Golf meets science to open PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit

By Bob Denney
Published on
Golf meets science to open PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit

ORLANDO, Fla. – Is the Force with you? Inquiring PGA Professional minds would like to know.

Biomechanist Dr. Scott Lynn and 2016 PGA Teacher of the Year Mike Adams, who met just over a year ago at Midwest PGA Section program in Kansas City, found more than a teaching friendship. They also found common ground.

That is, a kinship to Ground Reaction Forces (GRF).

Together, the scientist and the golf instructor embarked on a shared program to measure player movement patterns in order that students or potential students may maximize performance. They explained their findings to an audience of nearly 800 Sunday in the opening day of the 15th PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit.

The understanding of Ground Reaction Forces isn’t complex when you pinpoint a golfer’s movements in the following categories: torque, horizontal and vertical forces.

“If you’re using the ground to the fullest, you will be hitting that little white thing the best,” said Lynn, an associate professor in kinesiology Cal State University, Fullerton.

Said Adams, “You don’t want to be telling a student that they have to change this or that. You have to realize that every golfer is unique.”

Adams, the PGA Director of Instruction at Hamilton Farms Golf Club in Gladstone, New Jersey, has teamed with Lynn to measure more than 200 golfers. “That’s not nearly enough,” Adams said.

There are “Gliders,” players like World Golf Hall of Famer Colin Montgomerie, who use linear or horizontal force. There are the “Spinners,” players like Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar who use torque or rotational force. And there are the “Launchers,” players like Lexi Thompson, Brian Gay and Bubba Watson who use vertical force.

Diving deeper into the statistics, two-time major champion Justin Rose, fits the label of a “Trifecta.” He has maximizes all three forces.

Golf’s current hottest player – Justin Thomas – is what Adams and Lynn calls a “double dipper.” He’s peaking as a Spinner/Launcher, and has company in Rory McIlroy and J.B. Holmes.

A video of Thomas smashing a drive was displayed on a jumbo screen on stage. “You don't want to tell Justin that he’s got to keep his heels on the ground,” said Adams, “if you do, he will be working in a pharmacy.”

So, is the Force or Forces with you in your golf swing? Book a checkup with your local PGA Professional.