If the products below look familiar, you've no doubt logged your fair share of hours in front of the Golf Channel. I've sorted through the two dozen gizmos that have recently appeared in infomercials on my favorite network and picked five winners, from training devices (Kallassy's Swing Magic, the Plane Stick) to clubs that you can take on the course (the Aserta putter, the Lovett Wedge, the Perfect Club). Just because they're made by unfamiliar companies and are hawked late at night doesn't mean they don't perform; on the contrary, I found all these items to be worthy of the hype.
$120 (standard), $140 (belly), $200 (Eclipse); 866-878-7655; asertasports.com
Claim "We put the weight above the equator of the ball, so the putt rolls truer from the moment of impact."
Comments Conventional golf wisdom holds that a putter's weight should lie below the equator of the ball to avoid topspin, which can pop the ball into the air. But nothing popped off the super-soft Aserta, and I was more accurate than usual. Comes in cavity back, mallet and Eclipse (oversize mallet) styles, with belly versions of each.
Bottom Line As with any putter, it's all about personal taste. But certainly worth a try.
$100 (steel), $120 (graphite); 866-323-8900; lovettgolf.com
Claim "Designed to get you out of deep rough or sand cleanly . . . without having to modify [your] swing."
Comments Its UFO-like shape takes getting used to at setup, but when I really got under one, it felt like the ball stayed on the club forever. I just lifted it up and pushed it where I wanted it to go. It plowed through deep rough so much so that I couldn't get the clubhead stuck behind the ball if I tried. Available in sand and lob wedge.
Bottom Line Funny looking to the point of absurdity, but makes true on its promise.
Kallassy's Swing Magic
$40; 800-615-0081; swingmagic.com
Claim "Rid your mind of confusing swing thoughts and focus instead on the feel of your ideal swing."
Comments On the take-away, your right hand moves up toward the clubhead on the sliding grip, then you pull the grip back down to finish your swing. I could really feel my left arm leading as my right arm came down through the slot, as they say, rather than cast out. You can hit balls with this five-iron if you wish, but that's not necessary for training.
Bottom Line Best Value Drills solid swing fundamentals into your muscle memory.
The Perfect Club
$100 (steel), $125 (graphite); 800-676-7806; theperfectclub.com
Claim "The most versatile golf club ever made."
Comments Essentially a fairway-wood head on a three-iron-length shaft, the Perfect Club instills a world of confidence when standing over the ball. I felt more comfortable with it than I do with my fairway woods and found it easier to hit off of short grass than my four-iron. Also available is the less-lofted Perfect Plus and the more-lofted Perfect Accuracy.
Bottom Line Best Overall "Perfect" may be hyperbole, but it's anundeniably easy-to-hit club.
The Plane Stick
$100; 866-794-6475; planestick.com
Claim "No-slice guarantee."
Comments Position the upright foam stick behind you so you will hit it if you take the club back too much to the inside—which so many of us do. I could feel what it's like to swing on a correct outside-in plane, and I really did find it difficult to slice the ball. Don't have a slice?Other drills can fine-tune your swing.
Bottom Line You may look silly at the range, but you'll get real results.