Does Swing Style Matter? Part 1 – Golf Fitness, NYC


If you’ve every taken a golf lesson you more than likely have experienced the following:

You go in for a lesson and the instructor takes a video of your swing. Then they take the video of you swinging and put it up next to a video of a professional golfer swinging and say something like this: "see where___________ is at the top of the backswing, I need you to get your arms up to that position at the top of the backswing." 

Golf coaches have been saying things like that as long as there’s been video but have been doing so without the knowledge of what you can physically do. If you cannot physically do what that professional golfer can do then is that the ideal position for you to try to get into? 

Here’s the problem with that model.

The average amateur golfer is not physically capable of performing the required body movements that are involved in a mechanically correct golf swing. 

It’s like trying to put a square peg into a round hole!

"A Golf Pro is basically telling you that we think this is the best way to express our physiology to move the ball. But if you physically can’t do it you’re going to spend thousands of hours working with a pro who has become a master at addressing your movement compensations…If you show up with the full capacity to move the way a golf pro wants you to -you can use their expertise to become a better golfer because you possess the movement foundation to do so. That’s the central difference between a golf pro and a golf fitness professional." __Kelly Starrett, author of The Supple Leopard 

If a golf pro knew you couldn’t get into a positon they wouldn’t be asking you to. 

There Is A Better Way!

Here’s what you should be doing: 

  • Have a golf pro evaluate your swing.
  • Have a golf pro or golf fitness professional evaluate your body.
  • Once you know what you can and cannot do in relation to what is desired of a mechanically correct golf swing you can decide to work around it or break throught it. 

If you don’t test, it’s just a guess!

So let’s say the golf pro notices that you have a tendency to lift up in your back swing. This loss of posture characteristic is commonly a result of a lack of mobility in the thoracic spine (in other words, the abiltiy to rotate your rib cage around your spine).

Without this knowledge you’d just be guessing whether or not you just can’t physically do what it is they are asking you to do or – you are just not getting the concept

The Cross Roads

If you’re struggling with doing the things you want to do and it’s not because you just don’t "get it" then you have a choice to make: 

  • You can adopt a swing style that matches your body type and physical abilities OR
  • You can work on improving how you move and eliminating the physical restrictions so you can have the ability to play the game at your full potential.

So How Do We Measure Efficiency?

Watching a golfer swing with your eyes or analyzing 2D video is fine for measuring style, but is not an accurate way to measure a golfer’s efficiency

Determining a players efficiency can only be done using 3D motion capture techniques and/or physical screens. 

With the aid of 3-D motion analysis systems such as the K-Vest/K-Coach, researchers have been able to indentify the true measurement of a good golf swing. Using data collected by these 3-D systems; we can look at how golfers generate speed and transfer that speed or energy throughout their bodies. This tranfer of energy throughout the body is known as the "Kinematic Sequence".

What Makes A Golf Swing Efficient?

The common thread amongst all great ball strikers is this – they all have a remarkable similar kinematic sequence of generating speed and transferring that speed throughout their bodies. 

All great ball strikers begin by generating speed from their lower body and transferring that speed through the torso, into their lead shoulder and arm and finally into the club. What style they use to accomplish this sequence is completely unique to each player. 

"At TPI we don’t believe there’s one way to swing a golf club. We believe there are a infinite number of ways to swing a golf club. But we do believe there’s one efficient way for every golfer to swing and it’s based on what their body can physically do."_Titleist Performance Institute 

So in other words, it doesn’t matter if your swing looks like Tiger Woods or Jim Furyk, or if it has some really weird style. What we do care about is whether or not it’s efficient? In other words, is it reproducable, and is it powerful. And proper sequencing is the key to repeatablility, consistency and power.

"Like so many others, I took regular golf lessons but resisted the notion that I was out of shape. I have been working with Brett for 3 years and I now understand what I believe to be true for virtually every golfers over 50, namely that we are physically unable to produces the swing that our pros are teaching us." __Mark Cusick 


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