Interview - Luther Blacklock Talks the Explanar Training Aid
Us golfers will do anything to try and hit the ball further and straighter. From watching YouTube tips, to visiting your local pro for weekly lessons, we all strive for perfection.
And you will probably have been put on an Explanar Training Aid at some point.
The Explanar is a mechanical aid that helps golfers learn, train and improve their optimum golf swing – one of the most complex biomechanical movements performed in any sport.
Luther Blacklock, Master PGA Professional and creator of the Explanar training aid, says it’s as easy as learning to ride a bike – almost.
“Well I’ve been teaching golf conventionally for about 30 years; probably about 25 at the time the Explanar came about.
“I realised that the more people thought about the swing, the more it damaged their instinctive and willingness to do it. So in the same way, if I’d given an adult learning to ride a bicycle training wheels and stabilisers, so balance is non-selective it’s instinctive – Explanar functions as a stabiliser, almost the training wheels of the golf swing.
“So that’s its primary use, but my favourite use is it allows people to change long standing habits, because to re-programme a habit, to the point that the new habit is reflex, you need to train that for 1,000 repetitions. Well that’s 100 balls for 10 sessions, but with Explanar you can easily do 200 swings a day and within two to three months you can re-programme somebody.”
However, this training aid goes a lot further than just helping your golf swing.
The Explanar is in fact used by the US military, as Luther explains:
“It’s also become a fitness machine that the US military use. A gentleman called Brian Johnson ordered 26 Explanars for 26 military rehab hospitals to boost morale. The medics have found that it’s the ideal rehab tool for the rotational motor skill and balance. So that’s quite humbling.”
As with all new golf training aids, tapping into the market can often be difficult. Will people like the product? Will golfers and professionals understand how it works? As you are probably well aware, the Explanar well and truly hit the ground running and is now endorsed by some of the world’s top coaches.
“I feel that because of the way the market is, your average Joe can’t afford it. It tends to be a premiere priced product so I think that has limited how many people use it but I am very proud of the fact that Butch Harmon endorsed it for free for me for 10 years.
“Jim McClean uses it, Mike Malaska, Pete Cowan is a very strong advocate of it. All these guys use it and you know, I’m very humbled that they all teach golf their own way, but it shows you can use Explanar to create any movement you want.
“One of the things that is also very important is that people think that it is a single plane training aid, but it’s actually not. The roller can do a figure of eight and if you teach people to do a fade spin swing or a draw spin swing with the Explanar then that shows you can get quite a lot of plane shift.
“In my studies of the golf swing, Mr Hogan’s book on page 78, its about a sheet of glass resting. But on page 79, he goes on to say the swing plane goes through the upper sternum. We set Explanar on the swing plane Mr Hogan used, and the swing plane is unique to your physique and there’s 13 variations of that because you have 13 different clubs.
“The way you set the Explanar up, from where the ball would be through the upper sternum, it is adjustable to any physique. You know, there’s a junior model between 3ft 6in and 5ft, and then the other one is between 5ft and 6ft 6in.”
Despite being on the market for a long time now, not everyone in the industry has got to grips with the true potential of this outstanding training aid, and Luther reverts back to his learning to ride a bike analogy.
“The only thing that hasn’t quite happened yet is I don’t think the industry has fully understood how it works. Things seem to be getting more and more technical with launch monitors and all this information, but even in this complicated world we live in, kids still learn to ride a bicycle with stabilisers on.
“Lance Armstrong and Bradley Wiggins, they probably started off with their dad holding the saddle as well. You know, if you show somebody who’s learning to ride a bike a video of Bradley Wiggins, they’d probably get a bit depressed.
“We’ve had some testing in Canada. Dr. Chris Bertram based in Vancouver, he’s done some research on the effectiveness of the Explanar and we were head and shoulders above any other training aid or way of being taught. A week later, we had the strongest retention figures, you know, the way the body remembers change, more than any other.
“It is good for beginners, it’s good for re-programming people out of a bad habit and it does increase distance. Not only will it make you hit it further, amazingly, the stronger you hit it the more accurate you become. If you’d have asked me five or six years ago what happens to people’s dispersion the further they hit it, I’d say it widens. I’ve come to understand the stronger a person hits it, the more accurate it becomes.”
One thing is for certain; Luther has every right to be proud of his industry leading training aid.
“Explanar was the sort of fruit of trying to understand the golf swing and then impart it to people. That’s where it came from. I saw a hoop 30 years ago in America but the team didn’t know how to adjust it, so then I had the idea of the rolling pin - the power roller. It was just a flat surface so now the roller hits a pin at the top of the back swing. And then I’m very proud of the fact I designed the circular ball position, radial ball position.
So there you have it. Learning to hit the ball further and straighter with the Explanar is just as easy as learning to ride a bike.
What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)
Tags: training aid