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Summer of Success – Swing Evaluation

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GOLFTEC PLAYER PROFILE

Name and title – Alex Kroviak, Senior Copywriter

Handicap if you have one? Average score? – 14.5

Having experienced a stint of GolfTEC lessons some 18 months ago, I knew what to expect at my Swing Evaluation; the technology, the video learning, the side-by-side comparison to people who make lots of money playing this game. But still, the first lesson jitters were there.

Arriving at GolfTEC’s Westlake location in Southwest Austin, I was immediately put at ease by Paul Thar, Certified Personal Coach and Franchise Owner. Having met Paul before, I knew he was an affable guy, but how quickly we took to conversation reminded of an important principle in learning just about anything, especially when it comes to golf: if you can’t communicate, you can’t learn. Check.

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Paul got me set up with the sensors and we kept the conversation on golf while he inspected the clubs in my bag, asking about my tendencies getting around the course, as opposed to the mechanics of swinging a club. This is an important distinction that I’m certain will come up again over my Summer of Success.

After I got nice and loose, Paul and I set a baseline with my 6-iron. Things were about to get real.

Paul showing me how my hands are too low and inside.

My setup is garbage. Paul didn’t say this, of course, but the video doesn’t lie. To swing well, you have to be set up well, and I’ve been dooming myself from the start.

With slow motion video, Paul pointed out that by keeping my hands low and inside I have to bring the club back out and over the swing path, which means I’m already out of sync before I get to the the top. Again, doomed.

Using the sensors I’m wearing in the above photo (which I almost instantly forgot I was wearing), Paul pointed out that although I have a lot of strong elements to my setup, my takeaway issue is causing problems later in the swing, namely with my hip turn. I’m only getting to 25 degrees, or just over halfway to ideal. This is…not good.

Like many golfers, hip turn is a mechanical tendency I’ve worked on, but I’ve really had no way to quantify performance. This is the beauty of the sensor. I’ve always known my hip action is weak, but now I have a quantifiable, as well as visual, example of just how weak it can be. And by seeing myself next to Zach Johnson, I could see just how far I’m swaying, as opposed to actually turning.

After working through some setup tendencies, Paul gave me some ways to improve my address position. He also tweaked my grip to be stronger, and moved me further off the ball to allow the club to swing through. You know how golf analysts love to say that you have to get out of your own way to play well? Apparently, I was literally in my own way. And here I was thinking it was metaphorical.

The first swing evaluation left me with some videos to work on, which I will probably obsess over, because I’m addicted. Additionally, Paul left some video drills on my profile page at golftec.com. I’m a total range rat during the week, so I’m already chomping at the bit to bang buckets and put them to work. 9-handicap, here I come.

 

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GOLFTEC PLAYER PROFILE

Name and title – Chris Yaccino, Senior Digital Designer

Handicap if you have one? Average score? – I would say 24-25ish

I walked into my first GolfTEC Swing Evaluation with an open mind, eager to learn where the flaws are in my swing.

I was also curious to know if there was anything I was actually doing correctly.

After a thorough introduction from Derek, which included breaking down my scoring tendencies and misses, I was hooked up to chest and hip sensors to get real data on my swing.

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It was interesting seeing my swing broken down into real, meaningful data, but Derek was able to point out my main flaws just through observation. Apparently, the majority of my issues—hip swaying, an overly-steep downswing, slicing, etc.—all start with my address. SO before we got into numbers, Derek got me into position.

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I used to think that the appropriate address was evenly squaring your feet to the ball, and getting your shoulders and hips symmetrically aligned. I was sorely mistaken.

My feet, hips and shoulders were always square. I didn’t have my left arm above my right arm, which he fixed by putting an alignment tool between my arms and prying my left arm forward. My spine angle was way off. The fix there was to stand up straight, then reach my right arm down to my right knee, tilting my spine, and then bending my knees.

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I was shown a side-by-side comparison of my initial address and swing with a Tour player’s address and swing, and it looked like we were playing two different sports.

Obviously, major changes had to be made. It’s a tough situation right away, because I have habits that have been formed, and now I have to untie the knots. And I’ve only been playing for 6 years. Nevertheless, Derek got me as comfortable as possible with a new address position. Then, it was time to work on the swing itself.

“Swing to right field and turn your hands over,” Derek told me.

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In an attempt to turn my “Did that hit a roof?” slice tendency into a strong, controlled fade, Derek brought out a cube-shaped “impact” bag. The idea was to take a 1/4 swing, swing to “right field”, and hit the bag with the toe of my club, sending the bag to the corner of the hitting net. I connected with the idea right away, even if it took me a while to physically produce the in-to-out swing path.

And though it’s only been a few days—and a couple buckets of balls—the idea is starting to stick. “Right field,” I told myself during my last round, “Right field.”

We spent the remainder of the lesson honing this new swing path, and Derek left me with drills to work on on my own time. I expect these preliminary lessons to have a large focus on the basics and fundamentals of the swing, which I need. Who knows for sure, but I’m already starting to feel like an actual golfer on the course, instead of a guy just wearing the outfit.

 


 

*Now through July 27, get started with the GolfTEC Swing Evaluation for only $95!  (Normally $125).  To learn more about GolfTEC’s Swing Evaluation Sale click here or call 877-446-5383.

 About GolfTEC

The world leader in golf lessons and top employer of PGA Professionals has a 96 percent success rate among its students. Since 1995, GolfTEC Certified Personal Coaches, the vast majority of which are PGA Professionals, have given more than 6 million lessons. The company operates nearly 200 centers worldwide (more than 80 within Golfsmith® stores) and has a presence in almost all major U.S. cities, Canada, Japan and Korea. All lessons are based on the company’s “Five Factors:” Fact-Based Diagnosis, Sequential Lessons, Video-Based Practice, Advanced Retention Tools, and TECfit® club fitting. To date, more than 600 GolfTEC Coaches work across a global network of Improvement Centers, consisting of both Corporate-owned and Franchise-owned locations and employees.

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