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Technology Use – A Golf Case Study

As everybody knows, we live in a technological society. Technology has come into every part of our lives. Sometimes it’s a great thing. Other times we implement technology that doesn’t help anything at all. This blog is about how I’m using technology to improve my golf game.
I’m pretty much self-taught in golf, but I look for tips wherever I can find them. I hit a plateau a while back and the start of the season this year has been pretty brutal. The troubles with my game are:

  • Inconsistent ball striking
  • Lots of misses way left of the target
  • Poor distance control on short pitch and chip shots

These are pretty typical problems, but I didn’t know what to work on. Bashing balls at the range and hitting endless shots at the practice green will only ingrain swing faults. Here’s what I’m doing instead.

The Gear
This winter I picked up a Flip Video camera for vacations and coaching. With a battery pack I paid $130 for it. It has a total of three buttons and shoots up to an hour of HD video. The camera has a USB connection and software built into the system. The interface is very simple to use. No geek required.

The Flip camera mounts on the golf cart using the Joby flexible tripod.

I found a flexible tripod made by Joby at Future Shop ($30). This tripod allows you to attach your camera to anything you can wrap the legs around. When attached to a golf cart, it provides a stable mount for video recording.

The Results
Full Swing
It didn’t take long for me to see where my swing faults came from. The video shows that although my balance and tempo were okay, there were several faults causing problems.
My driver swing.

The problems are:
Alignment: Feet are closed and shoulders are open.
Backswing: Way too far. It’s past parallel at the top and I’m no John Daly.
Wrist Position: Losing wrist angle early in the downswing causes thin and fat shots and robs all power from the swing.

Short Game
The short game swing showed the same types of problems as the full swing. The troubles with this swing it’s way too long, leading to deceleration in the downswing and too much wrist breakdown.

My 35 yard sand wedge swing.

The Theory of Constraints states that technology is useful only if it removes a constraint. Here, the constraint was I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. Now that I see my faults, I can move towards fixing them. For the cost of a wedge, I now have insight to my swing flaws. For this to be effective, I now have to work on correcting the flaws the video uncovered. Its too bad Cisco is shutting down the Flip line, but there are still some cameras available. If anybody sees any other swing flaws I should be working on, please let me know. See you on the course!