Connect with us

Equipment

Would you use BioMech’s AccuLock putter?

Published

on

What happens when a biomedical company designs a putter “from the body out,” applying years of biomechanics knowledge to the most frustrating component of golf?

Well, this.
Biomech Golf
Would you putt with something that likely looks so vastly different than your existing flatstick? If the answer is “no,” you might very well change your mind after reading this interview with BioMech CEO, Dr. Frank Fornari.

I spoke with Dr. Fornari by phone and asked him how home a biomedical devices company ended up making putters.

Well,  I worked on many different projects studying physiology and motion analysis for a variety of agencies including NASA. Fast-forward about 25 years…we’re looking to develop motion analysis systems to be used for physical therapy, which is one of the things BioMech does. So we have systems that measure motion in real-time…giving you feedback, giving your therapist feedback. I started playing golf after a long time of not doing it…and I started looking at putting. Putting is half your round…it should be the simplest motion we make in golf…and it’s become the most complicated. So we made a model based on the proper physiology and physics of the stroke…and ran a number of mathematical equations, and this is the stick that came out of it. 

B.A. Tell me a bit about the design of the putter

F.F.: This putter is designed from the body out. Biomechanics: you can’t make the mechanics without the biology. You are not Iron Byron…you’re bone, muscle, nerves, neurotransmitters, skin. We started with the premise that golf equipment should be an outgrowth, an augment, and optimize how your body moves. We wanted…the least amount of energy for the most amount of gain.

And from the healthcare perspective, the number one expenditure is cervical and back problems. If you take a look at the spine angle that people putt at, it’s the worst possible position you could be in. If you’re in that position for a long period of time during the round you’re going to have back problems and neck problems. So you can actually practice putting.

Tell me about the underlying science

In all rotational sports, golf, tennis, bowling, there are optimal angles that your body needs to be in. There’s a differential angle between your leading and trailing shoulder. So you’re trailing shoulder, if you think about all those sports, is below your leading shoulder to allow you to rotate back and straight down the line for wherever you want to get that projectile to go. There are also certain muscles that should be used in all these motions.

Basically the musculature of your legs and core were genetically developed to know how hard to turn to generate the proper distance for a projectile, and that goes back to when we had to throw rocks and spears. You don’t throw with just your arm and hand, right? Your arm and hand just connect the projectile to your legs. Your arms and hands are the remnants of antennae…there’s a ton of nerve-endings that tell you what you’re touching, where you’re going, whether something’s hot or cold or sharp, and there’s directionality to that. If I ask you right now, where’s your right thumb? You know where it is, instinctively. You hands and arms have gamma loops. They’re connected to the spacial part of your brain that knows where you are in Cartesian space. There are nerve centers in your hands and arms, so if you get too close to something hot, you generate adrenaline, your hands and arms start to shake and you run away from it.

So, imagine if you’re putting a five-footer for par is analogous to fire. You’re going to get nervous and it’s going to affect your hands and arms. Your legs and core don’t shake, because they don’t have those receptors. So those are some of the reasons that we’ve veered off [from traditional designs] in putting.

I know beyond design, you have some unique ideas about how to setup and putt…

[Traditional instructors] teach you to make your legs stiff as a board, which you don’t ever have any stiffness in any motion in this world. Putting is no different. It’s exhausting. It doesn’t allow you to maintain any balance, when you’re stiff as a flagpole. We’re taught to square our shoulders up, which, once again, you’re going to lock out your trailing shoulder from rotating straight back and then try and move a putter that’s sticking out way ahead of where our eyes are in an arc using your hands and arms. And you can’t judge the speed of that, because once again, you’re not connected to the center where, like, your baseball throw is or your rock throw is. And you’re going to try to put a ball in a hole, where, if you’re off 1/16th of an inch from eight feet, you miss the putt.

So we simply said, let’s develop this stick. It got people in the proper shoulder tilt. This putter is, if you will, an orthotic. You set it down. The lean angle is about 12.5 degrees, which, if you put your hands together in front of you without doing any work, that’s about 12.5 degrees. So you set it down, you wrap yourself around it, right hand low. You hands and arms, with the shaft leaning against the inside of your left arm are now out of the stroke. So that club face is going to be stable. and liberating the shaft from the face of the putter allows your alignment to be better.

We tested this. We took about 100 really good golfers putting from 12 feet with their putter and asked them to line up a putt and they were about a cup out on each side. If you look down at traditional putters, the shaft is in the way of 1/3 or 1/4 of it, and the shorter something is, the harder it is to tell if it’s lined up. So, if you had a picture frame at home and it was 20 feet wide, you could really see if it was level. If it was an inch wide, you really couldn’t tell.

This alignment system is a curvilinear line in the middle that makes a T when your eyes are exactly over that line. You want to be looking right down and over the line of the putt. You don’t want to be bent with your eyes and ball in a different spot, because every angle is different based on the putting distance…your brain just doesn’t like that. It likes to look right down the line.

So we’ve got you set up down the line, we’ve got your shoulders in the proper tilt, we’ve got you lined up better. The fulcrum, this is the longest putting stroke in golf because the fulcrum is about a foot above your leading shoulder. So because your eyes are in the same sport over the ball every time, the rest of your body is in the same spot, we just collocated the proper angle of incidence from which to strike the ball. And the ball doesn’t wobble, it doesn’t skid because you’re striking it, literally, at almost the same spot every time.

So from your waist up should be one piece. Much like the rest of the golf swing. Much like shooting a basketball or throwing a baseball. So now you just liberate your knees. Make a small weight shift, moving your entire body with your quads. It’s the same thing your would with an 8-iron bump-and-run or with any other rotational movement, whether it’s bowling or hitting a driver.

Now, you’re using the mass that’s in your body, rather than the 20 or 30 pounds of mass that’s in your putter and arms. So judging the distance, much like throwing a rock, becomes simple.

And the stroke…?

If I gave you a baseball, and I said, “Throw it 30 feet away,” you wouldn’t even think about it. And if I backed up 10 more feet, you’d just turn harder. That’s the same concept.

So you can take the putter back three, four, five inches and just turn a little bit harder, and you’ll dial in the distance. It becomes so simple to do this.

And because the face doesn’t turn, and you’re using the mass of your body, the moment of inertia on this putter is negligible. Whether you hit the ball on the toe or the heel or anywhere, it doesn’t turn the face because the putter is stable against your leading arm.

Because you’re taking a shorter backstroke and coming straight through, you’re not taking a big, long backstroke using your hands and arms trying to decelerate because you’re off balance because your legs are locked down—you either have to slow down or recoil, because if you don’t you’re going to fall forward.

With this putting method, you’re stably shoulder-width, a little open to the hole and the center of your mass never leaves the middle. So you simply load your right side a little, release down the line and accelerate through the putt. And you’re balanced, so a thirty foot putt is just as easy to make as a five-footer.

You’ve mentioned that this putter and component method takes a lot of stress off the back?

The lie angle of this putter is between 13.5 and 15.5 degrees. So you’re spine angle and your cervical position are such that we’ve taken nearly all the stress off your back and neck. I’ve had people with for our five hours on the green putting with these things—with back problems—and they come up to me and say, “My back feels great.”

After a 5, 6, 7, 15, 18 holes, because you’re bent over putting, your back muscles are tired and they’re sore. So what you’ll start to see in almost every golfer’s round, they start to lift up during their regular swing because their backs are sore, so they’re topping the ball, they’re mishitting it. But this putter, it actually keeps your back so healthy, you can stay in that zone where’s you’re striking the ball where you want to because you’re back isn’t fatigued or sore. So it really helps the rest of your golf game as well.

Is this primarily a game-improvement putter?

This putter is for everybody. I’ve had PGA Tour pros use it. Every single person that uses it gets better. Everybody. If you think about this putter being the house, and your other putter being the gambler in Vegas. Over time, this putter will win, because it eliminates, statistically, the bulk of errors that you would have with your putter.

What’s on the horizon for BioMech?

Putter heads only come in about three flavors: blade, hybrid, and mallet. We have three putter heads coming out this year. We have an adjustable grip that allows you to change the length of the putter. We have some new shafts. Very sophisticated carbon fiber shafts with some differential stiffness in them based on how you putt the golf ball. So it becomes a putting system. Instead of spending hundreds and hundred of dollars for three putters, you could spend four or five hundred dollars for this system and have three putters, three possible shaft combinations, and it’s adjustable.

And maybe by the end of the year, we’ll have the first prototype wedge coming out with the same technology and angles as this so you don’t blade or skull or shank a chip shot again. If you’re a high-handicap golfer, you’re hitting one or two greens per round and you’re spending a lot of time around the greens chipping. These wedges make a lot easier for you to get the ball not only on the green but closer to the hole.

Everything we do is data-driven. We use the scientific method. We try to disprove any hypothesis that we have. It’s all about the data, including what the putters look like. The optimal goal is to build in the aesthetics as well as the functionality.

This year we’re rolling out a motion analysis system for putting. It’s going to be on the market hopefully in two to three months. It’s really a medical tool that we morphed into a way to teach you to chip and putt.

If I told you that one tenth of all golfers can take a golf lesson. We don’t think that’s the way it should be. For a small monthly subscription, less than a sleeve of golf balls, you can have these sensors…in real time…a band attached to your wrist…high-energy bluetooth…it tells you, in real time, what you’re doing wrong. And it can send that back to your teaching pro. And it’ll generate a report from some of the world’s best teaching pros.

It’s a hard game. It’s hard enough as it is. If you don’t have that teaching pro, it’s next to impossible. And you can generate this data 24/7, instead of having to go to a facility and be on a machine for 15 minutes and then go away.

What has the reception been like since the AccuLock Ace came on the market?

Last year, when we came on Tour, the announcers were like, “That’s a weird-looking stick.” But this year it’s like, “That’s really high-tech looking!” So we’re winning the battle slowly (laughing).

Technology drives tradition. We’re not using persimmon woods or wooden shafts anymore. So when better technology becomes available, it just becomes what’s traditional. If it’s good, and it works, and the science backs it up, it will become what people use. People will migrate to the optimal outcome all the time. You know, if there are five hospitals and four of them have high mortality rates, they’ll go to the fifth one.

At BioMech, because we’re all data driven and have a much better understanding of how the body works than most companies, we feel that this [putter] just makes sense for people. And if they use it, they’ll see that their putting will improve. Not only will you make more putts, but the quality of your misses will be much, much better, which is, at the end of the day, just as important. I’d rather have tap-ins than three and four-footers. Then I’m happy playing the game. I’m not depressed on the next hole, and the game becomes fun again.

Your Reaction?
  • 120
  • LEGIT20
  • WOW24
  • LOL5
  • IDHT8
  • FLOP4
  • OB2
  • SHANK40

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Dave Ryley

    Jul 18, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Old concept from the “Perfect Putter” company , was in Ft. Pierce, Fl…sold out to Oddysey for their patent on “back-shafted” putters. I had a longer version that tucked under your left arm-pit (for a righty). Loved it… Of course that is now illegal, so I cut it down to 37″, it is very similar to this one. Cobra also made a similar model.

  2. Chopper

    Jul 1, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I have this putter along with the Kuchar and the Oddesey 7 arm locks. This putter lines up very nicely, it has excellent feel, and puts a great roll on the ball. However, the lie angle is where they missed the mark. I was always a broomsticker so I am used to the 79 degree lie, but it just doesn’t work with the arm lock. If I could find a way to take about 5 degrees of lie I think it would be great.

  3. Brian

    Jun 27, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    I was one of the first people to purchase and own one when they first came out. It simply wasn’t for me. I called the company, and I was told no returns. Fair enough, policy is policy. Like most of on here, a gave a description in the forums. It was not positive/negative, it was a simple review of my thoughts and how the putter reacted in my hands. Two days later, the company emailed me, took the putter back, and asked that I delete my post in the forum.

    Not saying that the putter is good or bad, as what works for some may not work for others. But in my experience, it was the worst feeling putter I have ever picked up.

  4. Steve S

    Jun 27, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    If this thing helps, I don’t care how I look. Moe Norman had a funny looking swing and hit the ball dead straight anytime he wanted. Furyck has a goofy swing and Arnie’s was pretty ugly. Who cares as long as you finish with the lowest score….

  5. golf nuts

    Jun 27, 2016 at 3:42 am

    funny buggers golfers,as long as its shiny and bears a name brand,its gotta be better and most of the time its not,they hate change.I for one would at least give it a go.Not much has changed in the last 40 years,for all the hype.

  6. The dude

    Jun 26, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    OK I admit, I used my life savings to invest in this company and all I’ve got to date is a sample putter and a golf shirt.

  7. Obee

    Jun 26, 2016 at 10:22 am

    I tried one. It’s definitely the worst of the arm-lock putters. Far too upright and far too unnatural and contrived of a set-up position. The arm-lock method is definitely legit, but this putter misses the mark for sure.

    • Obee

      Jun 27, 2016 at 5:20 pm

      Have you putted with an arm-lock putter? Both the Bettinardi and the Odyssey are solid options for anyone looking for a little help with the yipperoos. Two pros at my club use an arm lock and I think you will see more and more going to it in the future. Certainly not a majority of golfers, but I think you will see the concept catch on a bit more than it has so far. But I could be wrong.

  8. ooffa

    Jun 26, 2016 at 6:47 am

    wow, all of the science and thought that went into this putter is impressive. With all of that research and technology they have managed to come up with this ugly piece of crap. All that has been proven is that you CAN put too much thought into a project.

    • The dude

      Jun 26, 2016 at 11:38 am

      ,…begs the question…have you tried it?…this site is FULL of knuckleheads that are more concerned about how it looks it their bag…as appose to what it produces for your score…..I have no investment, this little thing works!!!

    • Devyn

      Jun 26, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      All that you’ve proven is you’re ignorant enough to judge a product without having tried it.

  9. theaveragepunter

    Jun 26, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Golfers = the last snake oil customers. A Solid technique, the right mindset and any old putter will make you a good putter. Your welcome.

    • The dude

      Jun 26, 2016 at 9:01 am

      You statement is flawed….first, most golfers need to be given a technique that will change the behavior (poor putting)….secondly….uhhhh…no secondly….that’s it :)….

  10. The dude

    Jun 25, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    I use it…all I can say…I said the same thing you girls are remarking about….then I gave it a real try…..I enjoy putting again!!!..i.e…I’m making A LOT more putts

  11. Joe

    Jun 25, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    U-G-L-Y, with a capitol UG.

    No I would not use it.

  12. Dave

    Jun 25, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Even if I one putted every green I couldn’t put that in my bag.

    • The dude

      Jun 25, 2016 at 11:44 pm

      #howdumbareyou

    • Devyn

      Jun 26, 2016 at 1:05 pm

      Just more confirmation that many golfers #1 fear is how they look in front of other people. So ironic, for a game that is nothing more than the golfer versus the course

  13. Stu

    Jun 25, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Of course I would try it. Put in the PGA stores so I can feel it.

  14. Bert

    Jun 25, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Nope wouldn’t even try it, for me, and that’s me, nothing can match my Ping Anser 2 Nickel Putter.

    • The dude

      Jun 25, 2016 at 11:48 pm

      Yeah…..id keep buying $500 drivers if I were you……that 20 handicap will surely improve!….enjoy mediocrity:)

      • DaCrusher

        Jun 30, 2016 at 8:44 am

        Haha! And YOUR a plus-2 handicap I take it by the cockiness of your responses?

  15. 4pillars

    Jun 25, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    So to sum up its a funny looking an arm lock putter.

    Is it stroke balanced?

  16. JR

    Jun 25, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    looks like a gimmick and pc. of junk!!

  17. Scooter McGavin

    Jun 25, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I died of old age before I could finish this article. Posting comment from the grave…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying about iron covers

Published

on

@thegolfinggreen

In our forums, our members have been discussing iron covers with WRXer ‘anythingfinite’ championing the use of iron covers when walking. As a walker, ‘anythingfinite’ says

“I hated the sound of clubs clanking together with every step. So I used neoprene iron covers and endured the ridicule for years. They never, ever slowed my play as I average 18 holes in a little over 2.5hrs playing by myself. It was never about protecting resale value, just about the noise.”

And our members have been discussing iron covers and whether they currently use them or would be tempted to use them in the future.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • jvincent: “Clanking irons in the bag is like the sound of metal spikes on a path. It’s old school golf.”
  • Z1ggy16: “Toss your club cleaning towel in the clubs to help stop them from clanking *as much*. You can also use your one hand to kind of hold some of them in place as you walk.”
  • Windlaker_1: “I use the neoprene covers. Not for resale value, as I normally keep them so long they aren’t worth diddley-poo at that point. Use them to maintain a nice-looking set of irons.”
  • MtlJeff: “I don’t really notice it that much when I walk, to be honest. Maybe its how I arrange my clubs….If the clanging is bothering me, you can just move the clubs slightly, and it usually mitigates it. But if you’re like, breakdancing down the fairway, tough to stop it.”
  • puttingmatt: “It’s your choice. I use iron covers, lets me not forget a club around the green, as the cover in pocket is a quick reminder that something is a miss. Also, it’s a good way to protect your clubs, and at these prices, makes you wonder why not since woods and putters are sold with covers that are intended to be used. One other note, it may keep others from assessing what’s in the bag, and keep a thief wondering if the bag is worth the effort. Hate the feeling about club theft, but clubs are targets.”

Entire Thread: “Confessions of an iron cover user”

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Equipment

Is 8 degrees between pitching wedge and sand wedge too much? – GolfWRXers have their say

Published

on

In our forums, our members have been discussing gapping degrees and whether 8-degrees between your PW and SW is too much. WRXer ‘jonsnow’ seldom hits his GW and is considering dropping the club from the bag and wants to know, if he does so, will the current 8-degree gap between his wedges be too much. Our members have their say.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • ZA206: “For years I played a 47 PW and a 56 SW. I had a big hole in my scoring irons range (115-105 yards) that I tried to avoid at all costs. It cost me many strokes over the years. I felt like that gap was way too big and eventually settled on 46, 51, 55 (I also play a 60 LW) as my preferred setup. No gaps and I can hit every yardage without any issue. I’m a much better wedge player now than I ever was back then, but that’s not due to having more wedges, that’s more about technique.”
  • RainShadow: “In theory, yes. In actual real world action, depends on how many types of shots you can hit with the PW.”
  • MtlJeff: “I’ve played with 52 to 60 gaps. It depends on what type of shots you want to hit. I never chip with sand wedge and would rather hit a 3/4 shot with a 52 than a full with a 56. So it all depends on your game.”
  • bazinky: “A lot depends on how often you have shots in that yardage range. For example, I replaced my 50 and 54 with a single 52 wedge because I hardly ever had a yardage that required my 50 (I would sometimes go weeks without ever hitting it). That said, my biggest gap is 6 degrees. I think it’s doable as long as you have the discipline to be smart when you have a bad yardage. It can be tough to just aim for the fat of the green when you have a wedge in your hand.”
  • Pingistheanser: “I don’t think so. I’m more of a believer that you should pick lofts based upon the distances that you need to hit from. If those lofts allow you to hit distances that you need to hit, then they’re fine for you. I’m not a believer that you should have 4-degree gaps between your wedges because what good is a club that you never hit because you never find yourself in that distance range? For a time last year, I carried a 46-degree AW and a 56 degree as my only wedges, and they worked just fine. I’d sometimes have to make some adjustments if I found myself 90 yards off of the green because it would be too far for the 56, so I would just narrow my stance, grip down a bit and only swing the AW at about 75%.”

Entire Thread: “Is 8 degrees between PW and SW too much?”

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Equipment

Are modern irons with stronger lofts easier/harder to hit than older irons? – GolfWRXers have their say

Published

on

In our forums, our members have been discussing modern irons with stronger lofts and whether they are easier or harder to play than older irons. WRXer ‘harpu728’ kicks off the thread saying:

“Being that higher-lofted irons within the same set are easier to hit (i.e. an 8 iron is easier to hit than a 6 iron), I’m trying to draw comparisons to modern irons with stronger lofts, and if these lofts make them harder to hit in theory.

My 10-year-old’s 7 iron is 33 degrees and carries about 150. When comparing this to some of the newer sets out there where 7-irons are slightly longer (club length) and have lofts of 30 degrees, would this mean that ‘on paper’ the modern 7-iron is ‘harder’ to hit than my 10-year old’s 7 iron? Or should I be comparing my 7-iron to the modern 8-iron, which would likely carry as far as my current 7-iron?”

And our members have been weighing in with their thoughts in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • CAT GOLFER: “Good question, the way I understand it, disregard the number on the bottom of the club. A stronger(lower) loft in newer irons will produce a higher ball flight than the weaker(higher) loft in older clubs. At least that is the marketing pitch. The intent is to make it easier to launch the ball higher and in the process easier to hit. Also, keep in mind modern clubs also have more forgiveness built into them. Stronger lofted, higher launching, easier to hit if you buy the whole pitch.”
  • Sean2: “I don’t pay attention to the number on the club, so much as the loft. With the stronger lofts, I have no long irons in my bag as I simply can’t hit them…maybe being 65 has something to do with it as well, lol. At one time I carried 4-iron on down, now it’s 7-iron on down. But no way I can hit a 18º-19º 4-iron, let alone a 21º 5. I have the same number of irons…they just have a different number/letter on them than they did before.”
  • Warrick: “Important to pair the right shaft with these new iron setups, more so than ever.”
  • puttingmatt: “Look at it like this, instead of missing the green with a standard lofted 7 iron, now you can miss the green with the strong lofted 8 iron. I do not think the modern lofted irons translate into better scores or better misses for golfers. The loft alone is not going to turn a 5hc into a scratch player.”
  • lil’mike: “I guess you could say it something like this. Nowadays when you use a 5 iron, you get the height of a 6 iron but the distance of a 4 iron! Lol. I do think that it can make it hard to hold greens with the irons producing lower spin or at least too low of spin like some reviewers have mentioned in some cases. The bad thing about the stronger lofts is that they are getting to the point of needing two-gap wedges now before you reach the loft spacing that a sand wedge loft of 56 degrees has. For example, the new Mavrik irons have two gap wedges. So it is a 4 iron at 18 degrees, a PW is 41, so AW is 46 and GW is 51. I think that is getting ridiculous as they are turning the stock set makeup from 3-PW to 6-double gap wedge! lol”

Entire Thread: “Are modern irons with stronger lofts easier/harder to hit than older irons?”

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending