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Opinion & Analysis

Measured Golf: It’s all about performance

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If you haven’t yet heard about Measured Golf consider this an introduction.

Measured Golf is a 6,000 square foot state-of-the-art indoor golf performance center located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, founded by Michael Dutro and Adam White.

At GolfWRX we are fascinated with the performance side of golf, and we caught up with their team to talk about what makes Measured Golf different.

Where and how did Measured Golf get started?

Michael Dutro: Measured Golf was founded in May of 2020 when I left the academy that I had previously instructed at and formed Measured Golf with my business partner Adam White. We started out at Lake Forest Golf Club and Learning Center in Ann Arbor, then quickly grew a following of students. With the support of Lake Forest Golf Club and Learning Center, construction quickly began on the indoor golf performance center so Measured Golf would be able to continue to work with our athletes during the winter months.

What separates Measured Golf from other improvement facilities?

MD: The core belief at Measured Golf is there are no absolutes and no outliers. That sentiment is shared by Mike Adams and our BioSwing Dynamics team.

You see, we all have different shaped and sized bodies, so why are we all trying to swing the club the same way? This question sparked a thirst for knowledge and the rest as they say is history. I’ve spent the past two years learning from some of the most decorated instructors in the game and that journey has led to spending time with several people outside of golf, including many biomechanists, Ph.D.’s, and anyone who deals with human performance at the highest levels. We use this knowledge to help every golfer we see.

As a facility designed with the sole purpose of helping golfers get the most out of their game, beyond the experience you bring, what equipment do you use to help golfers understand their swing?

MD: We have three TrackMan 4 simulators bays that are equipped with Smart2Move 1D and 3D Dual Force Plates to help athletes understand their ground reaction forces.

We also have a 2,500 square foot short game area featuring a putting surface with undulation built-in and a sod-wall bunker. In addition to our golf-specific training space, we also have a full gym that is operated by our partner Aram Kushigian with Smash Factor Performance and Adam White heads up our club fitting department that features National Custom Works, Miura, PXG, Epon, TaylorMade, Mizuno, L.A.B. Golf, and Edel.

What does the path for improvement look like for a Measured Golf athlete? 

MD: After an interview and screening process, we build a blueprint for how that golfer can swing the club in the most efficient and effective way possible. Both Adam and I have devoted our careers to helping athletes understand why they move the golf club the way they do and how to create the correct “matchups” so each player can swing hard without fear of the big miss.

In addition to screening each athlete to understand what their “best” swing will look like from a kinematic perspective, we use 3D Dual Force Plates to measure how the athlete uses the ground to create the best and safest motion for that individual.

For us, understanding how the body is “pushing” against the ground and how the ground is “pushing” back is key to helping every athlete unlock their speed. Essentially, we all use the same ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies, yet everyone’s cookies still taste different. The Force Plates allow us to understand and show the athletes how to use the right amount of each ingredient to produce their best golf swing.

At the end of the day, three golf nerds sat down and decided to create the ultimate golf nerd facility. Built by golf nerds for golf nerds.

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

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Best fairway and hybrids of 2021 with GolfWRX’s Barath and Knudson

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GolfWRX’s list of the best fairways and hybrids for 2021 is out and being talked about all over—these lists were created by data from the best fitters from the USA and Canada. Ryan Barath and Brian Knudson discuss what made the list and some surprises that missed.

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Opinion & Analysis

Fix your golf back pain, Step 1: The importance of assessment

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This article is co-written with Marnus Marais. Since 2011, Marnus has worked with some of the world’s best players on both the PGA Tour and European Tour, helping them to maintain optimal health and peak physical performance. His current stable of players includes Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, and Louis Oosthuizen, amongst others. 

This article is No. 1 in a 4 part series:

Step 1: The Importance of Assessment

Step 2: Early Stage Rehab

Step 3: Functional Strength and Golf Movement Patterns

Step 4: Building global strength for prevention of future injury

Introduction

If your back pain has been bugging you for a while and is starting to annoy and worry you, then your enjoyment of the game and your performance is likely beginning to be affected too. It’s frustrating, and you are ready to take action……..with your new foam roller and exercise bands in hand, you’re ready to knock the back pain on the head finally and forever. 

Please wait a moment before you start!

Back pain and especially back pain in golfers, is a complicated thing. More often than not, it’s the result of many contributing factors, and is vitally important that you identify what those factors are before you start your mission to fix your back pain. We really can’t stress this point enough! We have seen many people start a program to ‘help’ or ‘strengthen’ their backs, but only succeed in making them worse and getting even more frustrated.

As the famous saying goes: “If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing!”

To help successfully address your back pain, we must first identify what the main causes are. In our experience, it’s usually a combination of factors from these three categories:

1 – Physical issues (muscle imbalances, alignment issues, muscle weakness, lack of strength endurance, etc.)

2 – Golf swing mechanics (swing faults such over-swinging and excessive side bend)

3 – Lifestyle factors (sleep, diet, hydration, stress, posture, activity level outside of golf, etc.)

To help identify contributing physical issues, specific physical tests and screening tests are extremely valuable. There is a range of these we like to use, and in this article, we will share 5 of the main ones with you. These are tests we often use with our professional golfers on the road and remotely when we can’t see them in person. They are also go-to tests and screens we use with our online clients who can do them in the comfort of their own homes.

These tests will help give you an indication if an underlying alignment or muscle imbalance issue could be a contributing factor to your stubborn back pain. Please read the instructions carefully! Even though they seem like ‘simple’ tests, they are subtle, and the more careful you are with the execution, the better the results will be.

With all these tests, it can be helpful to take a picture or video with your phone. It is also useful to have them documented for comparison with future test results.

Test 1 – Leg Length Test

  • Start by lying on your back relaxed.
  • Rest your arms at your sides on the floor. Take a normal breath in through your nose. Exhale fully through your mouth to bring the ribcage downward and to feel your lower back make contact on the floor.
  • Ask a friend or family member to have a look at the bones on the insides of your ankles (medial malleolus).
  • Are they the same level, or is one higher/lower compared to the other one?

Test 2 – Seated Ankle Mobility Test

  • In bare feet, sit with both heels on the floor and your back resting comfortably against the back of the chair.
  • Hips and knees should be bent approximately 90 degrees each.
  • Keeping your heels on the ground, feet flat, and toes pointing straight ahead.
  • Slide your foot straight back until your heel starts lifting up off the floor. Stop as soon as the heel starts lifting up.
  • Note the distance. Keep that foot there.
  • Now repeat on the other side.
  • Note if there is any difference in range of motion between the two sides.

Test 3 – Seated Rotation Test

  • In bare feet, sit on the front half of a chair with both heels on the floor.
  • You should feel your “sit bones” in contact with the chair.
  • Find the center of both heels and maintain the position throughout the test.
  • Place a foam roller, small ball or equivalent object of about 4-6” in diameter between your knees.
  • Place a broomstick, golf club or the equivalent across the front of the shoulders with your arms crossed.
  • Keeping your heels centered at all times and holding the stick stable across the front of your shoulders, turn the shoulders as far as you can to the right.
  • Note how far and how easily you can turn to your right side.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Again, keeping your heels centered at all times and holding the stick stable across the front of your shoulders, turn the shoulders as far as you can to the left.
  • Note how far and how easily you can turn to your left side.
  • Repeat the test a few times to ensure an accurate measurement.
  • Take note of any difference in range of motion between the two sides, and areas of restriction and discomfort.

Test 4 – Supine Hip Internal Rotation Range Test

  • Start by lying on your back relaxed.
  • Rest your arms at your sides on the floor. Take a normal breath in through your nose. Exhale fully through your mouth to bring the ribcage downward and to feel your lower back make contact with the floor (as discussed above).
  • Lightly squeeze either your fists, foam roller, or a small ball between your knees.
  • Rotate your feet outwards while maintaining 90 degrees at your hips and knees.
  • This will measure your hip internal rotation range of movement.
  • Go as far as comfortably possible. Don’t force it.
  • Take note of the range of motion and any difference between the two sides.


Test 5 – Seated Hip External Range Test

  • Sit with both heels on the floor and your back resting comfortably against the back of the chair.
  • Bring the outside of your ankle and place it on the top of the opposite knee.
  • Go as far as comfortably possible. Don’t force it.
  • Relax in this position.
  • This will measure your hip external rotation range of movement in the seated position.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Take note of any difference in range of motion between the two sides, and areas of restriction and discomfort.

If there is an imbalance or difference between the left and the right sides in any of the above tests, it could be an indication that you might have an alignment or muscle imbalance issue that needs to be addressed first before you start any strengthening program. You wouldn’t want to throw a bigger, more powerful engine in a car with poor alignment and bad suspension!

In the next article; Step 2: Early Stage Rehab, we will provide you with exercises that can help improve mobility / flexibility, muscle imbalances and posture issues.

If you would like to see how Marnus can help with your golfing back pain, then check out the resources below:

Marnus Marais – marnusmarais.com

If you would like to access training programs designed for elite and recreational players, then check out the following resources and services from Nick at Golf Fit Pro:

Articles
Golf Fit Pro App (iOS)
Online Training
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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Reviewing TaylorMade and Miura Irons, All-Fit Universal Shaft System

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TaylorMade’s new SIM2 Max and SIM2 Max OS irons are meant to make the game easy and fun, but they both offer solid sound and feel. Miura is going to make a splash in the game improvement with its PI-401 iron. Really solid performance with a great feel that you would expect from Miura. All-Fit is a new universal shaft system that allows you to use any shaft in any driver head. They have a few limitations, but overall a great way to tinker.

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