Exclusive – Podcast #241 – Stan Utley, Orange Whip Wedge
PGA Tour winner, consistently ranked in the top 50 golf instructors by Golf Digest and short-game guru, Mr. Stan Utley, joins us for episode #241 of the Golf Better Podcast.
In this episode, we discuss the Orange Whip Swing Trainer, his collaborative efforts to develop the Orange Whip wedge, how the club works for you, its benefits on improving your game around the greens and closes with a helpful bit of advice.
Tom Brassell: Welcome to Golf Better and Worldwide Golf Shops. Episode 241. Hello everyone, Tom Brassell here. So glad you joined us today. If this is your first time with us, or you’re a wily veteran and catch every episode, either way we’re just glad you’re here. One of the most innovative training aids to be developed over the past few years, has been the Orange Whip Swing Trainer. It is really, really something else and they’ve come up with a new swing training aid for the short game. Here to join us to talk about it is a man who’s a PGA Tour winner, he’s consistently ranked in the top 50 by Golf Digest as instructors, and he’s a short-game guru. Who else but Mr. Stan Utley. Stan, thanks so much for joining us, it’s great to have you with us.
Stan Utley: Tom, thanks for letting me join you.
Tom Brassell: Yeah, your voice sounds a little high, Stan, I guess as far as elevation. Where are you right now?
Stan Utley: I’m actually visiting my daughter, just on the south side of Estes Park, Colorado, for a few days, and I’m at 9200 feet. If I sound out of breath, it’s just an old guy at altitude.
Tom Brassell: You’re brought to us by our friends at the Orange Whip Swing Trainer, certainly one of the most innovative training aids. You were about to tell me something off the air about your association with Orange Whip, why don’t you go ahead and tell our listeners a little bit about it.
Stan Utley: Well I think thousands of people in the golf industry, once you grab hold of the Orange Whip trainer and made a few swings, you realize that it made an incredibly positive impact on how you felt your swing and stepping back into a shot after swinging it, it made hitting solid shots easier. I was just like everybody else who tried the Orange Whip trainer, and probably four or five years back, Jim Hackenberg, who’s the creator of the Orange Whip, came to me for a chipping lesson. He brought me an Orange Whip putter, which I instantly enjoyed using that in my lessons and it particularly helps people with their lag putting. If you haven’t seen the Orange Whip putter, you should try that out. But I just had this huge urge that, if I had the same idea with the putter shaft with the wedge on the end of it, it would help my short-game teaching instruction.
Jim and I went back and forth for over a year or two, talking about it, and finally I just went and had the guy with the cool clubs, cut the head off one of my putters and put a wedge on it. I’ve been using one for about two years. Jim came back for another lesson, and I showed him what I believe was the way to use it, and that kinda started the idea that we would partner and I would help him promote the Orange Whip wedge.
Tom Brassell: It’s brand new, it’s got the obviously flexible shaft, but also counterbalancing. Share with us, Stan, a little about how this whole thing works, because I’ve seen the video, it’s right here on our site as well. But it’s really, really cool the way this thing works.
Stan Utley: What’s worked for me, the Orange Whip trainer, the putter and the wedge now, the secret is feeling the load and unload of the shaft. I think Jim’s genius was he … The counterbalance is right up in your hands, so you can feel the grip, but the shaft being soft, but then the weight on the end of the club, when you swing it back, that shaft is flexible enough that you feel shaft load and unload. In my world of teaching short-game, I usually ask lots of questions and one of the questions that I ask my students is, “Do you think you’re releasing your wrist, or your hands, or your club, too early or too late when you’re struggling with your chipping?” Tom, I can ask you that question. Do you think people who chip poorly, do they release the club too early or too late?
Tom Brassell: I think, with me, it’s too early.
Stan Utley: I’ve almost never seen a person release the club too early. It’s always too late. And that’s the genius of the Orange Whip wedge, is because when a person struggles with their chipping, in my opinion, they’re almost always surging the handle first. I do not believe you’re slowing your club too early, or releasing your wedge too early, when you struggle chipping. You’re extending the grip first. And when you send the grip aggressively, on a short swing, now that you have the Orange Whip wedge, you began to realize that shaft is back-loaded. Then you flip the club and use your wrist after you’ve already approached impact. With the shaft of the Orange Whip wedge, the idea is, when you make a full swing and your shaft, I ask people, “Is the shaft going forwards or backwards right before impact?” Most people never thought of that but they see on video that it always looks like it’s bowed backwards. It actually is, because if your shaft hasn’t unloaded before you hit the ball, you’ve wasted energy. I like to say, “You gotta bad club fit if it didn’t unload for you.”
So because people surge the handle and pull on the grip, that shaft is always back-loaded. With the Orange Whip wedge, I can teach people how to sequence the swing and actually slow down the grip and let the club head release itself and when that happens, you begin to use the balance on your wedge the way it was designed. That feeling that I’ve been able to coach into having with the Orange Whip wedge instantly gives them a sensation that they’ve been missing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a person really struggling or a person that’s a tour player, when they feel how easy it is to use the unloading of the shaft the way it was designed, with the Orange Whip or even with your real club, it’s way more powerful than me using loads.
As a teacher, you’re always looking how to make it easy. You’re always trying to make it easy for your student to catch on, and that’s why I’m so excited about using the Orange Whip wedge.
Tom Brassell: Hey, you just answered my next question with regards to your students and is there an “Aha” moment when they put this Orange Whip wedge swing trainer in their hands. Apparently the answer to that is “Absolutely. Right out of the shoot.” Correct?
Stan Utley: It is so much so, and that’s very true, but to my surprise, my good students love hitting it. The people that aren’t even struggling with their short-game, they love making a few swings with it and then going back to their wedge, and now they feel it so intact with how to be efficient that it makes their regular club even easier to use.
Tom Brassell: Stan, let me ask you this. This is what I’ve found with the original Orange Whip Swing Trainer, I use it every time when I warm up on the range and then when I’m done hitting balls, it’s the last thing I do before I go out to play, I swing it a few times and then put it in the bag. I was playing in a tournament last year, a four-ball tournament with a partner, and I was struggling. One of the things I did to get back on track was, instead of all these 500 different swing thoughts in my mind, what I was trying to get in my mind was the feeling I had with the Orange Whip on the range before I put it in the bag. Is that kinda the same thing here? You go back to thinking of how it felt when you were practicing with it when you’re on the course.
Stan Utley: I completely agree with that, because I play with swing thoughts, I don’t really believe people play golf blank. Swing thoughts, to me, are really feels. They don’t really have to be accurate, but they need to be effective. I can’t play with your feel, you can’t play with my feel, but when you have the Orange Whip trainer, and you get that sensation of rhythm and release and balance with it, I totally agree that you can improve your regular swing. It’s the same thing with the wedge or the putter.
Tom Brassell: Well Stan, let’s say our students go to the Worldwide Golf Shop location of their choice, or WorldwideGolfShops.com, purchase the Orange Whip wedge, unfortunately they can’t have Stan Utley with them. What do you suggest that they do from that point, once they get the wedge?
Stan Utley: I know that Orange Whip and I are both working on producing some videos that show them how to use that. I had videos on my website that people can subscribe to, that some of those are showing me demonstrating what the Orange Whip … I think that their local pros is the person that they’re needing to take lessons from. I travel this time of year and visit a lot of clubs. I was in St. Louis this week, one of the pros said he’s already sold 30 wedges. When they find out how effective they are, for them to have their students … The students can turn around and know they can go to those pros and learn how to use them effectively to help their chipping.
Tom Brassell: Great advice. Hey, Stan, thanks so much for joining us, even from up around 10,000 feet, you’re coming in crystal clear. Enjoy your time in Colorado with your daughter. Final words to our listeners out there? Worldwide Golf Shops listeners, from Stan Utley, regarding the Orange Whip wedge swing trainer.
Stan Utley: I think the key to golf is to not lose sight of swinging the club. Golf is challenging because we hold on to the end of the club that doesn’t hit it. I went to my folks at Ping, and I asked them … I said, “If I swung my driver at 100 mph, how fast is the top of the grip going?” The answer is 16 mph. If you have a sense that your grip is swinging more than 15% of the club, you’re inefficient. When you start using the Orange Whip wedge, and you let the club head release, your short-game will improve instantly.
Tom Brassell: Wow that’s great stuff. Stan, thanks so much, it’s great having you with us, hopefully we can catch up again down the road. It’s been great.
Stan Utley: Thank you, Tom.
Tom Brassell: Well there you have it, from the man himself, Stan Utley. Golf Digest Top 50 instructor, former PGA Tour winner, and a believer not only in the Orange Whip product but a developer, part of the development team of the Orange Whip wedge. Try it. The proof is there, it works. Give it a shot. Any Worldwide Golf Shops location or WorldwideGolfShops.com. Special thanks to Stan Utley, and our friends at Orange Whip for bringing him onboard with us, and to you, our listeners. We’ll do it again next time, we have another episode of Golf Better at WorldwideGolfShops.com. So long, everyone.