started separated a little from his body at about the 1/2 position of his backswing and 3/4 of his follow thru.

Keeping a picture of the relationship between Sim's upper arms and elbows to his body, I went out and started swinging on the EXPLANAR and someone just switched the lighted on.

I immediately noted that to use the EXPLANAR correctly, on the backswing, your upper arm and elbow would remain close to your body then at about 1/2 way when your left arm is parallel to the ground, the right elbow would start bending and slowly moved away from your side but you still feel connected, the key is that the right elbow points down to your right hip, this is key.

As you commence the downswing, the right elbow immediately comes back to the body just in front of the right hip and remains until about 1/2 way on your follow through.

At about 1/2 way on your follow through when right arm is parallel to the ground, the left elbow starts bending but remains close to your chest. The left elbow remains close to your body, but as you continue to swing, it moves away from the body but points to the left hip, this is key.

All this only made sense to me last Friday morning, I went out and shot a very easy 74 off the stick, hit just about every fairway and hit iron shots I haven't hit for years, straight, a better launch height and my drives were longer and straighter, but I felt like I wasn't swinging hard, it felt like a 3/4 swing.

I've had 3 rounds since my 74 and I'm continuing to hit the ball much straighter and today hit some of the longest drives of my life, like 20 to 30 metres longer with PW to some greens that I was previously using 7 or 8 iron.

I used to loose my balance and step forward on most follow throughs, my back swing was in a reasonable position, but I lunged at the ball and lost my balance.

I'm now releasing the club, you have to start bending your left arm on the follow though, but it's not a conscience effort to release, it's just happening.

As I said before, the key thoughts for me are the elbows and upper arms staying connected to my upper body and the elbows starting to bend at about 1/2 way, but remain pointing to the right hip on backswing, and left hip on follow though.

If only I could get rid of my occasional blasted SHANKS with sand wedge or pitches, my confidence would soar and my handicap will plummet.

Kind Regards, Ken
Adelaide, Australia
0417-122333

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