Misinterpretation of golf training technology and aids still prevents golfers from gaining long term changes.
With the number of technology and training aids for improving our golf game, many people make the mistake in thinking it will solve their swing issues but in reality may be more deeply rooted issues. There are many training tools and technology out there that can do what it is intended for i.e., getting your wrists set, making the club pass through a slot, keeping your butt stuck to a chair, building swing speed etc... but remember this game is plagued with instruction that offer fixes that only seem to last temporarily. Please do not misunderstand me, I believe each technology and use it in my own practice, but it is important to understand that these tools give us insight and data into what's happening the golf swing, not necessarily provide the correct fix.
Let's take for example one the most popular pieces of technology, a club face and golf ball launch monitoring tool such as Trackman. This type of technology gives you data on what the golf ball and club face is doing at impact. Such technology is more beneficial for top level golfers because the adjustments they have to make are usually more minimal than the average player. For example, a top level golfer who sees that he has a high club face closure rate may simply need to adjust his setup and grip whilst an amateur might just be forcefully trying to hold his club-face open through impact not realizing that the problem is more deeply rooted core body mechanics. Another example could be that a golfer finds that his golf ball is spinning too much on his drives, so his instructor advises the player to "Supinate the wrists more and swing through more from the inside," not realizing that the problem is actually that the shoulders need to go back steeper to allow for the golfer a less reason to cast out at the ball on the downswing. See, I'm not saying that the fixes that you try will not create the results you're trying to achieve, but again watch out to see if this fix is temporary and feels hard to repeat. My view is that if the changes aren't lasting and it's also taking a toll on your body to get into, then you're just manipulating and those changes won't hold up under pressure.
This incorrect diagnosis vs. prescription relationship is described above is also true in 3d motion monitoring software as well. You will find this type of technology in what is called "Gears" or "Golftec." This is my favorite type of technology because it provides accurate body motion and measurements so you can compare them to professionals. However, question the way in which you or your swing coach go about interpreting that data to provide a fix. Here's an example and many of you reading may have experienced something like this... let's say that the 3d motion software is showing that your hips are too level and over rotating in the backswing, so as what you think is a simple fix what you do is start holding your hips steadier and pointing your hips down. Yes, the monitoring software shows that you hips are in a better condition and you might even start hitting it better for awhile, but was that the right fix? How do you know that the problem is not actually coming from improper lead arm adduction angle caused by that fanning of the club-face creating a tendency to chase the club with your hips creating a too level and over rotated backswing?
Again, my point is that it is important to understand that a measurement tool just provides you data into how you're moving compared to a professional in a quantitative way. However, one should be careful on how best to use that information because there can be several ways you can attempt to fix a particular problem and in my experience, most problems arise from a more deeply rooted issues regarding the entire golf motion as a whole.
So how does one know what course of action to take when attempting to fix certain flaws in their swing? To answer this question it's important to differentiate between a body motion itself and the feelings associated with that motion. Here is a common example, when given the instructions such as "Turn you shoulders" many people will twist their waist or overly tilt their spine angle because of an overly active trail side. They have no idea that the golf swing should always start from a move off the lead side, and that it is a chain of sequencing starting with their lead leg that yields a proper backswing. But, many people get this wrong because they are interpreting their idea of "Turn your shoulders" ambiguously. You will never get the shoulder turn right if your aren't engaging the correct body motions in sequence! Therefore you will never have a correct backswing.
The example described of above is on of many of the misinterpretations that can happen when golfers are finding a solution to their incorrect body motions. So in short make sure that the motions you are attempting to do align with what the proper feels in the golf swing should be. I've had many players come to me to what looks like a more correct swing yet they are not using the muscle sequencing what they are feeling internally is way different than that of a world class ball striker.
Through technology, research and empirical evidence for over 17 years of my own instruction, I can prove that some of the best ball strikers swing with the mechanics that I have been describing. (In the near future, I plan on starting a youtube video to further explain what I'm teaching, however in the meantime please refer to my instagram to find the correlating videos. I have 3 world class players i.e., Mcilroy, Stenson, and Woods who I refer to for this post)
This article is a continuation of an earlier post entitled "Golf is a System of Gears." In the previous article, I talk about how the correct swing is achieved by the rolling of feet and the hips in the golf swing and how it creates a gear and lever type of feeling as if you're pedaling a bike rather than a spinning type of feeling in the golf swing such as a merry go round. See, my assumption is that the explanation of the golf swing has been misinterpreted in many ways throughout the history of golf instruction.
This article will attempt to explain the nuances in common golf instruction as well as common misinterpretations of the golf swing that has kept people from getting better at this game and sometimes even have gotten better players to get worse! Over the years, people have misinterpreted the common language used to describe the swing with words such as rotation, turn, pivot, lag, etc. It is imperative that one understands that these descriptions are not a means to an end, but the end itself! To further clarify, rotation, turn, lag, torque, staying in your spine angle, getting into "The slot," "Shallowing out the club path," "Squaring the clubface," I mean you name it.. Whatever term you have heard to describe how you should swing is something that happens as a result, not something you purposely do.
To further clarify, let me try to explain some of the most common mistakes golfers make in their swings.
Swing Misinterpretation #1. "Turn your shoulders." This misinterpretation is probably responsible for 90% of all incorrect golf swings. it most often leads to a a too flat of a shoulder turn.
Correction: "In your backswing, let your lead arm swing underneath your trail shoulder so that your lead shoulder will create leverage against your shoulder and chest early on in the swing, further your shoulder will create leverage against your trail hip creating a slight tilt down of your lead hip accordingly." Get this move right and it will appear as if your shoulders are turning and here's the difference, you'll look like Pga Tour Player. this move is not to be confused with the reverse pivot which is just way too much left side bend on the backswing in combination with too much weight into the toes of your trail leg.
Swing Misinterpretation #2. "On the downswing, swing the club to the inside to purposely shallow out the golf swing, get it into the slot!" This one most often goes hand in hand with, "Clear you hips!" as well as, "Lay Down the Club!" This one is killing golfers, you think PGA Tour players are purposely doing this? You think Tiger was intently doing this when he was toddler striping it everytime? No, but I'll tell you what he was doing..
Correction: On the downswing, feel your lead leg, hips and arm working downward. Feel an enormous amount of pressure toward your lead side on the downswing, planting your lead leg into the ground with a tremendous amount of force. The thought here is downward pressure, not an outward motion at the ball. If you do this correctly the club look as though it's coming into the inside like a PGA Tour player.
Misinterpretation #3. The very famous, "Stay in your spine angle." "Do not early extend in your golf swing." Otherwise known as "Goat Humping." You'll probably find hundreds of videos out there trying to show you how to correct this swing flaw, usually by sticking some apparatus behind your lead butt cheek and trying to turn around there. In fact, it will probably cause more injury and will feel forced. The more and more you try to keep you spine angle, the worse it will get!
Correction description: Your backswing and downswing has to feel more linear. The backswing and downswing is a combination of a pressure shift to the trail leg toward the heel followed by a pressure shift toward the lead leg toward the heel. This, to most golfers who are not will feel like a sight sway in the hips. However, if this motion is extended the the arms and shoulders correctly, the arms and body feel more like a lever and when the lever drops, the body appears to be rotating and creating the look that all the professionals have i.e., "Clearing of the hips," "Open body and impact," "Maintaining spine angle," "Shallowing club path," etc. This one is definitely a littler harder to describe, but the feeling is more that that the left side slips away through impact.
I tried to do my best to describe a just a few of the misinterpretations in the golf swing that I've been finding online. I highly recommend that you follow my instagram for more updates on my students progress as well as some interesting clips I've put up that challenge the common teaching methods that are still prevalent today. Hopefully it will be eye opening and lead you to a more fun filled type with this sport!!