The information available to instructors now is incredibly good. With so many systems available out there to not only provide information, but measure it, time to take advantage of it and improve.
One of the biggest leaps in knowledge has come in the area of ground reaction forces (GRF).
Ground reaction forces are exactly that – the amount of force created by a golfer in their interaction with the ground during the golf swing. The better the interaction with the turf, the better the golfer’s chances of hitting the ball further and maximizing their distance for their given size and ability level. But using the ground can also help you improve how you move the club within your swing to create a better shot shape.
In using a pressure mat like Boditrak, it’s very interesting to see how changing the pressure patterns in a player’s movement can change the movement of the club.
However, before we go on, let’s understand a couple of terms.
Weight is simply how you distribute your mass in a static position; pressure is essentially weight on the move. It’s important to understand the difference between the two as the term “weight shift” is used often but probably not the most accurate of terms.
Now that we have the terms down a bit better, let’s look at how to change a player’s movement pattern. The majority of the golfing public struggles with a club that swings too much out to in, or “over the top”, creating a slicing shot in most cases and sapping their games of valuable distance.
A great way to help a player get the club swinging more from inside out and to stop slicing is to change where their pressure moves within their swing. In this instance, a great feel for a slicer is to turn back in the backswing and feel pressure shift into the right heel. Then, on the downswing, feel that the pressure moves into the left toe as the lower body shifts toward the target.
In this case I usually have the student make this move without swinging first, just to get a sensation of the change without worrying about the club. Then, as the feeling gets more ingrained, we graduate to a golf club and start to hit shots trying to capture the same sensation. The changes, verified by TrackMan, are usually pretty significant.
The opposite issue is usually reserved for a better player, but also can show up in other handicap levels as well. This issue is a club path that comes too much from inside the golf ball, resulting in thin shots, fat shots from bottoming out too early, blocks to the right, and sweeping hooks.
This player needs a taste of the other pressure trace, one that goes from the ball of the right foot to the left heel through impact. This will usually help this player feel the club swinging more down the target line or even a little bit left.
In many cases I will have this student put an alignment rod on the target line about 10 yards out, and attempt to hit shots that start over or even left of the stick to feel an opposite ball flight and pressure trace. Their contact and directional control get much better after a few shots.
So remember, while the golf club swings, the movement of the body and specifically the feet can have a tremendous influence on ball flight. Take a look at where your pressure moves in your swing and see if making a change can help you. Chances are that a little footwork can go a long way.