The Swing Plate Review: A Great Partner to the Ideal Training Aid
There is a strong case to be made that the humble alignment stick is the best golf training aid ever created. Whether the rods are custom made with a leather cover or bought at a home improvement chain, alignment sticks have become a mainstay in the bags of virtually any pro or avid player. By themselves, alignment sticks can be used in many great drills such as these, but is there any way to make them even more useful? That’s what the makers of The Swing Plate set out to do.
What is the Swing Plate?
The Swing Plate is a device to hold your alignment sticks. You have the option of having one stick aligned horizontally on the ground and one vertically at an adjustable angle. A key feature is that it can be used on any surface, resolving one of the issues many golfers have with alignment stick drills.
Additionally, The Swing Plate is small enough to fit in a regular-sized golf bag and sturdy steel construction.
The Problem with Alignment Sticks
Besides using the sticks for alignment, almost all drills require anchoring them into the ground, such as these drills from Scratch Golf Academy.
I can count on one hand the number of grass driving ranges in my area, none of them convenient. Also, the drought-resistant landscaping here in Southern California means I don’t have grass in the backyard. Likely, many other golfers are in the same boat, meaning that some of the most valuable drills to be done with alignment sticks aren’t really possible. That’s the critical issue that the Swing Plate tries to resolve. Providing a way to securely mount rods at the desired angle on any surface, including artificial mats.
Working with The Swing Plate
The Swing Plate is an incredibly simple device. Right out of the bag, it is easy to understand how it is used and adjusted. My own alignment sticks (which are of the home improvement store variety) fit snugly and securely in the slots. I had a perfectly straight alignment stick on the ground and a vertical one behind me at my desired angle, ready to hit balls in just a few moments.
I tend to get stuck too far inside on my swing, so having a simple way to check my plane has been great for my daily practice.
Additional drills and practice techniques are available as videos through the Swing Plate website. A personal favorite of mine has this drill for correcting a hip slide.
I place the Swing Plate behind me in this drill, so the stick’s end is about a foot beyond my hip. When I’m working on starting my downswing with a forward hip bump, the rod provides feedback if I’m sliding too far forward rather than turning through. I’ve done this in the past with a chair in front of me, but I can’t do the drill with full swings with that like I can with The Swing Plate.
It is also important to make sure you take care when you set up and use The Swing Plate. While hitting an alignment stick likely won’t damage your club or cause injury, hitting the solid metal plate itself definitely could. A recommended addition for using The Swing Plate is a foam cover for your alignment rod (like a pool noodle) to prevent damage if it’s struck, especially for drills involving the rod being in front of you.
The Swing Plate has become a fixture in my backyard practice setup, and I don’t see it leaving anytime soon. The design makes virtually any alignment stick drill out there doable on a mat instead of having to be stuck in the ground.
The simplicity of use is one of the biggest positives of the device for me, but it does raise the question; is it too simple? While The Swing Plate is not the most expensive training aid out there, at £54.99 in the UK (where the company is based) or $89.99 through a US distributor, The Swing Plate isn’t cheap. Is this cost justified for a device that holds the sticks in place? Having worked with the Swing Plate for a couple of weeks now, I would have to say yes, as I now use it daily. If using alignment rods is an important part of your practice, then you’ll likely come to the same conclusion.
Given the simple and solid construction, I believe I’ll be able to continue to use it daily for years to come. If you consider alignment sticks to be the best training aid out there, then The Swing Plate could be the perfect companion.