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Mike Adams is one the best golf teachers in the world. During a seminar in Paris in October 2017 I had the opportunity to get an insight into his swing and teaching philosophy, called Bioswing Dynamics. His credo: every golfer has - based on his personal physical constitution - his own swing, which should be supported by his teaching pro. Part of the seminar was also the application of the force plates provided by Smart2Move. This innovative tool allows golfers and golf teachers to measure the ground forces and enable the golfer with some simple adoptions to make the best of his personal swing.
The German B2B magazine GOLFMANAGER has already published my review on the seminar in German in edition 05-2017. As many of the participants prefer an article in English, here is the original version of both, article and interview with Mike Adams.
“Hi, I’m Michael. I’m side cover, center post and have equal amounts of glide, spin and launch.” What sounds like an introduction of a new member to the Anonymous Alcoholics is in fact key to a golf concept that focuses on both, success in the game and the golfer’s health, called Bioswing Dynamics. This concept was developed by World Golf Teacher Hall of Fame-member Mike Adams. Adams, who is one of the Top5 golf teachers worldwide, has developed his philosophy over numerous years of teaching amateurs as well as professional golfers. He published his findings first in 1998 in his book <The Laws of the Golf Swing: Body-Type Your Swing and Master Your Game>. So in contrast to the often heard philosophy of “the one and ideal golf swing”, a golf teacher shall spread and to which all golfers have to adopt themselves, Adams found out that the swing is always dependent on the natural physical conditions of each individual golfer.
Although the origins of the game almost date back to the Middle Ages, a huge part of the golf world is still looking for all-fitting golf swing. Even top professional golfers are often known for the objective to change their swing in order to become more successful. The list of such golfers is long and includes celebs such as Tiger Woods, Jason Day, Danny Willet or Martin Kaymer. Unfortunately, many of these golfers suffered from their decision: by injuries that hindered them partly up today or by leaving the road to success they formerly were on. As the average golf amateur should know about his limits regarding success – especially when he or she starts the golf career at some age around 40 or 50 – the health aspect is important to almost every golfer. Unlike many other sports golf is a sport which can be executed until high ages, health permitting. So even if people start golf at the age of 40, they might still be able to enjoy the game another 3, 4 or even 5 decades long. But his requires that the swing does not cause injuries and goes along the individual preconditions of the golfer. The trigger to implementing this approach is the golf teacher, Adams says. Therefore he has started a global tour on Bioswing Dynamics together with the company Smart2Move, the inventor of the force plates in golf. Together they are touring from north to south and east to west around the world to educate pros on the concept and its implementation in golf trainings sessions. Adams is a teacher through and through, one of the most often used sentences within his seminars is “I want you to help to become better teachers!” – which also includes that according to his approach a teaching pro is in first line a teacher and not a playing pro.
Adams’ philosophy is based on two credos: a) every golfer has different natural conditions, which will affect his golf swing, b) golf teachers shall use exact data whenever available instead of estimating or not considering information. Therefore, tools such as video, launch monitor and the Smart2Move force plates are essential in modern teaching. Applying Bioswing Dynamics first of all requires a screening. The results from this screening will help the teacher to decide on the correct setup for the golfer, which is one of the most important factors to enhance a golfer’s performance. The force plates will then provide the necessary information on the lower body action in the context of Adams’ concept. The screening requires a simple tool: a measure tape. Total height of a golfer in relation to his arm wing span is the first component, the relation of the lower arm length to the upper arm length the second. These findings help to evaluate the back and downswing planes – which do not necessarily have to be identic. The reason is the right hand grip (for right handed golfers) in take away. Adams differentiates between five types of holding the club from under (hand below grip in take-away) to on-top (hand above grip in take-away). On this occasion Adams also explains within his seminars, why so many golfers consider the swings of Adam Scott or Louis Oosthuizen as perfect: they are very balanced – “it’s the vanilla”, as it is called by Adams. But this only works as their body supports their types of swing – trying to copy their swing by amateur golfers just because it looks beautiful will therefore not result in success unless the amateur coincidentally has the same body proportions and behaviours.
One often discussed topic in take-away, the hinge, depends on the previously measured factors, so hinge is a result and not an objective in teaching. One strength of Adams’ seminars is that he does not just talk about his findings on a theoretical basis, but proofs his findings with numerous videos from kids he is teaching in New Jersey and Florida to world-famous professional golfers. And through all these examples a frequently heard comment from tv commentators is proven false: some golfers do not repeat the same mistake that often that they are nethertheless successful – no, their swing follows their natural physical conditions and therefore founds the basis for success. Even a swing like Jim Furyk suddenly makes sense with the background of Bioswing. Another important factor in determining the individual golf swing is the post test. Here Adams differentiates between three types: one- post golfers (turning around the front leg back and forward), the two-post golfer (moving from front to rear leg and back within back and downswing) and the center-post golfer, who’s body rotates through the center of his torso. Next measure reflects the hip speed: they can be slow, medium or fast, reflecting the degrees of open hips at impact. Depending on the previous findings it is now easy to review the foot flare, as it matches hip speed and the lower body action. Same applies with the perfect grip, which strongly depends on hip speed. After completing the screening and transforming the results to a special Bioswing Dynamics Evaluation Sheet, the findings are transferred into the different types of motion: glide, spin and launch. The purpose of this transformation is to understand how a golfer’s motion can be optimized. “Most golfers, both amateurs as well as tour players, mainly show a combination of two types, e.g. spin and launch”, reports Adams from his experience.
The results of the screening help the golf teachers to develop an individual training concept for the student. So the screening is not the end, but the beginning of the cooperation between a Biodynamics coach and a golfer. Most important rule according to the philosophy: don’t change swing components, which are caused by the golfer’s body! But there is still a lot to do, Adams confirms. As every golfer wants to become a better golfer, important coaching objectives are ball flight and clubhead speed for more length. “The only way to more clubhead speed is: more clubhead speed!”, Adams says. And during a practice session within his seminars he does not need more than 20 minutes to proof his statement. During the seminar in Paris young French tour player Emilie Alonso increased her club head speed by more than 10 mph – only by addressing the swing components her body sets. Also other members of the French PGA, both players as well as teachers, made a similar experience. But they did not only achieve more clubhead speed and therefore gained more length, their swings also became more consistent and their ball striking, e.g. the angle of attack, increased significantly.
The transformation of the findings from Biodynamics within a teaching session requires exact data, Adams explains to the participants of his seminars. The reason: golf swings are motion, and motion is part of kinesiology, and neither video nor launch monitors are able to show the relevant data which help a golf teacher to evaluate the transformation of the set preconditions into a golf swing. During the seminar Jean-Paul Fernandez, one of the world’s leading experts in Biomechanics and member of the board with Smart2Move, introduces the participants to the basics of power, force and motion. Together with his colleague, Smart2Move co-founder and CEO Grégory Lebrat, he explains how exact data collected by their force plates enable the teachers to draw the correct conclusions and to enhance the golfers’ performances. Most important: although every swing recorded provides information such as foot flare and stance, lateral weight distribution, center and line of pressure, vertical force and others, the correct interpretation requires knowledge on Biodynamics and the individual golfer’s screening results. In other words: the data for a spinner will be different from a glider, the glider differs from the launcher. “When we come into physics, we as a golf teacher should rely on exact data whenever available”, Adams explains the advantages of the tool. And even more: the first step within teaching is applying the results from the screening on the range. But after this initial approach, teachers should spend more time with their students on the golf course, Adams recommends. This helps the golfer to apply the training content in various playing situations – and in the end it is the result on the course that matters. “I am spending at least 70% of my teaching time with students on the course”, Adams reports from his teaching philosophy.
The approach provided by Biodynamics also is very important to the health of a golfer. “If you consistently try to swing your club different to what your body tells you to do, you may suffer from significant injuries”, states Adams. This is independent from the level of a golfer’s game, it applies to top professionals as well as beginners. Therefore Adams recommends to teach golfers right from the beginning using the fundamentals of his method, also for children. “Why should we first teach them wrong and then start to correct it?”, he replies to the question, which golfers can profit from Bioswing. Together with his colleagues from Smart2Move Adams will continue to increase the network of certified Bioswing teachers, a website listing all certified coaches is under construction (see interview attached). In spring 2018 the tour will continue throughout Europe, according to Grégory Lebrat also seminars in Germany (St. Leon-Rot) are planned for March.