Have you ever watched professional golfers and wondered how they get so good? Sure, they are talented and dedicate their lives to practicing, but research shows there is actually more science behind it than you might think.
Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) is the world’s leading educational organization dedicated to the study of how the human body functions in relation to the golf swing. Over the past 13 years, TPI has studied thousands of golfers ranging from top professional tour players to weekend enthusiasts to gather data on players of all shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels.
TPI used the data to develop its own teaching program designed for professional golf instructors, medical practitioners and fitness trainers to help players achieve the most efficient golf swing.
After noticing a growing number of patients interested in golf, the Sports Medicine and Performance Center at The University of Kansas Health System expanded its services for golfers by participating in the TPI certification program.
"We've noticed a dramatic increase in the number of patients who play golf," says Martin Dolphino, physical therapy manager at the Sports Medicine and Performance Center. "TPI is the premier certification program in the country, and we are excited at the opportunity to offer a whole new service tailored for golfers."
The first step as part of this program is for the golfer to set up a screening with a TPI-certified Sports Medicine and Performance Center physical therapist. They are trained to assess swing mechanics and biomechanics, physical fitness, movement quality and current and past health history.
The technology is similar to a running analysis. "We know how to look for inefficiencies that can help us develop a unique treatment or performance plan for each patient," says Dolphino.
As part of the analysis and screening, the Sports Medicine and Performance Center has a new motion analysis vest that provides real-time, 3D analysis of a patient's movement.
"The motion analysis vest really helps us apply the knowledge from our certification training in a more interactive setting with our patients," saysJennifer Zentz, physical therapist. "It tracks very specific movements throughout the golf swing to provide more effective, comprehensive feedback we couldn’t otherwise get from a video tape."
After putting on the vest, patients see a virtual avatar of themselves projected on a TV or computer screen through a wireless connection. During each swing, the program shows patterns and inefficiencies in the movement that provide the therapist more information regarding adjustment needs.
While the motion analysis vest is designed specifically for golf, the team sees a future opportunity to use the vest across other sports.
"The concept can really transcend to any rotary sport such as baseball, hockey or tennis," says Zentz. "It's a great tool to enhance the way we care for golfers and other athletes."
To find out more information about the golf program and swing analysis, contact the Sports Medicine and Performance Center at 913-588-1227.