My GolfTec Experience
By birdieXris on 10/26/11
Chris "birdieXris" Embardino originally posted this in the forums, but I thought his experience at GolfTec was worth sharing with the masses on oob so I had him clean it up a little and voila. Enjoy!
This past Saturday, I found myself near King of Prussia, PA at a Golftec teaching center cashing in a prize from this years WAHC. Free is the best price ever so why not give something new a try? For anyone not familiar with the franchise, Golftec has some of the game's most advanced teaching gagetry for a price that is more within the average golfer's price range than say --- an entire Titleist swing van and personal entourage.
I arrived a little early and upon entering I was greeted by other swing coaches who were waiting for their respective clients to arrive. We jawed a while about where I was and where I wanted to be with different aspects of my game while I waited for my appointed coach to complete a previous lesson. The lobby contained a small putting green for use if you so choose, as well as the “wall of fame” which contained the names of what I assume were clients, and various milestones across the way – “broke 90”, “first 300 yard drive”, etc. The appointed time arrived and Daryl Welman, PGA certified coach greeted me with a handshake and showed me to our assigned practice bay.
This particular Golftec has 3 bays for lessons. The bays are large rooms with nets at one end floor to ceiling – which is good when you're taking full swings with drivers in an enclosed space. You hit off an astroturf matt that contains sensors that acquire information on your angle of attack, and face angle of the club. Near said mat, is a monitor that mirrors what the coach sees on his monitor. It is a live feed (as well as recorded when the time comes) of the cameras placed in the down the line (DTL) and Head on (HO) cameras that record your movements. This is exceptionally useful when trying to implement changes and “visualize” what you are doing and what the club is doing at any given position because you can see it in real time all while keeping your posture in the swing. The last piece of equipment that is worth noting is the swing harness system. This consists of a tripod mounted sensor which stands behind you against the wall and a harness that contains a very small sensor on the upper back and wraps around the belt line. This gives all the information on hip, shoulder, and torso tilt and turn. It's surprisingly comfortable to wear and after a swing or two it settles and you don't really even know it's there. After that, it's time to get down to business.
They use a system that is very much like the V1 program which most if not all of us are familiar with, but it's so much nicer in that they record front view and down the line at the same time. It has recording capabilities and live comparison capability rather than having to do each individually. It also has the normal side by side comparison of just about any pro you can think of.
The coach had me make some swings and hit a few balls to warm up. He also used this time to get familiar with my normal swing and get a base as to what is going on. What he told me kind of shattered my perception of practicing and what a good shot really is for me. In fact, I'm surprised I was even hitting the ball well at all. He had recorded a swing without me even knowing and in this I saw how what felt like a good move into the ball and good weight shift was actually me casting my lower body too soon and losing power and control. Since I learned mostly in the 80s, this is pretty common seeing as how I patterned my swing after Greg Norman and his “go at it” full swing with the following back foot. All this lead to folding up my arms and not getting extension and pulling my back foot into my front, out of posture and spraying the ball under pressure.
Likewise, on the same swing DTL, I was able to see that this also was characterized by my back foot being way too high at impact – again, from throwing my lower body forward. My coach gave me some tips on how to fix this, as well as some drills to fix my wide flailing wrists in the backswing. Something I thought I was just going to have to live with because of my physiology and 20+ years of doing it.
I think this next frame is the most significant. At least IMO. This is the OLD SWING address position. It showed me that as good as something seems or feels, when you get some numbers attached to it and really get the specifics it's not even close to what you have in your head. The numbers in the box at the bottom are based on tour pros and the ideal golf swing. Green (good), yellow (ok), red (bad). Now, not everybody is going to be ideal. The good thing is that the coaches realize that. They're not out to make everybody “picture perfect”, and we did get in a conversation about my "rounded upper back". I have a slightly curved upper back from bad posture as a kid. The doctors called it "winged scapula". Basically i have to fight to fix my posture... eventually. For the golf swing, it was a workaround and he continued to pinpoint what was wrong in my stance, hand position, and overall address posture. This is where the technology pays off and we were able to address it in a matter of minutes with a few drills. With the monitors in front of me, I was able to swing freely and get perspective and feel on how it was REALLY supposed to be, not just what I thought I looked like.
Then, the before and after. It's what it all boils down to. Big change in the hand position, shoulder tilt and stance width. This AFTER setup is 100% green by the numbers. It might be just one number, but there's more to the swing than JUST the numbers – and that's what the coach is for. It also feels pretty good too after the round I played Saturday (just ignore my short game for now). While I only hit 63% of fairway and 55% greens, things were a lot better than those numbers let on. Only 2 drives were really “lost”. They were findable but generally “unplayable”. The iron game was greatly improved and much more accurate despite having a pretty much new and still uncomfortable swing. In fact, I was explaining to the guys I was paired up with about the swing evaluation I had gone through prior to the round. They called a few shots and I executed within about two yards. No joke. I was more impressed than they were at that point.
I've had a lot of lessons but this is the best I've ever felt following one and still shooting kinda bad for my index. That being said - my putting needs work and is also in the process of re-working for better distance control. I've already made an appointment for a short game lesson starting January of 2012. I'm trying to work out a schedule that will allow me to make full use before and during the season since unfortunately it's about an hour and 15 minutes away from me.
Now, I've been golfing and tinkering a lot of years. This coming season will be 26 with over a dozen of them being competitive in local tours and high school matches. I've video taped my swing, gotten outside point of views, and even sent a video into The Golf Fix. I've also gotten lessons from four different pros. I know a lot about the swing and have playing partners that do as well. Still after all of this, I fixed more in a 90 minute swing evaluation than I could in a dozen or more years with all sorts of help. I don't want to imagine where i could be right now if I had this kind of teaching and technology even 5 years ago. I sit at home and see the commercials on TV and in the golf magazines too. I even found myself saying "why would i pay for that? I have a digital camera and a brain." I retract that question. At the risk of sounding like a commercial for this place, I'll say this: If you want to get better, make it permanent, AND do it quickly and easily I would definitely find your nearest Golftec and make an appointment.
This was written by Chris Embardino , a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not necessarily reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.
[ comments ]
I have a different experience and one more costly because I actually paid for it. I didn't like it overall it felt too by the numbers to make me feel comfortable with it. I am a 6.6 handicap golfer and I have done it mostly on my own. For a person who speaks for a living learning by trying to fit into a computer generated dimensions of how I should stand is not going to work. However the one thing I take from it I did learn what I should be looking for in my swing. That being said just download tigers swing app and you can save the amount of money I paid for this. One more instances of paying for something I could have done on my one had I not bought into the hype.
I wish i could find a way to link or at least post a video that they took. There's some nice voiceover and it really helps to hear what the stills are about. each still has an explanation with it.
I took a free 10 minute lesson from them at a golf show for the hell of it and the guy told me I wasn't getting to my right side enough in the back swing and he showed me where I "should be" and this caused me to move my head 4" off the ball and I said in order to be there I have to move my head and he said "yeah that's normal" that is also when I turned my ears off
I took 20 lessons from Golftec this past summer. Went from a 30 handicap to a 17 in just six months. Trying to become a self made golfer is extremely tough and while I thought I was doing things right, I really wasn't. I would recommend Golftec to anyone.
I took a 30 minute GolfTec lesson I bought on groupon when I was hitting to many fat shots. Being able to see what you are doing wrong on the screen is a huge help. I was taking the club back to far, after changing that my swing speed increased like 10-15 mph. If you are hung up on a problem and can't seem to figure out what to do, don't wait any longer and go for a GolfTec lesson. I haven't taken any other video lessons, maybe they are all really helpful where ever you go.
well after hearing them I decided to stick with being self thought the whole way it has worked so far
I would really benefit from being able to see what i am doing in the swing and how it looks(feels) to do it the correct or better way.
After reading a Wedge Guy article last year recommending a swing tune-up at the start of the season, I went to Golftec for a swing evaluation. My instructor walked me through about 20 stills in a video of my swing, pointing out what I'm doing (vs what I should be doing) - I had problems in all but 1 position, and that was at the finish! After seeing it, it seemed amazing that I could even get the club on the ball. I've grooved my swing over several decades, so I've made it work, sort of. I signed up for the full package - I figured I've spent a lot over the years on golf, so why not spend a bit to actually get better? You're still dealing with an instructor, and some will be better than others. Mine was really good. As far as effectiveness, I won the "most improved golfer" in the local tour that I play. I re-upped this winter to keep that going. Another benefit is that you get an account online - making scheduling appointments easy, plus they post videos or stills from your lesson so you can review them.
I've taking lessons at GolfTec for the past several months and am utterly miserable. After all of the time and money that I've spent, I've only improved marginally. And to make things worse, my golf instructor has pretty much abandoned me. He went on leave about month ago and I've been left on my own to hit practice balls ever since. This place is bullshit. I was initially quite excited about the video technology and the prospect of one-on-one lessons, but all they teach are tips and pointers. My instructor just prattles on about shoulder rotation, as if I have a protractor can measure the angle of my shoulders when I'm swinging the club, and other cheap gimmicks. And the game plan is so abstract and technical that it's impossible to follow.
I'm at the point where I no longer have any confidence my teacher and just hate having to go to this place. The biggest mistake I made was committing to a lessons package. I really wished I had gone instead to a pro at my local course.
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