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Jan 03 2018

Kiawah Partners Opens Learning Center

By Gregg Bragg, Senior Staff Writer for The Island Connection

PGA golfer Russell Henley exercises his swing in one of the Cassique’s new learning bays.

The grand plan for Cassique always included a state of the art learning center, says Carol Preisinger. She is a LPGA Master Professional, Kiawah Island Club Director of Instruction and 2017 LPGA Teacher of the Year. Preisinger also said the change in ownership from Buddy Darby/Leonard Long to Charlotte based South Street Partners; locally known as Kiawah Partners, delayed completion of the facility until six months ago. Tours of the facility were scheduled with local media shortly after its christening, but then along came Irma.

So they were rescheduled for Dec. 14. Snuggled amongst the dunes at the east side of the driving range, the manor styled structure is an impressive sight. The interior is no less grand; chromed coffee urns, snack table, and not one, or two or three, but four never empty candy jars adorn the entrance to training nirvana.

Each of three bays house a specific set of technologies, each of which casts you as the lead character in a trove of video games designed to make you a better golfer.

Bay 1 hosts ForeSight Quad, a set of four cameras used to track ball and club data at impact. This data is coupled with TrackMan 4, which uses Doppler radar technology to map the ball’s trajectory after impact, and produce a picture capable of diagnosing launch and attack angles, for example. The final component of Bay 1 is the Science and Motion (SAM) Puttlab. SAM uses ultrasound technology to produce graphics which analyze 28 different components of your putting, like path consistency. Everything about all 28 factors is displayed on large, flat screen monitors for study. Bay 2 houses several technologies centered on biomechanical analysis. MySwing uses 17 sensors to measure full body swing data and works like an MRI. The wireless system also displays its results on a monitor.

The 3-D rendering allows the user to see their swing from every conceivable angle, and stores the information in a cloud-based service called MyLocker for future analysis. The K-vest has three pieces with sensors worn around the chest, hips and hands. It monitors and reports biomechanical data players can use to create more power. It can be worn anywhere and has a built in library of training programs and drills allowing the most subtle changes in motion to be seen and felt. The BodiTrak Pressure Mat system assesses balance and center of pressure during your swing. Not all the center’s tools have been mentioned here. There are more! The idea behind all this technology is to remove the guesswork from both teaching and learning the game. Asked if all this equipment and technology was an impediment to the art that is golf, Preisinger was of two minds. Yes, it’s a lot of data, she agreed, but the LPGA Teacher of the Year disagreed it was any sort of impediment. “This [equipment/data] allows me to deliver a unique, customized solution for each of our members. Our goal is to make people better. If we do that, they have more fun, and if they have more fun, they’ll use the learning center more,” she said. Now with “learning” out of the way, visitors were ready for door number three. Bay 3 is home to the new club fitting center. Repair services are also available, but now that you’ve fixed everything else, why not take good hard look at all of the Callaway, Mizuno, Ping, PXG, TaylorMade, and Titleist brand clubs available. Rusty will match you to clubs that are the perfect length, have the right flex and kick point, and correct weight. They can also match you to a putter from Odyssey, Toulon, or Scotty Cameron.

The other side of the manor has a fitness room dedicated to exercises focused exclusively on golf. You can maintain your golf readiness, accelerate your training, and help avoid injuries or recover from one. The visit was highlighted by cameo visits from PGA Tour golfers Ben Martin and Russell Henley. Both are also Kiawah Island Club Ambassador Golfers, and represent the island when they play. They use much of the same equipment mentioned above themselves. “Kiawah is great. It’s easy to relax and still practice, especially with the addition of the learning center,” said Henley. He also said Voysey’s was his favorite Charleston restaurant, and the group was headed in that very direction. “Oh, you gotta have the short rib sandwich. By now, it’s been cooking for days,” swooned Rachael Moore, KP Director of Marketing, but that’s a story for another day. For more information you can contact the club by calling 843.768.2582.

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