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Swing Analysis Videos

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Analysis Video - Driver Flat Spot

One aspect of the club path that is related to driving consistency is known as the "flat spot". With some of the best drivers in the world, we are going to notice a couple distinct characteristics of how the club moves roughly a foot before and after impact. That is, we will typically see the club delivered on a path that stays very close to the ground for a long period of time; this creates a longer "flat spot" and provides margin for error. On the other hand, players that struggle off the tee will have a path where the club head changes height rapidly before and after impact; this effectively shortens their "flat spot" and requires more timing and coordination. 

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Tags: Driver, Impact, Analysis

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In this analysis video, we're going to focus on one aspect of the club path and how it relates to driving performance.

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So we're going to take a look at the flat spot.

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Or basically, we're going to look at the club height to the ground.

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So on the screen, I've got two of the top drivers in the game right now.

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Dustin Johnson on the left, Brooks Capca on the right.

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But my goal is to quickly look through a number of the top drivers as well as some of the poorer drivers, so that you can recognize the pattern.

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And what we're going to do is we're just going to look at roughly the foot before impact and the foot after impact.

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And I just want to observe the club height compared to the golf ball.

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What you're going to see is that the more consistent drivers of the golf ball tend to have the club height at about the same height as the golf ball for a longer period of time.

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So here you can see by about the right foot.

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Dustin has the club height close to the height of the golf ball and then there are good three four inches after impact.

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It's still at about the same height.

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So he's by using his body as his main power source.

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His hips and his core as his main power source that delays the timing of the arm.

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So then when the arms extend, he's in this rotated and side bent position.

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So that when his arms extend that keeps the club at a more consistent height down at the bottom.

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As opposed to if you were to swing more with your arms and have a little bit more of a height of low pattern.

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So now over on the right if we look at Brooks we can see the club height is a little higher compared to the ground because he has the ball tee up a bit higher.

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But roughly from about that right foot you can see the club is close to the height of the golf ball close to the golf ball.

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And you'll see that he does it for a fairly long period of time.

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So even though he hits down on the golf ball you'll see that he demonstrates this pattern of having a flatter path of the club down through impact.

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One of my beliefs that this pattern helps with overall driving consistency.

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Okay, I don't want you to think it's just a trait of really tall guys.

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Here we have Justin Thomas in Jim Furyk, a couple different swing styles.

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Again, Justin Thomas who hits well up on the ball.

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You can see that he's got the height of the driver close to the height of the golf ball well behind the golf ball.

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Actually over a foot or so behind the golf ball.

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And he's done so because he's brought the club down there primarily with his body.

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And then his arms extending create a pretty long flat spot of the club.

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Here we have Jim Furyk club is a little bit higher coming into the golf ball he doesn't get it down quite as early.

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But you'll see that he does a really job of keeping it down pretty late.

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He creates more of a flat pattern right about there through there.

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Now it's going to have some mark to it but we're just recognizing this general trend of having the club low to the golf ball beforehand and low to the golf ball afterward.

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So here we have two more examples of top drivers in the game.

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Friends, Jessica, more linarry and Justin rose over on the right.

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Here you can see club height low to the ground, low to the ground, low to the ground.

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Low for a long period of time.

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Roughly I give my students the goal of from about the right foot through just past the left foot.

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Then over here on the right we have Justin rose so right about there close to even with the right foot.

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I'm not sure if I can see that the club is still in the middle of the ball.

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So it's pretty low and flat until just past that left foot.

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So by having proper sequencing and powering the swing more with your hips and lower body,

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whether you're hitting slightly up or slightly down,

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I don't think that has as big an influence as to the rate of change or what I look at as this flat spot from the face on camera.

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Now before we look at some pros who tend to perform works, let's take a quick look at an amateur.

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And this is more consistent to what I see.

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This is a low single digit handicap and you'll see that the club height is above the height of the golf ball.

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It's just getting down into the height of the golf ball.

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So it stays down for a slight period of time and then starts to come up fairly quickly.

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So while it might be low for a period of quite like that,

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it's nowhere near as long a flat spot as what we saw some of the more elite drivers of the golf ball demonstrating.

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So now we'll briefly look at a few of the worst ranked drivers on the tour right now.

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So this is Smiley Kaufman over on the right.

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We've got Cameron and Trangali over here on the left.

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You'll see if we get to write about when the club is even with the height of the foot.

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You'll see that the bottom of the club is still higher than the height of the golf ball.

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So as you can see, it does get it down, but you'll see that it starts to come up pretty quickly.

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Compare to some of those more elite drivers who we saw in the first part of the video.

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It doesn't, as you can imagine, it's a little harder to find really high quality video of the guys who tend to struggle a bit more.

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But here you can see just after the foot.

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The club is above the height of the golf ball and then that frame, which we had the frame kind of even with the foot,

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but you can see that it's coming from a much more kind of almost V shape, high to high pattern,

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as opposed to more of that gradual changing flat to flat.

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One last example, I've got Phil Nicholson here known for being a less accurate driver of the golf ball.

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Everyone loves to talk about his club face control and the steep transition.

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I think part of that is what it does down here at the bottom.

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So you'll see, I've got him flipped around to a right-handed pattern.

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You can see club height is still at this point, so roughly even with the foot.

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The bottom of the club is still just above the top of the ball.

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It comes down, looks pretty good through there, but then it comes up very quickly before it gets to the other foot.

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So while there's still a flat-ish spot and when his timing is on, he's a great driver of the golf ball.

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His overall consistency puts him towards the bottom statistically in accuracy and performance.

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So if you're struggling with your driver, this is one of the first places I might look to just get the overall shape of the path of the club down at the bottom.

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And if you find that it has much more of a V shape or high to high pattern to it, that might be something you want to try to work on to improve your driving consistency.

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