A mechanical golf swing advantage
Even since witnessing a presentation by the Austrian Ski Team’s biomechanics, I’ve been fascinated with how to get someone to improve a physical skill. It’s simply not enough to tell someone what to do, you have to tell them how to do it. And in all probability you will need to force the individual to learn the skill.
The problem is that humans resist change. We have an inbuilt safety system that ignores instruction to make adjustments to motor skills. This is important with many tasks. After all, it would be no good at all if we quickly changed our walking style only to realise it was no good. This resistance to change protects us from losing vital skills that we rely on for survival.
Unfortunately the same stubbornness applies to your golf swing. Making a swing change is virtually impossible – especially if you’re relying solely on the spoken word. If someone asks you to do something (like swing more uprightly) you will almost always revert back to your normal swing . No change will be made.
The Austrian scientists identified a number of areas where improvements could be made to technique. But they didn’t stop here. They worked with a number of skiers and developed a range of drills and exercises that forced the athlete to integrate the new skills. The scientists used the WHAT to come up with the HOW.
This is the difference between getting bogged down with information to actually making meaningful changes. This is of vital importance if you’re serious about making any change. No longer is it good enough to bombard the golfer with data, results and info – there needs to be a blueprint on HOW.
Golf’s hidden fundamental
I knew from a golf biomechanical study that there was a component of the swing that separated good and bad golfers. It was termed the flat spot. The golf flat spot ensured the club head and club face traveled along the target line for a longer amount of time. When a golfer achieved the Flat Spot Principle their golf swing improved.
- Longer and straighter shots
- Improved timing (more time to hit the ball)
- Better confidence – because the ball can only go straight
The result? With a longer flat spot your ball finds your target more of the time. The better the golfer the longer and more consistent the flat spot.
So how do you improve your flat spot?
This is an important question. Traditional methods will have you reading about it and maybe studying it on video. Unfortunately this is not enough. If reading or watching about proper technique was all it took we all would have excellent golf swings and be better players.
The Flat Spot occurs when the club is traveling at its fastest. It is impossible for any human to have the feelings and sensations to control the club head during impact. It’s just not possible. Trying to do so inhibits the swing and causes the golfer to over analyse, get tight and most likely make a poor swing.
The best swings happen when they are free flowing and natural. There can be no room for self-doubt or fear. All golf swings need to be uninhibited to the extreme if they’re going to be successful.
And this is where most problems start for golfers trying to make changes. They disrupt the learning process (and the swing) because they are applying too much conscious thought. As much as we think we’re able to apply logic and thought to the learning process – we can’t.
Once I learned about the Flat Spot Principle I knew I needed a way of teaching it. I messed around for a bit and eventually settled on a gate system. If a golfer could swing between the gates – they naturally achieved the FSP. From here the BetaGolf Swing Trainer was born.
- A simple objective – swing between the gates and the swing would be successful
- A natural swing would be encouraged – nothing to inhibit the swing in any way
- Instant feedback achieved – if a poor swing is made the golfer gets instant feedback. It’s with instant and accurate feedback that helps learning take place
Here’s some more detail
The BetaGolf Swing Trainer works because it allows the user to learn a vital fundamental (the flat spot) without inhibiting the learning process. The user is forced to learn a better swing or they hit a sponge. It’s this feedback that allows improvements to be made at the subconscious level.
The golfer naturally sets up squarely to the ball. A square stance is important. Nothing new here but many golfers address the ball with a stance that is too closed or open.
The Take Away
Now we’re getting into the good stuff. A perfect back swing is one where the hands start the motion and the body follows. This sets up the perfect chain reaction with the club going back on plane. Too much instruction gets the body turning too early. This is a byproduct of “big muscle” thinking and it has devastating effects. Over turning early in your back swing makes achieving a good swing harder than it needs to be.
Here’s an easier way.
Move the club back between the sponges (without touching them). Your hands lead and the body follows – if you can do this your back swing will be absolutely perfect.
The main point here? Anyone can do this. The simple objective makes learning a good take away as easy as possible.
Top of back swing:
Once you’ve made the take away it is then a natural progression to the top of back swing position. Science has shown that a good back swing should be a comfortable position, no need to wind like a spring or to make a big back swing. A comfortable position is far easier to do (less strain and stress) and sets you up to make a successful downswing. So if you think you need a huge shoulder turn and a big back swing think again.
The down swing:
It’s here that the swing trainer really starts to perform its job. Once you’ve made your back swing it’s time to start the club down towards the ball. Many golfers start the motion by spinning their body. This is not correct and leads to the club coming over the top. The result? A dirty slice.
The good news here is with the swing trainer you’ll hit a sponge. Now if you’re normal you’ll start to get sick of doing this – replacing the sponges becomes annoying. So bit by bit you’ll stop spinning. The club will approach the ball from the correct path and you’ll start hitting the ball with pure back spin. The ball will start to go straight!
Best of all you don’t need to think about lots of technique. With the objective of “get the club between the gate” your natural learning system will take care of the rest.
If you hook, shank or block the ball the result will be the same. You’ll hit a different sponge but in time your learning system will react and stop doing it. I don’t know of an easier or better way to improve your golf swing.
So a good downswing move sees the body staying square. There is no unnecessary turn, spin or lunging. Traditionally this move has been difficult to learn but with the swing trainer it has become so much easier. Here’s some key points for a better down swing move;
- Body square
- hands and arms drop down
- Club head behind hands – this is the classic late hit position
- Body balanced and ready to unleash power to the back of the ball
- Simple and uncomplicated motion
This is the moment of truth. If you get this right the ball will find its target. And the key part of impact is achieving the Flat Spot Principle. The FSP ensures the club head and club face travel along the target line. When you do this you’re putting back spin on the ball and no side spin. So your ball flight will naturally be longer and straighter.
Another aspect is that by swinging the club through the foam gate you’ll also more likely strike the sweet spot. This only helps the ball finding the target.
To sum up
The Beta Golf Swing Trainer works because of its simplicity. There is nothing technical or complicated to remember – you make your best swing you can and attempt to swing the club between the sponges. When you make a good swing you don’t hit anything. When you strike a sponge you get instant feedback – you’re then able to learn naturally and instinctively.
You can increase or decrease the difficulty by moving the sponges. It comes with four set levels.
- Weekend Warrior – start here
- Club Champion – your swing is starting to improve
- PGA Tour – you’re now making progress and your swing is better than most
- Tiger – this one is tough. Not many are able to get to this level
All up learning to obtain a flat spot (or increasing its length) gives you a mechanical advantage. Golf is a difficult sport and any advantage is a good thing and something all golfers should strive for.
If learning to improve your golf swing and gaining the confidence to go with it interests you, then please consider the Golf Trainer.
- Improved golf swing without complication
- Better golf swing timing – have more time to hit the ball – this is why the pros make the game look so easy
- Cure problem shots like slice and hook
- Longer and straighter shots – they have pure back spin on them!
- Learn to release the club correctly without shutting or opening the club face
- Hit the sweet spot more often
- Less confusion
- Fast results
Please note that I’m modeling here right handed. I play left handed and I’ve done my best to represent the positions accurately with a right-handed swing