The golf swing is one of the most complex movements in all of sports. The search for the perfect swing started hundreds of years ago, and we have seen it develop at a rapid pace in the past 20 years. Equipment companies, universities, the USGA, and NGF are just some of the agencies that have attempted to solve the riddle of golfer performance.
So what have we learned to date?
That was one of my biggest questions when I set out on a voyage to sort through all that was available in the world of published golf research, and it led me to where I am today. I decided that I would need to own and develop my own golf swing analysis software, a project that became a fusion of my years of teaching experience with a man I think is the most influential researcher in the history of the game, Dr. Steven Nesbit.
People often ask me what we’ve learned so far, and I tell them that we have uncovered a lot about how the golfer influences and puts their load on a golf club. Through the use of optical 3D-motion capture (I use a system called GEARS), we collect a swing’s data points and then process that data in a mathematical logarithm that we have designed to report on how the golfer pulled, pushed, and twisted on the grip to create the movement that you see.
The way in which the golfer influences the club is extremely complex, and the explanation of exactly what is happening in a golf swing explains why the game is so difficult. There are so many variations in style with so many factors intertwined that it makes the explanation fascinating, but often not all that satisfying. Many golfers are looking for that one idea that will transform their swing and game. What we have found is that it’s never just one thing; it’s many things wrapped together, and sometimes the solution can turn up to be something completely unexpected.
My Jacobs 3D’s proprietary golf research software takes the recorded data and processes the actions of the golfer to show how the golfer created their movements. It runs as deep as analyzing the movement of each major joint in the body and how every separate joint can affect the whole. Using it, we have begun to isolate the traits of superior golfers. There are a set of parameters that we can say are characteristics of a high-performing swing, and as time goes on we will share all of these with the GolfWRX Community.
There is, however, one thing that is unique to every single golfer: a swing “signature,” so to speak. A swing signature is the path that the movement of the center of the golfer’s hands take during the swing, which we call the “hub path.” The images below are from my book Elements of the Swing, which explain the hub in detail.
What does a golfer’s hub path tell us? We have found that the unique movement of this Hub Path can give an overall picture of the internal and external movements of the golfer. It can describe how a golfer is taking advantage of motion of the body, but it can also show how a golfer is compensating for their weaknesses in body movement.
In the video at the top of the story, I explain how you can figure out your own Hub Path and how you can use it to analyze your swing. I hope you enjoy it!