This is a guest post by John King of Golf Performance Studio of Auburn. John works with players of all ages and abilities. He’s had success using technology to produce sustainable improvement by illuminating practical solutions. We thought we’d share a case study of one of his recent success stories.
I recently had a player come to The Golf Performance Studio of Auburn for help with his golf game, particularly full swing. He is a retired softball player and coach who has been around sports his whole life. Physically he is in good shape with no ailments to speak of that would affect his golf game. He informed me that he lacks distance, struggles with inconsistent impact and erratic ball flight consisting of pulls and slices and he wants to improve. Here is an outline of findings and how I used BodiTrak along with K-Vest to improve his swing.
Foresight GC2 measured ball flight starting out way left with high rpm right side spin. Video analysis showed excessive knee bend at address, an over-the-top arm and club motion during the downswing, out-to-in clubhead path and a tendency for the hips to back up during downswing. K-Vest 3D motion system showed Pelvis Bend at Address to be 11˚, significantly under the 20˚+/- average typically seen in a tour player, an under rotated Pelvis at impact by approximately 36˚ and Upper Body under rotated by approximately 13˚. Swing Summary also showed a significant increase in Upper Body Bend at the Top.
Q. What does the player want the golf ball to do? A. Draw. Q. What influences distance and direction? A. In this particular instance, the form necessary to produce a draw ball flight would be a more in-to-out path with a clubface aligned slightly left of the path through impact. Q. How can I change impact alignments to get the desired ball flight? A. Use BodiTrak to transfer pressure shift direction to influence downswing path.
BodiTrak showed pressure favoring the heels at address and shifting to the toes during the top and downswing. With pressure in the heels and a tucked pelvis, this player found balance by taking the club inside during the takeaway, increasing Upper Body Bend at the top and then standing up while swinging his arms out in front of the body at transition to find balance again. Using BodiTrak we worked on repositioning his pressure to move closer to 50/50 heel to toe and 50/50 left to right at address. By shifting pressure at address his posture and takeaway immediately improved, K-Vest measurements showed Pelvis Bend at Address going from out of recommended range at 11˚, to within range at 20˚, a much-improved position giving the player an opportunity to use the ground more efficiently.
With posture and takeaway on the mend, it was time to fix the out-to-in path. Using BodiTrak we created a heel-to-toe pressure trace where the pressure is transferred into the trail heel during the backswing and then transfers into the lead toes in the downswing with the intent to have the club follow the transfer in pressure in a more in-to-out downswing path. While working on the heel-to-toe trace I suggested an underhand softball toss motion with the right arm or to keep his back facing the target as pressure transfers to the lead foot to allow the arms to follow the pressure trace.
As the heel-to-toe trace started to make an impact on the path we started to curl pressure from the lead toe into the lead heel at the finish. The more he transferred pressure in this fashion the better his balance, path and ball flight became. We are now seeing an improved downswing path and ball flight starting slightly right of the target line with a slight draw.
Swing improvements may be done a number of ways however, using BodiTrak keeps the player focused on what he wants to do rather than how to do it, a much more useful way to become familiar with the impact alignments necessary to produce a desired ball flight.
General Pressure Shift Drill – moving pressure toe-to-heel, heel-to-toe, left-to-right and right-to-left.
Pressure / Plane Shift Drill – Move pressure from trail heel to lead toe to facilitate an in-to-out downswing path.
Back Facing Target Drill – Keep the back (left shoulder) facing the target as pressure increases in the trail side at the top. Increasing pressure in the trail foot facilitates shift in pressure to the lead side and the arms to drop during transition rather than swing over-the-top. It is important that the student understands how increasing pressure in the trail foot causes pressure to shift to the lead side.
Underhand Softball Toss Drill – Underhand softball toss with his right arm from the top to coincide with the pressure moving from the trail heel to the lead toe.
Posture at Address Drill – Coordinating proper pelvis bend with pressure and knee flex.
Upper Body Bend at the Top – Coordinate proper Upper Body Bend at the Top with pressure going into the trail heel. Pressure was on heels at address, during takeaway pressure would shift to toes and Upper Body Bend would increase causing him to stand up during transition, back hips up and come over-the-top.
John King, PGA
Golf Performance Studio of Auburn