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August 1, 2006

Golf Hack #20 - Watch Yourself Swing

Last Friday night as I was gathering the equipment, beverages, etc for the weekly golf outing I threw the digital camera in the bag. I've done this in the past to take a snapshot or two, but this time I had this idea that we'd use it to capture the swing. The digital camera can capture 30 frames/second, which is more than adequate to capture the gist of a golf stroke.

After making sure it was OK with the other guys I took the camera out on the 4th hole and took footage of each golfer taking their tee shot. Since I couldn't take footage of myself I asked one of the guys who ended up turning it on right after my swing ended. I'd put it up but you'd be looking at a camera pointed at grass as we're walking off the tee box. Hopefully next time.

Anyhow, the footage of the other three is interesting to watch. In my Quicktime player I can arrow back and forth frame by frame to study the position and motion of the head, shoulders, arms, legs and golf club. At 30 fps you get a pretty good idea of where the club head is, how it strikes the ball, and where the ball goes. Fascinating. At my level of golf I'm not sure how easy it will be to make changes in the swing based on what I see in the video, but it can't hurt to watch and try to learn.

The image is a combination of each of the three golfers on the first video frame after the club hits the ball. Of the three, one is a very nice shot down the middle of the fairway, another is straight but topped so stays very low and gets caught up in the grass, and the third is a slice. Any guesses which is which? If mine was on there you'd have two slices to choose from (although neither of the slices were unplayable).

I have never been close to one of those "analyze your golf swing" machines. I'm not ready for someone else to tell me how horrid my swing looks, but this technique of bringing a camera along seems like a cheap and potentially more private way to get a general sense of what the swing looks like.

We did get some gruff from the guys behind us who were telling us to move it along and put the camera away. Next time I'm thinking I'll mount the camera onto the bag so it's not so obvious. Then I can set the bag behind me and start/stop it with ease and without notice. That will have to be golf hack #19.

Maybe I should suggest the driving range as a better location for this kind of study.

Posted by mike at August 1, 2006 7:58 AM