During the R & D process, our team of PGA professionals and foot/ankle specialists examined the biomechanics of the entire golf swing. The team focused on the fundamental roles of the feet, ankles and leg muscles during this process. We studied hundreds of average golfers, as well as learning the lower core fundamentals of the top golfers of the modern era. The OrthoGolfer Elite® is a direct development of this R & D process.
Of course, we had to come to terms with the fact that no single golfer swing is like the next, but when we looked at thousands of swings of many of these top players, we could see that, when it came to the biomechanics of the feet, ankles and legs, they were all amazingly similar. This is what gave us the initiative to create an orthotic capable of enhancing these techniques for the normal amateur player.
The tendencies showed that accomplished players give themselves more time to negotiate the transition when compared to amateur players, who are generally way too fast and lose their timing.
Our data showed us that the key to effortless speed has a lot to do with better footwork. Our thought process naturally went to creating an orthotic that could help golfers position their weight better to promote the engagement of the muscles in their ankles, thighs and hips, resulting in a much-improved technique.
IMPORTANCE OF FOOTWORK IN THE GOLF SWING. GROUND CONTROL.
We have to introduce the basics of biomechanics as they relate to the athletic movement in the golf swing. Specifically, we have to focus on the weight shift within the action of winding and unwinding the body, optimizing what we should term “dynamic balance” for the efficient delivery of club head speed and power. When a coach talks about the importance of building a swing “from the ground up,” he or she is referring to the unavoidable fact that we play this game with both feet on the ground.
There is simply no escaping the fact that the quality of our footwork -- our interaction with the turf -- is vital to the chain of movement.
ATHLETICISM FROM THE GROUND UP
Most players who receive compliments on their beautiful swings ALL have good footwork during their swing. That natural athletic ability is always evident in the way a player holds and swings the golf club, but it all stems from the way he or she maintains balance with complementary footwork.
Both these physical elements are always related -- as you’d expect when you stop to consider that the hands hold the club, and the feet provide that all-important traction with the ground. If a player were to be suspended in limbo, with his feet dangling a few inches off the turf, he would not be able to generate anything like the dynamics required to create coil and club-head speed. Our feet play a vital role in anchoring and stabilizing the body, providing the physical conditions required to wind up the muscles in the body to create that effective coil.
Biomechanical principles in golf all start with the only parts of our bodies that actually touch the golf course - our feet!
Quite simply, the way in which golfers use their feet and ankles determines their ability to achieve and maintain good posture and dynamic balance. The correct positioning of the feet allows the ankles to work in harmony with the respective calf and thigh muscles to maintain the posture in a stable position; that foundation provides the platform over which the upper body is able to wind and unwind to create the core momentum of the swing.
Through consultation with our physician partners and surgeons, we know that people’s body types can create tendencies that are not ideal for a dynamic athletic movement, such as the golf swing, so we wanted to limit the adverse effects of a physical ailment and provide stability throughout the swing.
Our goal with OrthoGolfer is to lower the tendency of unwanted movements, such as too much lateral sway or forward lunge into the ball. A good repeating golf swing relies on the consistency of a player’s rotation around a stable axis.
OrthoGolfer will help many amateur players who suffer from excessive weight shift, whether that is rolling to the outside of their shoes or if their weight moves to the forefoot. Both these faults will result in a player losing the consistency of that natural rotary motion. When a player's’ weight is allowed to move erratically during the golf swing, he or she will always struggle with an inconsistent swing path.
In summary, it makes sense that the better you are able to manage your weight distribution at the setup and during the swing, the more consistent your swing will be. This is a message on which all golf coaches project their teaching. Improving your footwork gives you balance, which in turn will create a much more dynamic golf swing.
OrthoGolfer provides a “glove” that aligns and positions the foot in the optimal position, thus guiding the proper action of the muscular kinetic chain around the skeleton during the swing.
OrthoGolfer will sustain a better posture that engages the muscles you need to provide optimum support in the ankle and thigh.
Most of the golfers on tour now use insoles so their feet and ankles are well trained in terms of the position they need to achieve to establish and maintain their optimal posture. These days there are increasingly more tour players who prefer the look and feel of softer “street”-style shoes, and increasingly the main manufacturers are being asked to develop models that can easily accommodate insoles, which would provide the ideal combination of comfort and practicality.
For many amateurs, the big problem is that the urge to move forward means the weight moves to the toe of the left foot, which makes it impossible to rotate and clear the hips correctly. We like to see the right foot work gently inside as the momentum now travels from heel toward the toe, where it will ultimately finish at the conclusion of the swing.
As you can see again, OrthoGolfer’s Lateral Stabilizer and Elevated forefront design will curtail any amateur golfer’s tendency to fall forward.
The testing of OrthoGolfer had to be done using some of the latest equipment the game has to offer. Boditrak Sports is one of the leading technological companies that measures the value of biomechanics in the sports world. Boditrak’s sensor mats are the preferred tool of all PGA instructors in measuring a player’s interaction with the ground.
VALUE OF ORTHOGOLFER DURING KEY STAGES OF THE GOLF SWINGFirst things first: Let me present a basic understanding of where your weight should be at each of the following distinct phases in the golf swing. The muscular chain always starts through the feet.
ADDRESS: Assuming a full swing, your weight at the setup should be “centered” in the middle of the feet, thus optimizing balance with your body’s center of gravity. A tendency among amateur players is to position too much weight on the front of the feet, which upsets the center of gravity and has a negative influence on the coordination of the arms and body during the swing. As we have seen in previous photos, all the top players in the world, no matter how different their swings, position their weight in the exact same place on their feet. The better your balance, the more relaxed your arms will be throughout your swing.
TOP OF BACKSWING: Completing the backswing, your weight is now toward the front of the left foot and deep into the heel of the right. You are fully rotated, fully coiled and “loaded up,” providing a balanced, stable platform. A lot of amateur golfers struggle to maintain that resistance in the lower body as they reach the top of their swings, which in turn limits the coil in their bodies, which is where all the power and explosiveness comes from.
DOWNSWING: The quality of the delivery through impact is determined through the transition period. The critical moments as you reverse your momentum from backswing to downswing is where good footwork can make such a difference. We are setting ourselves up for a burst of acceleration through impact. If you are too quick from the top, you will destroy the second stage of the downswing and fail to create compression on the ball. The best players in the world still have 50 percent of their weight on the right side and 50 percent on the left at mid-downswing. This is why a lot of the best players look like they are swinging in a slow, steady rhythm while still generating tremendous power and distance. It is all in the mechanics of their body creating perfect timing. This is why Rory McIlroy, who is 5-foot-8, can still be one of the game’s longest hitters. In stark contrast, amateurs are inclined to rush onto their left side to such an extent they could have as much as 70 percent of their weight on the left foot at this point. (And as a result, they are not able to maintain their acceleration through impact; in fact, they can often be observed to fall backward as they release the club, which is actually slowing down as it meets the ball.) This is what modern coaches call the “reverse pivot.”
Working with and studying the best players in the world, the capacity to maintain this right-foot-down position as they initiate the downswing sequence is a shared characteristic. OrthoGolfer is designed to help players keep their right foot planted a little longer to allow the hands and arms to pass through impact and not lose any club head speed.
IMPACT: When we analyze top players, we discover a recurring pattern – the weight is now traveling from the front to the back of the left foot (facilitating the rotation and clearance of the hips), with as much as 80 percent of their weight on the left side as they make contact with the ball.
All these great players have very different golf swings, but the one constant is the fact that all of their footwork is identical!