Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 02/8/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Terry Hashimoto has the technology to rebuild your golf swing.
The former president of Jazz Golf has spent the last year helping develop BodiTrak, a sensor-filled mat that can provide immediate feedback on how you set up and hit any putt, chip or drive. Manufactured in Winnipeg, its smart fabric sensors can show you how much of your weight is on your left toe or right heel and the speed of your club when you strike the ball.
All the numbers pop up on a computer monitor before you've even finished your follow-through.
"We're doing for teaching golf what GPS did for maps. It's a game-changer," he said.
Perhaps even more importantly, the BodiTrak can also quantify feel. By putting a golfer on the mat in the correct position, letting them see the numbers and asking them to step off and get back on without looking at the monitor, they're getting bio-feedback so they can find the correct position again strictly from muscle memory.
"That's the holy grail of golf or any sport," Hashimoto said.
Because it's about the same size as a "welcome" mat, it can also be used to teach hitting shots from uneven or angled lies, he said.
Pro shops can use BodiTrak to help determine the ideal club shafts and footwear for golfers. For example, if you have a lot of lateral motion in your swing, you'll likely want shoes with stabilizer bars, but if your weight is on the front and back of your feet, you'll want strong arch supports, Hashimoto said.
The BodiTrak patent is owned by Vista Medical Ltd., which makes them at its Fort Garry plant. Andrew Frank, Vista's vice-president of marketing and sales, said golf is only the latest application to use its stretchable sensors.
For the last 20 years, the technology has been used in a number of different ways, including preventing bedsores for hospital patients whether they're lying down or sitting in a wheelchair.
More recently, Vista has developed a "smart" bed, which senses how you're lying down and adjusts its shape to help you sleep better.
After manning a booth at the PGA merchandising show in Orlando, Fla., a couple of weeks ago, Frank said Vista is looking to expand into bigger space, either next door or in St. Boniface. The company has 20 employees.
Frank said Hashimoto's experience has been invaluable in breaking into the golf market.
"We looked at him when he first came in and said, 'Are you serious?' A year later, it's serious," he said, noting the technology can also be used for teaching other sports such as tennis, baseball and snowboarding.
Hashimoto has a fan in Derek Ingram, head coach of Canada's national men's golf team and head teaching professional at Elmhurst Golf & Country Club in Winnipeg. He was considering spending $35,000 on a similar product called "force plates," which also measures the pressure exerted by a player's feet, but has to be built into the ground.
"It wasn't mobile. BodiTrak is but it's also relatively inexpensive at $2,000 and provides a lot of the same information. It's already being used by some of the best teachers and coaches in the world," he said.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 8, 2014 B6
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
More leaving on a jet plane
San Gold shares delisted as miner faces cash woes
Senate bill: Vets won't trigger employer health law coverage
Jets hire brother of judge in New Jersey sports betting suit
Mobile provider TracFone to pay $40M in federal settlement
Marriott buys Delta hotel chain
Sun Life to buy U.S. money manager Ryan Labs
Consortium set to acquire Canary Wharf owner
1st time advertisers gamble on Super Bowl ads
Stocks rise at midday after strong Apple, Boeing results
House passes bill aimed at expediting natural gas exports
CGI first-quarter net income, cash flow soar
With lower oil prices, Sasol delays plan for Louisiana plant
FDA issues new requirements to improve defibrillator safety
Judge says Caesars bankruptcy case will be held in Illinois
Renting out homes for Super Bowl can bring big bucks
BP to sell part of its Gulf of Mexico stake to Chevron
Norbord Q4 sales hit by currency, price woes
Shareholders OK tobacco firm Reynolds' deal to buy Lorillard
Fiat Chrysler profits drop but outlook brightens
Polish leaders seek relief for those with Swiss franc loans
Nissan recalls SUVs to fix electrical shorts, hood latches
Loonie down ahead of Fed rate announcement
TSX declines ahead of Fed rate announcement
Toyota lawyer urges jury to find it not responsible in crash
Boeing reports 4Q profit of $1.47 billion on airplane sales
Shake Shack raises projected price range for its IPO
Boeing tops Street 4Q forecasts
Fed is expected to remain 'patient' about a first rate hike
More oilpatch cuts as Cenovus slashes budget
Anthem raises dividend almost 43 pct, tops 4Q forecasts
CommScope buying some of TE Connectivity ops for about $3B
One-day strikes planned for Duesseldorf, Cologne airports
Greek leader: negotiating debt solution a priority
Electrolux swings to profit despite sagging income in US
Stocks drift as weak US earnings add to growth concerns
H&M posts rise in quarterly profit, plans 400 new stores
Russian govt details spending cuts in view of crisis
German consumer confidence at 13-year high
After setting iPhone record, what does Apple do next?