Would you give a golf training club a try if over 300 professional players around the world were using it, completely unpaid? That kind of validation is hard to ignore. It's even harder to ignore when that many players put that club to work in about a year.
That's the story of DST Golf and its Compressor training club.
The club is the brainchild of Robert "Bertie" Cordle, a British man who turned pro when he was 19, playing on the European Challenge Tour in 1997. A golf fanatic and a great teacher, Cordle spent three years studying ballstriking biomechanics, learning what the best in the world do at impact that the rest of us struggle to do with any kind of regularity. Ultimately, he came up with the Compressor club, which aims to teach the proper hand-club position at impact.
At first glance, the Compressor is a mind-bender, primarily because the shaft of the club -- available as a wedge or an 8-iron -- is bent. You see, when you swing the golf club, the shaft bends, especially at impact when the club makes contact with the ball and ground. (That's why kick point matters, but I digress.) So, the Compressor has a bent shaft to simulate what that load looks like at impact. That bent shaft also means that the grip is significantly in front of the club head, as it should be at impact.
The club would be confounding in the absence of any kind of visual cue about where your hands should be as you start swinging with it. That's why Cordle included what he calls the Hand Position Alignment Marker (HPAM), which is a white line that runs down the inside of the hosel, connecting to the lowest groove on the club. It helps the player lean the club face forward, helping square it to the intended target while setting the hands well forward at address. As Cordle told me when I first met him and the Compressor at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando back in January, he said to simply make sure the HPAM is pointing at your nose. Then swing away.
The idea is that the Compressor will force a user to rotate their body toward the target, through impact, and complete a proper weight transfer from the trail foot to the lead foot, all the while making impact with a square club face. And it does that really well.
The first few swings with the Compressor are a little awkward. You're reconciling your typical starting hand and body position to what the club is trying to show you is appropriate at impact. It feels like how you would set up to hit a low, running shot under a tree. However, once you use the club to swing as you normally would, it all makes sense. Take a full swing with a great shoulder turn, throw the lead shoulder back down the line and to impact, getting that lead shoulder and, therefore, the lead hand ahead of the ball as the club comes through the intended line to compress the ball. That feeling of pulverizing the ball lets you know that you did it right. And it makes you want to do it again and again.
The Compressor is a great on-range check for hand position, shoulder turn, clearing the hips and weight transfer. In other words, it makes sure all the components of your swing set you up for excellent impact.
This club may remind some of you of the Tour Striker, which tries to reinforce compressing the ball at impact with a club face with a very small hitting area located in the upper-outside edge of an otherwise normal-looking club. Where the Tour Striker misses, however, is with the bent shaft, which is really the distinguishing feature of the Compressor and makes it superior.
In addition to the Compressor, DST also offers a pair of CR-10 clubs, which sport a normal shaft. The shaft change requires the HPAM to move and the sole shaping to change, but the club may be ideal for folks who are more concerned about setup than impact position.
All four DST Golf clubs cost $100 each and are available on their website.