Real Lies swing aid helps golfers practice real course conditions
By Mark Wogenrich
KUTZTOWN, Pa. – These two contraptions, which resemble a luge sitting side-by-side with a platformed skateboard, will revolutionize golf practice, Mark Csencsits told the curious at Sittler Golf Center.
Golfers testing new gear at Sunday's Demo Day at the Kutztown golf center paused at the new device, the first from Lehigh Valley golf startup Fatt Matt, as Csencsits explained its benefits. This will help correct swing flaws, train footwork and balance and provide a way to practice uneven golf-course lies at the driving range.
Several golfers stepped up cautiously, took a few swings and stepped down, surprised. They said that Csencsits, the head PGA teaching professional at Bethlehem Golf Club, and his engineering partner Chris Albright just might be onto something.
"Why aren't we getting better at golf?" Csencsits asked. "Clubs, balls, turf, golf courses, they're all getting better, but handicaps aren't getting better. It's because we're teaching golfers the same way. People coming to the driving range are learning how to practice by swimming on dry land. You've got to get in the water."
Csencsits hopes to change that with Fatt Matt and its first device, the currently named Real Lies Trainer. A two-piece training aid, which Csencsits has been working on for seven years, the Real Lies Trainer helps golfers simulate uneven lies on the flat mats at their local driving ranges.
Born from a two-by-four piece of wood in Csencsits' basement, the Real Lies Trainer came to life through Albright, an Allentown-based mechanical engineer. The Penn State graduate, who has his own design company and has designed devices from cryogenic piping systems to Tupperware holders, joined Csencsits last year to bring this golf vision to mechanical reality.
Together they formed Fatt Matt, which has seven golf training aids in development. Csencsits and Albright have applied for patents for two and debuted their first, the Real Lies Trainer, at Demo Day at Sittler. They hope to continue the rollout through next year's PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, where dozens of new training aids are unveiled each year.
Csencsits, who has taught golf for more than 20 years, is a training-aid aficionado. His golf bag includes a number of swing devices, not to mention a persimmon wood, a hockey stick, a tennis racket and a broom.
But on recent visits to the PGA Merchandise Show, Csencsits said he noticed a similarity between training aids – and few that addressed uneven lies. That prompted him to begin developing the Real Lies Trainer.
The first iteration began with a single two-by-four, then last summer Albright helped Csencsits develop a more elaborate prototype. Csencsits used that device last winter during lessons, saying clients provided positive feedback.
Albright continued to re-design the Real Lies Trainer, turning it into a two-piece device that could be adjusted independently. One platform, on which the golfer stands, can be adjusted in several directions to mimic uneven stances on the course. The front and back can be controlled separately to raise or lower either foot.
The hitting platform, meanwhile, can be left flat or adjusted to mimic an uneven lie. By shifting each component, players can hit shots from downhill or sidehill lies, uphill shots from bunker edges or the generally awkward shots that otherwise are difficult to practice.
In addition, Csencsits said instructors can use the Real Lies Trainer to help golfers develop balance in their swings. Players who consistently finish on their back foot can set the platform to help them finish forward. Players who slice or hook the ball can adjust the device, using presets devised by Csencsits, to help relieve the problem.
"With the separate platforms, you're able to use different swings and different clubs and train from different kinds of lies," Albright said. "When you play with people's feet independently, you're able fix a lot of swing flaws."
Csencsits and Albright plan to market the Real Lies Trainer to driving ranges, golf professionals and high school and college golf teams. Csencsits said he envisioned range owners renting the device along with a bucket of balls.
At Sunday's rollout, the company sought comprehensive feedback on the device, including everything from its height and perceived stability to its color and name. Csencsits and Albright will hold another Demo Day at Bethlehem Golf Club's driving range May 29.
"I think we've found a way for people to play good golf at the driving range," Csencsits said. "This will change the way people practice."
This article was written by Mark Wogenrich from The Morning Call and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.