Published on June 22nd, 2012 | by Tim Good0
Swing Vision and the Amateur Golfer
During the US Open you probably saw the Swing Vision camera angle that was used throughout the championship. You were probably blown away by the 18,000 frames per second image that was being shown on your high definition television screen. Watching up close right in your face, various players at impact is a site to behold. Being able to see how the clubface reacts through impact is a powerful image, and one that can get you in trouble in your own game if you’re not careful.
How so you ask? It can only be a good thing to be able to really get in and analyze a tour players swing at such a close level right? Well maybe, but probably not. The problem with the SwingVision, is the angle that is shown from right up close on the ground of impact. I recall a shot of Jim Furyk’s being shown via that angle when he was trying to keep the ball from going left and was making sure that he hid a fade. The coverage showed this beautifully crisp clear picture of the club going through impact, from perhaps 6-8 inches before impact to perhaps another 6-8 inches after. During this particular shot, he held the clubface open through impact and visually it looks like the heel of the club is actually leading the shot and in front of the club face. The club head continues through the screen and the swing is completed.
Another clip showed the club being held square at impact and through the “hitting zone” allowing the player to control the flight of the ball. The broadcasters even commented on how great the picture was because it really shows how you can control and manipulate the club through impact.
Herein lays the problem I think for a lot of amateur golfers when they look at something like that without the proper mindset. An amateur golfer will look at that and think that’s the way a shot is supposed to be hit and try to duplicate it. They’ll go out to the range and focus on keeping the club head square all the way through impact, just like they saw the pro do it. The problem with that approach, is that what they’re seeing is a 110+ mile per hour swing cover the span of about a foot in a split second, slowed down to 18,000 frames per second which makes it looks long and slow.
What they probably don’t realize is that the club face is only “square” for perhaps a thousandth of a second in most swings. The Swing Vision camera is a great addition, but it is misleading in a sense that it makes impact look much different than it really is. If an amateur who tries to duplicate that “straight” swing is most likely going to end up with a terrible slice and lose a significant amount of distance. There is no reasonable way to keep the club head square through impact, so to try is to invite failure. Instead, they should focus on what actually is happening with a tour swing. No matter what their clubface is doing at impact or how it’s being manipulated through the hitting zone, the club is releasing and their hands are turning over.
Watching the Swing Vision camera should be appreciated on an artistic level for the athletic skill and mastery that is being displayed without attempting to apply it to ones own golf game. That is, unless you’re ready to devote thousands upon thousands of hours to hitting balls and honing your skills. Then by all means, duplicate away.
READ MORE from Tim on his golf blog, Life From The Short Grass.com