Getting better seems simply enough to do. Yet it’s harder to accomplish than you think. Another new year is growing older by the day and many have made resolutions with the best of intentions. Weight loss is often at the top of the list. But finding a few more yards off the tee could be a close second place for many golfers. Each year we start out thinking this one will be different, yet we rarely have a plan or blueprint to follow or guide us to where we want to go. Eventually the best of intentions waiver and we find ourselves back in the original place that led us to consider making changes.
If Santa didn’t deliver that driver that promises a few more yards, it may be time to look in the mirror. By in large, most golfers don’t practice very often or take lessons. Pretty remarkable when you stop and think about it that such lofty expectations are even considered without an effort to achieve it. Golf has been known to be fashionably trendy. Stack and Tilt was popular for a time, however it seems to have been a godsend for chiropractors everywhere. Instructors have also run hot and cold. Sean Foley, Hank Haney, Butch Harmon, Jim McLean, David Leadbetter, etc., have all been touted as oracles of the swing. Golf has been fascinated with the mechanics of delivering the club into position, but it’s essentially been a one-dimensional process. It’s viewed from the outside looking in. Originally it was left to the naked eye to determine what went right or wrong. Then with the advent of video cameras it was able to capture a swing that could be dissected frame by frame. Yet little if anything has been analyzed from the inside out. Have you ever heard the one about looks can be deceiving? How about you can’t judge a book by its cover?
If you take your car to a mechanic does he assess it merely from the exterior or does he pop the hood to look at the engine as the car is running? Golf addicts and instructors have diagnosed their swings for decades by the equivalent of watching a car pass by. The time it takes to swing a club is over in virtually the blink of an eye. Why do players, even elite ones, position the club incorrectly at times? Even when they know otherwise, it still happens. Golf is a difficult game and how we attempt to correct our faults is often equally mystifying.
Launch monitors have become the equivalent of golf instruction’s comfort food. However, it simply chronicles what happened, not why it happened. Its been said the best houses have the strongest foundations. The same can be said about golf swings. The lower body provides the foundation to balance and in turn delivering the club in a repeatable motion. What changes from one day to the next in any player, even the best of the best that sees a shift or change in ball striking? What causes bad habits to form and why is it so difficult to find solutions to these mystifying if not chronic problems?
Swing Catalyst, a Norwegian company, has taken an alternative approach. The company uses pressure plates to understand what the body is doing during the swing. The company touts that it offers a complete game improvement system for golfers and golf instructors. It also has an app (FREE) that acts as an online portal. Swing Catalyst’s video analysis software represents the ecosystem that connects the golfer to the instructor. Instructors are now able to communicate directly with their students, while students can record their own swings and get a detailed swing analysis directly from the instructor.
The Swing Catalyst sensor plates (Balance Plate and 3D Motion Plate) add an important dimension to golf instruction. It provides the instructor with critical information that will lead to a better understanding of the golf swing, ranging from Center of Pressure (CoP) patterns to accurate vertical and horizontal force measurements, none of which could be determined by the best trained eye or even expensive high-speed cameras. This is the equivalent of looking underneath the hood of a car to understand the performance of an engine. The sensor plate data is synchronized with the video images as well as with data from the most popular ball and club tracking devices (FlightScope, Foresight, Full Swing Golf and TrackMan). This is where the proverbial rubber meets the road, as the say, as instructors can interpret what is happening to a player’s body as they deliver the club during the swing.
The company already has some influential proponents of its program. “Following my philosophy of measure twice, cut once and leave an athlete’s functional fingerprint intact; it’s imperative that the diagnostics and assessments I make equip me with valid actionable insight,” said Cameron McCormick, who Jordan Spieth trusts to oversee his swing. “For this reason I trust in Swing Catalyst to help me see beyond the visible; pairing together high speed motion video with ground force traces and accompanying collision dynamics and shot results they are pushing the boundaries in technology to aid in player development.”
“In my quest to be the best player I can be, Swing Catalyst helps me leave no stone unturned and gives me confidence I’m always working on sound principles. I feel I have also learned what it takes to create speed and power by using Swing Catalyst,” said Justin Rose, Olympic Gold medalist and a Swing Catalyst customer.
“I am always striving to get the most out of my game so when it comes practicing I like to have any and all information at my fingertips, Swing Catalyst gives me all that and more,” said Ian Poulter. “Since using Swing Catalyst I have been able to pin point exactly where in my golf swing I can find some more power.”
“Some of the most important aspects of any effective golf swing -- such as timing, rhythm and ‘using the ground’ -- are often elusive quantities for many golfers,” said Chris Como. “Swing Catalyst is the most powerful technology I have found for getting immediate feedback in order to help a player develop these fundamentals in a way that fits their own unique swing. With its ability to integrate video analysis, radar data and ground reaction force measurements, Swing Catalyst is the complete tool to aid a coach in the training of a player of any skill level.”
Sean Foley is also a believer. “I am constantly striving to learn new and improved ways to maximize the efficiency in a player’s swing. Appreciating the importance of ground forces in the development of an effective golf swing, the Swing Catalyst system is unique in that it allows me to examine pressure-shift patterns and balance; information that I couldn’t ascertain if I were to rely on video alone,” he said.
Mike Adams, World Golf Teacher Hall of Fame member and Golf Digest Top 50 Instructor added, “Every golfer is unique in how they swing the club in time and space. Only by being able to combine high-speed video, swing radar information, and understanding the students’ ground reaction pattern am I truly able to create a swing blueprint for each golfer. Swing Catalyst ability to integrate all three into a real time application gives me the keys to proceed with each student. The traces I get from Swing Catalyst helps me to guide each student into the changes necessary to help them use the ground more efficiently and create more power resulting in longer straighter shots. The Swing Catalyst 3D Motion Plate is the Ferrari of all force and pressure plates."
Wall Street relies on data driven research. Anecdotal evidence or word of mouth, is often more supportive than driving a future investment. Which approach should you take with your golf swing?