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Dressed to compress on the French Riviera

A 48-hour dash to the south of France with the promise of lodging and golf at Royal Mougins will usually do the trick when it comes to getting the attention of journalists experienced in the art of sifting through marketing propaganda. The invitation to learn about the work of Jean Jacques Rivet, one of the world’s leading experts in the field of biomechanics and physical excellence in sport, was certainly not one to be missed. Forty minutes from Nice, at the suitably chic Terre Blanche Golf Club, ‘JJ’, as he is universally known, treated our group to a fascinating presentation on biomechanics in golf, detailing his work with many of the greatest names in the game and his latest venture with one of the fastest-growing performance brands in golf, Under Armour.

In the space of an afternoon the former wind-surfing world champion illustrated why he is held in such high regard when it comes to pinpointing potential problems and enhancing physical performance. Identifying six key areas in the golf swing, JJ treated his audience to a compelling lecture in the rudiments of his science, practical examples featuring many of the players he has worked with – Luke Donald and Justin Rose among them.

For those of us who have taken golf lessons but never really stopped to consider our physical capabilities it is quite something to discover your limitations (as I did!) when put through a series of basic screening exercises that can be measured and quantified, such as abdominal strength and rotational flexibility. So, for example, I know now that while I can rotate my trunk fully to the right (as per the backswing), I have significantly less flexibility turning to the left, towards the target (which goes a long way to explaining a tendency to leak shots right). A habit of standing with my weight too much on the toes at address (measured via pressure plates) further denies me the opportunity to utilise my ‘core’ in the generation of body speed.

The beauty of this analysis is that you – the player – can respond immediately to what you see on the screen. And so without taking a technical swing lesson, you have valuable information that you can do

Watch this space for a series from JJ this summer; in the meantime, enjoy what I hope you’ll agree is a cracking issue.

May 2012

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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