‘Help me be a better golfer’: FGCU research could change game

William Griffith has been golfing for more than 50 years, and a computer analyzed his moves to help improve his and other golfers’ games.

The study at Florida Gulf Coast University is expected to “further the longevity of golfers and their golf game,” said Thor Parrish, a third year student in the FGCU golf management program.

The research is personal for Parrish.

“I grew up with a crazy passion for golf…most importantly playing with my grandpa was a really big factor as well,” Parrish said.

Parrish added some of elderly people take advantage of many of the benefits the game has to offer.

“Professionals are maybe .5 percent of the population actually playing golf – the majority of our population is the elderly population where this is the only time they get to socialize and do exercise,” Parrish said.

Parrish found by analyzing 150 golf swings, a full swing places more than 100 pounds more pressure on the back than that of a three-quarter swing.

“We always knew the more you twerk your spine, the more stress you place on your lower back, the more susceptible you are to a back injury, Parrish said. “When you actually twerk your spine to spike the ball you increase like 7.6 times your body weight of twerk is placed on your lower back.”

Dr. Maria Colmer, an associate processor in FGCU’s occupational therapy program, agrees with Parrish.

“If they do not make the change they’re more susceptible to back injury,” Colmer said.

A three-quarter swing also increases a golfer’s “smash factor,” allowing them to hit the ball more efficiently, according to research.

“It has drastically changed the way I approach the game of golf…playing a safer, and controlled game of golf is going to help me be a better golfer and help me play the game longer,” Parrish said.

Parrish said the research contributed to his golfing experience with his grandfather.

“Just the ability to set this up and see my grandpa play is really awesome for me,” Parrish said.

Tara McKenna, FGCU PGA Golf Management director, spoke to how this research could impact the game for many others.

“They’re giving them the knowledge and the power to make these changes and find the adaptive equipment and improvement of the game and longevity of the game,” McKenna said.

Reporter:Melinda Lee