Swing Catalyst — What your feet are saying about your golf swing
By Jeffrey A. Rendall
(San Diego, CA) — Everyone knows you can learn a lot about your golf swing from video analysis, but whoever thought you could discover just as much by viewing your feet?
That’s at least part of the thinking behind Swing Catalyst, a revolutionary new technology that allows players to see how they shift their weight during a golf swing. There’s much more to Swing Catalyst than just weight analysis, but that’s a good place to start.
We saw Swing Catalyst while taking part in a demo of Full Swing Golf’s equally impressive simulators. Taken together, they present the ultimate approach to analyzing your golf swing – and having a little fun, too.
The Norway based Swing Catalyst also offers a simple way to keep in contact with your golf coach, through software and an app for your smartphone. Once you sign up, you’re only a few clicks away from the lesson that could help fix that ailing swing.
“With Swing Catalyst, we offer up to 4-camera synchronized video,” said Jeff Carr, National Sales Manager for Swing Catalyst, in explaining why his company’s products supplement what you can learn from a simulator.
Carr continues, “We also measure force and pressure throughout the swing. Adding the simulator brings the visual and ball tracking into our software.”
The focal point of the Swing Catalyst system is a sensor plate that you stand on when hitting balls in the simulator – or practically anywhere, including the golf range. The plate is a series of over 2000 tiny sensors that track exactly where the weight/pressure is being applied during a golf swing. It displays weight positions throughout the swing and where on each foot the pressure is applied (inside, outside, heel, toe of each foot).
“We also create a «Center of pressure trace» (COP) which is a pattern created individually by each golfer. We see trends in these patterns but there is NO perfect pattern. Each golfer has their own pattern and ideally these patterns should be very consistent,” Carr added.
In Swing Catalyst’s latest software version, they’re also able to show the COP of each foot, basically offering in-depth information about where on the foot the pressure is located. This is ideal for set-up, impact and finish positions.
The data screen displaying all this information looks kind of like what you’d see in a doctor’s office viewing an MRI test, with several shades of color representing different pressure points. You’ll certainly need a professional’s interpretation to understand what’s presented, but Swing Catalyst is geared towards people who are knowledgeable about the mechanics of the golf swing.
At least initially, according to Carr. “The sensor plate can be understood by anyone as soon as they know the basics of their swing. Because the plate is automatically synchronized with a video of the swing, you can see exactly where your pressure is during the entire swing. Consulting with a PGA instructor can only speed up the golfer’s process of getting better.”
One tool everyone can use right away is the digital set-up that Swing Catalyst offers, which includes an app, online portal and video analysis software. Carr says they bring all the functions together.
“Now a player can use their Iphone to record a swing and send it to their instructor. The instructor can then download it to their software, create an individual lesson with audio comments (and even compare swings with Justin Rose or Suzann Petersen, for example) and send it back to the golfer who can view it anytime in his or her phone.”
“The Swing Catalyst app and the online cloud are free for anyone to use. Ideally the golfer would have an instructor with a Swing Catalyst video platform to get the most out of the system — but they both work great on their own,” Carr added.
So you’re going to need a few things to make Swing Catalyst work for you. Any golfer with an Iphone/Ipad who is truly interested in getting better can use the app and cloud. The PC software platform is reasonably priced already, so many can afford it. The price will come down even further as more people use it.
The sensor plate is pricey, however. Meant for serious analysis of the golf swing, it’s primarily intended for golf instructors and training facilities. I can easily see it as part of a regular teaching program.
One concern we had about Swing Catalyst was availability… and, can anyone install the cameras and sensor plate?
Again, Carr calms the anxiety. “The software alone is used readily all over the country. Our Sensor plate system is making headways into the market, but is still limited in the amount of locations available.”
“The software is a simple install onto a PC, the plate runs off of USB and can either be mounted into a hitting mat or laid on the ground. A standard Swing Catalyst system includes 2 cameras, a sensor plate and a PC. It can be set up in minutes. Ideally it is stationary but we have many users on driving ranges that set up each morning without issues.”
Having never actually set up the system, we can’t speak to how easy it would be to do so. But it appears as though anyone who works regularly with a computer could probably do the work – and there’s no heavy lifting involved.
The benefits speak for themselves. Through the Swing Catalyst system I learned that my weight shift was pretty good, though I was releasing the club early and losing some power because of it.
It was enough information to take to the practice range – not bad for a brief demonstration. I’m confident that working regularly with your local professional and the online software would pay dividends. If your golf pro happens to have the sensor plate — even better.
“Swing Catalyst is becoming the choice of the best instructors and players in the world,” Carr concluded. “This is due to our ability to integrate the different technologies of Ball tracking (Trackman, FlightScope , Fullswing and Foresight), sensor plates and of course video from standard webcameras to extremely high speed cameras. Swing Catalyst is the best choice for improving your game.”
From what we’ve seen, it’s definitely worth further investigation.