Category Archives: Product Review

Finding a Lost Gadget Diagnosed 2 Easy to Cure Swing Flaws

Have you ever cleaned out a closet or looked through old boxes to find something valuable you forgot you owned? If you are like me, cleaning the garage can always produce an old training aid long forgotten, the swingyde, a golf fan power trainer, the speedstik, etc.  I normally chuckle or swing the aid a few times and put it up.  Last week, I may have struck gold when going through an old drawer.

While putting away Christmas presents, I found my Golfsense sensor from 2013-14. I used it a handful of times, but for some reason, I never fully integrated it into my routine.  I also thought the measurements were off.  What I am finding out with devices like the optishot and Golfsense is the measurements aren’t what is off.  My perception of my swing is off.  I decided to try the sensor again during my planned full swing session.

The information from the session with the tracker proved invaluable. My device is a couple years old, so the updated version from Zepp includes numerous additional features.  The app for my device mainly measures club plane, hand plane, backswing, and tempo.  The first handful of swings showed me my swing plane is not as consistent as it should be, my tempo is way too fast, and my backswing was short.  Consistency comes from continued practice, so I used the information to work on my tempo and backswing.

I focused on tempo to increase the swing score on the app. The score is an arbitrary measurement of the quality of each swing.  However, scoring each swing is a great way to create a game for focus on each shot.  My temp tends to be quick.  The app indicates 3:1 is the ideal tempo, but I started around 2.3:1.  Working on my weight shift last summer along with my natural tendency to rush my shots was clear with the numbers.  I took a handful of deliberate swings and achieved the 3:1 ratio.

The backswing number took more time to work on. I assumed it somehow read my shoulder turn, but the recommendation is 270 degrees.  270 is not humanely possible, and when I turned more, the number didn’t dramatically change.  After reading a little further, I realized the backswing number measured the club at the top compared to address position.  The tracker basically measured wrist hinge combined with turn.  I wasn’t hinging my wrists near what I needed.  I incorporated the slower tempo and hinged my wrists more to get closer to 270 degrees.  My best efforts ranged from 240-250, but the app indicated those numbers were in the proper range.

Great numbers with easy fixes in 1 session was nice, but the real question is whether that has an effect on ball flight. I have not made it to the range due to the snow, but I hit foam balls into a screen that night.  The numbers looked good and the ball looked to have a higher trajectory.  My angle of attack improved due to the wrist hinge.

My next test happened a few days later on the optishot. After a few warm up swings, I was able to produce similar improved numbers on the simulator’s range.  I then played a round.  The numbers stayed reasonable, and while I got quick at times, my improvements seemed to stick.  My round score wasn’t perfect, but I shot reasonably well.

My only criticism is the measurements don’t take into account face angle. I could make a reasonably good swing, but my clubface could be a little more open or closed.  The sensor doesn’t account for some of that variation.  I did find it difficult to have a good score and hit the ball terrible.  Working with this sensor helped me with immediate feedback and improve 2 important areas of my game.  I plan to continue to use it to help with my tempo and hinge.  I believe improving those areas will drastically improve my GIRs.  I can add club face work in as these numbers become even more consistent during practice.  1 device won’t solve everything, but the Golfsense sensor definitely helped my game.

A good winter cleaning is a good place to start looking for training aids. Stay warm.

Check Out New Motor Learning Research to Decrease Strokes

Improving at golf seems easy. Pick something to work on, go to the range, and spend hours repeating the new movement over and over.  Most people call it creating muscle memory or getting more reps.  Tiger talks about reps all the time.  If reps is all that matters, then most of us are doomed to mediocrity because we have jobs and families that prevent hours making changes and getting reps.  However, science is starting to change the way we think about learning, and Golf Science Lab is leading the charge to help everyone practice better.

I wrote about interleaving and variable practice in my first few posts last spring. I use similar ideas when teaching my students how to perform on certain standardized tests, and motor learning research started advocating these new approaches.  After integrating some of the concepts, I discovered Golf Science Lab at the end of the summer.  I would highly recommend checking out their site.

Their site is chalked full of excellent information from numerous sources. My first trip to the site was almost overwhelming due to the amount of information.  They have articles and podcasts on nearly every conceivable practice and mental game topic.  I had no idea where to start.  I thought the best place would be to sign up for their emails and purchase the motor learning quickstart guide.

I am always skeptical of pdf books because anyone can publish a book and sell it online. Internet marketing is full of write a 20 page pdf, put some good graphics in it, and then sell it on an email list.  Their site made me feel like the book would be worth it, and I waste more than $10 on silly purchases all the time.  I bought the motor learning guide.

The motor learning quickstart guide included a small game like training manual as well. I am not disappointed I purchased these guides.  Both products included solid information about how we learn and mistakes most golfers make on the range.  The guide included citations to research to provide the foundation for their recommendations. The information is there to completely change the way to practice.

My lone criticism of the manuals is they have more theory than hyper specific application tools. For example, the guide explains the difference between block and random practice.  The research foundation illustrates what most golfers do wrong and why random practice is better.  The end of the section includes a small discussion of how that translates to golf.  Most people reading the section will understand random practice would include switching clubs, changing shot type, or switching trajectories.

I think the guides could add a little specificity by suggesting a practice routine. However, the website includes a significant amount of that information.  The guides are good quick easy reads.  You come away with the idea of what not to do when practicing.  You also discover what you should do with each repetition to create lasting changes.  The website provides the more specific information.

Not only is the guide worth $10, Cordie is excellent at responding to questions. I emailed them about my project here and asked about any resources for game like training while not hitting a golf ball, like swings at the office.  He graciously responded within a couple days that they didn’t have any podcasts or articles for that yet, but he would consider the topic for the future.  He could have ended the conversation there, but he proceeded to give a few suggestions for creating game like training in my situation (drawing out holes and playing each shot in my head while swinging).  The ideas were great to integrate into my at-home practice.

Golf Science Lab provides vast amounts of information to maximize everyday golfers’ potential. I plan to listen to a couple podcasts each week while driving home.  I would highly recommend subscribing to their free podcasts and checking out their site.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Can the Golftec Method Guarantee My Success?

96% success rate lowering golfers’ handicaps. Lesson packages with continuous lessons that ensures progress.  Advanced methodology focusing on the right way to build a repeatable, quality swing.  Video based instruction to help visualize the right positions.  Does Golftec live up to these claims?

Golftec states they follow the most advanced teaching pedagogy, and as a professor myself, I believed them. They do setup a couple lessons a month with video instruction, and the theory sounded good.  I believed success was imminent, so I signed up quickly to get started.

As a quick disclaimer, everyone’s experiences are different, and I believe a good relationship with an instructor can have great success. However, the 96% success advertisement makes it seem like their system is nearly foolproof.  My expectation was Golftec would be the best instruction possible and my handicap would consistently drop.  I must be in the 96%.

I did not experience the success Golftec nearly guaranteed. I went through Golftec’s program for approximately 2-3 years.  I don’t remember the exact number, but I believe I took approximately 30 lessons.  In 30 lessons, my handicap did not decrease, and I did not shoot my lowest score ever.

My experience began well. The instructor conducted the swing evaluation and decided my swing plane was too flat.  He also showed me that my knees move towards the ball during the swing.  His analysis was correct.  I was under plane (causes pushes and hooks) and I did move towards the ball.

I proceeded with lessons for a year. My swing progressed to on or above plane on the backswing and downswing.  Many of the parts gradually came together.  However, my score wasn’t dropping.  He would show me a tour swing and compare it to my swing.  We worked on correct positions, but even though my positions were more correct, I still missed greens.  I followed an agreed practice plan, but I felt the instructor tried to move me to a predetermined swing that was not conducive to my tendencies.

After about a year and a half, I thought I hit the ball better. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and then, my instructor quit for a non-golf job.  I understand pursuing another career, but a job completely outside golf seemed odd.  I transitioned to working with the store manager.  He knew what I worked on with the other instructor, but he brought a few new ideas.  We made a few subtle changes that weren’t entirely consistent with the previous approach.  My score stagnated.  After a 6-9 months with him, I played a good round to finish the season.  I started hitting 50-60% of the fairways and more greens.

Success seemed imminent. My handicap would soon drop.  My new instructor then took another job as a head pro in a different state.  I now had to move to my 3rd instructor.  I wasn’t completely alarmed because Golftec is built on a method.  My 3rd instructor was incredibly nice, but he basically wanted me to flatten my swing back to slightly under plane.  I am not a golf instructor, so I will admit some ignorance here.  However, I felt like he asked me to do moves that I worked 2 years to change.  Not only that, my lesson package ran out.  I didn’t have any more lessons with a swing back at square one.  I was incredibly frustrated.

Even though the process frustrated me, I gave Golftec one last chance. I talked to the regional office and voiced my complaints.  They provided me a lesson package for the transition between so many instructors.  The new instruction continued down a completely different path, and my handicap continually rose.  My GIR went down to 1-2 a round.  My fairway percentage dropped.  The instructor told me it would get better.  The lesson package ran out.  I faced the decision whether to spend another significant sum of money to continue.  The instructor told me he loved teaching and planned to be at that Golftec for a long time since he was now the store manager, so he committed to me.  I remained skeptical and thought 3 years with no success (with tons of money expended) meant I should try something different.  Great choice because he is no longer at that location as well.

I may be the anomaly, but I would not recommend Golftec as an entity. I agree with most reviews that the instructor is what matters.  I had 3 different instructors, and my dad had an instructor leave on him in a different state.  There must be a reason for the turnover, so I don’t recommend Golftec.  I am sure they have some great instructors that last a long time in other locations.  Their theory for continuous lessons and practice is good.  The swing mechanics probably do work for many people.  However, I think they get away from playing golf and focus too much on mechanics.  I also wonder why I lost 3 instructors with multiple others leaving my location in 3 short years.

You can make a good plan and practice on your own. If you want instruction, find an established instructor in your area and they can help you with the plan.  I believe consistent practice with a good plan can work without paying thousands of dollars.

If you had experiences with Golftec, leave your comments below.