FootJoy has been at the forefront of shoe fitting for a number of years, going up and down the country to prove that not only are 70 per cent of golfers wearing the wrong-sized shoe, but also that an ill-fitting pair can rob you of comfort and performance.
Now, the shoe-fitting pioneers have taken it a step further by teaming up with BodiTrak to create the FootJoy Performance Fitting System (PFS), which based on three drives can recommend the right type of shoe for your swing, be it a structured model like the FootJoy D.N.A. 2.0, a mobile model like FootJoy FreeStyle, or something in between like the spikeless FootJoy VersaLuxe.
Who are BodiTrak?
BodiTrak is a company that specialises in pressure-mapping systems. It started in medicine developing hospital beds that sensed where a patient’s pressure points were and could add or remove pressure accordingly to stop them getting bed sores.
BodiTrak felt its technology could be applied to sport and specifically golf, and so came up with a mat that measures a golfer’s centre of pressure and how it moves during the swing. There are around 2,500 units around the world used by qualified instructors to help golfers improve their games.
How does the FootJoy PFS work?
The FJ PFS consists of a pressure mat on the ground that golfers stand on and hit three drives. Each swing creates a swing trace, which demonstrates how the golfer’s centre of pressure moves throughout the swing and how strong it is in certain areas.
FootJoy and BodiTrak have also been working with the Titleist Performance Institute, which has conducted in-depth studies about weight transfer in the golf swing, and found that switching to the correct type of shoe can see significant increases in swing speed and performance through better use of the ground to create force compared to the wrong shoe.
The findings of this research were used to create the FJ PFS software, which, based on the results of the drive the golfer felt was his or her best effort, can recommend the most suitable type of golf shoe. Testing has shown that 98 per cent of Tour players had the highest swing speed in the type of shoe the PFS recommended for them compared with other types.
Surely a faster swinger needs a more stable shoe?
Not necessarily. Common thinking would suggest that anyone with a fast swing speed would benefit from being held in the ground and limiting lower body movement through wearing a structured shoe. But in fact, depending on how you swing the club, someone with weak ankles who creates a lot of power could benefit from a shoe with more mobility.
If someone has a recent ankle injury, again more freedom of movement could help them get the most from the ground during the swing without the risk of the injury resurfacing.
The FootJoy PFS is now the first step of the golf shoe fitting process for golfers looking to upgrade to a new pair. Once they know which type of shoe is right for them, they can then get fitted for size to ensure the fit and comfort is maximized along with the performance. It is then a case of testing them out on the course.