Friday, March 6, 2009

Rip apart your Speed Stik !!!

For those of you who got sucked into Vijay's commercial or just thought it looked like a good idea, I have a suggestion for you. Take it apart! I'm talking about the Speed Stik here, and I took mine apart the other day because I wanted something better. I'll show you what I did here, and frankly I think you should do the same.

First some background. The Speed Stik as you may know is a golf training aid designed to teach/train you to swing the club faster (and therefore hit balls longer). That's great, really, just what I wanted.

But there's a few problems. One is the Speed Stik looks more like a baseball bat than a golf club (by the way the same company does make a version just for baseball). Next there is the grip, which is nothing like a golf club grip (wrong diameter, wrong material, no taper). Finally there is the weight (comes in 4 different weights, but I have the 24oz one).

Ok, so what's the problem with all of those things? Well 2 big complaints really.

1) The grip throws me off, and makes holding a real club feel weird (never something I want to feel when on the course). After all you can't even hold the Speed Stik with a golf grip, you have to use a baseball grip.

2) Ok this is sort of a biggie. I think its dangerous. And I'm not saying that because you'll hit something or someone while practicing with it. I'm saying it because I think its bad for your back, at least it was for mine. After all, this thing weighs more than a traditional driver, and then encourages you to swing as fast as you possibly can. The combination of those means that you will end up swinging a heavier than usual club at a higher speed than your body is used to. Recipe for injury? I think so. I stopped using mine after a nice fast swing left me with a nice twinge in my spine after I undoubtedly over rotated (due to the speed and weight) on the follow through.

So my back recovered, and I just sort of let the Speed Stik lie around for a while. But then I got to thinking, maybe there is a way to fix all of the problems with the Speed Stik.

The Speed Stik is based on Patent 4967596 which is the swing velocity indicator inside it. If you look at the orignal patent images, you'll see that the inventors (John F. Rilling et al) had envisioned that the device be attached to a real golf club. So I decided to do just that.

To do it, I had to break out my hack saw and start cutting up my not so beloved Speed Stik. Now I can't say that you'll be able to replicate this procedure exactly. It took me a bit of doing, and I was constantly nervous of breaking or cutting into the speed indicator. So you'll have to be a bit daring and definitely don't do this if you actually like your Speed Stik and plan to use it again.

To extract the swing speed indicator (measurements are for the red 48" Speed Stik only):
1) cut through your Speed Stik at about 41.25 inches from the bottom of the handle (should be 6.75" from top end).
2) Take the small part (with the speed indicator in it) and cut through that at about 3/4 inches from the end (not the end you just cut).
3) Use cunning and guile to extract the indicator from the remaining metal housing.
4) Use a small allen wrench to loosen the set screw holding the aluminum fitting on the the end of the indicator (actually I never did this cause I couldn't find my wrench set).

That should do it. Note that there are a couple of screws on the Speed Stik at the far end, that I had no luck in loosening. So I basically hacked through the thing such that I really cut right through the screws themselves. Maybe you'll have better luck or can figure out a more graceful way to pull this off.

If you make a mistake and cut through part of the indicator you still may be able to fix it (actually I cut off part of the bottom of the indicator and had to re-glue it, measurements above were adjusted to help you avoid that problem).

Next step, attach your liberated speed indicator to one of your golf clubs (while this part shouldn't really harm your club, you might want to pick one that you don't use as much. It might get a scratch or two). You can do this using: 2 cable ties, and some foam padding.

That's it!! Now if you were successful like me, you can swing a real golf club, still get your speed feedback and not have to worry about swinging a weighted club too fast and throwing out your back. I've been practicing with mine for a few weeks now indoors. I can't tell you if you can hit balls with it or not, since its still winter here. I might give it a try in the Spring though.

Good luck and happy swinging.