What are the best golf training aids to make a genuine difference to your game and help edge your handicap in the right direction?
Golf is awash with gadgets and gizmos that promise to transform elements of your game, claiming to be one of the best golf accessories money can buy. For this reason, we would always recommend you consult a PGA Pro if you are unsure of the real benefits of a particular product. However, the aim of this guide is to point you in the right direction and give you an idea of the type of training aids worth considering.
Finding time to play golf is challenging enough, and finding time to practice is even rarer. That’s why ease of use is hugely important when it comes to choosing golf training aids, otherwise, you run the risk of investing money that never sees the light of day. Ten minutes a day on one of the best putting mats for example can make a noticeable difference to your scorecard over time and is certainly preferable to something cumbersome and complicated that may only get wheeled out every few months.
Continual advances in technology are helping to push forward the capabilities of golf training aids from the best shot-tracking devices to launch monitors to home simulators. Tour-level data and statistics have never been more accessible to club golfers, particularly thanks to the endeavors of companies such as Shot Scope and Arccos, and provide objectivity that informs the relative strengths and weakness of your game.
Best Golf Training Aids At A Glance
Once you’ve identified the areas of your game that need some attention, you can start searching for the perfect aid to address it, and often the solution is relatively uncomplicated and great value for money. We’ve divided our pick of the best golf training aids into a few broad categories to help you narrow down your focus.
Best Golf Training Aids 2023: Putting
A useful alignment aid for medium to fast-paced greens
The 6ft mat is printed with alignment lines at 1ft intervals and pace targets, designed to enhance your visual feedback. The mat has been designed with usability in mind, rolling flat straight out of the packaging, and comes equipped with a black drawstring carry bag. While useful on its own, the mat can be combined with the PuttOut Pressure Putt Trainer, Putting Mirror, or Pro Putting Gates to create a complete putting practice package.
- Useful alignment and pacing markers
- Easy set-up and rolls out flat
- Choice of color options
- Designed for flat puts only
|Features||Alignment guide and distance markings|
|Size||240 x 50 cm|
|Colors||Green, Grey, Blue|
Developed using drills the pros use to build confidence
Designed to fold down to fit easily into your golf bag, it recreates the pressure you would feel during a competitive round of golf with a micro-target that will only hold putts that are bang online and perfectly paced. If you miss the micro-target, the amount the ball rolls back towards you is the distance the ball would have traveled past the hole if it hadn’t been online.
A very clever design from PuttOut and combines well with other PuttOut products such as the putting matt or Devil Balls that are included in this guide.
- Portable and simple to use
- Ideal for immediate feedback on line and pace
- Durable and hard-wearing
- Works best combined with the PuttOut mat
|Colors||Blue, Orange, Red, Clear|
A fantastically simple concept to help improve your putting face angle
Devil Balls reduce the tolerance for making putts making it twice as hard for you to hit the middle of the cup. Imperfect strikes will cause the Devil Ball to deviate offline due to its flat-edged impact zone that exaggerates the face angle of your putter at impact.
Devil Balls offer three levels of difficulty from pro to beginner which enables you to build up your proficiency and understand if you miss more putts due to the face being too open or closed at impact.
- Instant feedback on whether your face is too open or closed
- Real golf ball feel off the face
- Three levels of progression
- Best for short putts of up to 6ft
|Material||Polymer and Elastomer|
|Color||White + Grey|
A quality-produced putting mat designed to perfect your pace
The mat itself is of exceptional quality, and the lazy golfer will be particularly impressed by the wooden ramp that returns your ball to you after every putt. There are two target holes, one the size of a normal golf hole and one that’s a bit smaller.
Both holes are placed atop a slight incline, which is designed to encourage you to be positive with your pace and should stop you from leaving putts agonizingly short out on the course. There is also plenty of alignment and visual aids to perfect your start line and stroke.
- Raised holes to encourage a good pace
- Alignment checkpoints
- Auto-ball return
- May be slightly quick for some used to slower greens
|Features||Alignment tracks, auto-ball return, two different-sized holes|
|Sizes||274 x 15 cm|
Best Golf Training Aids: Swinging
An overspeed training system promising increased club speeds of 5-8%
Included in the package are three color-coded swing sticks – green (lightest - 20% lighter than driver), blue (light - 10% lighter than driver), and red (heavy - 5% heavier than driver) – and enough online video instruction to keep you going for months. The makers claim it will increase clubhead speed by 5% in six weeks and only requires 30 minutes of use per week to reach that target.
This system works on the principle of overspeed training which conditions movement patterns over time to adapt, and in this case, swing faster than normal. Increased swing speeds will transfer more energy into the ball at impact and result in greater hitting distances.
- Very simple to use
- Endorsed and used by professionals
- Includes free online tuition
- Requires disciplined use like all strength training programs
|Set||3 (Heavy, Medium, Light)|
A 10 x 7ft multi-target net for practice anytime and anywhere
It has a fiberglass rod structure and tear-resistant cloth with double-layer overlocking built to withstand high impact, making it suitable for the fastest swing speeds.
The hanging targets are a nice addition to this net, allowing you to practice a variety of shots from driving to chipping. The net comes complete with a number of useful accessories including an 18mm rubber mat, rubber driving tee, golf balls, and a portable carry bag.
- Robust and durable construction
- Fun use of targets for more challenge
- Portable and can be used anywhere
- Takes a bit longer to set up than some
|Dimensions||10 x 7ft|
|Material||Nylon, Fiberglass, Oxford cloth|
Swing away and learn the feeling of correct impact
They are a really clever way of focusing attention on just exactly what is going on with your body at the point of hitting the ball. For many, this will come as a bit of a shock.
This smash bag from SKLZ helps to eliminate fat and thin shots, providing immediate feedback on the quality and accuracy of your impact and is perfectly safe for both you and your clubs.
- No set-up time involved
- Can absorb the most powerful blows
- Improves impact position and club speed
- Requires filling yourself
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||30 x 24.02 x 24.02 inches|
|Material||Nylon, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)|
A perfect pre-round practice tool to lock in your grip
Regular short bursts of repeated practice with a grip trainer force proper hand placement on every swing, creating better mechanics for a smoother and more consistent stroke. Being so small, it can be kept in your bag so you're never without it when needed.
- Works effectively with all hand sizes
- Attaches to the majority of clubs
- Highly portable
- Built for right-hand golfers
|Dimensions||0.71 x 7.87 x 4.49 inches|
A swing training aid used by tour champions around the world
The aid has been designed to transform your swing by improving your timing, swing path and ensuring your body, arms, and club work together in harmony throughout the entire motion.
By incorporating the Sure-Strike into your training or pre-round routine, you will witness a significant improvement in the fluidity and consistency of your ball striking, and in addition, help generate more head speed.
The aid has an ergonomic padded grip that ensures correct grip positioning and comes with an instruction booklet to help you engrain the most efficient mechanics.
- Developed by professional coaches
- Lightweight and durable
- Simple to use and portable
- Requires discipline and patience
|Hand-orientation||Right or Left|
Voted the #1 teaching and training aid by PGA and LPGA professionals
Its real genius is you instantly know when the tempo isn’t quite right because of the famous wobble you get due to its design. Also a great way of warming up your muscles ahead of playing a round, and reducing injury potential.
- Provides instant feedback on swing tempo
- Maximizes golf-specific strength characteristics
- The perfect way to warm up before you play
- Difficult to swing for less skilled and shorter golfers
|Lengths||35.5" 38", 43.5", 47"|
Best Golf Training Aids: Alignment
Foldable, portable, and hard to lose
This set of two 48" shock-corded steel rods can be broken down into half the size for easy storage in your golf bag. The set comes with handy instructional images on how best to use the training aid.
- Folds down to half-size for easy storage and transport
- Pointed ends for staking into the ground
- Comes with instructional images
- Only available in yellow
|Number||Set of 2|
|Material||Plastic (steel cord)|
The Swiss Army knife of alignment tools
Best alignment aid for every shot
The uniqueness of this training aid is that the alignment rods are secured firmly in place, and can be adjusted to provide swing channels appropriate for your long game and approach play, ensuring your contact point remains square to the target. A third alignment rod can act as a visual cue for your backswing or follow-through.
The training aid is also particularly useful on the putting green with its golf ball-sized cutout providing a fun and motivating way to challenge your putting stroke.
- Novel design for all aspects of your game
- Highly adjustable
- Great for putting motivation
- Some may find it overly complicated
|Number||Set of 3 (plus target)|
A simple and versatile drill tool to perfect your ball striking and swing direction
The simple, yet clever double-sided design will improve your confidence when it comes to ball striking, teaching you how to strike the ball first before the turf. The towel can be turned over, where the markings help you understand how to hit shots of differing heights, and folded in half so you can work on the swing path of your backswing or follow-through.
An added bonus with this aid is the mini-series of training videos that can be accessed by scanning the QR code.
- Very versatile and portable
- A great form of immediate feedback
- Helps improve a variety of shots
- Requires regular washing to keep dirt-free
|Usage||Iron play and chipping|
A high-quality magnetic rod to guide your swing angle and alignment
The magnet is powerful with 32lbs of pulling force, meaning you don't need to be concerned about the indicator falling off at faster swing speeds.
The shaft itself is high-quality and lightweight so not to interfere with the true feel of the shot when standing over the ball, and features a swing angle arrow indication to guide you to your target with the correct swing angle.
- Strong magnet
- Lightweight to maintain a real feel over the shot
- Very portable due to size
- Only compatible with metallic club faces
|Color||Black, Blue, Red|
Collapsible and durable with a color-contrasting impact zone
Best for contrast
A useful feature of this model is the split colorway which when fully extended reveals a central white section with alignment markers that help your eyes focus as the clubhead enters the contact area.
- Durable fiberglass construction
- Spiked end for staking
- Collapsible for convenient storage
- Tips are not the most robust
|Number||Set of 2|
|Color||Red & White|
Best Golf Training Aids: Technology
Real-time feedback to help you understand your game
This mobile launch monitor, designed for use with an iPhone or iPad, uses Doppler radar technology to provide you with information on nine core golf metrics including carry distance, ball speed, launch angle, and apex just to name a few.
More impressively, it provides these metrics to within 2% accuracy of high-end launch monitors, making it a great lower-cost option for those wanting objectivity, without the hefty price tag.
The software also enables users to play back their swing in slow motion with shot tracer technology so you can analyze your ball flight and pinpoint exactly where your game needs adjusting.
Considering you are likely to always have your phone close to hand, this mobile launch monitor seems like a highly practical solution to those looking to measure and improve their game. To unlock the best features of this launch monitor, however, you need to upgrade to the Premium Membership which is not included in the standard purchase.
- Portable and convenient
- Nine key metrics and shot tracer technology
- Good level of accuracy for the outlay
- iOS compatible only
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||6.85 x 7.72 x 2.28 inches|
A complete simulator and golf swing launch monitor in one
Best launch monitor-simulator hybrid
The user experience can be enhanced further in simulator mode with its photorealistic courses (for an optional subscription), that enable you to track the ball flight in vivid detail and provide real-world context to the numbers.
The unit itself is the size of a small tablet and can be easily controlled via the hand remote that's included. We found the SC4 straightforward to set up and use - it even gives you a voice output of distance! All in all, this is a great value portable launch monitor/simulator that will add fun and meaning to your practice sessions.
- Acceptable accuracy compared to premium models
- Option to play photorealistic courses with E6 Connect
- Easy to set up, use, and even speaks to you
- Jack of all trades, not quite a master of both
|Dimensions <meta charset||"utf-8">(W x H x D)|
|Weight||589.5g (Incl. Battery & Remote)|
|Battery Life||Approx. 10 hrs|
Understand your game from the official game trackers of the PGA Tour
Best Tour approved shot-tracking device
The Gen3+ system includes 14 ultra-light sensors (one for every club in your bag), that screw into the top of your clubs and track the GPS position of your ball across every shot throughout your round.
The innovative system then utilizes this information to analyze the strokes gained metrics so you can easily identify the aspects of your game that need improvement.
Setting up the system and pairing your sensors is a relatively straightforward process, and once you’ve arrived at the club, all you need to do is select the course you are about to play on your smartphone or watch.
Simply open the App once back in the clubhouse to have access to a vast range of stats to help you make better golfing decisions.
- Tour-level access to your game statistics
- New improved sensors with the Gen3+ system
- Easy installation and set-up
- Your phone must be in close proximity
|Compatible||iOS and Android|
Takes shot tracking and off-course analysis to a new level
Best golf watch for shot tracking
The X5 has a built-in step counter and accurate, real-time front, middle, and back distances to all greens, hazards, and doglegs all on over 36,000 golf courses globally.
The watch features a glare-resistant full-color 1.2" touchscreen, which, along with the clear and large display, makes for an easy-to-navigate watch.
The X5 comes with a collection of 2nd Gen RFID tracking tags that, when put in the but of your grip, automatically track over 100 performance statistics, including Club Distances, Approaches, Short Game, Putting, Strokes Gained, and Handicap Benchmarking.
Read our full Shot Scope X5 GPS watch review.
- AI performance
- Feels great on the wrist
- Great shot tracking and statistics
- Smartphone app can be tricky to navigate and keep on top of
|Battery life:||Two plus rounds|
Play World-beating Major, PGA, and Ryder Cup courses in photo-realistic detail
Best golf video game
Featuring 30 pristine golf courses from around the globe including Augusta, St Andrews, and Pebble Beach, this latest iteration of the PGA Tour game from EA Sports immerses you in photo-realistic detail as you hone your (virtual) golf skills.
No two courses play the same which reflects the individual nuances of each particular terrain such as undulations and grass type.
Other iconic bucket-list courses include TPC Sawgrass, Whistling Straits, and Quail Hollow, all in more detail than ever before thanks to the meticulous efforts of EA Sports to map out everything from tee boxes to club-houses using drones.
If you have always wanted to visit some of these World-beating golf courses, PGA Tour: Road to the Masters may at least ease some of your curiosity, especially if you like gaming too!
- Fantastic photo-realistic detail
- Get creative with shot-making ideas
- Inspire yourself to play like a Pro
- You might spend longer behind the TV than on the course
|Platforms||PS5, X-Box, PC|
Best Golf Training Aids: Buying Guide
Due to the amount of golf training aids on the market, settling on the best product for your game can seem somewhat daunting. To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, we’ve put together this short buying guide which highlights key factors to bear in mind before you purchase. Unless you are Tiger Woods and completed golf a few years back, there is always something (or lots) that requires attention, and the first thing to consider is exactly that – what to work on:
Be it putting, driving, long irons, or approach play, there is usually one aspect of your game that’s spoiling your scorecard. The best place to start when it comes to training aids is identifying the type of shot letting you down the most. Shot tracking technology is certainly something worth considering if you haven’t already, as this will point out exactly how your game shapes up compared to players of varying abilities. Perhaps you take more 3-putts than the typical player with the handicap you are striving for, or maybe you don’t hit enough fairways from the tee. Whatever your relative weakness, simply having an awareness will put you in the best position to inform the type of training aid you need.
Ease of Use
You can own the most hi-tech, magical, swing transformative training aid in the world, but if it’s cumbersome and time-consuming to set up then it might start attracting dust pretty quickly. We think that simplicity of use is fundamental if you are to get the most out of training aids. A quick, focused, regular ten-minute session can achieve a lot and build up the muscle memory needed for a technique to engrain itself and hopefully manifest on the course where it matters most.
Does the training aid do what it claims to do, and is that actually relevant to shooting lower scores? Ask yourself how the product will help you achieve game improvements in reality and try not to be seduced by attractive marketing or endorsements. Ideally, you want to be focussed on one, maximum two, swing thoughts when playing and therefore a training aid should reinforce those thoughts and not confuse you by throwing up more pieces of feedback than you need.
The best training aids should offer good durability and are not something you want to worry about replacing regularly. We advise checking the materials used in construction if you are not sure and reading a couple of reviews to reduce the chances of purchasing something flimsy, brittle, or temperamental.
The usefulness of many training aids are enhanced if you can easily transport and store them in your golf bag. Aids such as alignment sticks and grip trainers should be portable enough so you can whip them out on the range before your round and reinforce some last-minute swing thoughts.
We imagine that most players would rather invest their hard-earned money in just about any item of golf equipment over a training aid. After all, golf is about having fun not creating extra work, right? Perhaps with the exception of launch monitors, proven training aids like the ones we recommend in this guide are generally affordable to most budgets, but as usual, make sure you shop around for the best bargain and remember that some of the most effective training aids can be the cheapest too.
Best Golf Training Aids: FAQs
Do golf training aids actually work?
The best golf training aids can be an extremely worthwhile investment of your time and money. As with all products, some will yield better results than others, and in a crowded marketplace, it’s worth doing some research to ensure other users have achieved desired results, and that the aid performs the function it was designed for. Some of the best training aids are the simplest and aim to achieve one outcome effectively rather than trying to solve multiple performance issues.
How can I practice golf at home?
Many of the best golf training aids are designed to be used at home as manufacturers in this space appreciate that not everyone has time to get down to the driving range or putting green to tweak technique. Putting mats, and practice nets are generally low-cost and an effective way to practice your long and short games at home. Those with bigger budgets may also want to explore home simulators for a more immersive golf practice environment.
Do pros use alignment sticks?
Alignment sticks are one of the best golf training aids because of their versatility and usefulness to players of all abilities from tour pros right down to beginners. Those starting off in the game will benefit from using alignment sticks to ensure they are lined up with their intended target, whereas more competent players may stake them in the ground to promote the swing plane they desire for particular shot shapes.
How many hours a day should you practice golf?
The answer to how many hours a day you should practice golf depends on your aims. Small incremental improvements to specific areas of your game can be made with short bursts of practice at home with a training aid. Just 10 minutes a day working on your putting stroke for example can add up to make a real difference to your scorecard over time. Those looking to get down to scratch and beyond will need to make a more significant time commitment and should look into professional tuition in addition to their own practice sessions.
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About the author
Golf Equipment Writer
Ross Tugwood is a golf equipment writer for todays-golfer.com, specializing in data, analytics, science, and innovation. He’s also an expert in golf apparel and has a keen interest in sustainability.
Ross is passionate about optimizing sports performance and has a decade of experience working with professional athletes and coaches for British Athletics, the UK Sports Institute, and Team GB.
He has post-graduate degrees in Performance Analysis and Sports Journalism, enabling him to critically analyze and review the latest golf equipment and technology to help you make better-informed buying decisions.
Ross lives in Snowdonia National Park with his wife and 40 kg Bernese Mountain dog! He is a member of Porthmadog Golf Club with a handicap index of 13.8.
Away from golf, Ross enjoys hiking, trail running, and supporting the mighty Bristol Bears.
Ross uses a Cobra King SZ Speedzone driver, Titleist TSi2 3-Wood, TaylorMade Sim2 Rescue, Callaway Apex Pro irons (4-PW), Cleveland 588 RTX wedges (52°, 58°), TaylorMade Spider Ex putter, and a TaylorMade Tour Response golf ball.