Archive for February, 2009

Tiger’s Return Cut Short

Friday, February 27th, 2009

So an anti-climax this week with Tiger going out in round two so maybe he’s human after all.  Just goes to show even if you are the best player in the world you need to play at the highest level frequently to compete.

 

That reminds me of one of my old assistant who was a little bit of a player and always finished in the top four in the West Region order merit played in the West Region Championships at St. ’Mellion’s Nicklaus Course, off the back tees he shot 71, 69, 69 to win two weeks before the B& H was played there.

 

He had qualified for the European Tour Event through the region and was confident that he would perform well based on his rounds two weeks previous.

 

He shot 89, 81 missed the cut. Just goes to show even though the test was the same playing at a higher level is harder.  It was interesting that Tiger said pre-tournament that playing te PGA tour is so much different that playing with your mates.

Tiger’s Training Day

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

How does Tiger perform so well? What does he do day to day to prepare?

At a county coaching session one of the County Players who was back from a US College for a few weeks told every a story about one of his friends Casey Whittenberg. You may remember him from a successful run in the US amateur.

Casey had asked his manager who also by chance manages Tiger if he could organize a day with Tiger on a week off to get some first hand experience of the training regime of Tiger.

He was told to get to Tiger’s house at 7.30am with his equipment and his sweats.

So 7.30am arrives and Casey turns up at Tigers house to find Tiger has already been out for his morning run. They start off with a heavy session in his own personal gym for an hour or two before going to the course for some range and short game practice.

They had a short meal break and played 9 holes before lunch.

After lunch more of the same the back in the gym.

Then came a short game work-out back at Tigers residence where he has his own green which is also floodlit.

Tiger’s end of the day is a random up and down session from around the green where he has to get up and down 18 in a row before he finishes for the night.

The day ended for Casey around 7pm as he had to leave to catch his flight home leaving Tiger to his eighteen in a row.

No surprise then he is world number one.

Tiger Returns

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

tiger_swing_halleran1 So Tiger looks like he is set to return in this week in the Accenture World Matchplay Championship this week and the golfing world is certainly be glad of that with some viewing figures down by up to 50% due in the main to his absence and credit crunch can Tiger spark some interest.  Well let’s hope so the game certainly needs its superstar to get people playing again.

 

Even though Tiger has been out for a while after surgery on his knee he says that his main aim this week is to win.  Seems strange though that he could be putting himself in a position where he is playing 36 holes per day if he reaches the quarter finals saying that I would imagine he has been getting up at 6.30am going out for his morning run followed by hours in the gym so walking around golf course should be a piece of cake.

 

We will all be watching with interest at his new swing. Tiger says that he has been making some technical changes now his knee is in shape.  He said its very strange not to feel movement in his knee when he swings and the feeling is great.

 

With Phil playing well this week it should be a great week.  I’m sure Tim Barter from Sky will have his new toy the Casio High speed camera focused in on all of the swings he can for the Golf Night Program.

Club Fitting In Drivers

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Has the time come that many club fitters have been waiting for.  The New TaylorMade R9 Driver offers something different to the golfer and the fitter.  The head design allows for the loft, face angle to be altered.  So this must be good, one club fits all except for the shaft that is.  Saves the golf shop from having a host of demo clubs to find the right fit.  Or are we getting a little lazy and covering up the cracks in our customers swings compensating for their swing errors by finding remedies for their short coming by having club faces that are closed or open, weight distribution flying the ball higher and lower.

What happens when you find the perfect driver that compensated for the poor swing then they go to a fairway, rescue or iron and the old bad shot comes back?Should we not be fixing the golfer first then finding the right club?

TaylorMade R9 driver MArch 2009 release

TaylorMade R9 driver March 2009 release

I had a pupil for a lesson/fitting the other day and he was launching the ball too low so the obvious choice here was to sell him a club that had more loft or a more flexible shaft.  One thing though his attack angle was 6 degrees down which is way too low caused by a strong grip position in the main and a poor ball position.

So now I had to make a choice, fix the grip and ball position and look again at his launch and spin or sell him a more flexible club with greater loft, what would you choose?  I made my decision based on how much time the pupil has to devote to changing his game.  I always point out both options and let them choose its their game after all.

Golf In Belgium

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Carl Ledbury our Belgium distributors spent a day with me today discussing the golf market in general in Belgium.

I was interested to find out that there were 45,000 golfers in Belgium and 75 golf clubs against 300,00 golfers in Holland with populations very similar.  So asking Carl why there not be the same golfer he remarked ” The issue is that in Holland there are many golfers who do not belong to a club where in Belgium this is quite different with only a few floating golfers”   This is now changing though as more facilities become available for beginners such as Carl’s facilities at Pro1golf.

Golf Studio

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Mervyn’s been clocking up the air miles recently on his globe trotting studio installs.  I early January he installed a Swing Studio for Craig West in Cologne.

A first for Mervyn as he was subjected to temperatures below -15 degrees C and that was in the day the warmest being -6 degrees C and a foot of snow.  We thought we were having it bad here in the UK in fact the toilets were frozen up so nowhere to go except the 9th hole on the short course he was told suitable named yellow creek.  Only joking Craig.

Back to the studio.  As you can see from the picture below Craig has a 2 camera system with a third camera position in a fully secure room.  Mervyn said that the room itself was very smart with podium where the computer equipment is stored and a sunken floor monitor.

I’m sure that Craig will benfit from the indoor facility maybe not at -15 degrees though.  Best of luck Craig.

Golf Swing Studio

Swing Plane Training Aids

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

There are an array of swing plane training aids on the market that profess to giving you the perfect plane.  I think that the half planes that are around are OK but the full swing arcs do not fit our beliefs.

This leads though to differing opinions amongst coaches.  Luther Blacklock from Explainer puts his case firmly that a golf swing works as the explainer demonstrates.  Hench the design of the explainar.  The unit is adjustable to suit different plane however it will only work in one plane.  Luther has mentioned he will do a piece today and join the discussion on swing plane to explain why the Explainer when used correctly is not a one plane coaching aid.  We wait for his comments.

The Smartstick using lasers in either end helps you understand that the golf club should point at the target line throughout the swing.  The lasers demonstrate this with ease.  You can swing the smartstick in a variety of planes still pointing at the target line.  This does seem to fit in the book from the golf machine and the teaching of the Golf Machine coaches.

The most important thing though is that the club returns to a position at around halfway down pointing at the target line to encourage an on plane swing through impact.  There is plenty of video evidence to promotes this available.  Even then though there are a multitude of world class player that do not get the club back in plane.

So is plane important?  If so what is it?

Fitting the Club to the Golfer is this the best option?

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Ever since time began everyone has been trying to hit the ball further.  With the powers that be restricting performance of both balls and clubs manufactures have looked elsewhere to encourage greater distance.  So looking at the launch and the spin and then measuring how far the ball has flown as a reaction to club selecting in terms of loft and shaft flex is where the golf market currently focuses on.

So if your launch is too high or low for your ball speed you will loose distance.  If the spin is too high or low then you will loose distance.  The ball selection also makes a difference as different balls react of the face in different ways.

So what’s best for you and how do you go about getting a perfect fit.  Well the old fashioned way try before you buy is the best policy and any shop or professional should only be too willing to let you test the equipment.

Getting a fit where a launch monitor is involved is also important so you can see the difference between clubs, shafts, loft.  Only the other day we had a customer in our bay coning for a club fit.  After a few shots his driver was going around 204 yards and he commented that he usually hits the ball much further.  So we tested his club and it came up with the same distance.  He then questions the technology as he is sure that he hits the ball further but we are fortunate that we have a golf range and we can also see within reason how far the ball is going.

After trying different clubs and shaft we reduce his spin rate of his tee shot by 1200 rpm to 3200 rpm and we see an improvement in his distance.  So the club is sold he parts with his hard earned cash and we send him on his way.

We could have used another approach though. We take a look at his swing, where he is striking the ball in his arc (downswing, upswing, if there something in his swing that we could change to alter the flight?  These things of course would also have the desired effect.

 So the question is should you just fit a club to the swing of fit the swing too the club?  From a manufactures point of view of course there is a no contest fit the club too the swing all of the time otherwise they will be out of business.  It’s also a little easier but is easier the best way?

Titleist Golf

3D verses 6D biomechanics

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Many professionals that I speak to who are interested in biomechanics are not 100% sure what is the difference between 3Dof and 6Dof.  So I’ll try and give you my take on the technology and what it means and what it can give you.

Lets start with 3Dof.  sensors usually gyroscopic or magnetic they measure your rotation e.g. shoulder turn and hip turn, pitch forward and back (as though you are touching your toes), Tilt or side bend (leaning to the side.)  These sensors are wired or wireless costing less in price with the K-vest an example of these wireless sensors.  For around £4000  you can start putting numbers to many of the movements a golfer makes.

6 Dof offers 3 more dimensions lateral movement (side to side), Forward and back as though walking towards a front facing camera and then moving away, then finally up and down.  These sensors at present are either infra-red or electromagnetic with wires.  Excluding infra-red there are no wireless sensors available on the market at present.  An example of the electromagnet sensors systems for golf is the AMM system cost in excess of £12000, for infra-red then Vicon are one of the leaders as their technology allows you to almost cover the whole body with up to as many as 25 sensors maybe more cost £500,000.

 

The biggest difference is the amount of data and also the refresh speed (similar to shutter speed).  I have used all 3 technologies for sometime and as much as I would like a vicon system the price point is too rich for me.  They have a system at Birmingham University you should see one in action it’s very impressive.

The Electro magnetic systems even though you get lateral movement, the rising of the hips the price is still a little mch and the wires coming off the sensors is a little off putting.

The Wireless solution in my favorite,  if there were 6 dof systems wireless that would be the perfect choice for me.

 

In my opinion it will be a matter of time where we will all be using one of these systems.  With the top golfers earning so much money it’s a race to get to the top and every little could help.  Padraig Harrington is one of greatest success stories using these types of systems and others to improve his game.

PGA Golf Show 2009 should it move to other venues

Monday, February 9th, 2009

The PGA Golf Show at the Orlando Convention Centre is the show piece event in the Golf Industry.  This is where you get to see all that’s new.  Apart from attending the show to exhibit our gear it gives us a chance to see what’s new.

With the show this year being held under the economic cloud it was difficult to see anything new.  Also amazing that the golfing family is so small in reality.  We have been attending the show now for the last 8 years and through that time we have seen things get smaller and smaller.  Everyone seems to know everyone you even see the same visitors which is little bit of a surprise.  The US is so vast that in my view I would love to see the Golf Show move every year encouraging a different set off customers to attend.

On the plus side with the show being held at the same place it takes us less time to get orientated with the area and the weather is warm well at least some of the time.  In the morning the temperature was as low as 2 degrees and the middle of the day in the high 20’s quite a change.

The food locally in the Disney area is very resort oriented with the hot wings, steak always seen on the menu.  Taking of hot wings I managed to get the sauce all over my new Galvin Green top.  No wonder my wife calls me Les (Les Patterson that is).  I must say though my wife performs miracles and managed to get the sauce out. 

It would be great to try somewhere new.  Every company especially the smaller one without a sales force would benefit from seeing some new faces.  America is so vast I’m not sure how to attack the market after 8 years you thing I would have a clue by now and its not just me every company from outside the US have the same problems.