Marius Filmalter’s golf credentials are difficult to cram into a single paragraph. To make a long story short, he is a professional golfer, professional golf instructor, author and inventor. He is regarded in PGA Tour circles as a short game guru, and he currently works with dozens of pros, including Brad Faxon, Sean O’Hair, Chad Campbell and Mark O’Meara, to name a few. Marius’s influence is also felt across the highest levels of putting science and he is known as an expert on the “yips,” those odious involuntary movements that can haunt the putting strokes of even the best players. As a result of his extensive research, Marius has developed new and more effective methods to facilitate the proper communication between the body and mind. He has also developed award-winning golf technologies, including SAM (science and motion), as well as Tomi (the optimal motion instructor), an innovative new product that measures the critical parameters of the putting stroke.
Tomi was released to the market this month by Pure Motion Sports and gets high marks from Hank Haney and other leading instructors. The PDA-sized base unit works in tandem with custom PC software and a motion reflector clip that attaches to the putter, offering real-time feedback on everything from club alignment to stroke path, impact spot to club rotation, so that you can obtain essential information for improving your game. The inaugural Tomi system costs $895 and is geared toward the golf trade and primarily professional instructors. A simpler consumer retail version is also in the works.
In addition to being brilliant, Marius is a genuinely nice guy who took time out of a busy schedule to speak with PutterZone.com about Tomi and what it has to say about the putting stroke. Following is the transcript of our exclusive interview:
What is Tomi—how does it work, what does it do and what sets it apart from other high-tech putting aids?
Tomi is a measuring device and not a putting aid. It measures all the critical parameters that influence the result of your putting stroke. As we all know, only two things are important in putting: direction and distance. If you control the line, or direction, and the speed, or distance, the ball will find the hole. All of the parameters we measure relate to these two elements. Tomi displays what you are doing, not necessarily what you should do.
How and why did you develop Tomi?
If you want to become a better putter, first of all, you must know what you are doing. Once that is established, you can find a way to where you want to be. This is a simple principal of life. Most of us know what we are supposed to do but lack the feedback to determine where we are. Tomi provides accurate and scientific feedback of where you are and monitors your journey to where you want to be. In other words, Tomi serves as a mirror, in real time. How? By utilizing technology to provide affordable feedback.
Tomi obviously appeals to professional instructors who can use the system to help multiple students. Is it something that appeals to the individual golfer as well?
Only a minimal percentage of golfers take lessons. Why? I would argue that most players know what they are capable of and simply need feedback to achieve it. The instructor might have a different agenda: force the player into a swing that fits his eye. The instructor’s feedback is therefore not what the player wants and he considers the instructor a “warped” mirror. He needs an objective feedback mechanism that will help him along the path he can walk. That might sound anti-instructor. To the contrary!
What would be the results from Tomi that would indicate a case of the yips?
You have two types of yips. One type is that people are unable to control the acceleration of the club swinging back, and Tomi measures speed and acceleration. The other type of yips is that people are unable to control the rotation of the club through impact, and Tomi measures rotation. Tomi measures the severity of the condition, and can, with the help of an instructor, guide you in modifying your stroke to overcome the problem.
You are a putting and short game instructor. How would you describe your approach to putting instruction, and where does Tomi fit into, or reflect, that approach?
We all realize the importance of putting. I have never seen a professional player pumping fists after a good drive, but every so often they become ecstatic after a putt that finds the hole, jumping in the air, kneeling down, sometimes even crying. Putting makes them experience the emotions of a job well done or not.
Putting and the short game are very difficult because we have to control both the distance and direction with the same club. That leads to an overload of information which causes inaccuracies. For example, let’s say you hit your 7 iron 140 meters. Most accomplished golfers could do that. Should I ask these golfers to hit the 7 iron only 80 meters, most of them would have a problem hitting the ball the right distance and direction. All of a sudden they have to control two things at the same time.
Of primary importance, of course, is that the player finds the hole in the fewest possible strokes. To achieve that, two things are important: know what you are doing and then repeat it. You might not have the ideal putting stroke—who knows what that should be?—but if you get the ball in the hole, then repeat it! But if you don’t know what to repeat, it becomes a futile exercise. With Tomi you can measure the stroke that gets the ball in the hole, and if your putting goes astray, you can compare and contrast to find your way back.
Thank you, Marius! Visit the Tomi web site to learn more about Tomi and Marius.