The PGA Show is the must-visit venue for anyone who loves golf. To network, meet up with old friends, to check out what’s new in the industry and even to attend some educational seminars.
As regards to the new – or fairly new – innovations of 2017, there were many interesting, scientific products, reviewed here in random order.
Gears Golf offers an 8 camera (optical), three-dimensional motion capture system, the standard in the biomechanics industry. What it can uniquely capture according to the company, amongst all of its many features, is the impact position of the ball. So, not only can one tell how the club is approaching and departing from the ball, but where on the face of the club it actually connects (https://gearssports.com/
My Swing Golf is also a full-body motion capturing system, but it does this with waterproof wireless inertial sensors instead of optical markers. These sensors have the capability of measuring acceleration, angular orientation and position all at the same time. The advantage of this technology is that it can be easily taken out into the field, and surely real-life sports performance measurement is the way to go. This system is the brain-child of a professional golfer cum mechanical engineer, Peter Gauthier, so very cleverly involves a full-body set of sensors not just a few, so that body-modeling or the creation of a realistic avatar or body image is closer to that of the actual golfer being studied (https://www.myswing.com/
Going from the physical to the mental, one education seminar was offered by Dr. Debbie Crews, who explained how the brain plans and executes movement, and what brain state reproduces a person’s best performance. She has, based on her many years of research as a professor at Arizona State University, studied brain activity and created brain maps to indicate the “state of the mind”. This background helped her develop “Opti”, which helps a golfer self-train an ideal brain state for better performance (https://optiinternational.com/).
Mark Metus is a chiropractor who had a booth demonstrating the “neuroconnect” product which his flyer states stands at the intersection between neurology and quantum physics. It does involve a leap of faith but then all of quantum physics relies on that too – after all sub-atomic particles cannot be sensed by the five human senses! The product appeared to work, because Dr Metus’ manual muscle testing showed muscles to be stronger in golf swing positions and gait positions while using the small “devices” than without. This unique product won the 2017 United Inventors Association’s Pinnacle Award during the 2017 Show, implying that it worked for other people too. (neuro-connect.ca)
Trackman, the company whose world-famous product is fondly referred to as the “orange box” introduced (entire distance) ball tracking for putts, to be followed soon by putter tracking as well. The software is able to output not just the parameters that are offered for the full-swing (launch direction, ball speed, distance travelled), but also roll speed, skid distance and roll percent – roll being the quality of ball movement which should predominate in a well-stroked putt. There is even an effective stimpmeter reading possible. (http://trackmangolf.com/products/putting
). Trackman’s Texas area representative, Kyle Butler, is a golf professional himself and so a font of information about all Trackman products.
Mark Csencsits is a golf professional with dozens of ideas for improving any golfer’s game. One of his many innovations is the Fatt Matt swing trainer, a prototype for which he displayed during the Show. This is a very useful tool for allowing golfers to train on uneven surfaces and with uneven lies because there are separate platforms for the feet and for the golf ball. As a result, a golfer can adjust each foot independently for slope and also adjust the lie and slope that the ball lies on. It should make for many hours of boredom-free, realistic practice as a golfer experiments with making shots from all sorts of different and difficult positions (http://www.fattmatt.com/trainsmarter.html
A product that has spread like wildfire throughout the golf industry, and across golf swing, fitness and even shoe-profile applications, admis the BodiTrak pressure mat. Easy to carry and affordable, it provides pressure traces and vertical force information of foot-ground patterns associated with any movement. An ideal product for a golfer or golf instructor wishing to study what is happening at the ground level to better understand how the body, overall, is moving (http://boditraksports.com/