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Training Aid trends

Masters 2024: This is a hot trend on the Augusta National driving range—here's why

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J.D. Cuban

AUGUSTA, Ga.—Glance down the Augusta National driving range, you'll find emerald green grass, bright yellow flags, caddies in white jump suits—and probably a golfer swinging with a ball between their arms.

Practice while holding a large ball between your arms isn't a particularly new drill, but it has become an increasing trend on tour recently, and a go-to for many players at Augusta National.

"It's a really simple drill that's become a go-to for me,"says Nicolai Hojgaard, who comes into the weekend at four-under and two back of the leaders. "It makes me feel my arms more connected with my body. I can keep the focus on a feeling in my arms which helps me hit good iron shots."

The are two main training aids that you'll commonly spot pros use: The Tour Striker Smart Ball, which the likes of Justin Rose and Matt Fitzpatrick have relied on for years; and the ProSendr connection sphere which along with its sister training aid the ProSendr has been spreading like wildfire on tour. Erik van Rooyen, Byeon Hun An, Grayson Murray and Cam Smith, among others, use those.

Players place the ball between their forearms and try to keep it there as they swing.

The twofold, David Woods, the co-founder of ProSendr's line of products and top teacher, says.

1. Arms and body moving together

First is the feeling of connection that players talk about: That golfers moving their arms and torso together.

In reality, the two things are moving at different speeds, but when players move their arms a lot more than they turn their body—their "pivot"—they're never able to catch back up to their body turn. It can result in their arms getting stuck, and flippy.

"It helps Cam Smith with connection, width and pivot," Woods says. "His tendency is to get a touch long and across the line so he and his coach Grant Field use the small sphere to combat this and quiet the hands."

2. More backswing width, more stretch

You may have noticed Woods mention it there, but the second reason players use this is to help them create width. Rather than allowing their arms to become disconnected and collapse, the drill forces players to keep both arms together and turn them around as one. It creates a bigger stretch, which results in a powerful throw of the club at impact.

"van Rooyen uses it to create width, which gives him the ideal wrist condition which has helped him make great strides towards better ball-striking," Woods says.