The most balanced argument yet for the optimum swing
By Dominic O’Byrne
Most golf coaches address the golf swing only from the waist upwards. That’s the word from the developers of a new training aid that addresses balance issues.
Paul Hurrion – MD of The Quintic Consultancy and biomechanics adviser to the world’s premier golfers – now brings to the consumer coaching aids market the ProStance balance aid. And as one might expect, it’s a winner!
ProStance is a product that forces you to become very aware of balance.
Like all Dr Hurrion’s techniques, it’s simple, reliable and supremely efficient.
Essentially, this is a synthetically encased, adjustable cushion that lies under the arches of the feet. By using it, golfers bring into sharp focus, their awareness of how weight sits on the balls and heels of the feet. It does this by initially making it fairly uncomfortable to use, but that is what focuses the attention here.
True to Hurrion’s coaching style, though, the simplicity of the ProStance belies the clarity of thought, knowledge of biomechanics and fitness for purpose that lies at the heart of all his coaching methodology, throughout all sporting disciplines.
It’s a sturdy piece of equipment. An inner tube allows the golfer to inflate / deflate the ProStance to suit his/her individual characteristics, such as weight, height and so forth.
With the ProStance you can ensure the weight is going through the biomechanical centre of gravity of your body. In mechanical terms it tells you how to bend your knees and ‘fix’ the posture so that you can be perfectly still during the putting stroke. And this is the key.
“When I teach putting I want weight to be evenly distributed,” explains Hurrion. “Through your arches, I want you to feel your toes and heels in contact with the ground. You can’t always easily feel whether your heels or toes are heavy on the ground so that you can adjust your balance accordingly.
“One finds it impossible to concentrate on putting when imbalance is called to the attention in this way – and that’s part of the plan. You feel the imbalance through the arches of the feet. And you compensate. When you can feel the weight evenly distributed you can make the optimum stroke. Without the balance being correct though, nothing can function. It is literally and figuratively, the foundation of the golf swing.”
PUTTING THEORY INTO PRACTICE
A key collaborator with Hurrion on perfecting the ProStance is teaching pro Stewart Craig. The two professionals are prefect foils for each other in this. Hurrion’s podiatric work with companies like HiTec and Titleist Performance Institute highlighted the need for ProStance in the first place. Craig’s daily contact with club and county players helped provide a working template that would fit into the training settings of every golfer.
It was Craig Stewart, for example, who gave the perspective that most pros look at a student’s swing invariably from the waist up. This was key in ensuring the benefits of ProStance were not just meaningful to golfers at Tour standard, but to commonplace technique needs as well.
“In my experience the majority of coaching professionals address faults with compensations,” explains Craig. “However, most of the root problems in the golf swing are due to static or dynamic balance issues. What happens below the waist causes the problems above the waist.”
Over a long period, Stewart had first hand experience that incorrect balance was a vital issue that was frequently overlooked. It was while attending one of Paul Hurrion’s biomechanics seminars at Mt Oswald Golf & Country Club in Durham in September 2005 that all Hurrion’s theories about balance struck a real chord in Stewart Craig.
“I had some prototype ideas for addressing this at the time but hadn’t progressed them,” recalls Craig. “When I heard Paul talk about balance from a theoretical and biomechanical perspective, it articulated all the practical frustrations I’d been experiencing, and at the same time gave it all scientific weight and credibility.”
With the intellectual ability of the partnership now making a real difference to the development of the ProStance, it still took several years to bring to market-readiness.
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAIL
Prototypes of the ProStance have been around for a good 12 months, but part of the Quintic R&D programme involved being really very nasty to the units themselves. Field-testing literally involved early products being extensively used and abused to show up any flaws.
They initially made it in four sizes but quickly discovered that various degrees of compression were needed to give the correct sense of height and balance. Dealing with small ladies weighing 7 stone, going up to men of 20 stone involved a lot of work to make it suitable for both ends of the scale and all variations in between. Then there was the packaging and the patent revisions, because their own trials showed that using compressed air was a better solution than the one they originally intended. That then meant a return to the drawing board to re-think the design from scratch.
The ProStance will retail at £34.99.
Quintic Consultancy Ltd www.quintic.com