This article is co-authored with Tony Meyer. Tony is a Golf Australia National Coach and head of high performance for Golf Queensland. He specializes in skill acquisition and movement pattern training.
Nick Randall: Gym work in the winter off-season is great. There’s lots of opportunity to hit the weight room and work on mobility, conditioning, and other physical attributes that regular competitive golf makes it hard to focus on. Being mostly confined to the indoors is also a great chance to work on your swing via training movement patterns.
Improving your movement efficiency and making a positive change can be tricky when trying to play golf. Breaking down old patterns and building new ones is largely incongruent with being target focused and practicing to play for score. That’s why the colder months are the ideal time to separate movement patterns from on-course outcome and really focus on the quality of movement and ingraining better habits. When it comes around to competitive golf season again, everything will be less conscious and more automatic, allowing you to focus on scoring… as opposed to swinging.
While coaching at the Australian Institute of Sport golf program, despite favorable year-round weather for golf, my friend Tony Meyer would regularly take squad members into a netted indoor area to make significant changes to their movement patterns.
Tony Meyer: I found that they tended to react to ball flight and direction too much on the range. The players would unconsciously adapt their movement patterns to make the ball do what they wanted, even if it was the exact opposite of what we were trying to achieve for long-term progress. If you remove the outcome, the player can become totally focused on changing the pattern. This also helps with buy-in or compliance with the change.
The worst thing that can happen is for a player to be shown a new movement pattern only to initially see the ball going sideways as a result. Belief in the process of change goes out of the window and regression to old movement patterns is the inevitable result. Getting real-time feedback on the quality of movement is also very important, and it can really help speed up the learning process of a new swing pattern. I like to use training tools and constraints that give the player a strong of idea of how they are supposed to move. It gives them a chance to work it out for themselves without the need for verbal or visual instructions from the coach. I’ve found this to be a very effective way to learn, even if it does involve me saying a lot less in my lessons!
In the Golf Australia and Golf Queensland programs, one of the most popular pieces of feedback equipment we use is the GravityFit TPro. It gives that real-time feedback that’s so effective in training posture and movement patterns relating the individual and their swing habits.
Nick Randall: Based on the recommendations from Tony, I have put together a collection of exercises using the GravityFit TPro in a video below that you can use to train your movement patterns. They are safe, easy to lean, require only one piece of equipment, and can easily be done at home. These exercises are very popular with the PGA Tour pros I train, and they form an important part of their daily exercise routine.
For more information on GravityFit and its application to training golf movement patterns, click here.
As the worldwide golfing population ages and becomes more sedentary, an increasing number of people are struggling with bone density issues. Whilst weakening bones can be attributed to many different factors, there are 3 preventable issues that have a strong influence on bone density, especially in the upper body:
1) Loss of muscle strength in the arms, shoulders and upper spine.
2) Lack of weight bearing load through the arms.
3) Poor spine and shoulder posture.
These 3 things are also damaging to efficient movement in the golf swing in the following ways:
1) Lack of muscle strength leads to decreased club-head speed. Club-head speed is very strongly correlated with driving distance and scoring average.
2) Lack of weight bearing load leads to a weakened deep muscle system which leaves unstable joints and spines exposed to injury risk.
3) Poor posture leads to inefficient rotational movement, loose arm-body connection and lack of club-face control.
This is worrying from a couple of different perspectives; firstly you are more exposed to injury, which isn’t fun for anybody and certainly doesn’t help your golf. Secondly, playing bad golf can get pretty depressing after a while and packing it in could reduce your activity level further, leading to faster degradation of that crucial bone density.
Here are two very simple and easy preventative solutions that can provide more load to your upper body, helping to strengthen both bone and muscle and improve your posture. The first solution is simply pushing your buggy, using a single arm and switching arms periodically. It’s important to do this with good posture, so feel like you are stretching tall, drawing your spine out of your pelvis. In addition, try to push your shoulder forward, imagining your shoulder blade hugging into your ribcage and holding steady in that position. Pushing your buggy with good posture helps solve 2 of the 3 issues – posture and weight bearing load.
My second solution is using the GravityFit TPro, which is specifically designed to solve all 3 problems; the backbow provides feedback on posture and encourages you to find and maintain good spine and shoulder position. The exercise tubing gives you both the weight bearing load and enough resistance to assist with increasing muscle strength and endurance, especially in the those key deep postural muscles in the upper spine and shoulder girdle. You can use the TPro for simple walking and arm press movements or you can make it more golf specific and start doing the GravityFit golf exercises that come included in the Swing Kit product. The Swing Kit is essentially a TPro with both strengths of band included, the green bands are best suited to the simple strength work and yellow bands work best in a golf context, especially when practising using the TPro.
My recommendations for a solid daily program using the Swing Kit is as follows:
Exercise 1 – Arm Press, 3 sets of 12 reps using green tubing
Exercise 2 – Wall Push Up, 3 set of 10 reps using green tubing
Exercise 3 – Split Stance Turn, 2 sets of 6 reps each side, yellow tubing
Exercise 4 – Back Swings, 2 sets of 6 reps, using yellow tubing
You can also take the TPro with yellow bands to the range or chipping green and use it to assist with your practice.
Much has been written about the putting yips over the years, with many different proposed explanations. They have been attributed to nerves, anxiety, focal dystonia and even, as Tommy Armour famously put it: “a brain spasm that impairs the short game.”
While the true source of the putting yips remains unknown, what it looks like is very obvious. It’s for that reason — and my lack of neurological training — that I’ll be focusing on the mechanical side of the problem that plagues so many people.
What we see here is lead wrist extension and trail wrist flexion. Simply put, the bottom hand takes over the stroke with three main disastrous effects for control of the putter face.
- Adds too much loft. Basically, the ball gets slightly airborne straight off the putter face. This compromises the ball roll and changes dynamic launch angle, creating unnecessary backspin. All putters have a small amount of loft built into the design (typically 2-4 degrees) to help lift the ball out of the depression that it sits in on the green, so there is no need to add more loft with your putting stroke.
- Toe moves faster than heel. This causes the putter face to close at a rapid rate, leading to pulls or pushes due to the extra timing involved in attempt to square up the club face.
- Off-center strike. I also see yippers actually missing the center of the club face more often than not. The same aggressive rise angle of the putter that adds loft can also produce a putt that strikes the ball below the vertical sweet spot on the putter. The subsequent loss in ball energy makes direction and speed issues inevitable.
So we have a trio of unwanted outcomes from this simple fault; the ball jumping off the face and heading left or right with unpredictable speed — not a great formula for holing putts!
We know that for putts to go in the hole, they need to be hit on the correct line with the associated correct speed. Putting is hard and there are narrow margins for success. A positive outcome is a lot less likely with a yippy stroke. What often makes things worse is when the yipper knows the yip is coming, and he or she attempts to compensate for it. That appears to have happened to Ernie Els when missing this tiddler.
With the anchoring of putters now banned in competitive play, our plausible alternatives are limited to the cross-hand grip, claw grip or some other variation or differing style that aims to reduce the involvement of the wrist. The solution I am going to propose will allow you to keep your regular grip, but instead uses kinaesthetic (touch) feedback to encourage the correct movement.
Before describing what I’m doing in the video above, it’s important to clarify what I feel should happen in a solid putting stroke. I like to see a slight forward press of the hands (if you have a putter with any offset configuration, as most do) with less extension in the lead wrist and more extension in the trail wrist, as demonstrated below.
From there, I like to see the movement be driven by the rotation of the t-spine (trunk or thorax) as the dominant source of motion as opposed to wrist, elbow or shoulder movement. I feel like many yippers get into trouble from the start with poor posture, hands behind the ball and with a backstroke that is too high. Then we see the classic move into impact as the body stalls and the wrists take over.
Back to the video of me hitting a putt with the bands. The device I’m using is called a GravityFit TPro, and it performs three really useful functions. First, it gives me feedback as to whether I’m in good posture. I believe that having a properly organized spine and shoulder blade position is critical to making a good stroke driven from rotation of the t-spine.
The second benefit I get from the equipment is the feedback on whether I’ve made the movement correctly. If the body stalls out and hands or arms take over, I will lose connection of my shoulder blades with the paddles on either side. It’s like a closed feedback loop, constantly telling me if I’m doing a good job or not with my rotation.
The third function involves the bands. As you can see in the photo below, I loop these around the thumb of the left hand and over the palm of the right hand. This actually wants to pull my left hand in to flexion and right in to extension, which we know is the opposite of what happens when we make a yippy stroke.
So now I’m being told if my posture is set right, if I’m rotating properly and I’ve got anti-yip guidance from the bands. My recommendation is do plenty of reps using the TPro away from the golf course, perhaps at home in your living room. When you go to the putting green, start off by hitting 10-15 footers to no target in particular to adjust to the different feels and get used to getting a quality strike. Then slowly make your way to the dreaded short putt range and calmly knock them in.
Like anything that involves a change in technique, it’s going to take a few reps to make a difference. The beauty of using the TPro is you can do it at home — with or without a putter. It’s also going to have a useful side effect of improving your posture, which most of us could benefit from!
For more info on my short game coaching services, drop me an email: email@example.com
As our lives get longer, we should in theory be getting more years to enjoy golf well into retirement. But this isn’t always the case; too many retirees are being forced to quit the game due to injuries from general wear and tear on the spine and joints.
You would be excused for thinking that the organization that won the space race and put the first man on the moon has absolutely nothing to do with our back, joint injury issues and consequent golfing longevity. But NASA astronauts have been fighting the same musculo-skeletal problems as golfers for years, only in a greatly accelerated manner.
It’s not commonly known that going into space is actually terrible for your spine and joint health. Astronauts, after spending a concentrated amount of time in space, are actually unable to walk off the shuttle when they land. They have to literally be carried off to undergo extensive rehabilitation and often sustain long-term damage to their bodies.
Dr. Carolyn Richardson has spent her working life investigating how gravity affects our health and why this phenomenon occurs in space. Her research with the University of Queensland, European Space Agency and NASA regarding the effect of gravity on our muscles and bones has laid the foundation for finding out why this happens and how to fix it.
Dr. Richardson found that gravity is the key stimulus that our bones and deep muscle system need to provide stability to our limbs, joints and spine. She termed this stimulus Gravity Sensory Information (GSI), and the lack of GSI in space causes the breakdown of the musculo-skeletal system in astronauts. If spending extended periods of time in space, astronauts need to increase GSI as part of their exercise programs in order to maintain their musculo-skeletal health.
Since we aren’t in the habit of boarding space shuttles, you might still be wondering what this has to do with us golfers. Well, it turns out that our modern sedentary lifestyles are essentially replicating the zero-gravity environment of space that is so damaging to astronauts, although it occurs over a much longer period of time here on Earth. When adding the potentially damaging musculo-skeletal load of performing many hours hitting golf balls and certain gym work, it’s a recipe for injuries to spines and joints.
An increasing number of “everyday” activities and popular training programs are significantly reducing the amount of GSI to our bodies and causing a growing number of joint and spinal problems, particularly back pain. Spending more and more time lying on the couch, sitting with poor posture, driving cars, and doing certain kinds of traditional gym training and repetitive skills training (practicing and playing golf) is reducing GSI levels and causing the gradual breakdown of our bodies.
The GravityFit Exercise Model, developed by Dr. Richardson, is based on the principle that gradually increasing GSI to the body can reverse the process of joint and spine degeneration, restore joint stability and strengthen the deep muscle system to improve performance. GravityFit training involves specific slow and controlled movements in good posture while adding low-load resistance to the limbs and spine to increase GSI levels.
This unique system of exercise and rehabilitation has been developed by Dr. Richardson to protect the body against injury and pain and improve musculo-skeletal health in modern life. While providing postural feedback and adding GSI with some simple equipment, you can start with an easy GravityFit walking program and work all the way up to fully functional and complex whole-body movements. From there you can even start getting golf specific, training your posture and golf movement patterns.
I have been using the GravityFit equipment and exercise model for 5 years with my golfers. After seeing the incredibly positive impact it had on the players, I came onboard as an ambassador in 2017 to help spread the message to the wider golfing population.
One of the best examples of how effective the training can be is when I used it with Jonas Blixt to rehab from a career-threatening back injury to a PGA Tour win in just six months. I initially tested Jonas’ baseline posture, stability and balance. Then I prescribed a very simple bodyweight program that used the GravityFit equipment throughout. It helped bring awareness to his posture and movement quality while training his deep stabilizer muscles — especially in his lumbar core (think abs and low back). As he improved in the basic exercises and started experiencing less back discomfort, we gradually progressed the movements and added load to provide more Gravity Sensory Information and balance requirement.
Now pain-free and with a recent PGA Tour win under his belt, Jonas is one of about a dozen U.S. Tour pros who use the GravityFit equipment on a daily basis to keep awareness of good lumbar core while working on shoulder stability and training golf movement patterns. Its simple and intuitive application seems to capture the imagination of golfers, while its scientific backing and quality ensure it isn’t simply a short-term purchase that gets discarded after a few uses.
Click here for more information on GravityFit and how it can help prolong your golfing lifespan. The tailored options for equipment and detailed instructional videos ensure that you can get the right gear and use it with correct form and technique.
This is article was written by Iain Highfield of GLT Golf
When I was 13 years old, I was fortunate enough to attend the Adidas Predator Kicking School. This was a camp hosted by world renowned performance coach, Dr. Dave Alred, and was designed to give budding rugby players the chance to evolve their goal kicking skills.
I recall this was the first time my goal kicking motion had ever been filmed during my 6 years of playing rugby (quite the contrast to how golf is coached.) During the feedback session with Dr. Alred, of the 12 frames that were captured on the camera and presented to me, 11 were said to be technically sound, and I was rapidly thrust to apply my exceptional technique in situations that were way more demanding than real-time game play.
At 36 years old, when I receive golf coaching, my experience is quite different than the one detailed above. When a coach provides feedback on my golf swing, I am told that my posture at address is too bent over, my arms get lifted and deep on the back swing, over active in transition and all this leads to an adverse effect on my sequence. I also early extend and do not rotate enough at impact! Wow, mind blown!
After receiving a golf lesson, I would often reflect on my time playing rugby and ask myself why I had such a good understanding of where my body was in time and space when I kicked a rugby ball vs the lack of understanding I have when I swing a golf club. Is there anyone or anything that can help provide feedback of what my golf swing should feel like? I want to experience the mind body connection in golf that I felt as a junior and college rugby kicker.
Well, I am excited to say that last week, I did. After a poor ball striking round, I asked team GLT member Arick Zeigel to help me. He suggested that we used two training tools to begin to ‘understand’ what it would feel like to make a more technically sound golf swing.
Arick used a K Coach to measure my swing sequence and collect information on what the eye cannot see. He then asked me to use a device called the GravityFit TPro. This provided kinesthetic feedback on what postural changes were needed; this felt extremely strange (almost to the point I did not believe it to be correct.) Then, after plenty of motions with no golf ball, Arick finally asked me to hit one! Compression, center strikes, better flight and more distance! Wow! This is what it feels like to swing the club more effectively.
Arick then boosted my confidence even further by providing what he called ‘bio feedback’ through the K Motion. Simply put, the computer would beep when I hit the correct position at impact. Again, we did this multiple times with no ball and, again, I was skeptical. Is this really how open I need to feel at impact? I basically felt like my abs and left glute might pop, but by now I was embracing the unknown.
After multiple reps without the distraction of the ball, Arick asked me to hit. Again, compression, center strikes, better flight and more distance! So, this is what it feels like to swing the club and hit the ball more effectively!
I want to thank GravityFit and K Motion for their tireless research and passion to help gofers like me develop an awareness of how the golf swing should feel!
Now it is on me to go train this new-found awareness in the appropriate way so I can retain what I am learning and transfer it to the golf course. And who knows, perhaps one day I may just experience that heightened awareness and effortless flow I felt when kicking a rugby ball during a round of golf.
This article was co-written with Alex Bennet, Head Trainer at the PGA Tour Performance Centre
I’m very lucky to work in a world class location; the combination of swing analysis technology, practice facilities, gym equipment and great weather here at the PGA Tour’s Performance Center at Sawgrass is hard to beat. The case study that I’m presenting to you today is interesting because it really could have happened anywhere. The improvements demonstrated are due to collaboration of coaches, an open-minded approach to self betterment and a bit of consistent effort.
- Our Hero: Nat Findlay, 63, CEO of Wellbox Inc, 9 handicap.
- The Golf Coach: Andrew Lanahan, LSU Team, Mini Tour Pro, Short Game expert.
- The Trainer: Alex Bennett (me), Flagler College Team, Mini Tour Pro, Corrective Exercise Specialist.
Nat initially came to Andrew for help with his game and presented with a very flat swing, hands way behind the body and lots of early extension.
Andrew quickly realized that Nat’s move wasn’t going to be easy to shake and that a muscle imbalance or limitation could be physically holding him back from improving his swing.
As the trainer, I work hand in hand with the instructors, watching what they are trying to achieve from a technical perspective. I also observe whether the student has the physical capabilities to perform what the the coach is asking of them. Being on-site full time meant that it was easy for Andrew to send Nat to see me for an assessment. During the golf specific physical screening, I found Nat had the following limitations:
- Restricted T-Spine rotation
- Limited upper back/scapula control
- Restricted internal hip rotation range
- Tight lats, restricting horizontal flexion at the shoulder (lead arm across the body)
This didn’t surprise me at all. After seeing Nat’s swing and hearing Andrew’s explanation, the assessment results made total sense. The combination of rotational restrictions and lack of scapula control went a long way to explaining what was holding Nat back.
We had four key things to improve in Nat’s body in order to make improved swing mechanics possible, so we got straight to work and attacked each one with a combination of mobility and stability exercises:
Area 1: T-Spine Rotation
We are using light resistance and encouraging Nat to rotate from his mid/upper back and hips. This kind of dynamic movement encourages improved mobility under load and is also specific to golf posture.
Area 2: Upper Back/Scap Control in Rotation
Using the GravityFit TPro, we were able to deliver both postural awareness and stability stimulus to the upper back and shoulder girdle while rotating. This has been somewhat of a game changer for me and my clients. It helps produce amazingly quick improvements in postural control and rotation quality.
Area 3: Internal hip rotation range
The ball holds your ankles and feet in place, while the hands are pressing your knees inward. This helps to gain precious degrees of increased hip rotation — absolutely essential for allowing quality loading into the right side.
Area 4: Tight Lats
This move achieves two things. First, it stretches the muscles and connective tissue of the lats and back of the shoulder. Second, it helps improve upper and lower body disassociation by turning the hips away from the shoulders.
Fast forward a few months. Nat diligently applied himself to the simple, yet targeted exercise program. We were starting to see some really cool things happen in his golf swing.
“I’ve worked with Alex for the past year consistently, and I have seen a huge improvement in my strength, posture, swing speed, stability, and flexibility,” Nat says. “My handicap has also dropped from 15 to 9, which is no coincidence!”
To summarize, making small physical changes can have a big effect on your game. As you’ve seen with Nat, it doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated… or even very hard work. If you want to move better and hit it longer and less offline, then it’ll be well worth seeking out your nearest golf center with a collaborative team.
This article was co-written with Richard Woodhouse, Director of Instruction at KDV Sport, Gold Coast, Australia.
I’m very lucky to have access to great technology that is designed to measure what is happening in the golf swing. I have at my fingertips a huge number of different metrics that help inform my decisions around how I am going to teach my student. But this wealth of data doesn’t much if it can’t be translated back to a feel for the player. And by feel I literally mean a method by which I can help the individual develop a kinesthetic feedback loop for when they are performing a particular movement in the correct way. After all, when they have left the teaching bay and practicing on their own, Trackman and K-Vest aren’t going with, at that point it’s up to them to figure it out for themselves. I consider the establishment of that feel, feedback and response as the bridge between teaching and coaching. Gathering data on the movement, interpreting the information and re-laying that to the player in terms they can understand; is teaching. Giving them the ability to go away and work out how to ingrain that movement then apply it to different scenarios; is coaching. Before I go on to elaborate on how I do this, it’s important to explain a particular belief and use that as the example to illustrate my point.
For me, posture in set up and the initial part of the takeaway are very closely linked to the quality of movement in the swing. If the player gets set up and takeaway wrong, then they better be really talented and a great compensator to achieve a decent ball striking outcome! My main priority when it comes to set up is having the t-spine and scapulae (shoulder blades) properly organized. If these structures are set right, then they can interact really well throughout the movement. If they are set wrong, things can get off track really quickly!
Set up and initial takeaway are also some of the easiest things to train, because the movement is relatively slow and there aren’t many forces present. This is in contrast to training downswing movements; it’s at high speed and the forces / torques that have been generated earlier in the action largely dictate movements.
The mini case study I’m going to present here features a 10 year old girl who made some pretty amazing changes in a single session. The ‘before’ and ‘after’ images below help to document the improvements in movement quality and control, the device she is wearing in ‘after’ photos is a GravityFit TPro, more on that later.
First up, the 3 TPI screens I used were Pelvic Tilt, Dissociation and Shoulder External Rotation. She failed the Dissociation test, so I had a pretty good idea that she was going to struggle to stabilize her lower body whilst driving rotation from the T-Spine / rib cage. This idea was further validated when I saw her set up to the ball, in the ‘before’ picture she displays the classic set up posture mistake of having poor scapula position (evidenced by the shoulders sitting forward, especially the right).
This position makes it very hard for her to make a connected turn, essentially the torso and the arms are going to operate on their own terms and struggle to match up when it comes to impact. The images below are at the initial takeaway position, club parallel to the ground. Whilst subtle, you can see on the left that the body and arms have started to move independently of one another. Whilst on the right we see a better matched up movement.
This chain reaction continues, the fault becomes more exaggerated and differences in the movement more apparent as we continue up to the top.
On the way down we see the club getting very stuck behind as opposed to more out in front.
Until finally we come back to impact and see an incredible contrast.
A key component to eliciting the change was the device she is wearing in the ‘after’ swing. The GravityFit TPro essentially provides kinesthetic feedback on TSpine posture and scap position via the backbow, whilst the tubing provides axial load to stimulate the deep stabilizer muscles that connect the scap / shoulder to the torso. It also gives powerful feedback for how the arms and body are interacting and encourages the user to push out against the bands, creating width in the backswing and maintaining radius down and through impact. Because the TPro provides all of that stimulus and feedback, I can reduce my input around body movement and instead on focus on delivering coaching cues that are related to the outcome.
For a more fluid comparison, check out the before and after videos below. Please feel free to reach out with questions or further enquiry – firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the featured product, check out gravityfit.com/golf and be sure to use the code MyTPI to access a 25% TPI Alliance Network discount.
This article was written by Joseph Culverhouse of GLT Golf
Anyone that has even casually browsed the golf market recently knows it is seemingly flooded with training aids claiming to help with everything from swing mechanics and mental preparedness to muscle memory (which would be great for Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster or the Tooth Fairy’s golf game, since, like those creatures, it doesn’t exist.) However, with so many products on the market, how do you know which are trustworthy? How can you determine which products will actually aid in the acquisition of golfing skills? To put it simply, follow the science.
While many companies make empty claims about the effectiveness of products, products that are supported by actual scientific research and years of clinical testing are far more likely to deliver results. One such product that Game Like Training is proud to endorse is GravityFit.
More than simply a golf training aid, GravityFit is an innovative company that specializes in postural training and spine/joint stability. Initially crafted from the findings of a 30-year body of research conducted by Dr. Carolyn Richardson into why society, especially athletes, seem to be sustaining more musculoskeletal injuries than ever, Gravity Fit is based on the principle that when the muscle system is strong, especially the core, the body has more power, agility, balance and better overall stability and posture. However, modern life and many types of exercise actually weaken these deep muscles.
The tools and techniques GravityFit has developed have an obvious application in the physical therapy world, but has recently gained significant traction in golf, particularly at the elite level. At the time of writing, approximately 10 PGA Tour professionals are currently using GravityFit equipment. Those Tour professionals are joined by dozens on the Web.com Tour, LPGA Tour, European Tour and other tours around the world. Furthermore, GravityFit is also used by the National Golf Programs of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong and Chile.
As GravityFit gains more momentum with the club golfer and an ever increasing volume of golf coaches, it has become obvious that whilst initially designed to prevent injury, consistent use of the GravityFit tools has a significant carry over to golf performance. One device in particular, the GravityFit TPro, has the ability to greatly accelerate golfer’s understanding and application of postural control, postural endurance, spinal and joint stability and quality of movement in the golf swing. It works as a powerful learning tool that provides a closed feedback loop to the golfer, always delivering awareness of posture and movement quality. GLT‘s Iain Highfield recently took a golf lesson with GLT’s Arick Zeigel and got first hand experience of how to use the GravityFit TPro and other technologies in a golf lesson.
For both the golf player and golf coach, this is a very good thing because it allows the golfer to react to an external cue that can literally be felt, as opposed to an abstract concept presented by the golf instructor. In turn, this frees the golf instructor to deliver coaching cues and information that is more related to outcome, such as controlling ball flight.
While many products tout results based on unproven theories, GravityFit offers products built upon space-age technology… literally. GravityFit’s deep muscle activation procedure has been used by astronauts to help adjust to the effects of gravity variation, helping muscles activate by adding an exercise program focused on resistance-based gravity simulation. While other products frivolously use words like revolutionary, GravityFit actually fits the bill, and has the research to support the claim. As such, and in line with our belief in the learning sciences, GLT Golf is proud to partner with GravityFit to encourage the use of golf aids that assist in a safe, effective, scientifically proven system to help golfer acquire skill.
This article was co-written with Rachel Bailey, Advanced PGA Coach at Pennant Hills GC, Sydney, Australia
Golfer – Joe, 49, Construction Project Manager, 13 handicap.
The Golf Coach (me) – Rachel Bailey, former Ladies European Tour player, 3 x winner on ALPG Tour. Diploma Sport Coaching.
Rachel Bailey Golf Coaching – Pennant Hills Golf Club, Sydney, Australia
When Joe first came to see me for lessons, he was struggling with consistent low hooks. This made for tee shots that were difficult to control and approach shots that just wouldn’t hold the greens. He essentially wanted to develop a ball flight that was higher, with less draw shape and would land more softly.
My main goal for Joe in order for him to stop hitting low hooks, was to reduce the amount and speed of forearm rotation. This would help reduce the amount of club-face rotation through impact that was leading to him consistently presenting that closed and de-lofted club-face. In order to do this I felt it was important to address a couple of key areas relating to set up and body movement. My feeling was that these were significant contributors to the issues outline above. They were also easier factors to control and train, in contrast to simply attempting to manipulate the hands and arms in the downswing and through impact.
The first priority was set up, I wanted Joe to develop better balance and establish a more neutral spine posture. You can see from the before video above that Joe’s weight is very much forward in the balls of his feet. Also his pelvis is neutral or even favouring the right. Both of these factors had a detrimental effect on Joe’s ability to pivot and turn effectively, because he was essentially off balance from both front to back, and side to side!
Once we had established a more balanced set up, we looked at developing better arm body connection and started working on a more efficient pivot or turn. This is where the GravityFit TPro played a key role, the feedback from backbow and bands gave Joe much greater awareness of his position and posture. The equipment combined with various movement pattern drills helped Joe gain a much stronger and quicker feel for both the width I was asking him to create, and for turning more efficiently from his upper back and ribcage. We also used a variety of grip positions on the TPro bands to assist with bringing awareness to club-face control and arm rotation.
The video above is Joe doing a simple takeaway drill using the TPro, I’m asking him to set up balanced in his feet, angle his spine away from the target and create width in the early part of his backswing, through a solid pivot from his upper back and ribcage.
You can see below from the last video in the series how much better his movement has become. In this one he is hitting some 3/4 shots still wearing the TPro for feedback on his movement.
Joe’s ball flight is now higher with significantly less right to left movement in the air. When I first saw Joe, he would hit up to 30m draws/hooks with his 7iron and low snap hooks with driver. This has reduced significantly and he can now even hit some fades as well, when he really tries! His handicap has reduced from 19 to 13 and is continuing to edge lower and lower.
For more information please or to book a lesson, please check out the resources below and don’t hesitate to get in contact:
Rachel Bailey – rachelbaileygolf.com
GravityFit – gravityfit.com/golf
This article was co-written with Ji McBryde, Senior Coach at KDV Sport, Gold Coast, Australia
The low pull is one of the most damaging shots in golf. If you have been plagued by these, you’ll be well aware of the kind of issues it can create. The low ball flight means that you have little chance of carrying the trouble (trees, water, bunkers). Then even if you do miss the hazards on the fly, there is a greater chance of running into the trouble later on! Perhaps even more frustrating is that a pull actually feels pretty good due to the compression from a shut club-face. So your disappointment is even more magnified when you look up to see your ball ricochet around the trees. This is in stark contrast to the more benign high push, that whilst it feeling pretty terrible off the open club-face, generally flies further and lands softer, thereby often avoiding the trouble.
The example below provides a nice example of a student that was suffering from the dreaded low pull, but managed to turn things around in just one session. Usually, changes as dramatic as these occur over the course of weeks or months, once the student has had time to practice and adapt to the new feels and movements we have introduced. In this case, the changes demonstrated happened over the course of about 45 minutes!
Golfer – Jayme, 16 yrs old, student, 9 handicap.
The Golf Coach (me) – Ji McBryde, former Australasian Tour player, qualifications in Trackman, Balance Lab, Putt Lab, GASP and TPI.
Jayme booked in because he has hitting his irons low and left, and struggling to control direction with driver.
To start the session we used video capture and Trackman as diagnostic tools to help tell us why Jayme was struggling with the low lefts. The screen shot below from Trackman tells us that Jayme had a swing path going left, with a shut club face and a dramatically steep angle of attack. This combination of factors is like a perfect storm for low pulls.
We then turned to video for clues as to how and why he was moving the club in that way. What we see below is a very strong grip, very low right shoulder at address, a bowed left wrist and arms moving away from the body. Again, a combination that will most likely lead to a shut club face and struggles with the lefts. What this also means, is that during the rest of the swing, Jayme is simply doing the best he can to mitigate the shut face and get a decent result at impact.
My philosophy is to always focus on what is easy to control and likely to make a significant difference. In this case, Jayme’s set up posture, alignment, right hand grip and takeaway were the low hanging fruit, so we decided to work on those first. As with most of my students, the first step was to introduce Jayme to the GravityFit TPro. This piece of equipment firstly gave Jayme awareness of his shoulder posture, specifically how far back and up he needed to orientate his right shoulder blade. This had the effect of automatically weakening that strong right hand grip, which also needed a small amount of input to get sitting more on top of the shaft.
Once a better set up posture and grip was established, we moved on to drilling a takeaway in which his arms were more connected to his body and club face in a more neutral position. See the video below for a snippet of this process.
As Jayme started to grow accustomed to the new feels, we moved on to hitting short shots whilst still using the TPro. He was starting to make some really solid contact with half swings and we were starting to see drastic changes in contact and ball flight. This encouraged me to move on to hitting full shots. As I have already alluded to, Jayme’s progress through these stages was extremely quick. It’s a credit to his level of talent and athleticism that we were able to progress to this stage in one session.
As you can see from the videos below, Jayme’s movement quality is really starting to clean up and the club face is in a more neutral position.
One of the best features of this tool is how it can accompany the student from the early stage of improving posture, right through to hitting full shots, providing feedback on postural control and movement pattern quality as they progress. Jayme continued to hit shots with the TPro whilst I provided him with video evidence of the improvement, to accompany the great feedback he was getting from better strike, direction and flight.
To finish off the lesson we removed all of the feedback to see if Jayme could still move in the new improved manner, with reduced input from both myself and the technology. As you can see from the video below Jayme continued to set up and swing it really nicely, demonstrating dramatic improvements compared to the start of the session.
As I’ve mentioned throughout the article, we saw a really nice change in strike, ball direction and flight during the course of the session. The image below serves as a strong demonstration of how far Jayme managed to progress in one session. In the after swing on the right hand side, Jayme’s path is now moving to the right, his club face is neutral and attack angle is shallower. You can plainly see the effect this has had on direction and flight; a drastic improvement.
By way of a summary, it’s tempting to address the “Low Pulls” by first addressing the main causal factor; a shut club face. Trying to simply manipulate the face can be very tricky to teach and train, as you’ve seen in this example I would rather work on factors that are easier to control. With Jayme we really only worked on set up, grip, alignment and takeaway. With the help of Trackman, video, the GravityFit TPro and Jayme’s talent, I was able to focus on simple interventions and provide the guidance he needed to make the changes outlined above.
KDV Sport is a state of the art Golf and Tennis facility situated on the Gold Coast in Australia. They offer facilities and instruction to suit every level of golfer, to find out more click here
For a closer look at the featured GravityFit TPro, please click here