Science of the Swing

Executive Summary

The Great Lakes Bay Regional Wellness alliance is dedicated to wellness, education, awareness and promoting healthier lifestyles throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region and beyond.

Science of the Swing

Our latest project Science of the Swing seeks to promote understanding the symbiotic relationship between science, sport and health. We have created a relevant, mobile experience driving physical activity and mental feedback without the need for a physical sports site. We launched the first two simulators at the Dow GLBI LPGA golf tournament in the STEM Sports Zone. One simulator was set up for children/non golfers as a carnival game. We explained how to swing a golf club and adjusted based on the simulator feedback to achieve success at the contest. This was a STEM based conversation as well as performance coaching in front of their peers. The second simulator was equipped with wearable tracking devices for: upper and lower spine, arm and wrist while standing on a pressure plate. The golfer’s swings were analyzed by a staff member or pro and immediate adjustments were made with achievable improvements often seen.

We seek to build out the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning components to the software for instruction. The simulator will take in all the swing data based on sport and instruct on physical changes to body movements for improved performance. We also would like to fund the purchase of three additional simulators to be used for: tennis, baseball/softball and motor car racing.

The next elite athlete may well come from a traditional coaching approach, but we believe that as the margins of victory grow slimmer AI and ML will be the future of athletics and wellness. In addition, we aim to remove the socio-economic boundaries to theses sports that have historically existed. As Science of the Swing is geography neutral, we are removing the need to be at a golf course, tennis court, baseball diamond, racetrack or have access to a multi acre turf facility.
Imagine a world where the “standard” round of casual golf can be done before brunch, or even after an early dinner. It’s a world where more kids can learn to play Golf because the game offers enough flexibility for both kids and their parents. It’s a world where golf becomes more sustainable — both for courses and for players. It’s not a perfect world for golf Traditionalists, but their world is one where casual golf may not exist in a few decades. Is that really better? Our aim is to have today’s athletes in the simulator become tomorrow’s data scientists, computer coders and physicists through their Science of the Swing experience.

“The shortage of data scientists around the country has been well documented. The August 2018 LinkedIn Workforce Report found that there were more than 151,000 data scientist jobs going unfilled across the U.S., with “acute” shortages in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.”

Our goal is to encourage the next generation of STEM encouraged and enabled persons. When the next athlete in the simulator is encouraged to study data science or computer coding in a real and applicable way, we have the education/business pathway set to incubate this need.

As an example, participants can learn how STEM concepts such as geometric scaling, kinematics and six degrees of freedom are skills needed for reading greens and holing putts. Also, participants will learn the function of golf clubs by charting the domain (distance) and range (dispersion) of each club which will improve their ability to plan and estimate when playing the game.

“The average data scientist salary is $113,436, according to Glassdoor. The driving factor behind high data science salaries is that organizations are realizing the power of big data and want to use it to drive smart business decisions. And because the supply of data professionals hasn’t yet caught up with demand, starting salaries for these positions remain high ($50,000 to $95,000), especially for those who have an advanced degree in data science or a related field.”

Golf-Related Health Benefits

From education to health we believe that an active life is a healthy life as evidenced by these golf related benefits:

  1. Heart health – any form of physical exercise helps get the blood pumping to your heart. Walking, carrying your bag and swinging all increase your heart rate and blood flow. Your risk of a stroke and diabetes are reduced, and there can be positive effects on reducing blood pressure and harmful cholesterol, especially if combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle. The Norwegian Golf Federation (NGF) found that during an 18-hole round, a player will have an average heart rate of 100 beats per minute, over a two to five-hour period
  2. Brain stimulation – regular daily walking strengthens the brain’s memory circuits. Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, says: ‘Whether it is going for a jog or walking the golf course, keeping physically active is a great way to keep your heart and your brain healthy. By keeping active you make sure your brain has a good, strong blood supply, which is essential to help it function better now and in future.”
  3. Weight loss – the golden number of steps per day needed for weight loss is 10,000. An 18-hole round easily exceeds this recommended number, especially when you walk and do not use a golf cart. The Norwegian Golf Federation (NGF) found that recent research projects (referring to those in Norway, Japan, Germany, the US and Sweden) revealed that a male golfer burns around 2,500 kCal during an 18-hole round, and female players burn approximately 1,500 kCal (read 9 Holes for Better Health – in Norwegian)
  4. Reduces stress – the pleasure of walking in fresh air, socializing, with an added mental challenge means golf releases endorphins, the natural mood-enhancing chemicals in your brain, which make you happy and relaxed
  5. Improved sleep – exercise and fresh air are a powerful combination for improved sleep. Walking the course will give you a good workout. Regular exercise helps you sleep faster and remain in a deep sleep for longer. Sleep helps your muscles rest and repair
  6. Low injury – golf is a low-impact activity in the sense that one walks on a soft, gently rolling surface. More mature players find this attractive as they can burn calories with a low risk of injury
  7. Live longer – a Swedish study by the Karolinska Institutet led by Professor Anders Ahlbom, found that golfers have a 40% lower death rate, which corresponds to a 5-year increase in life expectancy (read Golf: A game of life and death – reduced mortality in Swedish golf players)

From health to community we believe that

Boosting Health

Youth sports can have many different positive effects. Regular physical activity in this age group is vital for long-term well-being. According to the World Health Organization, children and youth between the ages of 5 and 17 should have a minimum of an hour of “moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity daily,” with more benefits being found with longer durations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists strong bones and muscles, healthy weight, cardiorespiratory fitness, and a reduction in anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and obesity as some of the benefits of physical activity.

Youth Crime Reduction

Many factors play a role in youth crime rates and youth sports can help with some of the key elements. Boredom and a lack of supervision – combined with other risk factors – can provide opportunities for delinquent behavior. Many extracurricular sports are scheduled after school, which can help preoccupy children’s time, while providing a positive, healthy outlet for kids and their energy levels. Being part of sports teams can mean more friends that help in reducing antisocial behavior and further boosting community and school participation. Mentorship and guidance from role models within the community can also help guide students to a positive lifestyle.

Creating Future Role Models

Sports can be a great platform for learning many life skills and lessons. To succeed in team sports, kids must learn the importance of teamwork, benefiting their social skills. Learning how to take a win or loss can teach valuable lessons on sportsmanship and integrity. High-pressure situations on the field can also teach youth how to succeed in real-life situations. Finally, being involved in youth sports either as a child or as a parent can help build community awareness and appreciation. A vibrant, active community can help influence other citizens of all ages to be more active in their lives, creating a positive cascading effect.

Building Community

Participating in sports can help increase civic engagement, especially with community centers that are attached to libraries and other municipal resources. Mentorship can be beneficial towards both the mentor and the mentee and may help build positive role models and relationships. Local sports events bring the community together, which can increase social bonds and meaningful connections. Games can act as a regular meeting place for some parents, adding to the connectedness of the community.

We want the community to thrive in a way that was previously not possible by innovating the emerging technologies in science, sport and wellness symbiotically.