After using BodiTrak Center of Pressure technology for the past 16 months I’ve learned a tremendous amount related to where the best players use ground forces and pressure to accomplish their ‘perfect’ golf shots. Thanks to a number of colleagues we have pressure traces available from some of the best golfers in the world. What appears to be the most effective path to gain maximum distance is to move the center of pressure (COP) on a linear path toward the target as early and ‘pressurized’ as possible prior to impact. Tour level golfers even send their COP toward the target before they complete the backswing.
My teaching and coaching dwells more with normal golfers with very few elite golfers in the mix, and the observations of the handicapped golfers pressure trace is quite different and dynamic from the elite player. There is a lot of heel/toe instability, but what I’ve observed that affects shot quality the most is where the linear center of pressure is at impact. Topped, thin, and pushed shots match up with a pressure trace with the center toward the back foot at impact. Drills such as the step drill to move into the target can help, but I feel a more simple cause is the swing itself. If we consider the scientific laws, such as, action – reaction, we can see some alarming pressure traces based on the force and direction of a golfers arm swing. Simply put, if you swing hard throughout; especially after impact, the trace can stall or actually move back away from the target.
Here is an example of the before and after pressure traces at impact of a normal golfer. The before trace is in the lower frame; the after is the upper. The difference at impact improves from 66% back to 97% toward the target. To affect the improvement we rehearsed moving the left hip and pelvis away from the ball, back and up. The golfers external focus was the heel of the left shoe and left belt loop of his shorts moving back and up. Once the player felt the proper sequence, we simply ‘swung’ the club to just past impact and stopped. My golfer called it the Punch Drill; his 7 iron yardage increased 20-30 yards and driver increased 30-60 yards.
In addition to applying proper ground forces, we need to practice applying the proper forces on the club at the proper time to be most effective. Like leading up to and including impact; not so much during a big, powerful follow-through with the arms.