Jamie Brittain had an idea, just not the time to invest. Then COVID-19 arrived and that gave Brittain the opportunity to move his training aid from blueprint to reality
While the world has been affected by a cataclysmic virus, British PGA professional Jamie Brittain has it to indirectly thank. That’s because lockdowns, byproducts of the pandemic, helped him launch a training aid that might otherwise still be shelved.
Juggling duties as coach and self-funded player, Brittain had a eureka moment in early spring 2019 helping another coach teach a student. While using an alignment stick, the two could not get the student’s arm positioning to hold correctly. Brittain realized then that if he could develop a stand for the alignment stick, the greater probability they could solve the arm positioning.
Brittain put the idea on hold until England went into lockdown in March 2020. With extra time on his hands, he sought feedback on social media about his concept. When it came back overwhelmingly positive, Brittain contacted a developer and the Swing Plate was born. Over the course of those 10 days, Brittain contacted a few distributors, developed a website, finalized branding and sorted out social media.
“It was born out of necessity,” said Brittain via a Zoom call.
Sold in more than 10 countries, including the U.S., the Swing Plate secures alignment sticks and adjusts its angles. It allows for alignment rods to be held in position on both horizontal (floor level) and swing plane (from zero to 90 degrees) axis.
The goal? Help correct inconsistent swings and leave behind bad habits. The device can be used anywhere: the range, indoors, the park or even at home.
The free-standing, portable unit for left- or right-handed golfers fits in a golf bag and needs no anchoring, even in blustery conditions. It comes with two 8-mm attachment points that are compatible with all standard-sized alignment rods. The adjustable attachment allows for vertical or horizontal placement and locks in place at whatever angle needed.
Brittain, whom as a player won the PGA Midlands Order of Merit and PGA Assistants Order of Merit in 2019, estimated there are roughly 30 different uses for his product and myriad drills can be tailored to it. His website showcases nine tutorial videos.
“Alignment sticks are probably the best golf tool ever made,” Brittain said. “They are so versatile in what they can do because what works for one student won’t work for another.
“With a few simple adjustments you can set up the Swing Plate to guide the correct swing plane, promote a positive weight transfer, eliminate a backswing sway, improve body rotation and minimize head movement. These are key features of a great golf swing and the Swing Plate can help with them all.”
In other words, it depends on what ails the swing.
Angled rods are commonly used to work on swing plane, especially those who may have a shallow or steep path. The adjustable attachment on The Swing Plate can be set to a precise path, promoting a desired plane and consistent swing. Through networking, Brittain got to know European Tour coach Liam James who became a believer. James has worked with Matt Wallace and Lee Westwood. The Ladies European Tour’s Amy Boulden and European Tour player Andy Sullivan have included it in their training repertoire.
“The Swing Plate is an invaluable tool for every level of golfer,” James said. “It is both portable and versatile."
Count European Tour coach Michael Welch as a fan.
“I’ve used The Swing Plate for some time now,” he said. “Very simple aid, which can be used in multiple ways. A must-have in every golfers bag.”
Brittain and his fiancée started out fulfilling orders themselves, but distributors have helped ease the workload. Ideally, Brittain said, part of the proceeds might go toward funding his playing career.
The Swing Plate sells for $89.99 and can be found on various platforms.
“At the end of the day, I never wanted it to get or needed it to be super technical,” Brittain said. “I wanted something to be affordable for my lessons.”
Pandemic or no pandemic.
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