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You CAN Handle the Truth: The Importance of Measurable Data in the Golf Swing

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There are a lot of things we can argue about: pitcher or designated hitter, Superman or Batman, Ginger or Mary Ann, Coke or Pepsi. There are equally heated debates in the golf instruction world, and those arguments often go in circles without reaching a conclusion.

In golf, technology can help settle arguments by providing us with what I like to call “measurable truth.” If I can measure something in the swing, I can show you the truth and show you what needs to change. I’m not talking about video, though. Video doesn’t give us “measurable truth.” It gives us visual evidence of something that might be happening. To achieve a measurable truth, you need to capture a golfer’s movement in three dimensions. That’s where MySwing Professional comes in.

MySwing Professional is a full-body 3D system that uses wireless sensors to measure how and how much a golfer moves during a swing (or in the case of this article, how much a golfer doesn’t move). And that’s what we coaches deal with: movement, incorrect movement or lack of movement.

Recently, I had a player come to me searching for lost distance and swing speed. He has a fantastic swing, but in our pre-lesson interview he told me he’s now a club-and-a-half shorter through the bag, hitting hybrids into most par 4’s. It was clear I had to show the “measurables” for him to know the truth.

He hit some shots with a 6 iron; we captured his swing on video and in 3D using MySwing Pro. What we saw on video looked pretty good, but the 3D data from MySwing Pro showed us something completely different. He didn’t have enough hip turn and body turn. It was measured data that gave us the real story about what was happening. It showed he was only making a three-quarter swing at best with limited hip turn and shoulder turn.

The Old, Short Swing

Short Swing

The Fix: I had to get him moving better so we could add more “punch” to his swing. The simple advice I gave him was when the hips want to stop, keep them going until the left foot rolls and the heel lifts off the ground.

We worked on that without a golf ball at first, just taking some swings casually with this improved turn and freed-up footwork. After a few reps with the new motion, I had him flip the club around so he was gripping the club head and swinging the grip. I wanted him to turn it loose and hear the loud “whoosh” of the club. Once he had these two moves down we returned to the hitting station and put the club on the ball. With the bigger turn and better move to the right he quickly regained his lost distance.

The New, Longer Swing

Improved

What I’ve found is the player learns faster when a “measurable truth” is revealed. And sometimes, that’s all the player needs: to buy in and improve at a much faster rate. For this player, improved backswing size equals no more hybrids into par 4’s, which gave him more birdie putts and allowed him to have more fun on the course. And that’s what it’s all about.

P.S. The correct answers to the start of the article are: Pitcher, Superman, Ginger and Coke.

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If you are an avid Golf Channel viewer you are familiar with Rob Strano the Director of Instruction for the Strano Golf Academy at Kelly Plantation Golf Club in Destin, FL. He has appeared in popular segments on Morning Drive and School of Golf and is known in studio as the “Pop Culture” coach for his fun and entertaining Golf Channel segments using things like movie scenes*, song lyrics* and familiar catch phrases to teach players. His Golf Channel Academy series "Where in the World is Rob?" showed him giving great tips from such historic landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, on a Gondola in Venice, Tuscany Winery, the Roman Colissum and several other European locations. Rob played professionally for 15 years, competing on the PGA, Nike/Buy.com/Nationwide and NGA/Hooters Tours. Shortly after embarking on a teaching career, he became a Lead Instructor with the golf schools at Pine Needles Resort in Pinehurst, NC, opening the Strano Golf Academy in 2003. A native of St. Louis, MO, Rob is a four time honorable mention U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Youth Golf Instructor and has enjoyed great success with junior golfers, as more than 40 of his students have gone on to compete on the collegiate level at such established programs as Florida State, Florida and Southern Mississippi. During the 2017 season Coach Strano had a player win the DII National Championship and the prestigious Nicklaus Award. He has also taught a Super Bowl and Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, a two-time NCAA men’s basketball national championship coach, and several PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players. His PGA Tour players have led such statistical categories as Driving Accuracy, Total Driving and 3-Putt Avoidance, just to name a few. In 2003 Rob developed a nationwide outreach program for Deaf children teaching them how to play golf in sign language. As the Director of the United States Deaf Golf Camps, Rob travels the country conducting instruction clinics for the Deaf at various PGA and LPGA Tour events. Rob is also a Level 2 certified AimPoint Express Level 2 green reading instructor and a member of the FlightScope Advisory Board, and is the developer of the Fuzion Dyn-A-line putting training aid. * Golf Channel segments have included: Caddyshack Top Gun Final Countdown Gangnam Style The Carlton Playing Quarters Pump You Up

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Mike

    Mar 22, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    What is a normal shoulder turn and hip turn number for a driver. For the pros? and what can or should an amateur strive for?

  2. knoofah

    Mar 18, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Completely disagree. The correct answers are:
    DH
    Superman
    MARYANN, all day every day
    Coke

  3. Jarno

    Mar 18, 2017 at 10:13 am

    What is the measurable stats on shot dispersion before and after?

  4. TexasSnowman

    Mar 17, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Mary Ann

  5. Dennis E Jones

    Mar 17, 2017 at 9:30 am

    “P.S. The correct answers to the start of the article are: Pitcher, Superman, Ginger and Coke.” You measured Ginger?

    • Rob Strano

      Mar 17, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      Ginger 35-22-36
      Gotta have all the data Dennis!

  6. Golf Scientist

    Mar 17, 2017 at 8:56 am

    While its true that using technology to measure what’s happening, and comparing amateur golfers to pro golfers (ideally a composite model, not a single golfer who has compensations and flaws) can be beneficial. However all of that is worthless if the person interpreting the data, and giving instruction provides bad information. Swing Like a Pro (ModelGolf), Drive Like the Pros (TMATT), and Titliest Performance Institute (TPI) all have excellent pro models, but I’ve seen all of them make interpretations about the data, and give advice that has bio-mechanical, logic, and/or physics flaws.

    Robs suggestion to his student gave the student 10* more separation between the shoulders and hips at the top of the swing, but did really account for the reclaiming of distance, and did the suggestions that lead to the additional separation decrease accuracy and consistency? For people that buy into the “X-factor” distance theories its been said that its the stretch during transition not the separation at the top that account for increasing distance. (Its debatable if the body truly springs back like some people suggest. If you wind up your shoulders and thorax to its max, and then relax the tension and let the shoulders and thorax return to there natural position – not using any muscular force to turn them back – how fast and far did they move. You’ll probably note not very fast and not very far.

    Now that Rob’s student is lifting his left foot stability and consistency (for the swing from that point on) are now compromised. Lifting the foot alters posture, brings in potentially lateral slide, and now the student needs to deal with replanting the foot on the way down. Both in consistent replacement of the foot in relation to where on the ground, as well as when and how to do it. The student now has more compensation to make, and will likely be less consistent.

    Maybe the separation issue could have been solved by looking at how the student rotated (both conceptually and physically in the backswing (ex : muscles pushing vs pulling, right side vs left side, diagonally vs horizontally).

    The 10* additional rotation on the backswing may not have had anything to do with the added distance. Maybe the whooshing drill (and possibly better order or synchronization of body parts on the downswing accounted for the increased distance.

    Scientific and mathematical data about the golf swing is wonderful, but it needs to be interpreted correctly.

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