Filming Your Golf Swing

The proper angles and camera positions to film your golf swing with modern technology.

This is an updated (and slimmed down) article to the original one here.

Filming Your Swing

Recording your swing from the proper angles is very important. Consistently filming your swing from the proper locations not only makes it easier for you to compare your swings against previous and future swings, but also makes it easier for others you might show your swing to (for example, to folks in the Member Swings forum or to an instructor) see what’s going on.

Two views are commonly used in looking at a golf swing. If you’ve watched golf on television, you’ll be familiar with them. They are the “Down the Line” view and the “Face-On” or “Caddie” view.

Here’s how to set up and record each. (Mentally replace the camera images with your iPhone 23 Pro if you don’t mind. 😀)

Face On (or “Caddie View”)
Face On

The Face-On or “Caddie View” video should be shot with a camera at roughly “hand height” (near the hips or a little bit lower than the belly button) square (perpendicular) to the golfer’s target line, and centered in the middle of the golfer’s stance. The golfer should likely be a bit lower than the center of the frame to allow for enough room above the golfer’s head to see the hands and at least a little bit of the shaft at the top of the backswing and enough room below the golfer’s feet to see the golf ball.

The camera should be between six to twelve feet from the golf ball. Too far away and not only will the golfer not fill the frame, but the shift in perspective makes some angles and positions tougher to see.

The best way to set the camera up for a Face On view is to use an alignment stick perpendicular to your target line in the exact middle of your stance. Set the camera right on that line, and the stick can double as a ball position aid as well.

The caddie view is illustrative in looking at the length of the golfer’s backswing, any movement side-to-side of his head, the location of weight at key positions, the low point of the club, and any casting of the club or flipping of the hands, among other things.

Down the Line
Down the Line

The Down the Line view is a bit trickier to set up consistently. Again, the camera should be at roughly “hand height.” Of course, rather than being square (perpendicular) to the target line, the camera should be aimed parallel to the target line, as illustrated by the three red lines above. The golfer should be in the left-center of the frame with a little room above his head and below his feet.

Though many are tempted to put the camera ON the target line out where the ball is, centering the ball in the video, this isn’t helpful as it puts the golfer completely to the side of the video, wasting resolution and providing a poor angle for almost every phase of the golf swing due to parallax.

The absolute best position for the camera shooting Down the Line video is parallel to the target line along the rear foot’s big toe – the left-most red line in the image above (and where the green shading is the brightest). A camera pointed parallel to the target line and halfway between the ball and the toes is acceptable but not ideal. Finally, a camera positioned directly behind the ball (the right-most red line) – regardless of how perfectly parallel it may be to the target line – is not very helpful at all as it will distort almost every phase of the golf swing (including the position of the club shaft and head).

The camera should be between eight to twelve feet from the golf ball. Too close and things may be distorted as the club’s arc can get awfully close to the camera during the backswing and downswing.

Yes, if your stance is slightly open or closed, both sets of toes won’t be on the line of the camera. That’s fine, and in fact helpful, as many players have slightly open or closed stances. The best way to set the camera up for a Down the Line view is to use an alignment stick just in front of your toes, parallel to the target line, and to set the camera just inside that stick line.

The down the line view is illustrative of a golfer’s swing plane, his shoulder pitch at the top of the backswing, his setup and balance, his trail knee and footwork, and his head and butt positions, among other things.

Importance of Consistency

Framerates on Modern Technology

Most people have a brilliant camera in their pockets, as the modern smart phone can record HD video at 120 or 240 or even higher frames per second.

For all but the shots or situations listed below, we recommend that you record video at about 200-300 frames per second. Any less and you’ll miss subtle movements and you could miss impact by several inches. Any more and, unless you’re really looking to document something very small or intricate, and you’re just taking up more space and making playback take much longer than necessary. We also recommend recording in at least 720p video, with little need for 4K video at any frame rate (unless you’re recording a swing to print out at a large size or something!). The golf swing is, after all, a fast-moving thing with little time to stop and appreciate the pixels. (This recommendation will likely be outdated several years from now, as technology continues to advance, though there are limits to what the human eye can perceive, too.)

Situations in which you may want to scale back the frame rate include:

  • When you’re looking to see the “rhythm” or “flow” of a shot.
  • Shorter shots like pitches, chips, etc. which have rhythm/flow but which also have less overall intricacy, and less speed.
  • Beginner golf swings with larger, more obvious errors (120 or even 60 FPS is often plenty).
  • When you’re trying to save disk or storage space. We still record videos at 240 FPS, but with lower resolution than HD because we record thousands of swings per year and the file sizes add up quickly.

Lighting

GOOD lighting is important. Though a camera recording at 240 FPS could have a “shutter speed” or “exposure time” of each frame of up to 1/240th of a second to properly expose the image in each frame, more light allows the shutter speed/exposure time to be much shorter.

We installed several lights in our academy to record video at 1/1000th of a second, which is very nearly the bare minimum shutter speed we recommend. Outdoors, even on a cloudy day, modern cameras are able to achieve 1/1000th or faster quite easily, but indoors some individuals will have a hard time getting 1/500th or so.

Why is this important? Because at higher shutter speeds, not only do we see the smaller motions, but objects are less blurry. If you’re trying to look at the leading edge of the clubface at A6/P6, you’ll see it pretty clearly at 1/2000th of a second, and you’ll barely be able to tell where the clubhead is at 1/500th, let alone make out the leading edge.

Get a Tripod

GorillapodIn addition to a camera, there are a few other accessories you may want to buy.

Some sort of tripod, or a phone clip that attaches to an alignment stick, are absolute musts. Your tripod could be anything from the $30 Gorillapod (shown at right), which can attach to a push cart, a golf car, your driver, etc. to a more expensive tripod. If you’re in a pinch, search the Internet for “bottle cap tripod.”

The purpose of a tripod? There are two. The first is to keep your video stable, so that any movement you see is due to the movement you’re doing, not the camera person moving as they record your swing. Second, and perhaps most importantly, to get the proper angles, particularly height. Without a tripod, many will resort to recording swings by setting their phone on the ground.

Six Oddball Moments in Golf History

Golf has seen its fair share of oddball moments over the years. Here is our selection of six of the most memorable weird and miraculous golfing moments ever to take place on the green.

MacIntyre Aiming for More Than a Top 50 Spot

Every week the world golf rankings receive an update via a supercomputer. The results are often eagerly anticipated, especially by those who feel they will have made progress by moving up a few places. It applies to Scottish player Robert MacIntyre, a man with a big future in the sport if things continue to go to plan.

MacIntyre, 24, who hails from Oban in Scotland, picked up his maiden European Tour title a couple of months ago back in November 2020 by winning the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown. The final round saw nineteen players remain, with MacIntyre carding 64 that edged him past Masahiro Kawamura by a shot to seal the victory. Following the success, MacIntyre was sitting in fifty-sixth in the world rankings. But even though he hasn’t played since, he’s climbed five places to fifty-first. And he’s now on the verge of the top fifty and everything that brings.

Reflecting On Bryson DeChambeau’s 2020: Has He Really Changed Golf?

Let’s face it: Not everyone is a fan of Bryson DeChambeau. Or, at the very least, the 27-year old’s ‘revolutionary’ tactics and focus on his physique divide opinion. Regardless, whatever it is that DeChambea is trying to say about the game of golf is worth hearing; the results he has achieved in a short space of time make that the case. But is the big-hitting player truly changing the game? Or is he just an outlier who will continue to play his own game while the rest of golf moves at its own pace? Looking back at 2020, the year that DeChambeau broke out (at least in the eyes of the media), those questions are still not easy to answer.

The first thing that we should clearly stress is that the story of Bryson DeChambeau is a bit more complex than is sometimes portrayed in the media. Sure, the Californian did emerge in the late spring bulked up (he gained about 40lbs) and with enough power to hit the ball further than anyone has managed before. But it is not as if he came from obscurity. DeChambeau was pinpointed for stardom as a young amateur and throughout his college years. In 2015 became only the third player in history to win the NCAA Division 1 Championship and US Amateur Open in the same year. The other two men to complete that feat? Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

Masters 2020: Why Dustin Won and Bryson Lost

Dustin Johnson is one of those “obvious after the fact” type of players. By that, we mean the world number one is capable of breezing through a tournament with supreme confidence, never looking in any danger of losing. As you watch, it becomes so clear that he was always going to win, and you kick yourself for doubting him. Of course, Johnson is capable of losing – his Masters 2020 triumph is, after all, only his second Major. But when he is in the zone like he was at Augusta last weekend, there is no better frontrunner in golf.

Being “in the zone” is important for Johnson, perhaps more than any other player in the game, although we might make an exception for Rory McIlory. Johnson isn’t exactly a streaky player, though. In fact, he is highly consistent, as you must be if you are to have over 100 weeks ranked as the world’s best golfer. But there is something imperious about the South Carolina man when he gets locked in for a tournament, and we saw that in all its glory with his 20 under par haul at Augusta National.

Precision Pro NX9 Rangefinder Review

Are lower cost alternatives to the big-name rangefinders a worthy value, or just inexpensive gadgets?

NX9 HeroI like nice things. I’ll admit to paying a bit more for things that are well built or feel or look better than competing products that do the same exact thing. This is particularly true in golf and tech, and when those two meet, well, let’s just say I could have afforded to play a little bit more golf if I had been more logical in some of the decisions I’ve made. <grin>

We all knew what a “good” rangefinder costs. Sure, you could go to Dick’s and get a rangefinder from a brand you’d never heard of for as little as $150. The thing might work for a few months before the display would start to fade, or it wouldn’t work with a hint of fog, or the laser would get mis-aligned after dropping it a foot into the rough a few times before playing your shot.

NX9 Box
Get used to that shade of green – it’s Precision Pro’s shade.

We all knew what the “good” brands were, and a lot of golfers either had to shell out as much as a brand-new big-name driver (or more!) to get one, or try to mess around with GPS apps or devices. (I’ve always been a big proponent of laser rangefinders over GPS, for various reasons, but this isn’t the place to re-open that discussion.)

I say “knew” because Precision Pro aims to change the game with their NX9 Slope, NX9, and NX2 range finders. They claim to deliver a quality product at a fraction of the price of the other companies.

How’d they do? Let’s find out…

RZN Golf Ball Review

Nike exited the hard goods business in 2016, but the original manufacturer of the RZN balls has brought them back to live (and store shelves).

When Nike exited the golf hard goods business in 2016, fans of the Nike golf ball with “RZN” technology grabbed all of the remaining balls that they could, fearful that the ball would never be seen again.

It’s not often that truly new things happen in the golf ball industry. The last may have been the switch to the solid-core ball at the premium level, started by Top-Flite, strongly pushed by Titleist, and now the realm of everyone including direct-to-consumer brands like Snell or Vice. A strong case could be made for the introduction of Nike’s “resin” technology, which isn’t constructed quite like other golf balls.

RZN Balls

As best as I can tell, Nike produced balls with Bridgestone for a number of years, but introduced the resin ball produced by Feng Tay Enterprises since 2006.

So, fans of Nike’s later golf balls rejoiced, and the rest of the world? Well, I suppose we were interested to see if the golf world had moved on from 2016, or if Nike was truly on to something that was reborn in the RZN.

Read on to find out what we thought of the RZN HS-Tour and MS-Tour balls.

TRUE Linkswear OG Feel Shoe Review

TRUE continues to smash out the hits with this lightweight, zero-drop, flexible shoe for warmer (dryer) days. Read on to see how I feel about the OG Feel.

TRUE OG Feel xxxxIf you see me playing golf, teaching golf, watching golf (in person, not on my couch!), or shopping at Lowe’s for golf training aids…, you’ll see me wearing a pair of TRUE Linkswear shoes. They’re my every-day, every-where, every-thing shoe, and I still have and wear pairs of them dating back to the original Tour.

I love that the original Tours, even though they looked a bit “clown-ish” according to my wife, had wider toe boxes and flexible soles, were zero drop, weighed less than most golf shoes, and were still waterproof and had enough grip to play golf in most conditions without fear of slipping.

Continuing (and improving) on many of those features of the original Tours, and among the latest from TRUE are the TRUE OG Feel. They have a lot to live up to.

Do they? Read on to find out.

Impact Press Training Aid Review

A simple training aid based on a classic drill.

Impact Press HeroThe Impact Press is a golf training aid that’s designed to teach you how to get proper impact alignments in your golf swing. Many golfers struggle with a flip or a roll through impact and often simply do not know what a proper impact position feels like. The Impact Press is designed specifically to train them to feel the correct mechanics through the hitting zone.

We like to say around here that “feel ain’t real.” Often a golfer will try to achieve something like shaft lean in their swing by simply feeling more shaft lean through impact and they’ll say they had the best range session ever, but when they look at a video of their swing, it looks exactly the same as it always has. The better ballstriking was merely the result of spending more time practicing and timing their compensations better. The Impact Press, when used properly, gives immediate feedback on whether or not they performed the swing correctly. Does it work? Read on to find out.