My fascination behind the science of the golf swing
Some of my earliest memories are following my dad around on several golf clubs throughout Vienna. To be frank, I mainly went with my dad to the golf club to eat Twix’s out of the pro shop and wait for lunchtime to follow all the older kids to the local pizzeria down the road. I miss those pizzas!
Throughout my earliest years I had no interest in golf, I craved high-tempo contact sports.
However, Dad was not swayed and constantly wanted to look at my swing. He went through several cycles of watching me swing, tweaking something, watching some more, adjusting something else, rinse and repeat. Not stopping ’till my swing plane was perfect and that I initiated all my levers in perfect synchronicity. Dad was pleased and looking back I am forever grateful, as that laid the foundations for my swing that I’ll have for the rest of my life.
Fast forward a few years, to my fifth year of Osteopathy training. I was doing my Masters at the time and was driving back and forth from Mangawhai to Auckland to have regular meetings with my thesis supervisors. It was during one of those arduous car rides where a light bulb switched on. As I normally do when I drive long distances, I listen to a podcasts, only this time it was slightly different. It was a podcast on the science behind the golf swing, biomechanics etc. The guest talker on the show was no other than Sean Foley. Those who aren’t familiar with Sean Foley he taught both Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods and is currently working along side world number 2, Justin Rose. So it goes without saying Foley is no chump when it comes to coaching and swing analysis.
I was blown away, as Foley went on to describe how he looked at the golf swing and the things he considered to be important, I realised it was almost identical to the way Osteopaths are told to look at the human body in terms of joint function and mobility. He went on to explain there is no silver bullet, no one swing fits all approach to golf coaching. Similarly in Osteopathy no two patients are ever considered the same and the treatment approach is custom tailored to the individual in front of them, depending on their specific anatomy and morphology.
We are living, breathing, changing organisms and should be treated as such. No one glove fits all. What I strive to do is get the most out of a person’s body no matter where or how severe their limitations may be.
If one joint is limited in its range of motion there are always joints either above or below in the chain in which we can maximise through treatment and or exercise that can negate the limiting factors in the problematic joint.
Justin Rose on Foley’s teaching style sums it up nicely, “Sean does not look at me as a golfer. He looks at me as an athlete and from a bio-mechanical point of view. He is not necessarily wrapped up in what makes a swing pretty. He wants what works for me from a scientific point of view. This is not necessarily the position that everyone strives for, but that is what I like about Sean.”[
It was this holistic approach and thinking of the golf swing that spurred my ambition to further my skills and knowledge, with the intention to one day offer swing analyses that tie in Osteopathic principles and in depth knowledge of joint by joint biomechanics.
I am taking one step further in achieving this goal by attending my first Titleist performance Institute (TPI) course next month in Brisbane Australia.
Will keep you all updated, Ciao!