The Role of Technology in Modern Golf Instruction
by Bradley Turner, Keiser University College of Golf Director of Online Golf Instruction, MBA, PGA
Innovative technology continues to dramatically change the landscape of business worldwide. The golf industry is not immune to the disruptive forces of change. The world of golf instruction has been significantly impacted by technological innovation, leading to improved techniques, more accurate analysis, and enhanced player performance. In this article, I will explore the changes in golf instruction and how technology has shifted the profession from an era of opinions and models to a profession of evidence-based solutions to the problems of everyday golfers.
The Evolution of Golf Instruction
While the laws of ball flight have not changed over the many centuries the game has been played, it was not too long ago when golf coaches were searching for the secret to great ball striking. In the early days of golf instruction, the profession was much more of an art than a science. Books written by the best golfers of the day were a source of information; unfortunately, the content was a singular perspective and based on personal experience versus proven scientific facts. My first experience with technology in golf occurred over 50 years ago when my dad captured my golf swing using a home movie camera. It is amazing the evolution of golf technology over the past half-century, from home movies to revolutionary tools that give golf coaches a plethora of data and evidence-based information.
Tech Tools Revolutionizing Golf Instruction
Video (X-Ray of Technique) –
The first significant evolution in coaching golf was the development of slow-motion video. This technology began to change golf instruction in the late 1980’s. For the first time, golf coaches had access to a tool that clearly captured what was actually happening in the golf swing. There was no longer the need to guess what happened; coaches could see the visual facts of the golf swing. Today, video continues to be a cornerstone in analyzing the golf swing of the everyday golfer. I always like to compare using video to a doctor taking an X-ray of an ailment. If the X-ray does not establish a conclusive diagnosis, then an MRI may be required. Here are three primary tools used by golf coaches to provide a more in-depth view of the problem.
Body Motion Sensors (MRI of Body Movement) –
Body motion sensors capture the movement of the golfer by attaching sensors to key body parts. An avatar-type depiction of the golf swing is then viewed with valuable data ranging from angles, velocity, and acceleration. The negative with this technology was the time to properly attach the sensors and ensure their functionality. Technology has solved that problem, and coaches today can use programs that can capture this information by only using video.
Launch Monitors (MRI of Impact)–
Launch monitors have become a powerful tool for golf coaches as they measure critical club movement through impact. Highly trained golf coaches can study the plethora of data in club movement from swing to swing and diagnose a golfer’s swing issues. Launch monitors have shifted the focus in golf instruction from looking good on video to creating desired and repeatable numbers on a launch monitor.
Pressure Plates (MRI of Pressure Changes) –
This type of technology can measure the changes in body movement using pressure plates underneath the golfer’s feet. The data can be synched to video as well, showing the golfer when and how they are shifting their body during the golf swing. This type of data is called ground force measurements and can be a vital piece of information in communicating necessary changes for the golfer.
The Benefits of Technology
The College of Golf at Keiser University has an indoor golf training center that houses the above-mentioned technology. The indoor technology available on campus is as good as any golf facility in the world. Golf coaches and students alike can measure the quality of many aspects of a golf swing. Technology can benefit golfers by breaking down incorrect concepts of the golf swing and replacing them with the facts of their golf swing. The scientific truth of a golf swing can be hard to swallow for the average golfer, but understanding the science of why will pave the way to better ball striking in the future.
Challenges and Concerns with Technology in Golf
Technology in the hands of a trained golf professional is a powerful tool in improving golfer performance. However, technology in the hands of a novice golfer can create confusion and frustration. Technology does not replace the process of developing a motor skill. There are many golfers who seek out information to improve their golf game, but additional knowledge may not be the solution. Knowledge can help a golfer understand the fundamentals needed to hit better golf shots, but knowledge or fundamentals are not the same as golf skills. Golf skill is improved over time by effective practice strategies. Improving golf skills requires work. Technology will not change that basic requirement.
The Future of Golf Technology
We are beginning to get a glimpse of the future of golf technology with the expanding presence of indoor training centers. Launch monitors and simulators can provide golfers with a variety of experiences. Indoor facilities that use simulators and virtual reality applications have brought the golf course experience indoors. Golf leagues are proliferating in all regions of the country, allowing golfers to have fun in a temperature-controlled environment while competing virtually on world-famous golf courses.
As technology continues to change, the science of effectively striking a golf ball will never change. The integration of technology into modern golf instruction has ushered in a progressive era of learning and skill development. From video analysis software to launch monitors and data analytics, golf coaches have an arsenal of tools at their disposal to refine the skills and performance of students. While the essence of golf has not changed since its inception centuries ago, technology has undoubtedly created new possibilities in the golf coaching profession. As technology continues to advance, the relationship between golf coaches and their students will only grow stronger, making golf instruction more accessible, effective, and enjoyable for players of all skill levels.
Want more tips? If you want to take your game to the next level, contact our team at Keiser University’s College of Golf & Sport Management today. With our dedication and experience, together, we can elevate your game to new heights. Give us a call today at 888-355-4465.