Frost using biomechanics to jump to top of Schwab CupMarch 20, 2013
By Vartan Kupelian, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
David Frost knows all about wines, and why some get better with age. There is no secret to it. It’s about applying certain principles in the proper manner and sequence.
In his search for an age-defying golf game, Frost has adopted the study of biomechanics to improve his health, his swing and his flow. The results speak for themselves. One look at Frost’s performance in recent months suggests that it’s working just as he hoped.
Frost, one of golf’s noted winemakers, won twice last year. He teamed with Michael Allen at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf to win early in the season and went on to enjoy his best season since joining the Champions Tour in 2009. He recorded multiple victories in a season for the first time since 1993 on the PGA TOUR and had his highest finish on the money list (ninth) in his three full seasons on the Champions Tour.
Frost finished the year on a roll. A ninth-place finish at Rock Barn was followed by victory at the AT&T Championship and a T10 at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. On the European Senior Tour, he won the MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius in December.
This year, he lost a playoff to John Cook in Hawaii to open the season and immediately added a pair of top 10s at Allianz and ACE Group. Those were followed by last week’s 5-stroke victory at the Toshiba Classic, his third victory in seven starts worldwide.
Frost works with a German golf professional, Christian Neumaier, on the biomechanical side of golf.
“I met him doing the BMW in Munich in 2007, when I joined the European Tour,” Frost said. “I’ve really enjoyed the biomechanical part. It’s given me a lot more flow to the game. I think what we've been working on since '07 has just come through now, end of last year.
“It was something I was missing. It's made me a lot more comfortable through the golf ball, something that I've always been hesitant with … I fought the flow of my body and my arms through the ball and turning with the ball. We were always taught to stay behind the ball. It’s just something that’s clicked and I’ve struck the ball very consistently in the last six months.”
Neumaier is at Beuerberg Golf Club, a facility located just south of Munich, Germany.
"It’s very cold in the winter,” Frost said. “He comes over to Florida, came with me in January. I understand the concept and I try to keep it as simple as possible.
Neumaier, in an email, said for golfers it is “very important to understand all the functions of the single body parts to optimize their game.
“So we have left aside all the motions and perceptions that are harder to steer and (instead) have placed special emphasis on the really important functions one needs for more control of the club face, especially through the impact zone,” Neumaier said.
“David`s awareness for the club has increased dramatically and that`s the key to being in control of the club and the club face.”
In his book, "Golf – (Not) a Sport Like Any Other", soon to be available in English, Neumaier details the functions and biomechanics in golf.
Biomechanics is the application, to the human biological system, of principles of mechanical engineering. Essentially, that means how forces, both internal and external, combine to determine body movements. It identifies how those forces can influence the health of the body, whether it’s allowing humans to perform at peak levels or causing injuries. As Frost described, it’s about “flow.”
Frost said it has “definitely” helped him become a lot more relaxed.
“I don't feel that I need to be aggressive out there,” he said. “I feel relaxed and I can let the tournament play and take care of the flight of the golf ball. And I'm not trying to be cocky. I feel a lot more relaxed. I don't feel too much pressure in my game, and it allows me a lot more freedom. And so what if I hit one or two bad shots? I feel that things are quite in place and until things really go wrong, then I'll start worrying.”
It helps the relaxation quotient when the swing is in sync, and right now Frost’s game is in full flight.
“I'm just going by the way I'm striking the golf ball,” he said. “That's all I can control.
And then if someone beats me, if 10 guys beat me, so be it. I can only control what I am doing. I feel I'm doing a good job, just staying within myself and hitting the fairways and trying to hit the greens, not be too smart out there and just keep things as simple as possible.”
“Obviously it's something I've worked very hard towards. I've worked very hard on my game the last four, five years, didn't think it would come that easy, just try and play boring golf, hit it in the middle of the greens.”
In 1994, Frost, a native of Capetown, South Africa, established a 300-acre vineyard in the heart of wine-producing region of his native country. David Frost Wines currently produce 7,000 cases of merlot, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon.