PGA Professional the mastermind behind popular Orange Whip, Orange Peel
Both the Orange Whip and the Orange Peel have been popular training aids for top-level touring professionals, but they can also help your game no matter your playing ability.
Whether you're hanging out at the driving range during a professional event, or hanging out at your local muni waiting for your tee time, chances are you've seen an orange ball sticking out of someone's bag -- mixed in with the clubs -- and wondered to yourself: what the heck is that?
What it is is a training device developed by PGA Professional Jim Hackenberg called, "The Orange Whip."
The Orange Whip is described as, "the ultimate golf swing trainer and fitness tool for today's golfer and athlete. It is versatile, dynamic and the most effective swing aid on the market. Consistent use of the Orange Whip will improve your golf swing and provide an essential core-muscle workout."
If you're really into golf, chances are you've seen countless infomercials promoting golf-training aids. But how many of those are proven to work? With the Orange Whip, it seems there's no question as to whether or not it works -- over 100 PGA Tour players currently use the whip, as do over 50 on the Champions Tour and over 30 on the LPGA Tour. IN 2012, 47 of the top 125 money winners on the PGA Tour used the Orange Whip regularly.
If that's not a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is.
Recently, we had a chance to sit down with Hackenberg to talk about the Orange Whip and the Orange Peel (a boogie board-sized platform to improve balance that promotes proper rotation around the center of gravity).
PGA.com: What compelled you to create the Orange Whip? It seems like the perfect aid to develop tempo and rhythm especially right before a round of golf.
Hackenberg: As an instructor, my goal was to encourage my students to learn a more reliable golf swing motion. What is it that good players do, that bad players don’t? They swing in a balanced athletic motion.
I had the opportunity to caddie for a friend on the PGA Tour for a couple years. This allowed me the ability to watch the best players in the world and how they go about hitting balls so effortlessly. I started seeing the pros swinging the golf club as if it was a ball on the end of a chain. Imagine the medieval weapon the Mace and Chain
The only way to swing a device like this is to synchronize your arms and body into a natural rhythm, like the Tour pros. So the idea came from this concept, but early on in my prototype development I had to switch from a spiked steel ball to an orange rubber ball and the chain was replaced with a very flexible shaft, all in the name of safety!
PGA.com: Clearly the feedback has been fantastic evidenced by the number of touring professionals who use the Whip. What's the best feedback you've received by a top-level player?
Hackenberg: It would be difficult to state the best feedback that I've received from a top-level player since I have spoken with so many and they always have positive comments.
The most satisfying thing for me is to receive pictures from various sources showing an Orange Whip in the bag or hands of a top player preparing for an event.
I did receive a great email from Greg Norman last year and he stated this: "Jim, Greg Norman here. I just tried your Orange Whip when I played with a friend who had one yesterday, impressive. Can you tell me if I can get one shipped (Fed/Ex'd) before I depart for a tournament Wednesday morning? Happy to pay for it, just wanted to make sure getting one ASAP is possible. Well done on the product. I wish you all the very best for a successful business venture with a product that gives you a tremendous amount of feedback with the timing and release of your swing."
PGA.com: Well, that's pretty cool! Hackers in particular may be weary of trying or purchasing an aid that Tour players use, simply because they may not think they're good enough to use it. That couldn't be further from the truth with the Whip, could it? This is one aid that transcends playing ability. It seems like the perfect tool not only for pros, but especially for beginners who are trying to "feel" what the athletic golf swing feels like.
Hackenberg: That is exactly correct. The Orange Whip was originally designed for those who are just learning the game of golf and how they can develop a consistent swing. The great thing for my business has been that the Tour players and top instructors immediately noticed the benefits, so they were the first to begin using it. I was grateful for this situation because I feel that golfers who are looking to improve will look up to the 'better' players at their golf club and do the things they do.
One of the best and often overlooked features of the Orange Whip is the ability to use it indoors without compromising its unparalleled performance. It only requires a minimal amount of space and 5-10 minutes of training time per day. No golf swing trainer is more time efficient and effective. You can work with an Orange Whip year-round and never again have to depend on weather conditions or daylight when you want to improve your golf swing and fitness. It’s the ideal tool for those living in challenging winter environments and busy individuals with little time to practice.
PGA.com: The Whip obviously has a number of great benefits. Can you highlight some of them for us?
Power -- By swinging the Orange Whip back in forth in a repetitive motion, the user will develop the most efficient way to use their body to create an athletic swinging motion. An athletic swinging motion leads to more relaxed muscles, therefore allowing more freedom and trust in one’s swing. If a person has trust, they can really let it go and create much more power.
Flexibility -- The weight on each end of the flexible shaft provides a low-impact stretch while swinging.
Strength -- The Orange Whip provides a core muscle workout when used during repetitive motion drills. The wrists and forearms receive a workout doing various drills and during the hinging action while swinging.
Coordination -- The Orange Whip synchronizes the arms and body while swinging it repetitively. If this motion is out of sync, the user will lose their balance and/or feel awkward.
Tempo -- As the arms and body work together, a natural rhythm takes over the swing. This is how your tempo develops, some may be fast or slow, yet always in balance with an efficient motion.
Consistency -- Being able to reproduce the same motion allows the user to be consistent in their swing. If the user is also consistent in their address position, their ball striking has to improve and become more consistent.
PGA.com: Along with the Whip, you offer the Peel... yet another brilliant aid. Tell our readers a little about the Peel and what a player can accomplish when using both aids simultaneously.
Hackenberg: The Orange Peel is a balance platform that will center your core and promote a much more powerful rotation in your golf swing. The Peel is the size of boogie board and placed on the ground. The surface you stand on is concave, so it resembles standing at the bottom of a nine-foot diameter sphere. Also, by simply moving the position of your feet on the peel, you can create any lie angle you could find on the golf course: uphill, downhill, side-hill.
The Orange Peel and the Orange Whip are individual products that work very well together. Since the Peel focuses on balance and rotation, and the Whip synchronizes the arms and body motion to create an athletic use of your body, by using the two products together speeds up the learning process.
PGA.com: Being a PGA Professional, I'm curious -- just how beneficial do you think the Whip and the Peel are in assisting other PGA Professionals when it comes to teaching?
Hackenberg: I am also a PGA Professional, and with my focus being instruction, I have found that teaching is much more effective when both the Orange Whip and the Orange Peel are used to convey an idea to a student. If a person can 'feel' the proper motion and athletic balance, the job of the instructor just became much easier.
PGA.com: The thing I love most about the Whip and the Peel is the ease of use. There's nothing to put together, there's no video to shoot -- unless you so choose -- and they pretty much offer instant feedback. Shouldn't everyone who plays golf be using these tools?!
Hackenberg: A good friend of mine (PGA Golf Instructor, Ben Weir) always says, “If you're not using the Orange Whip, you are at a disadvantage to those who are using the Orange Whip on a regular basis.”
I do believe all golfers should be using the Orange Whip products, even if the only reason is to stay flexible and balanced; those are very important benefits. But, learning to swing like an athlete is so important to improve one’s game and enjoyment of the game!
You can also find The Orange Whip on Facebook
, or follow on Twitter, @OrangeWhipGolf
The Orange Whip is available at most golf retail stores for around $109, while the Orange Peel retails for $209.