Online Golf Instruction: How to Film Your Swing

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By Rick V., Team Titleist Staff

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  • 6 Replies
  1. Team Titleist Staff

    Hey, Team Titleist!

    Have you entered this month's Improve Your Game Sweepstakes, with Michael Breed?  This is a great opportunity to have a world-renowned instructor evaluate your swing, address your trouble issues and prescribe a practice plan to get your game on the right track.

    Over the last few years, the popularity of online golf instruction has exploded. Rapid advances in photography and digital technology have made video capture and analysis much easier and accessible. Filming your swing is now a great way to get personalized, remote instruction from experts like Michael, and it also allows you to monitor your own progress and self-coach as you train.  

    To get the most out of this visual tool, it pays to know your way around a camera – whether you're using a smart phone, tablet or even a high-end DSLR.  You also have to be aware of some set-up keys, so that you capture a true, undistorted representation of how your body is moving and what the golf club is doing.

    To record your swing effectively on video,...
    To record your swing effectively on video, it's important to position the camera properly for both Face-on and Down-the-line views. Always secure your camera for steady shots (an inexpensive tripod is a must) and remember to line up the lens of the camera with your subject (not the center of your mobile phone, for example).1/9
    For both Face-on and Down-the-line filming, always...
    For both Face-on and Down-the-line filming, always position the camera lens at the same height as the golfer's hands at address.2/9
    Position the camera far enough away from the...
    Position the camera far enough away from the golfer so that the entire arc of the swing is captured. Remember to record a test clip to ensure your video is in crisp focus.3/9
    Before recording, it's helpful to set up your...
    Before recording, it's helpful to set up your shot using alignment sticks like the yellow rods pictured above. Place one rod on the ground, ahead of the ball and one behind the ball, in line with the target. Place a parallel set of rods directly under the player's hands. This will help you to set up the camera parallel to the target line and will allow you to accurately view the swing plane of the backswing and downswing.4/9
    In this example, the golfer's hands were not...
    In this example, the golfer's hands were not framed in the center of the recording and the camera was positioned too close to the golfer. The result? The club traveled outside the frame on the backswing, obscuring critical detail.5/9
    Take 2: With the camera positioned farther away...
    Take 2: With the camera positioned farther away from the golfer and the player's hands set up in the center of the frame, the entire swing is captured in this face-on recording.6/9
    From down-the-line, the position of the club at...
    From down-the-line, the position of the club at the top of the swing provides critical information. In this video, the framing was too tight to capture this part of the swing and the clip needs to be re-shot. 7/9
    This example shows how wider framing solves the...
    This example shows how wider framing solves the problem.8/9
    An alternative solution is to shoot down-the-line...
    An alternative solution is to shoot down-the-line footage vertically. This allows the golfer to appear larger (easier to see detail), but be careful to leave plenty of room left and right to avoid cropping of the club.9/9

    Here are a few tips for filming your golf swing: 


    • Capture your swing from two different perspectives – Down-the-line (DTL), where the golfer is positioned in the middle ground of the frame and the target is visible in the distance, and Face-on, with the camera perpendicular to the target line.

    • For both DTL and Face-on, the camera should be locked down on a tripod or similarly secured and positioned at the same height as the player's hands.

    • For both shots, the golfer's hands should be in the center of the frame, left-to-right and top-to-bottom.

    • Whenever possible, film in slow motion video mode. High speed filming – most mobile phones can now record in 120 and even 240 frames per second – allows you and instructors to clearly see how the club shaft is moving and how the club face is orientated throughout the swing – without the distortion of motion blur.

    • Before recording, place an object (stake an alignment rod in the ground, for example) where the golfer's hands will be positioned and adjust the camera lens to establish crisp focus. Record a test shot and review to make sure your video is in focus.

    • If you are using a camera with optical zoom (not digital), it is best to get as far away from the subject as possible and zoom in to a suitable framing with sharp focus. The reason for this is that as you get closer to the subject, the swing plane gets more and more distorted, appearing to swing more outside and inside than it really does.

    • For mobile phones and tablets, it's probably best to not zoom in. Zoom out as far as possible and adjust the position of the camera to frame the shot properly.

    • Good framing will show the full arc of the golf swing with lots of breathing room in the margins. Tighter cropping can be achieved after recording, if needed.

    • It's important to use several alignment rods (or similar) to set up the shot. For Down-the-line, you want one rod ahead of the ball and one behind the ball, in line with the target. You also want to set up a parallel set of rods, directly under the player's hands. This will help you to set up the camera parallel to the target line. If the camera is left or right of this line, the club path will appear to swing inside or outside of the true swing plane that the club is traveling on.

    • For face-on shots, use alignment rods perpendicular to the target line to position the camera opposite the hands and to give accurate perspective of ball position.

    Good luck and happy filming!

  2. I like having the ability to review this site
  3. Speedy

    Speedy
    Newmarket, NH

    Great post! I've done this many times but probably not as good as instructed on this post and will definitely give it a try. I've been getting lessons now for a few years and the PGA Pro is always filming me and going over it. It's amazing how much filming your swing can help improve your game especially in slo-mo.

    I always tell my buds to record themselves but it doesn't help if they don't know what they're looking for. Go get a lesson or two from a PGA Pro and learn.

    Thanks for the post Rick! Cheers
  4. Felipe P

    Felipe P
    Melbourne, VIC

    Thank you for this post, Rick.

    I've always found this challenging. The tips in this post are extremely useful.
  5. Team Titleist Staff

    Thanks, M! Thanks, Speedy! Thanks, Felipe!

    Hope it helps. It is tricky and I've been fortunate to work with some top instructors in the industry. All credit for providing these keys goes to guys like Dave Phillips, Dr. Greg Rose, Dr. Rob Neal and Layne Savoie.

    Good luck filming!

  6. Abdon M

    Abdon M
    Northern California

    Thanks for the suggestions. Looks like I need to get a better tripod.
  7. Rob_Roth1

    Rob_Roth1
    San Diego, CA

    i have only been doing online lessons with John Dochety and not only has it improved my swing, facetime and/or zoom has made it like he is right next to me. I have made great strides with my swing and got down to a plus handicap!

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