Read about Greenbells in the Island Packet
Bluffton man hits green with hand weights for senior golfers
BY DAN BURLEY
November 2, 2014
Don't drive the golf ball as far as you once did?
A Bluffton man says he can help.
Don Gwaltney is part of a team that has developed grip-free hand weights, called Greenbells, that aim to keep senior golfers fit and flexible.
The New York City-based company finished manufacturing its first batch two weeks ago and is testing at golf clubs around Beaufort County. Berkeley Hall, Dataw Island and Spring Island have received Greenbells, as have other clubs. A pair costs $69.
Gwaltney says the 2 1/2-pound, green hand weights -- they look like Marvin the Martian helmets -- will help senior golfers increase flexibility, boosting their driving distance. He says it also could mean fewer older players who hang up their spikes in frustration.
"Ego gets in the way when you get older and you can't hit as well," said the 78-year-old Gwaltney. "These help you limber up and increase your range of motion, which increases how far you can drive the ball."
Several area professionals said Friday that Greenbells have proved popular among older golfers.
Josh May, the head golf pro at Dataw Island, said he's used them to help players develop a smoother swing.
"Any time you add weight to the motion of a golf swing, it becomes a little less mechanical and a little more fluid," he said. "If you can increase the club-head speed by pulling it back farther, then follow through ... you'll see the results in your drive."
But how are they different from dumbbells?
Users don't have to grip the weights, said 87-year-old company founder Bob Green. Instead, users slide their hands inside.
That has helped him continue to lift weights without the pain that shoots through his fingers when holding dumbbells, he said.
"My trainer absolutely flipped: 'There is so much you can do with these,'" Green said.
Green said he plans to expand Greenbells to other industries, including physical therapy.
But for now, the company is focusing on golf.
It's produced about 1,500 pairs and shipped many to Bluffton.
The firm will manufacture more in varying weights, depending on consumer reaction.
Gwaltney said his toughest job is convincing golfers that the informercial-ready Greenbells actually work.
A daily 10-minute stretching routine with the weights could add as many as 15 yards to an average drive, he claims. May, the golf pro, said he hasn't had the weights long enough to say whether tee shots have improved.
"It's brand-new to people, I understand it," said Gwaltney, a former Chicago advertising executive. "We're asking them to change their lifestyle and do something they haven't done before."
The Rose Hill resident has high hopes for the product.
He thinks it could stop seniors -- the golf industry's cash cow -- from quitting the game.
That's why he's testing in Beaufort County.
"This is the Mecca for senior golfers; it's where the business is," he said. "If we can keep them on the course here, we'd likely be able to do it elsewhere."
Follow reporter Dan Burley at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.
Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/2014/11/02/3408081/bluffton-man-hits-green-with-hand.html#storylink=cpy