Technology and the Changing Face of Golf - The second in a 4-part series
Jul 30, 2013
There's not much doubt that the right technology can help golfers of all skill levels play better and enjoy the game more. Matt Wilkes, an Instructor and Club Fitter at the Mike Bender Golf Academy in Orlando, uses sports technology daily. He favors V1 software for swing analysis and MEGSA Practice Perfect Equipment for making adjustments.
The V1 program video records the golf swing, helping players understand how club path affects ball flight. Pros can view, analyze and diagnose problems with the shape of a golf swing, then make recommendations. The program even allows a golfer to compare his swing side-by-side with PGA tour golfers.
"We use the software to compare the before and after swings of each student and to give a review of the lesson," said Wilkes. He records all of the analysis sessions, then sends a copy to the student via email, including his voiceover review. "This gives the student a solid reference for what they need to work on."
MEGSA Perfect Practice Equipment
Wilkes works for Mike Bender, one of Golf Digest's 10 greatest teachers. Bender invented MEGSA Perfect Practice Equipment, a "nautilus" style machine for golf. It has many attachments, settings and adjustments; similar in concept to universal weight machines you'd see in home gyms. MEGSA's 15 individual "teaching stations" provide feedback for swing changes, physically limiting the space in which the club and body can move, thus producing the desired swing mechanics. Wilkes gives the following example:
"If a player is moving his head off the ball in the backswing, a padded piece can be placed next to the player's head to force him to not move his head. This gives the student instant feedback and allows the instructor to make significant changes in a short period of time."
After the lesson, students can use the measurements the pro has recommended to practice on his own. He sets up pieces for what he needs to work on and then practices perfectly knowing that if he touches one of the pads, he didn't make the correct motion. Over time, muscle memory takes over and swings are drastically improved.
Wilkes is an alumnus of the Golf Academy of America in Orlando, where he learned to use both V1 and MEGSA.