Michael Bentley draws on his extensive golf experience as a former tour player competing throughout Asia, Australia, and the United States.He has worked with many of today’s top 100 instructors and has directed world ranked PGA, EPGA, SPGA, & LPGA Tour players.
Bentley pioneered an objective teaching system that analyzes 3D motion and ground reaction forces to evaluate movement patterns. The analysis yields customized training programs and tools for the physical, technical, mechanical, and tactical components of the game.He is considered an industry expert in 3D motion capture technologies and analysis. His extensive research and expertise spans Inertial, Electromagnetic and Optical technologies.
I was reading the local paper one morning in 1987 and saw an interesting advertisement. Marilyn Pink., Ph.D. and Frank Jobe M.D. of the Los Angeles Centinela Hospital were seeking test subjects for a biomechanical research project on the golf swing. I thought whatever answers Pink and Jobe were chasing, I was too. There was something missing in my swing that the human eye couldn’t detect.
In truth — I essentially became a lab rat. When I wasn’t at the course practicing, I was at the hospital recording swings, digitizing rolls of film, or simply absorbing the science-speak of doctors. I loved learned a new science language to discuss my swing, and how I was able to numerically measure the force of my swing. Biomechanics became a passion of mine, and I also volunteered at the Orthopedics Research Lab in Orlando, FL, to immerse myself into this world with other biomedical engineers, doctors and sports scientists.
In time, I finally uncovered my invisible flaw. A dysfunction in my right hip was shutting off the power in the first link of the kinetic chain, making it difficult to time my swing consistently. However, it had taken hours of going blind looking at spreadsheet data to figure this out. It would have been so much easier if I were able to see the mechanics of my actual movement in a quick and easy way.
From there, I knew I had to figure out a way to make that happen so that others could have access to the amount of data that I had, but in an easy and intuitive way. I wanted other golfers to have access to the same resources as me, since we call all agree on one thing: we want to get better each time we play.
MATT WARD: You were at this year’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando — your impressions of the show?
MICHAEL BENTLEY: Overall, very pleased with the whole show — the crowds seemed to be the largest in three years. Golf professionals are beginning to really embrace technology, both for themselves as a teaching tool, and also for their students as a training tool to keep themselves on the right track in between lessons. Putting and short game — while usually not very popular topics — is becoming increasingly popular areas for growth — especially with the success of players like Jordan Spieth.
MB: Very well. Everyone understood and related to our simple story — “Timing Is Everything” was our theme. Every golfer struggles with 3-putts because they can’t control distance — they can’t control distance because they can’t control the timing of their stroke. Sometimes their back or forward stroke time is too fast — sometimes too slow. The average golfer 3-putts 30% of the time and their timing varies up to 3 or 4 tenths of a second from putt to putt. The best putters in the world 3-putt 2% of the time — their timing varies only 1/100th of a second from putt to putt. Use the sensor — which is so simple to use that you can get up and running in under 1 minute — work on your timing consistency and say goodbye to 3-putts.
MW: What do you think key golf organizations need to do in order to rekindle interest in the game among Millennials, minorities and women?
MB: We’ve seen junior league for adults grow 50% every year and they have a few key elements we believe are contributing to its success: make courses easier — shorter, more forgiving fairways, easier to putt greens, less hazards / OB. Make courses less than 18 holes with 6 or 12. Make courses / driving range memberships and quality equipment more affordable. Gamify driving ranges.Top Golf is a great model as is night golf courses.
MW: What does Blast Motion provide that separates itself from your competitors?
MB: The first is metric accuracy. If you’re using a product that isn’t incredibly accurate it’s not helping you improve. We also have a few things that separate us from the competition. We provide offline mode-play a round of golf so you can upload stats after the round to see how on-course performance differs from practice.There’s also a smart video capture-app auto-curates extra video to create instant high-definition highlight videos merged with 3D metrics. Imagine hitting a bucket of balls, stop the video recording, then the app will find your highlights for you automatically. This works with any club in the bag — putter, wedges, driver and everything in between. It’s trusted by over 100 of the best players and coaches in the world who use the product on a daily basis to quantify their feel and improve their consistency and performance.
MB: Our entire platform is engineered to make sure you can actually get better. Having a static dashboard of data can only go so far. With instant feedback it becomes easy to attach a feel to a number and improve quickly in between lessons. We have 76 in-app videos to help users understand what the metrics are — why they’re important — what a pro or amateur would be for that metric and drills on how to improve the metrics.
MW: How is Blast Motion marketed — in particular reference to green grass shops, retail, online, etc, etc.?
MB: Several ways — through our online site — blastmotion.com; Via green grass shops and in the retail area through Amazon.com, Sports Authority and Dicks Sporting Goods. We are also available through social media on twitter, facebook and instagram.
MW: What are the biggest challenges beyond where you’re at today and what are you doing now to address them?
MB: Our goal is always for technology to disappear — you just play the way you normally play and technology does the hard work behind the scenes. Getting sensor/attachment smaller and smaller along with even longer battery life. Continuing to solve golfer’s pains — avoiding injury, making solid contact, avoid 3-putts, gaining distance, reading the green, aiming the club, and repeating the swing or stroke pattern under pressure. We also conduct Blast educational seminars to educate coaches and players.
MB: I’d make courses and equipment easier to help people learn quicker so they have success and enjoy the game more and become lifelong players of the game.
MW: Best advice you ever received was?
MB: I was fortunate enough to have a few great piece of advice: play as much as possible — get fit for the proper clubs — don’t play ‘golf swing’ while on the course, trust your swing and ‘play golf.’ Finally, turn on the target-direct your focus to the target and away from swing thoughts when on the golf course.
MW: You’ve got one round to play anywhere in the world — which course do you choose and what three (3) other people join you to round out your foursome?
MB: Augusta National and paired with me would be Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Sir Isaac Newton.
Blast Motion has been in operation for 5 years with corporate headquarters based in Carlsbad, CA.
Access additional information via: www.blastmotion.comWHAT'S YOUR REACTION?