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Experts on understanding ground force and how shoes can impact your golf game



Back in 2021, GolfWRX wanted to learn more about the data surrounding Sqairz golf shoes’ bold performance claims. We talked with Terry Hashimoto, co-founder of BodiTrak, who tested (and continues to test) golfer performance when wearing the company’s shoes.

Hashimoto’s research showed the average gains for golfers wearing Sqairz shoes compared to the golfers’ previous footwear was an average of an 8-yard extra carry distance, 13mph increased ball speed, 11-degrees increase in hip rotation, and a greater smash factor of 7%. Sqairz wearers leveraged the company’s industry-leading ground connection for better balance, energy exchange, and weight transfer for better ball speed and carry numbers.

As a refresher, here’s what we said about Sqairz golf shoe technology.

At the heart of the design behind the technologically advanced shoes is the patented squared toe. The interior design of the square toe allows the golfer’s toes to sit comfortably in the shoe, with a wider base and a heel stabilizer designed to provide enhanced balance and stability. The square toe also allows golfers a unique freedom for their toes to sit naturally with a full range of motion and a noticeable feel for the ground.

Sqairz testing found that added flexibility in competitive sneaker-like golf shoes promoted inversion, the foot (weight) moving to the outside of the trail foot. This is when the golfer gets stuck on the right side (for right-handed golfers) and not being able to shift the weight back to the lead side.

With the Sqairz golf shoe, golfers are provided with a structured upper material often used in sports such as football and soccer to provide structure for sudden weight shifts. Along with this upper material, the outsole and midsole have been optimized for the right amount of flexibility to promote efficient energy exchange and stability. In addition, Sqairz has engineered a heel stabilizer that keeps the heel down throughout the swing and prevents ankle roll-over injuries on all types of lies.

Sqairz shoes also feature the widest base and greatest amount of ground coverage of any golf shoe, which is proven to provide better balance and stability as well as offer efficient braking power. Braking occurs towards the end of the backswing and immediately before the ball is struck. Golfers shift the weight from the trail to the lead side and this optimized braking at the right time allows for increased swing speed.

To take the conversation further, we caught up with Hashimoto again, as well as Tyler Standifird, who is a Professor of Biomechanics and Kinesiology at Utah Valley University and a sports performance researcher.

GolfWRX: What is ground force, in simple terms, for the golfer who has heard it mentioned but doesn’t really understand what it is?

TH: How we use the ground during our swing to effect optimal performance.

TS: Ground reaction force is based on Newton’s 3rd law, which is the action-reaction law. Ground reaction force is the force exerted by the ground as a reaction to internal pushes, forces from our muscles and bodies. A desk won’t move on its own, it can only push on the ground at the same value, minute by minute year by year. But humans have the capacity to alter their interactions with the ground by using muscles to push on the ground to get altered forces from the ground that create motion in human movement.

Terry Hashimoto

GolfWRX: Why is ground force so important in the golf swing?

TH: Learning how to use the ground optimally will increase a golfer’s stability, range of motion, and lateral speed leading to greater ball speed, distance, and tighter dispersion.

TS: The ground is one of our two connections in the golf swing. It is impossible to create the motion you want in the golf swing without proper GRF. Just imagine swinging a golf club on ice, or in slippery conditions, it is incredibly difficult and takes out a key source of your power, the legs and the ground. GRF in the golf swing is what allows us to create efficient powerful swings, with forces that occur at the right time in the swing, in the right direction, and with the correct magnitude.

Tyler Standifird

GolfWRX: Growing up, golf instruction rarely seemed to mention the ground — or “using the ground” — why is this? How are things different now?

TH: That’s so true. It wasn’t until we started developing portable pressure mapping systems, BodiTrak being the 1st and traveling all over the world with Top Coaches and Players on all tours were we able to see consistent common denominators for all the shots required…from the putting to chipping to short iron play, long irons, hybrids, fairway wood and ESPECIALLY in the Driver we’re we able to share with the world the most relevant applications of how to use the ground. But wait, there’s one thing to consider…

What initiates the backswing? Would you ever get in your car – put it in drive before you started your car? NO is the obvious answer and it turns out this answer has THE most effective change on the Kinematic Sequence

TS: I think it is due to a bit of progress in technology and the availability of researchers and coaches. It’s like a trackman or other launch monitor, a lot of it wasn’t talked about until we could collect data, see numbers, and start to understand how they work together. GRF technology used to be reserved for high-level research labs, most of which were not doing research related to golf. Now there are a number of great labs at research Universities, and coaches using force plates to measure GRF and understand how it can help a player improve. Because force is invisible, we needed to start measuring it to really truly understand what a golfer was doing as a result of data collection. We needed to understand the principle of GRF before we could be confident explaining it to students. Now that we know so much more about how it works in the swing, it is something that can be an awesome teaching tool for coaches.

GolfWRX: How does a player “use the ground” optimally in the golf swing?

TS: Golfers use what we call the kinetic sequence. This is the process of how they synchronize the forces needed to move the body in efficient ways in the swing. It starts with a laterally directed force around the end of the backswing, the rotational forces called torques come next early in the downswing, and then a vertical push that comes very last but has to come prior to impact with the golf ball (maybe arm or club parallel on the downswing) so energy can be transferred out to the ball. Creating the proper order, at the right time is important to a proper golf swing.

GolfWRX: Since your feet are your only connection with the ground, it follows that shoes are a not unimportant piece, or are they? How much does footwear matter in the golf swing?

TH: Although not well known I’ve been designing golf clubs, shaft fitting systems, really popular products used by golfers all over the world, and 1000s of top instructors worldwide, the thing that drove me nuts is how golf shoes are designed…

The trail and lead side of your foot have completely different needs and even though we designed the FJ many years ago, it wasn’t until I started working with Sqairz, that I started to get some of the stability, mobility, and combination of both answers.

TS: I love footwear. I have researched it a lot in other sports and it can make a big difference to athletes. The footwear first and foremost needs to be comfortable enough for the player to wear during their round. Without that comfort component, performance doesn’t really matter much. I’d say that I think potentially there are a lot of golfers who could benefit a lot from proper footwear. For example, some golfers lack the proper stability in the feet/ground due to a shoe that allows too much movement in the shoe. In order to really understand, I always encourage golfers to hit some golf balls in different shoes and look at numbers/data to see how they feel. I’ve seen athletes, including golfers, gain a lot from getting the right footwear for their body and movements.

GolfWRX: If a player wears, say, shoes without spikes vs some sort of wide-based, structured shoe with SoftSpikes or the like (eg, Sqairz), how much of a difference will s/he see?

TH: We’ve seen distance gains using Sqairz shoes all over from 7 to 20 yards. Now they have shoes designed for lateral, rotation, and combo swinger, and I can’t wait to see with what they come up with next…

TS: So the name of the game with the shoe/ground experience is friction. Creating the correct connection with the ground so that a player can confidently interact with the ground without slipping. Here is a good example, the trail foot has to push really hard into the ground and away from the target in the backswing, with a secure connection with the ground, the ground will push back with a GRF that is pointed towards the target, helping them to initiate some motion forward in the golf swing. Now if they go to push and they were on ice, the foot would just go in the direction of the movement and the foot would slip out from under them. A key component of friction is the coefficient of friction, I tell my students it is the idea of how sticky the two surfaces contacting are. This is where cleats/cleatless and where the cleats are placed can play such a key role. They can really give the student the confidence to push on the ground with as much force as they can without fearing losing balance and stability.

Some players who play in a spikeless shoe with little traction may work just fine. My only concern is what are they leaving on the table. Simple numbers. If my shoe allows me to push on the ground with 100 Newtons of Force, but in my swing, I only can produce 80, then I won’t slip and I am fine with that shoe. But if I have the capacity to do 120 newtons of force then I have an issue, I either push with over 100 and slip a little, or I just push with 90 even though I can do more. It might be that people have almost started taking some athleticism out of their swing, because of their shoes. They think they don’t alter their game, but in reality, they are leaving some on the table. Like a basketball player who knows they will slip if they move too fast due to a bad court/shoes, they just move more slowly throughout the game as a result. I think similar things could be happening in the golf swing.

GolfWRX: Can you give us some background on some of the research projects related to everything we’ve been discussing?

TS: I did a great study headed by two of my students. Blake Morrill and Trevor Nielson. We tested golfers, 7 came through the lab at the latest data analysis, and we compared the Sqairz shoe to a spikeless flexible golf shoe. We had golfers hit a series of drivers while we measured trackman data and Ground reaction force during the swing. The trackman data showed a 5.5 mph increase in ball speed which was statistically different even with the small sample size. This led to a significant increase of 9 yards of carry distance. In terms of the force plate data, the trail leg force that creates part of the rotation in the golf swing was greater by almost 6% and was approaching significance, this would show a player had more ability to create rotational force with the trail leg. It was a small group, but the data showed that shoes can make a difference when looking at force production and ball speed/distance. We are excited to keep this study going, we’ve also measured foot mobility with my Colleague Dr. Melani Kelly to see if the golfers’ foot capabilities itself might lead to different data.

In my mind, we have barely scratched the surface of footwear in golf and it will be exciting to see what the future holds in terms of how we can understand footwear and how it can help a player create a better golf swing and hopefully play better golf!


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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic



GolfWRX was of course on-site this week for our hometown event, the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club.

The photos have begun to flow in, and as always, we have WITBs, general galleries, and some cool special galleries — including a look at Jason Dufner’s 3D-printed putter. Be sure to check back throughout the week as we add more photos.

Check out links to all our photos below and see what GolfWRXers are saying in the official discussion thread.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying and join the discussion in the forums.


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Tom Kim WITB 2024 (June)



Driver: Titleist GT3 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD VF 60 X

3-wood: TaylorMade Qi10 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Tour Spec Black 7 X

Hybrid: Titleist TSR3 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD Prototype

Irons: Titleist T200 (4), Titleist T100 (5-9)
Shafts: Project X 120 6.0 (4-9)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM10 (46-10F, 50-12F, 54-12D), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks Proto (60-L)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron TourType Timeless GSS Prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x


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Tour Rundown: In non-major news…



In non-major news (read about Amy Yang’s PGA Championship win here), the pros got together for some early, northern hemisphere-summer golf. They met in southeast but upstate New York, Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Holland. On Saturday in Cromwell, Cameron Young saved par at the last hole to post a score of 59. He began Sunday with four consecutive birdies, and we thought he might never make another par. He cooled off, sadly, but did secure a top-ten finish.

Let’s be honest: after a major-championship week with a dearth of birdies, we should always have a birdie-fest where scores approach 30-under par. 59 should always be possible. Travelers gives us that relief. It’s the miracle drug we crave, after watching far too many putts and approach shots trickle off greens, into bunkers and scary places.

I normally don’t put together a Tour Rundown the week of a major championship, but with golf camp ending last Friday, I had some time on my hands. Time to get down with Rundown for this third week of June.

PGA Tour @ Travelers: Playoff? Scottie gets number six

Some golfers just win. 2024 should go down as one of the top-fifteen, great years on the PGA Tour. Scottie Scheffler has six wins so far, including one major title. He still has the Open Championship ahead of him, plus other events, plus the playoffs. It seems unlikely that he won’t secure another win or two. Imagine an eight-win season. Imagine that people forget about what happened in Louisville. Wowzers.

This week’s win was Scheffler’s first playoff of 2024, and the third of his career. He’s two and one in overtime, which means little to nothing in the long game. Scheffler came to 18 at River Highlands with a one-shot advantage over Tom Kim. Scheffler’s approach should have downslopped, but didn’t. He had a tricky putt for three to end it all, and left it three inches shy, in the jar. Kim’s approach might have been two inches to the right, dropped in for eagle, and ended things right there, but instead, it spun back to ten feet. He jarred it. Playoff.

The brief extra session saw both golfers find fairway, then Kim went for the win and found the sand. His fried egg left him zero chance of a close up and down, and his long putt for par went astray. Scheffler played for the center of the green, took two putts, and walked off with career win number fifteen. After the two at -22, Tom Hoge and Sungjae Im tied for third place at -20.

DP World Tour @ KPMG: Playoff?? Migliozzi can’t miss

If we’re going after translations, miglio in Italian is mile, so migliozzi would be a heap of miles. It’s odd that we would have a translation for miles, in a land where the kilometer is king, but that’s humanity for you. We do know that Guido Migliozzi has walked many miles, in pursuit of golfing greatness. He won a pair of DPWT title in 2019, then grabbed another, post-pandemic, in 2022. After a stirring week in the Netherlands, Migliozzi now has a quartet of championship trophies to his name, and a bit of impetus in the trek toward the year’s final major.

Denmark’s Rasmus Hojgaard held the lead on Saturday evening, but he and Andrea Pavan came up one shot shy of the three-man playoff. Hojgaard posted 70 on day four, but a 16th-hole bogey did him in. Pavan moved way up on Sunday with 65, but even a birdie at the last was not enough to extend his day. You see, all the cool kids were throwing fours at the par five closer: Hojgaard, Pavan, Migliozzi, and Joe Dean. The only one to make par was Marcus Kinhult. If the Swede had made four, we’d be writing about him.

Migliozzi made six birdies on the 18th hole this week. He had four during regulation play, and two more in act five. He, Dean, and Kinhult owned the hole on the first go-round, but only Migliozzi made four at 18 during the second extra hole. If the KLM organizers and The International club members are savvy, they’ll christen the closing hole as, what else, the Migliozzi Mile.

Korn Ferry Tour @ Compliance Solutions: No slack from Pak

John Pak had what is known in medical circles, as a large-posterior lead, with 18 holes left to contend. Some tour golfers love an advantage, while others are well-aware of the onset of complacency. Pak did himself few favors when he made bogey at Sunday’s second hole. The last direction he needed to head was north. Fortunately, he righted the ship and played three-under the rest of the way. He finished on 23-under par, and liked his position.

Jackson Suber and Davis Shore found the fire that lit Pak’s first three rounds. Pak had a 66, a 65, and a 64 over the first three days. Suber and Shore went one better. Each signed for 63 on day four, and shout up the leader board. Suber’s card was clean, with nine birdies on the day. He had seven on his inward half, for a closing 29. Shore inked eight birdies, a bogey, and an eagle over his final 18 holes. For their efforts, Suber earned solo second place and Shore, a T4. Pak won in 2023 on PGA Tour Canada, and now has a KFT win on his dossier.

PGA Tour Champions @ DSG: Irish eyes are smiling, again and again

It’s a safe bet that property values in Endicott, New York, will go up when Padraig Harrington takes up residence. In 2022, the great champion won the Dick’s SGO by three blows. Last year, he eaked out a one-stroke win. This year, Harrington won his third consecutive DSGO, again by one slim shady shot.

Harrington held the 36-hole lead after Saturday’s festivities, and he was nearly chased down by one of the 2022 runners-up, Mike Weir. On Sunday, Paddy was all over the board, with an eagle, a pair of bogeys, and some birdies. He was not at his consistent best, but he was good enough. A four-under 68 came his way, and brought him to 15-under par.

Try as he might, Weir could not close the final gap. He had six birdies on the day, but his bogey at 13 was his undoing. He eclipsed the third-place trio of Mark and the Kens (Hensby, Duke, and Tanigawa) but could elevate no higher. The victory was Harrington’s eighth on the senior circuit. For a man who still relishes junior tour competition, there’s no end in site for the workhorse from Dublin.

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