2006: The ultimate in swing feedback
By James Achenbach
It is the biggest Catch-22 in golf instruction.
You take a lesson, but how do you know if you are swinging exactly as the pro told you?
You practice, but how do you know if you are achieving a specified swing position?
Now one man has an answer. George Kelnhofer, an Atlanta professional with 46 years of teaching experience, has invented a seemingly foolproof method for monitoring body and club movements during the golf swing.
Few approaches to instruction are really new, but this one, called Accelerized Golf www.accelerizedgolf.com), is a showstopper.
You enter a hitting bay. You stand on a mat.
A ball automatically appears on a mechanical tee that rises from a cavity in the mat.
You make a full swing. If you do it wrong, the ball and tee quickly disappear back into the mat before you have a chance to make contact. A light flashes. There is enough sensory and visual feedback to satisfy any golfer.
After PGA Tour player Charles Howell III saw the system, he had it installed in his home. After South Carolina golf coach Puggy Blackmon saw it, he got one for his team. After prominent amateur
Walker Taylor saw it, he opened an Accelerized Golf learning center in Wilmington, N.C., so he wouldn’t have to drive to Atlanta.
Working together, the golfer and instructor can isolate any element of the golf swing. They can decide precisely what swing move or position will make the ball disappear.
This involves the placement of “hotlines” on a computer monitor. These hotlines are the secret.
For example, if a golfer flares the club inside or outside on the takeaway, two hotlines are placed in positions where the club has to be taken straight back between them.
If the club makes contact with either hotline, it causes the ball to disappear and the light to flash.
Golfers who have a fixation with swing plane will love this system. They can place hotlines around the plane they are seeking.
As many as four separate hotlines can be used at one time. If the club or body comes in contact
with a hotline, there is immediate feedback with the disappearing ball and flashing light.
The hotlines can just as easily identify a body fault such as swaying as they can a swing fault such as overswinging.
Kelnhofer spent nearly a decade developing this device. All elements of the system – including six cameras – can be found in the same place in every Accelerized Golf hitting bay. Any veteran of video instruction knows that camera placement is critical in obtaining accurate information.
At the Atlanta headquarters for Accelerized Golf, 67-year-old Ken Tomlinson of Columbia, S.C., and 18-year-old Adam Mitchell were chasing perfect swings on an overcast day in early January.
“I’ve been coming in here since I was 13,” Mitchell said, “and I have really changed my swing. It has helped me tremendously.”
Accelerized Golf is owned by Kelnhofer and eight other teaching pros or investors.
“We are changing the way people practice,”
said Oswald Drawdy, a former Clemson University star who is one of the Accelerated Golf owners.
Practice time is included in lesson packages or can be purchased by itself. When golfers sign into Accelerized Golf, all of their previous information is available on the computer screen. Several reference lines will remind them of setup and swing positions. The hotlines will reinforce particular moves.
For those wishing to buy the system, it costs about $30,000. Kelnhofer’s long-term goal is a network of Accelerized Golf centers around the country.