It’s not every day that a simple hunch turns into one of the most revolutionary golf training aids of all time. But that’s exactly what happened with Larry Kelly, a commercial real estate agent from Brighton Township in Michigan.
A lifelong tinkerer and avid golfer, Kelly was always looking for ways to improve his game. Tired of all the prevailing instruction and training aids that focused on mechanics and positions, he wanted to create something that could help him feel a correct swing. Knowing a bit about gyroscopes and how they maintain a perfect arc around a center point in space, he hypothesized that putting one on a golf clubhead might actually force that club to stay on plane around a golfer’s spine, building muscle memory for an ideal swing.
Buying a gyroscope and motor online, he attached it to the back of an old putter’s head, and quickly discovered that his hunch was correct. When he fired up the gyroscope, the force literally made the club come alive. Setting up in his golf stance, the invention guided the clubhead to stay perfectly on plane, and resisted any movements that took it off plane. It also guided Kelly’s release, turning his hands over smoothly and at the correct point of impact when he shifted his weight properly, and slammed the face shut when he hung back or threw the club.
It was serendipitous that at around the same time, the Golf Channel was taking submissions for a new reality TV show called “Fore Inventors Only,” which would review thousands of golf-related inventions, looking for the best available. Larry not only got onto the show with his new “Gyro Swing,” but also wowed the judges once they got it into their hands. Larry’s relatively crude prototype made it into the top 10, but ultimately gave way to products that had more polish. As he was voted off the show, he told the judges that his product would still be the best swing device ever.
As he watched the show while on vacation in Michigan, John Sarkisian, the CEO of SKLZ, a San Diego company focused on developing and marketing sports skill training aids, thought Kelly just might be right. Sarkisian was looking for the “next big thing” in golf training aids, and set up a meeting with Kelly to experience the Gyro Swing for himself. Sarkisian walked away from the meeting believing that this would be something big.
Then, once he put a prototype in the hands of Rick Smith, a Golf Digest Top 10 Instructor and swing coach to some of the PGA’s top champions, Smith’s reaction confirmed it. He immediately declared that it was the best training aid he’d ever seen and, more importantly, felt. Six months later, SKLZ successfully launched a commercial version of the Gyro Swing at the 2008 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, having taken it from curious gizmo to a well-polished golf training aid.
To maximize its functionality and finish, SKLZ incorporated a 20,000-rpm motor and brass gyroscope flywheel into a metalwood clubhead with a semitransparent crown. They set it up to be powered by six rechargeable AAA batteries in the training club’s handle, making it easier for users to have it charged up whenever they need it. The company also integrated a grip guide for ideal hand placement, as well as a black-and-yellow shaft (players who swing on-plane will only see black) to further promote proper technique.
In its commitment to bringing the best and most innovative training aids to the golf market, SKLZ is proud to deliver the Gyro Swing to golfers, encouraging them to stop thinking so much about their swings, and start building a feel for the perfect plane and release.