While at times it feels that training aids are a dime-a-dozen, interest rapidly grows when we see one being used on professional tours. Right or wrong, this validation is a huge driver of interest and Henrik Stenson’s recent live interview from Doral’s driving range about his use of DST Golf’s Compressor Wedge created a small explosion of interest in the product on the internet and elsewhere. Created after a “three year study into the bio-mechanics of ball striking”, DST’s products are designed to help golfers feel a correct impact position – one where the hands are ahead of the club head at impact.
From DST Golf
The DST Compressor Wedge warm up club comprises all aspects of the DST patent pending technology. The scientifically curved shaft replicates the shape of a normal shaft under its maximum load during impact, the DST Compressor forces you into a position where your hands lead the club face through impact and control it until after the ball has been struck. The curved shaft combined with the amended sole angle and Hand Position Alignment Marker (HPAM) enables you to locate a set up position and practice returning the club to the same position through impact every time. The DST Compressor forces you to feel the same movements and sensations as the greatest ball strikers in history and develop a repeatable, reliable movement through impact. The DST Compressor forces you to locate, train and perfect the optimal impact position.
- Mens Club Length: 35.00″ (measured along the shaft axis)
- Ladies/Junior Club Length: 34.00″ (measured along the shaft axis)
- Club Head Design Loft: 58 degrees
- Club Head Dynamic Loft: 48 degrees
- Lie Angle: 64 degrees
- Mens Swing Weight: D5
- Ladies/Junior Swing Weight: D1
- Shaft Flex: Uniflex Steel
- Shaft Tip Diameter: 0.370″
- Grip: Rubber Round
How it Works
It would be difficult to better explain how the Compressor Wedge than the company does itself in this short video.
Description and Features
At first glance, the Compressor Wedge looks like a normal golf club – it’s got a red grip and a mostly normal looking club head. However, the swooping bent shaft indicates quickly that there’s something different about it. According to DST, the shaft bend “replicates the shape of a normal shaft under maximum load during impact. The curved shaft forces you into a position where your hands lead the club face through impact.”
Closer inspection shows a couple of other differentiating features on the Compressor, both on the head of the club. First, the sole is very wide and flat, “so that the club orientates itself horizontally on the ground in the set up position with the shaft of the club leaning forwards”.
Second, there is a line etched up the hosel of the wedge that DST calls the Hand Position Alignment Marker or HPAM. As clearly seen in the picture below, the HPAM orients itself vertically in line with the eyes when the club is set at address properly, and in addition it aligns with the white bottom groove.
Achieving this look in the address position requires that the shaft leans forward, grip points towards the left shoulder, and the hands are well ahead of the club head. DST says that from this position the golfer “should make their normal swing and return the club to the same hand position through impact” Instruction in the company’s video series does indicate that there is some lower body movement needed to truly get a proper impact position (as opposed to literally just bringing the hands back to the same spot without moving the body) and they encourage users to practice this slowly at first.
With the wedge specifically, there is some concern with the extreme handle-forward position as it relates to other golf clubs. While setting up with that much shaft lean may be a good idea with wedges and scoring irons, many teaching professionals do not suggest it with long irons and metalwoods. Still though, in the context of the wedge setup position and swing, the Compressor works very well to force the body into a good address position and encourage a solid turn away from the ball.
There are two different applications for the Compressor Wedge – 1) using it as a warm-up club and 2) using it during practice as a training aid. Both applications involve the same basic use of the club, but it seemed especially valuable before rounds of golf to get the body used to feeling a good address position, turn off the ball, and the eventual impact position. The easiest way to achieve this was through slow motion swings that exaggerated the positions and were gradually sped up. This seemed to work very well for the intended purpose, leading to productive warm-up sessions, and subsequently, stronger than normal front-nine performances.
However, the Compressor is certainly not a magic wand and while it does great things for setup and helping golfers feel what the hands and club would do in a good swing, it doesn’t do anything on its own to address root issues that prevent golfers from reaching the correct impact position. Common belief from instructors is often that a chain of events can lead to poor impact positions, and if they aren’t addressed it is unfortunate to say that even the Compressor can produce them. Sadly from experience, you can’t always feel your way out of flipping at impact. The club will not replace the value of a good instructor, but could certainly help in conjunction with one.
Poor swings with the Compressor create somewhat of a crapshoot of outcomes when it comes to what the ball does. Offline shots, high and weak shots, and even shanks are real possibilities. This is only noted so that potential users take care to ensure any stray balls are heading in a safe direction while practicing. It’s immediate feedback that something is wrong and an indicator that pausing and going back to shorter or slower swings may be a good idea.
The good news? There’s some tangible benefit available using the DST Compressor Wedge. Conferring with an instructor after some time using the product in practice sessions resulted in positive notes with both address position and the takeaway (a product of good setup). Also, it appeared to be very adept as a warm-up club and though work will always remain, it seemed to slightly improve impact position.
The bad news? You’ll most likely still have to work on the issues that cause bad impact positions. Sadly, there isn’t any fairy dust that works on the golf swing. However, the Compressor wedge did seem like a valuable and effective tool to keep in the bag in conjunction with lessons.
It should also be noted that DST offers an 8 iron version of the Compressor, as well as two training clubs without shaft bend that still offer the sole and HPAM setup position aids. The DST Compressor Wedge sells for $99 and more information is available on the company’s website, www.dstgolf.com.