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March 1, 2017

Influencing your Student’s Swing: From the Ground Up

PGA Professional uses the Foot Wedge and BodiTrak to help students improve  weight distribution and transfer, as well as footwork

When you can incorporate technology with a simplistic approach, the results can be surprisingly good for your students. That’s what PGA Professional John Dunigan has found, who combined the simplistic design of the Foot Wedge and the high-tech data provided by BodiTrak to help his students better understand weight distribution throughout the golf swing.

John Dunigan does not fear technology or change. In fact, the 2008 Philadelphia PGA Section Teacher of the Year is not afraid of trying new things because experiments can lead to better results for both his students and how he teaches. This scenario played out when Dunigan started using the BodiTrak system with his trusted Foot Wedge in his instruction.

I can remember,” says Dunigan, the 2012 Philadelphia PGA Section Youth Player Development Award winner. “In fact, when younger and was still learning to play the game, my PGA golf instructor would use the Foot Wedge with me during our lessons. It’s been a staple forever.”

Because the Foot Wedge worked so well for himself personally, he didn’t give it much thought in regards whether or not he was going to use it with his students; the results spoke for themselves. Dunigan uses the Foot Wedge – a lot – in most of his lessons, especially now that he uses the BodiTrak system.

“BodiTrak is great because it allows students and instructors to see their weight distribution at address, but it also allows them to see how their weight moves throughout the swing,” says Dunigan. “However, seeing how their weight falls on a certain foot during the swing, understanding what should happen with their weight during the swing and actually producing those ideal results are a much different thing, as many golf instructors already know.”

Dunigan explains that while many of his students who have used the BodiTrak system see and understand the problem, a lot of them, somewhere around 50 percent, still have difficulty correcting the issue. That’s where the Foot Wedge comes in.

“It was pretty apparent to me that the Foot Wedge was a perfect fit for BodiTrack right after I bought the system,” Dunigan continues. “The Foot Wedge allows my students to actually feel what their weight change should be during an ideal golf swing. It provides immediate feedback and a very solid majority of my students who need to use the Foot Wedge understand the sensation they are to have after using it only once or twice.”

As mentioned, Dunigan claims that he has always used the Foot Wedge in his instruction, but is using it more now that he is teaching the importance of good footwork in the golf swing. He says that it is much easier to use footwork to achieve better results than to manipulate the swing with your hands. Additionally, Dunigan says that a golfer’s footwork is what stops the backswing and what starts the downswing; the timing and the actual weight shift is very important the success of the swing and a Foot Wedge can help students find the proper positions.

“I like to use the phrase ‘load and explode,’” says Dunigan a two-time U.S. Kids Top 50 Teacher. “Many golfers, high and low handicaps alike, have trouble successfully getting their weigh through to their leading foot at and after impact, that’s a given. But just as many have a hard time getting their weight on their trailing foot during the backswing; that’s where their power comes from and if they don’t get their weight back, they are missing out on yardage.”

That’s the great thing about the Foot Wedge, according to Dunigan: it can be used for the rear foot, which it’s most commonly used for, but it can also be placed under the leading foot to help golfers transfer their weight back in their swing. There is no incorrect way to use the Foot Wedge. It is a very simple training aid, but it can be very powerful too.

The best thing about the Foot Wedge, according to Dunigan? It makes his lessons more efficient.

“It does not take as much effort for me to get the weight transition points across to my students when using the Foot Wedge, especially when I use it in conjunction with BodiTrak,” explains Dunigan. “The Foot Wedge provides another level of clarity, and that’s good for everybody involved. Using these two aids together helps students discover for themselves the feeling they should be having and helps them improve quicker and more permanently. It truly makes my job easier.”