What do you do when you just get the urge to hit some balls in the yard? Or what about when you’re working on some swing changes and you really just need to get some reps in with a club and a golf ball to get those changes engrained into your memory? Do you go out and hit plastic whiffle balls or maybe foam distance restricted golf balls in the yard? I have some and I will be honest, I hate them. I don’t have a net, that would be nice but for what little benefit you get from a net I just haven’t invested the time or effort into getting one. THP was recently sent a device that just might be the answer; it’s called The Rope It. The Rope It is a real golf ball attached to a cord that allows you up to 20 yards of ball flight. Let’s check it out to see if we’ve got a solid solution to in yard practice at anytime.
About The Rope It
Invented in 1990 by John Girifalco as a way to practice golf during his lunch hour, the first Rope It was a crude version of what we know today. It was simply a golf ball, tied to a string. As the years went by, John made many alterations to improve his invention. He meticulously tested different types of rope, noted their characteristics, and eventually began combining ropes to see how they interacted. After finding the optimal combination, and rope length, he looked for the most effective way to attach a golf ball.
Once its design was settled upon, he developed new ways of training using his invention, and improved his golf swing along the way. To quote him, “There are many ways to improve your golf swing, but none more effective than to practice with a real golf ball.” The final Rope It design, which we now know as “The Backyard Practice Range”, was settled upon in 2002 and has not changed much to this day.
The Ropes used are military 550 parachute cord and Nylon Bungee Rope. The attached golf ball is a 2 piece Dixon golf ball with a highly resilient cover.
Setting up the Rope It
Setup is extremely simple. According to the directions all you need is the device itself and a 5 pound weight to anchor it to. I went ahead and grabbed a 10 lb. weight just to be on the safe side since that little 5 lb. didn’t seem all that heavy to me but it turns out it would have been fine. So you have your Rope It and your weight, simply tie a good tight knot to secure the loose end of the Rope It cord to your weight and you’re ready to go. Total setup time: 2 minutes!
The first thing I had to be sure of was that I had enough room for the testing. Still a little leery of the golf ball coming loose and going through a neighbor’s window I decided on a spot that I thought would work. Once I was sure I had plenty of room to hit the shots I was ready to get started. Right away I was able to see a nice indication of my ball flight and even better yet, I could tell how good my contact was immediately.
Durability seemed to be just fine; I haven’t had any issues with the rope or the golf ball showing any signs of weakening or wear at all. According to the company the golf ball typically lasts 1000-2000 shots, so that should be plenty to get you through even the most dramatic of swing changes.
I had no issues with avoiding contact with the eye screw used to fasten the rope to the ball, it was a bit distracting at first but just making sure it was facing away from you left the rest of the ball wide open for impact with the club. The Rope It is for use with mid irons so I used it primarily with a 7 iron. To avoid damage to your yard they do recommend using The Rope It in conjunction with a mat, I do not have a mat so my testing was done right in the grass. Hopefully those divots will fill in nicely!
All along I kept thinking to myself how simple the design is. It is a basic configuration of golf ball and rope, yet it offers the golfer the ability to hit some balls both quickly and effectively right in their own yard. While I do have a pretty good sized back yard I still opted to do my testing in a field near the house, mainly because I did not want to damage my grass. If I had a mat I think I’d be more than setup just fine in the back yard.
The Rope It is definitely a better option than the foam or plastic whiffle balls in my opinion, to me hitting those types of golf balls really doesn’t tell you much in regards to how you struck the ball. The Rope It, while it doesn’t indicate the full details of the shot does give you the feedback you need in regards to the contact you made with the ball, more often than not that is exactly the type of feedback golfers need most.
The Rope It is available directly from the company’s website www.theropeit.com for $20. From my testing I found the product to be plenty durable and I do not foresee any issues with it not holding up for quite a long time. I’ve often gone to the yard to pitch and chipping practice, now I am able to get some full swings in with a real golf ball, which is a nice luxury to have. I still prefer going to a driving range myself, but there are a lot of times when that just isn’t an option, in those cases The Rope It is definitely a good alternative.