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The anatomy of a golf swing

BY KEVIN GLUECK | MARCH 05, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s golf team is taking a new approach to a part of the game long associated with simple repetition: the swing.

The recently opened Hoak Family Golf Complex includes a new program known as the V1 Video Swing Analysis system. This state-of-the-art tool features two high-speed cameras — one behind the golfer and one adjacent — that slow down swings that have a club head speed of around 100 miles per hour.

The footage can then be used side by side to compare swings by golfers on the team, or even PGA players such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

This V1 system will help in reinforce teaching points, said assistant coach Dan Holterhaus.

“We haven’t had tools and video to back up what we’re working on,” he said. “Now we’re going to be able to not only tell our players, but they’re actually going to see it on video.”

In addition to the V1 system, the Trackman Ball Flight Analysis system helps coaches and players examine different elements of the game. The unit uses a Doppler radar system that tracks exact distance and spin of the ball, which is something that changes with the type or brand of ball in play.

The Trackman system doesn’t need to be used strictly for outdoor hitting. It also can project distances if the golfers hit into a net based on the spin the ball. That means even on cold, windy days, the squads can still get in-depth analysis of their ball stroke.

The new technology helps the coaches and players get better information on how to fit clubs, choose balls for various players, or adjust swings appropriately.

“When I hit an iron shot, it’s going to spin higher than when I hit a wood shot or driver shot,” Iowa head coach Mark Hankins said. “There’s an optimal amount the ball should spin.”

The new advanced technology gives the Iowa golfers nearly 24-hour access to tools that help improve their skills, giving them an advantage in honing their swings on a much more detailed level.

“Some schools would be happy to have what we had in the Field House,” Hankins said. “We are now in a situation where this is much more user friendly.”

The new systems allow a review of golf shots in a way that was previously unimaginable. Sophomore golfer Joseph Winslow said that’s particularly helpful.

“One of the biggest things for me is visualization,” Winslow said. “I really like to concentrate on exactly how I want the ball to fly and then commit to it.”

But beyond the swings themselves, golf is often known as a game of the mind.

Hankins emphasizes “mental golf,” and pushes the team to focus on that idea during an hourlong session every Wednesday. The sessions cover everything from personal goals, relaxation, and managing expectation.


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