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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Rob Strano is a Lead Instructor for the Golf Channel Academy and a former Tour Pro based out of Destin, Fla., and combines his unique experiences as a player and teacher into a training program for golfers at all levels of ability.

Rob is a native of St. Louis, Mo., and began playing golf at the age of 6. He was aided by a putting green his father installed in the backyard of their home. He grew up at the same country club as 1968 Masters Champion Bob Goalby and three other Tour Pros. Rob has competed on the three major U.S. Tours (PGA, Web.com, NGA) and won five professional events.

In 2003, Rob developed a national Deaf youth instruction program and he currently travels the country teaching deaf children how to play golf in sign language at PGA/LPGA Tour events. He is the only professional in the world actively reaching out to the Deaf kids in the United States.

Rob is a three time honorable mention Top-50 Youth Golf Instructor by U.S. Kids Golf and his nationally recognized junior golf program produces numerous tournament winners throughout the year. Many of those junior golfers have gone on to earn college golf scholarships.

Rob is a member of the prestigious FlightScope Advisory Board and is a certified Level 2 Aimpoint Express instructor. In the summer of 2014, Rob released his putting training aid, Fuzion Dyn-A-line, which helps golfers feel a perfect stroke every time.

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  1. 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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