There seems to be a debate in golf instruction concerning old-school versus new-school teaching. I think the discussion is mostly academic and largely a product of the golf blogosphere, which is in reality an amalgam of disparate ideas, the sum of which can lead to more confusion than clarity. The point is that any good teacher of the game should be a student of all the new science while striving for the simplest ways to convey the data to their students.
Imagine taking a golf lesson that removes any doubt about what your golf swing is doing. Imagine having the confidence to know exactly what to work on. Even picture a scenario where you can virtually see yourself on every swing. It’s a reality with a new technology called GEARS golf.
GEARS, which stands for Golf Evaluation and Research System, was launched at the PGA show in 2014 after five years of development. It’s a full swing, club and body-tracking system used by PGA pros, club fitters, teachers and equipment manufacturers to measure tiny nuances in full 3D from address to follow through. Unlike Trackman and FlightScope, it’s not a Doppler radar system; it’s a motion-capture system built on the same technology used by biomechanists and filmmakers. With GEARS, eight 1.7-megapixel cameras run at 360 frames per second creating measurements as fine as 0.2 mm. There are no wires, and it works for any golfer and any golf club.
“GEARS is the most accurate golf swing tracking system on the planet,” says Michael Neff, Director of GEARS Sports. And I believe him.
In my many years of teaching our game, I have always found it necessary to ask three simple questions:
- What is the ball doing?
- What did the club do to influence the ball?
- What did player do to influence the golf club?
GEARS is the only system I have ever found that answers all three questions with absolute certainty, thanks to its ability to analyze over 600 images per swing in less than a second. In the videos below, you can see just a few examples of what the system offers.
Club Head Speed and Club Face Contact
Club Head Path
Some golfers, and even some golf instructors might consider this too much detail. Why would anyone need this much information? Well, you may or may not… but why not have access to all the accurate information you can and then simply take from it what you need?
You can use the info GEARS provides for a thorough club fitting, or find the things you need to work on in your swing. Remember the avatars you see in these videos are of YOU swinging the golf club. The data gathered is the true trace of the arms, body, wrists and all parts of the golf club throughout the entire swing.
Many of you who read my GolfWRX articles know me as a non-technical teacher, and to a large extent I do try to simplify my instruction and condense the information as much as possible. But non-technical is not to be confused with unscientific or irrational. Everything any good teacher does must be based on the latest research in the field and GEARS represents that horizon. Three-dimensional analyses are at the forefront of where teaching and fitting is right now, and to disregard it is a disservice to our students. What I particularly like is that GEARS can offer me measurements, not estimates, and that is the essence of the this cutting edge system.
There are currently 32 GEARS systems in the United States. Systems sell for about $32,000, and golfers can book time on a system for roughly $200-$250 for 1-2 hours. Email [email protected] to learn more.
Club Junkie: Wedge Wednesday! New Edel SMS and Cobra Snakebite
Wedge Wednesday is here! We have some new wedges from Edel and Cobra that were just released. Edel’s SMS wedge with Swing Match Weighting System is made to be adjusted for each player’s swing. Cobra’s Snakebite wedge has wider and shallower full-face grooves for more spin out of any lie.
Ways to Win: Up and down – The Spieth rollercoaster notches a rare short game win
Jordan Spieth is back! After a long hiatus from the winner’s circle, Spieth was able to break through at the Oaks Course at TPC of San Antonio to capture his 12th career PGA TOUR victory at the Valero Texas Open. It wasn’t easy, but then again, nothing ever is with Spieth. The Golden Child always seems to find a way to add dramatics whether its shots from the driving range to steal the British Open from Matt Kuchar or holing a bunker shot to force (John Deere) or win (Travelers) a playoff. That sense of drama and fun that has surrounded the always-vocal Spieth has been missing in recent years as his weekend struggles had him plummeting down the World Rankings.
Earlier this year, he started showing signs of life with a handful of 54 hole leads, only to be undone with mediocre Sunday performances. Through eight holes on Saturday, sitting at +1 for the day, it looked like this would also be just another missed opportunity. But then Spieth did what Spieth does. He made birdies in bunches and showed off that terrific short game.
Spieth has never been traditional in the way he wins. Though he is probably best known for his putting stroke, in his best years, he was also quite dominant with his irons. This week was no exception. We can use V1 Game’s Strokes Gained Stacked view to see how Spieth performed in Driving, Approach, Short Game, and Putting over the four rounds.
The first thing that jumps out, looking at Spieth’s performance, is his short game. Speith gained well over 4 strokes over the average PGA Tour player for the week. This is not common for PGA TOUR winners. The main reason is that gaining strokes in the Short Game requires opportunities from inside 75 yards. In order to have opportunities, that typically means that you have to miss greens. Most PGA TOUR winners do not many miss greens on their way to a trophy, however Jordan Spieth missed many at the Valero Texas Open. In fact, he finished the week tied for 66th in greens in regulation (GIR) hitting only 58 percent. This is certainly more of an outlier in terms of GIR for tour winners, but when you have a short game as good as Spieth’s, you can get away with it.
The second observation is that Spieth was almost perfectly average with Driving. He came out positive in strokes gained for the week, but finished 38th in the field for Strokes Gained Driving. Strokes Gained Driving accounts for both distance and accuracy and while Jordan is certainly not one of the longest hitters on tour, lately his struggle has been with accuracy. He is hitting around 50 percent of his fairways and while the rough was not overly penal this week, several times Spieth was putting himself into recovery or difficult situations.
Known for his putting, Spieth demonstrated exactly why this weekend. For starters, he had no three putts. While a lot of the field struggled to get the ball in the hole, Jordan minimized mistakes. In fact, Jordan gained strokes on the field putting from every distance bucket <25 ft. He gained almost more than one stroke per round on the field from four -15 ft each day. Those strokes add up at the end of the week and Spieth’s putter certainly gives him an advantage.
Spieth is peaking just in time for The Masters at a golf course where he has traditionally played very well. But what should he be working on heading to Augusta? We can use V1 Game’s Virtual Coach to breakdown his game and give us some insights on how he should be practicing this week.
V1 Game’s Virtual Coach tells Jordan that first he should work on Driving as it is currently the weakest part of his game (relative to other Tour professionals). The quick insight shows that he is missing to the right more than 30 percent of the time and is losing, on average, around a third of a stroke per round from putting his tee shots into recovery situations.
Next, V1 Game’s Virtual Coach highlights Approach as his next-biggest area of focus. With the Virtual Coach, we can go as deep as we want to go to get specific targets for practice. Clicking on “WORK ON NEXT” takes us to the Approach Histogram which shows us that Jordan is gaining strokes for most yardage buckets, but struggling from 151-175 yards. This is where he should spend some time practicing, but we can go even deeper than that. Clicking on the insight takes us to a breakdown of his performance from that distance, shows that he only hit the green 25 percent of the time and tended to miss long. These key insights could help Spieth fine-tune a problem area heading into one of the most important weeks of the year.
As a Spieth fan, I was delighted to see him breakthrough and win again on the PGA TOUR. Golf is better when Jordan Spieth is adding his theatrics to the mix. His combination of approach and putting mixed with unbelievable short game is a thrill to watch. It is rare to see a PGA TOUR winner do so much damage with the short game. This proves there is more than one way to win on tour and more than one way to get it done on the golf course.
If you want to play like Jordan Spieth and start practicing the areas that will impact your game the most, V1 Game can help simplify the results of your performance and get you focusing on the right areas to improve the fastest. Download the app for free and get started on your path to better golf.
Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Responsible speed training for sustainable personal bests
It is truly awesome what is happening with Bryson DeChambeau and Kyle Berkshire and more of their young friends who are in shape are joining the bandwagon. But at an all-out slash fest trying to get 160mph ball speed with a 7-iron for a two-hour session would send 90% of us to the hospital. It’s safe to say it is not for everyone. To increase your clubhead speed responsibly long term really starts with us.
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