Peter Gauthier has professional playing experience and extensive teaching experience. He also has an engineering degree and wasted a portion of his life as an engineer, engineering manager, marketing and factory manager before he recognized the folly of all that and returned to golf — this time in technology. He also has a home in Japan, where he’s been enjoying real sushi as a resident for 24 years.
I skipped two grades in school, so my first year as a freshman in high school I was 11 years old. The first day in gym class, the teacher separated us by age – 15 year olds over there, 14 year olds over there, and so on. I was left in a corner and brutally laughed at by the teacher and all the students. I had a terrible stutter after that and didn’t say a word to anyone all through high school. I couldn’t even say my name.
When I left high school and moved away, my stutter disappeared.
Golf saved me, in a way, because I could play and practice in solitude. I didn’t need anyone to hit it, catch it or throw it. I hit balls every day, and even propped my mattress up against the wall to hit balls into it when I couldn’t be outside.
So, I knew then that golf would always be part of my life, as a player and teacher.
PETER GAUTHIER: We were born about 6 years ago from the movie business. Motion capture for movies was expensive and time consuming. The standard technology was to put reflectors all over the body and use high-speed video cameras. It takes half a day to get ready just to capture 10 seconds of motion, like in the movie “Avatar” and animated films. It could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
We made a system using wireless, lightweight inertial sensors and it only takes 10 minutes to get ready, plus we knocked a zero off the price.
Now we’re the leader in this and people like “Game of Thrones,” NASA, plus game makers and animators use our technology. We adapted it to sports and golf as our first entry because golf is a hard motion to capture.
MW: What elevates MySwing Golf beyond your competitors?
PG: We don’t have any direct competitors in the inertial market now. We’re a full body, 3D motion capture system for golf.
PG: Well, it’s a product for golf coaches and the consumers/players should search out teachers with our product. Players are consistently blown away when they see how 3D motion capture helps them improve dramatically. The downswing is faster than the blink of an eye, and players and coaches can now see it from any angle in slow motion.
It’s pretty easy to understand that fact-based teaching is better than guessing. Our coaches capture a player’s swing when they’re hitting the best. When they aren’t hitting it best (and everyone knows that feeling), our coaches take another capture, like an MRI, and both player and coach can see the difference. No guessing – we can go right the heart of the problem and make people better faster.
MW: Given all the info-technology available today — is there a real possibility golfers are simply overloaded with so many thought elements as to take away from the naturalness in simply playing and learning more on their own — finding the game “through the dirt” as Ben Hogan stated?
PG: The best players in the world in all sports use every technology and data available to get better and stay better. No one on the PGA Tour is “winging it” anymore.
Next, our coaches use this to screen players to find what they can and cannot do, physically. 89% of professional golfers are injured at some time, and the amateurs over 45 years old and with a handicap between 1-9 are injured the most.
Technology and smart coaches make sure instruction isn’t hurting a player by assessing potential injury by screening. Ben Hogan was a thoughtful, intelligent man who wanted every edge possible in his game. I believe he’d be one of our biggest fans.
PG: We’re very different and work hard at being truly the best – not just lip service about it. We already have a reputation for world-class customer service. Our people are advocates for the customer — I want them to fight for the customer.
MW: Given your belief in what you’re providing to students — what is so wrong with much of golf instruction today?
PG: There are as many golf swings as there are golfers. Golf is almost infinite. Being a good instructor requires a repertoire of knowledge. Being a great teacher takes time and study.
Launch monitor technology taught us that the ball flight laws being taught for generations (and still being taught by poor teachers was flat out wrong. Golf instruction has to be based on facts and not myths.
PG: My wife has been through cancer surgeries, radiation treatment and chemotherapy twice, but she wakes up every single day with a smile on her face. I’d be more like her.
MW: Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
PG: The Rolling Stones. “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some time, you just may find, you get what you need.”
MW: Golf is fundamentally not growing as a sport because of a wide variety of factors intersecting — too much time it takes to play for many seeking faster athletic alternatives, too hard a game to learn and the overall cost of equipment. What actions would you take to build the numbers up — especially with Millennials — born in 1980 and after?
PG: The decline of golf is a hot topic, but participation by young people in all sports is in decline. In just the last five years, basketball is down 4%, Soccer down 11%, baseball down 14%, football down 29% and softball down 31%.
That tells us it’s not golf, it’s society changing, and I don’t have the power to change society. I can only change myself and our company approach.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. 38% of American adults are obese now. Not overweight, obese. One out of four teenagers are too overweight to join the military.
Obese people don’t become obese by participating in sports too much. Until that gets addressed, nothing will help participation in all sports, including golf.
However, for us the good news is that we have such a “wow factor” that millennials reach for their phones to share a video of their avatar dancing live in our 3D system!
MW: Down the line — what future developments do you see happening with MySwing Golf and the role technology will play with golf instruction?
PG: We live in a 3D world, and MySwing puts the student and teacher into a virtual 3D world to better understand how the body moves.
Professional golfers are getting better because of technology and data. The techniques used by those elite players is now available for amateurs who want to be better.