Ahead of the PGA Championship, our CEO and founder Joe Assell joined the Sports Hub Golf Club with Rob “Hardy” Poole to discuss the significance of the tournament, our innovative OptiMotion technology, and its impact on enhancing golfers’ swings and improving golf broadcasts. Following is the audio of the interview, as well as highlights from their conversation.

Rob “Hardy” Poole: This is the championship for PGA professionals. You employ more PGA professionals than anyone else, right? 

Joe Assell: We do. We have 262 GOLFTECs around the world, five of them in the Boston area and, collectively, we employ about 700 PGA professionals throughout our network.

Hardy: Can you tell us about the technology we’ve been seeing on CBS broadcasts for tournaments like the PGA Championship? 

JA: This is really exciting for us. We’ve been in business 29 years, and we’ve always used measurements of the swing in our instruction, and always based our lessons on facts and research. And how we do that measurement has significantly evolved, as you can imagine, and a couple of years ago, we came up with our newest technology, called OptiMotion. The “Opti” stands for “optical,” which means we measure the movement of your golf swing, only through a camera. We no longer need any straps or cords or sensors or markers on your body. It’s all only through a camera — touchless. We’ve been using this in our centers for a little while, and finally, evolved it enough to where it works on only one camera and can be accurate. And that has opened the world to broadcast. We debuted with CBS earlier this year on some of their PGA Tour broadcasts. 

Hardy: How does OptiMotion work when you’re at a GOLFTEC? 

JA: The exact same technology you see on the broadcast is what we use in our GOLFTEC centers. Our coaches are incredibly well trained to interpret the data and make it very simple for the golfer. They know what their student needs to hit the ball better. It’s all via data and numbers. We can show you the best players in the world that when they swing a five iron — they turn their shoulders 89 degrees is the average. And can then show our students, for example, that they’re only turning their shoulders 72 degrees. They may not have the flexibility to turn their shoulders like a PGA Tour player, but maybe if they just turn their shoulders 80 degrees, that’s a better golf swing, and we’ll help them make that improvement. 

The other thing we do is we have tested millions of golfers with this technology of all abilities. So we can tell our students, the swings of people who break 90 look like this, and the swings of people who break 100 look like this. And so we can help our students understand the evolution of their golf improvement in really bite sized pieces, based on whatever their goals may be, with the ultimate model being this collection of swings that we’ve tested. 

Hardy: You said two things there which I think are really important. One, you’ve got all this data, but the instructors know which things to hone in on, so that it’s not paralysis by analysis, but really being able to go back and take it in bite sized pieces. And, as I’m sure you’ve seen, sometimes working on that one thing will, in turn, help the other things. 

JA: That’s exactly what happens. Sometimes you fix one thing, but that’s the cause of three others, right? And that’s where our coaches are really well trained. They know that if I fix this, three other things will fall in line. And then, as they fix that one thing, they know what’s next as well. And they’re able to map out the evolution of your progress very simply. So our students are able to see the path to how they’re going to get better and how they’re going to achieve their golf goals.

Hardy: It’s fascinating to watch the breakdown of the biomechanics of the pros. And for many golfers, that’s something to aspire to, but probably unattainable. But it is cool to see this being utilized for professional swings, because they’re doing things that are just unbelievable.

JA: That’s exactly right. And everybody is different.. Everybody’s body is different. We did this really cool analysis during the Masters of how much Scottie’s right foot slides when he hits a driver, versus Rory’s. Rory’s slid zero. It stayed in the exact same spot, and Scottie’s slid 16.8 inches when he swung his driver. So everybody’s different. And we understand your body type and your flexibility or your ability to know what is most optimal for each student based on all of our research and our data.

Hardy: You have this technology now available for the PGA Championship. Are the commentators equipped to be talking about this stuff and really explaining what we’re looking at? 

JA: Yes, They’re doing a great job. They’re led by Trevor Immelman, and we have our lead instructor Nick Clearwater. Nick is No. 17 on the Golf Digest Top 100 List. He runs all of instruction for GOLFTEC and is on-site with the broadcast team, as well. He hasn’t made the broadcast yet, but he’s helping them interpret the data. And then Trevor’s really doing a great job delivering all of it. 

Hardy: What can be accomplished when golfers go to a GOLFTEC? 

JA: Our mission is simple. It is to help you play better golf. We do that in three ways. We’re No. 1 in the world for golf lessons. And that’s what we lead with, and then in between your lessons, our students are allowed to come and practice on all of our technology and hit in our simulators to make sure they’re really getting better in between. And then the third and really big component of our business is custom club fitting. You can have a great swing, but if your clubs are holding you back, that’s part of the problem, as well. So we make sure we have the best equipment in your hands to shoot the lowest score possible.