Is the Genext® Orthotic the #1 Golf Orthotic out there?
That was the question I was left pondering after a recent golf outing, but first, let's back up a little.
It was Jordan Spieth's sensational recovery in his final round at the 2017 British Open that got me back on the golf course. I'm a mid-handicapper, around about a 14 on a good day, but usually struggling to break 90 more often than not. It was around mid day when my usual cart partner Dennis sent a text to see if I wanted to try and play late in the afternoon after work. I agreed and we got out on the course about 6pm.
Now let's back up a littler further.
About two weeks prior I took a call from a customer asking if I thought if the Genext Orthotics would help his golf game. Fair question and I answered honestly that I didn't know as I'd never tried mine in my golf shoes. I added that I didn't think it could hurt my game and left it at that. He said he was going to give it a shot (pun intended) and would let me know. As is usual these days within fifteen minutes I'd forgotten all about it.
About a week or so passed and the Pedors webmaster who is my brother John tells me that someone posted a review that said his Genext Orthotics improved his golf game. The review simply stated "Use them in my golf shoes my game has improved"...a testimonial of few words that speaks volumes to any golfer. John suggested that the next time I went to play I should check it out and see if there is any proof in the pudding (or should that be putting?).
So, with that long winded preamble, here's my story told be me, Stephen O'Hare, President of Pedors Shoes and witnessed by Dennis Petriella, neighbor, friend and golf mentor.
Me To A Tee
I grabbed my Callaway XTT shoes and took out the insole and slid in my Genext Orthotics. My foot is fairly boring and only a little flat through the arch so I opted for a neutral heel neutral forefoot setup for the orthotics. The first thing I noticed was that my foot sat a little high on the heel but I decided that it wasn't uncomfortable and I was keen to test out the theory. I always put my golf shoes on before I leave the house and drive in them to the course. I picked Dennis up on the way and by the time I got to the course I'd forgotten all about having the orthotics in my shoes.
We played the blue 9 first at Bradshaw Farms in Woodstock GA. I started off with my usual bogie but then went par for the next four holes. The sixth is the toughest hole on that side and I ended up with another bogie there. A par at the tricky par three on 7 and a missed chance for birdie on 8 and a tap in par on 9 and I had my best ever 2 over for the front 9. Here's the thing; I was so pleased with myself I still didn't think about the orthotics or the part they played on the front side. All I thought about was how well I was striking the ball and wondering how long was it going to be before I blew up.
The light was starting to fade as it was touching 7.30 pm as we made the turn and we started to speed up a little bit. A missed par put on 10 and a big put to save a bogie on 11 followed by a double on 12 (a crushed 8 iron 160 yards and off the back of the green and lost) and I was starting to fall apart, a little like Jordan Spieth in his early round on Saturday. Unfortunately, I did not recover as Jordan did and I ended up 9 over on the back for a total score of an 83 - still one of my best ever scores.
It was only when I got home after dropping Dennis off and when I took my shoes off that I realized that I had played my best front nine ever with my Genext orthotics in my shoes.
I haven't seen or spoken to Dennis since, nor before writing this. He doesn't even know about my playing with my orthotics in my shoes. But he kept score and said he'd never seen me hit the ball so "crisply".
So as I lay in bed that night, reliving my golf heroics of the day in my mind, I tried to rationalize the whole day's events. How could I scientifically evaluate the bio-mechanics of how an orthotic could help my golf game so dramatically? Or was it just a co-incidence?
So this is what I've come up with, the proof for the putting perhaps.
1) I read years ago about the research done on how a new driver will help a player psychologically by giving them the confidence to strike the ball more aggressively but at some point, after a couple of bad swings, the confidence gradually diminishes. As I had forgotten that I was wearing my orthotics, I ruled that theory out.
2) One thing I did remember feeling was that I felt more balanced standing over the ball. That I had a solid base. The Genext orthotic has a fairly rigid cork and rubber composite shell on top of which is a cushioned top cover. The heel cup is also recessed to seat the heel and stabilize it. So my bio-mechanical evaluation is that as I go through my back swing the weight transition to my right side and then back to the left side on follow through was well supported, balanced and controlled. This makes sense in many ways. As we get older and heavier our fascia muscle that runs the length of the arch gets gradually weaker and needs more support as it we slowly start to pronate or fall to the inside. When you swing a club, you increase those forces on the right side in your back swing and your left side on your ball striking side (reversed if you play leftie).
3) Then I remembered about how I felt that I was sitting high in my shoe when I first put them on. So how could that help? I think that it helped me pick the ball more cleanly and reduced my tendency to hit the ball a bit "fat". I've calculated that the difference in actual heel depth is about 1/8th of an inch, perhaps 3/16th but that might be what the difference is between hitting a crisp shot and hitting a ball fat. Coupled perhaps with the support the orthotic gives in keeping the arch in a neutral plane as opposed to pronating or collapsing to the inside.
4) The other lingering thought was that I felt I had somehow improved my tempo. My swing felt a lot smoother. I've attributed this to a balanced stable base which I believe would iron out the minor wrinkles in the both the back swing and downswing and help keep the club face square at impact.
Golf & Orthotics Verdict
It's obviously too early to claim that the Genext Orthotic is the #1 Golf orthotic out there. There are other inserts and orthotics marketed to the golfing public that will most likely help for the same reason's I've outlined above, few though, if any have the recessed heel cup which I believe is a key component to stability in the heel. I do know that the Genext orthotic is a really good over the counter orthotic for people who suffer with heel pain, plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia or fallen or collapsed arches.
If you have any of those issues you should try a pair of Genext in your sneakers and break them in for a week or so before risking them on your game!! But when you do, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
I'm not going to say anything to Dennis. He'll never see this post. It was one of those rare occasions that I actually managed to beat him overall - he did get me on the back nine - but I destroyed him on the front !!
Maybe I'll treat him for a Christmas present.
If you want to try them for yourself, you can see what they are all about here and use the code GOLF at checkout for 11% off your total price. Shipping is free.
Fairways and greens friend,