BodiTrak advisor Sasho MacKenzie joined the On the Mark Podcast with Mark Immelman to discuss golf biomechanics, including keys to maximizing power and efficiency by evaluating force and pressure on BodiTrak. Find the podcast below, in addition to links to relevant BodiTrak-related content.
(Sasho’s quotes from the podcast are in italics below)
“The forces that the ground applies to the body is just a reaction to what we are doing with our muscles.”
“The way I like to see the BodiTrak being used is as a feedback tool. So while we can say we can think of the ground as this external object that’s applying force and manipulating our bodies that we can use to our advantage, it’s also helpful to think of it as ‘this ground is just reacting to what I am doing with my body’.”
“Let’s say you’re a 6 handicap and you’re struggling with over drawing the ball. What you can see is that that pressure might go from the middle of your trail foot and out to your lead toe but you kind of stay on your toes and maybe sometimes you even fall off balance and go towards the golf ball through impact. Well it can be tough to feel the path of the club for some people so maybe just thinking about getting your path more to the left, you might struggle with that but if you have a BodiTrak Mat you can actually see where you’re putting the pressure through impact.
Things happen so fast in the downswing that you might not be aware of that but if you have this tool that gets to show you how you interact with the ground and instead of just thinking of what the club’s doing you can have the BodiTrak say ‘Hey look your pressure is through your toes through impact let’s see if we can get it through the lead heel’ and you’ll have a visual of that and now a feeling of what you’re doing to interact with the ground and try to light up the pressure under the lead heel as you move through the ball and you might see that path change by 3 or 4 degrees. So to use it as a feedback tool is something that might not be accomplished with a video or just thinking about how you’re moving the club.”
“For a good swing; as the backswing is ending that’s usually when we start to see that pressure already start to shift towards the lead side. For a good golfer they’re going to start building up pressure under that lead foot in preparation to help drive that lead side up through impact.”
“Looking at a face-on view, when that club shaft is vertical that’s when you’re going to see a really high correlation between the pressure or amount of force that the golfer has underneath their lead foot and club head speed.”
Below (right) is a vertical force graph for a 7-iron. Notice that when the shaft is vertical on the downswing, vertical force is nearly peaked. On the left is a capture from DASH of LPGA player Katie Burnett who is working on improving her pressure transfer, especially emphasizing vertical force when the shaft is vertical on the downswing. This is a ground interaction characteristic that’s extremely common among elite players. Many amateur golfers think they transfer pressure early, but are surprised to see the inefficiency revealed in their data on BodiTrak.
“My guess on his pressure trace is that it gets left early and it stays there through impact”
— BODITRAK SPORTS (@boditraksports) May 5, 2017
“Everything is very similar in his move yet he applies so much pressure when he’s trying to hit that high shot he actually applies even more pressure early through that lead side and actually to a greater extent launches that lead side up into the air and gets this nice axis tilt so his upper hips and body are leaning back and I bet you his attack angle on those shots goes from 2 or 3 down to maybe 4 or 5 up. So I think you’d see some pretty stark differences in his pressure trace. It’d be interesting to see how much firmer he loads into that lead side to launch that lead side up into the air and get that positive angle of attack.”
Below BodiTrak advisor Mark Blackburn shares how transferring pressure to your lead heel can help you hit a fade.
“So what you’d see with the CoP trace for every pro player or every good swing is that pressure gets to the lead side early but what some really long hitters do especially the ones who have higher attack angles like a Justin Thomas is that they’ve pushed so hard and so aggressively through that lead side that the force through impact underneath that trail foot can almost go to zero and you can probably slide a golf magazine underneath that lead foot at impact. It’s not that their pushing with a great deal of force through their trail foot it’s relatively speaking that they are pushing through their trail foot because they have virtually no force underneath that front foot at impact because they pushed so hard early on.”
Below Sasho and Mark break down Justin Thomas’ COP trace for the FootJoy Performance Fitting System. Thomas has one of the most unique ground interaction on TOUR, characterized by pushing hard off his lead side which helps optimize club delivery and ball flight. For more on Justin’s dynamic pressure trace, read the full analysis on our site (link above).
“It’s not about being able to squat 500lbs in the gym but it is about being able to quickly ramp up that force to a kind of high level and being able to do that in a short period of time.”
“If there are people trying to increase their attack angle the key is that they are getting their pressure to their lead side early.”