What You Can Learn From The Unique Kinetic and Kinematic Data of the 2023 European Amateur Champ

Whenever we evaluate a golfer, we’re always looking at WHAT they are doing, HOW they are doing it, and WHY they might do it that way.  To see what they are doing, we use video and 3D motion capture.  To understand how they are doing it, we look at force plate data.  And to connect the why, we take them through our physical screen.

Our recent evaluation of 2023 European Amatuer champion and Arizona State standout, Jose Ballester, was a fascinating case study in how this data can reveal unique strategies among the most effective swings in the world.

Jose is a tremendous ball-striker with elite speed, but he does it differently than most of the players we see.  

When we dug into Jose’s 3D, force and physical data, it revealed his “superpowers,” specifically his ability to lag the club on the downswing and create something called moment arm by how he pushes against the ground.

Dr. Rose explains in the latest case study from our lab:

When we evaluate ground reaction forces in a golf swing, HOW and WHEN an athlete pushes against the ground can be just as important as HOW HARD.  

The most powerful golfers in the world not only create a lot of force, they do it earlier in the downswing than slower players.  Most of the research suggests that we want to maximize vertical force at shaft vertical downswing (or lead arm parallel).  Jose, like most high-clubhead speed players, does this well. 

What’s particularly unique about Jose’s kinetic data is that he “only” generates around 150% of his total bodyweight in vertical force on the downswing. The PGA TOUR average in our database is almost 200%.  Being one of the faster players in golf, we would’ve expected him to be higher.

So how does he create so much torque while applying less force than his peers?  He has a longer moment arm.  

This is a concept we discuss in-depth in our Power and Golf Level 3 seminars.  While it should probably never be a player's swing thought, moment arm is an important variable to understand.

Probably the easiest way to think about moment arm is to imagine loosening a nut with a wrench.  If you were given an option to rotate a nut with a wrench that had a 1” long handle or one with a 12” long handle, which would you choose?  The 12” handle, right?  This is because the longer handle allows us to apply force further from the center of rotation (the nut).  The longer wrench creates the potential for a longer moment arm.

Similarly, by positioning his body to push against the ground further from his center of rotation, Jose “creates a long wrench.”  His moment arm was 13" whereas our PGA TOUR average is about 6".

Again, optimizing ground reaction forces in golfers is about how they push, not just how hard.

This is another example of how we try to understand how a golfer’s physical capabilities match what they’re doing in their swing.  

It’s the goal of our Level 1 and advanced course curriculum and what you can expect in an evaluation with a TPI Certified expert near you

Before making recommendations related to a golfer’s technique, training or treatment, we want to consider their WHAT, HOW and WHY.  

After all, when it works for their body, why change it?

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