Saturday, February 1, 2003
Hacks, Lies And Videotape
A step-by-step guide to improving your swing, one frame at a timeUsing Video to analyze and improve your golf swing is the essence of being a “serious” student of the game. Attempting to tackle the golf swing without taking advantage of video technology is a tremendous handicap. In fact, there’s no question in my mind that one of the main reasons we’re seeing so many young superstars in golf today is the use of video analysis. The ability to actually see what’s happening, and not having to rely on feel, accelerates the learning process immeasurably. Video not only holds the instructor partially accountable for the student’s progress, but also puts more responsibility on the student to actually practice and attempt to improve his or her technique. To borrow a saying from Homer Kelly (author of The Golfing Machine), it’s the blind struggle versus the guided one.
The only real tools you’ll need to successfully videotape your golf swing are a tripod and a camera. VHS cameras work well, as do digital cameras. Of course, digital cameras give you the added benefit of allowing for computer-aided analysis, but that’s not absolutely necessary. As long as your camera has a high-speed shutter setting, 1⁄2000 sec. or the like, you’ll be fine.
To begin, set the camera at a height slightly above your navel and prepare to shoot yourself from the down-the-line angle. To properly position the camera, take a comfortable setup; then, lay a club on the ground facing the target and along the line your hands will travel during the swing (perpendicular to your feet). Walk approximately six paces behind you and aim the camera so the club is basically in the middle of the frame when you look through the viewfinder. This position will give you a solid view of the golf swing.
Things To Look For: In preparation for analysis, you need to create a template on your TV screen using a dry-erase pen. It’s easy, and all you really need are three lines (for a down-the-line view), one vertical line from the top of the buttocks to the ground, one short vertical line just in front of the knees, and one line tracing the shaft of the club, running from the golf ball through the body and beyond (see photo, bottom right).
Once you have this template, you’re ready to begin. The seven positions you’ll want to monitor are setup, takeaway, halfway back, the top, delivery, impact and release. These positions represent critical parts of the golf swing and should be worked on regularly if you’re serious about improving.
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