You need to understand your golf swing “signature”


    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!

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    1. Pretty interesting. However I think shaft deflection is sorely lacking in the models. Without knowledge of exactly where the shaft is bending and in what orientations knowing where the hands (hub in your lexicon) and clubhead are are somewhat meaningless. In other words. In large part the way a tour player releases the hands thru impact is a direct result of how they use forces to load the shaft. Club face angle is really key as well in determining what signature a golfer employs.

    2. I have Zepp. Not really of any help to me. I think things like it are only band aids that cause you to manipulate the club to obtain a picture perfect result. It’s just to support the concept of a positional golf swing as opposed to a directed energy (my term)) swing such as taught by Shawn Clement.
      Of course, golf being what it is, use whatever works for you.

    3. Hi Michael!
      What methods do you use to get the higher handicap player to close in on the tour player characteristics? What was the focus at the time of the swing in each of the players graphs that you displayed here?
      Thank you! Shawn

    4. Zepp shows your hand path. SkyPro will show you more data e.g. face angle at p6. But is on the shaft. SkyPro is also good for putting e.g. face angle at impact. Both $150. I recommend them both.

    5. Must be something like apply force along the shaft, away from the target initially, tuck that right elbow and start extending the arm, twist around the shaft to close the face, get your hands wide and low, then yank it up through impact. I would say the hub path describes an athletic motion like throwing a ball far; you load the right arm, flex the elbow, then the elbow leads as you extend the arm. The intent – I don’t think there is an intent. I think top players watched others when they were young and allowed a human being’s own innate ability to throw (or do anything athletic) develop without conscious thought. When I’m throwing at a target I’m thinking of nothing, all someone once told me was ‘if your ball hits the target before the runner they are out’.

      In this instance, I would say to a high handicapper with a poor ‘hub path’ either intend to throw later, or at a different target. I might pose them an impact with body open and shaft leaning, get them to release the club forward five times and then let them ‘just swing’. All are generally surprised at the amount of lag they have without thinking about how they got to and through such a ‘position’. Or with a really top player I might work on them getting tier hands wider initially in transition whilst holding on the right leg.

    6. Calling out your know it all attitude, your rude combative tone and your blatant clueless posts are a public service. I am proud to offer this service to this forum. It’s what you wrongfully call trolling but what others call a great help in ridding this site of your garbage spewing posts. Oh, and BTW as you would say..soooooo obvious…..

    7. I am familiar with shaflab. I don’t think they reached the conclusions you describe. Even if they did, its ancient technology – Fujikura’s Enso lab is a much better tool and they certainly don’t reach those conclusions. The Laws of the Golf Swing sounds more like the maybe there’s a propensity for this thing that we are going to claim is a law regarding the golf swing. I’m not buying loading patters and body type are any more than ever so slightly positively correlated. Why? Because I see so much evidence against it.