THE SURGE GOES ONLINE
Author: Paul deVere
Golfers across the globe would like to have the chance to ask PGA Master Professional Don Trahan, known as the “Swing Surgeon”, that age-old golf question: “What am I doing wrong?” In a few months, they’ll have that chance on a new website where Trahan will be advising golfers on “how to do it right”.
The site has been in development since the first of the year and promises to be on the cutting edge of Internet golf instruction. While the project is still under wraps – even the website address is still top secret – Trahan talked about some of the site’s features while he was in an editing session at Time-Line Productions in Bluffton. The videos, a series of tips and swing instruction, will be shown on the new site.
“This all started when one of my students saw a computer program I’d developed several years ago,” Trahan explained. “When I say ‘developed’, what I really mean is that the idea was mine, but my friend and mentor, Henry Ryffel, made the program work. Henry, who lives in Sea Pines, is an engineer and scientist and one of the most brilliant people I know. He’s had a profound impact on the way I teach the golf swing. When it comes to computers, my knowledge is pretty much limited to being able to turn one on and send an e-mail,” Trahan laughed.
“Anyway, the program requires a golfer to answer a series of basic questions about grip, stance, posture, ball-flight patterns, that sort of thing. Once all the questions are answered, the golfer instantly finds out what the problem is and what to do about it,” Trahan said. “My student told me the application would be fantastic on the web.”
In fact, the student was so enthusiastic, he arranged to have the complete website developed and marketed. “We started throwing out ideas that we thought golfers would enjoy and could really use,” Trahan stated. “One thing we agreed upon quickly is that the site would be for members only. But the monthly fee would just be a few dollars, so it would be affordable to any golfer. It’s also aimed at every level of golfer, from beginner to scratch player.”
“The site will be very interactive. Members will be able to keep their game statistics on line and we’ll be able to see where we can help them. They’ll be able to e-mail questions to us, send us videos of their swings, use the swing analysis software and view the video clips from our online library. We’ll also have online club fitting. We want to make it a one-stop golf training site,” said Trahan.
Some of the other features Trahan mentioned include special sections for senior, women and junior golfers. Members will also be able to establish their USGA handicap, something that can be difficult if a golfer is not a member of a golf club. There will also be thousands of score cards members can print before they play an unfamiliar course. The site will include articles by sports psychologists, physical fitness trainers, sports medicine specialists and other experts. The topics will focus on avoiding back pain and other physical injuries golfers tend to pick up.
The videos, Trahan said, will be one of the key ingredients to the success of the site. Shot on the back practice tee at the Dye course at Colleton River Plantation in late July, the video clips he was making at TimeLine were the beginnings of an extensive library that site members will be able to use. The two-day shoot produced enough material for more than 30 pieces that cover the fundamentals of the game, sand play and drills that Trahan uses with his students.
According to Trahan, two other factors will make the site stand out. “Our focus is to help golfers lower their scores. The number of golfers in the U.S. has remained pretty constant for decades. People leave the game because they become frustrated; they can’t seem to get better no matter how many lessons they take, books they buy or videos they see.
“But very few golf sites focus on what will make golfers want to come back and play again and again. The golfer can have a beautiful-looking swing, new clubs, great clothes. But down deep, what virtually every player wants after 18 holes is to walk away with the lowest score on the card and the same ball he or she started with. So while we will be helping members with their swing, their putting, course management and the like, our focus is on lower scores,” stated Trahan.
The last and most important factor that Trahan believes will draw golfers to the new site is the type of swing he teaches. “We teach a back-friendly, limited-turn, upright, three-quarter backswing. It’s also called the low stress, low maintenance golf swing. It has been tested scientifically by a group of researchers that included an orthopedic surgeon, a chiropractor, an engineer, a biomechanist and optometrist. It’s also the only swing out there that doesn’t have golfers turn their backs to the target,” Trahan explained.
The developers of the site hope to make it available for golfers by early spring of 2007. “Of course, we’d like to see it up for Christmas,” Trahan smiled. “A site membership would make a great present.”
Trahan, along with Mike M’lay, teaches at Crescent Pointe Golf Club in Bluffton and Orange County National Golf Club in Orlando FL. Trahan also teaches at Verdae Greens Golf Club in Greenville and several locations in the Charlotte NC area. For more information about the new site, visit www.swingsurgeon.com or www.dontrahangolfacademy.com.