Nova Scotia

St. FX professor gets shout-out after helping with U.S. Open golf win

Sasho MacKenzie has won the Antigonish Golf Club men’s championship two years in a row. But the St. FX biomechanics professor is becoming famous for his specialized golf training equipment that is now being used by some of the top golfers on the PGA Tour.

Matt Fitzpatrick praises Sasho MacKenzie for helping him at key moments

Matt Fitzpatrick won the U.S. Open on Sunday in Massachusetts. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Sasho MacKenzie has won the Antigonish Golf Club men's championship two years in a row, but he's becoming much more famous for his specialized golf training equipment that is now being used by some of the top golfers on the PGA Tour.

On Sunday in Brookline, Mass., Matt Fitzpatrick won the U.S. Open. Following the win he heaped praise on MacKenzie, his biomechanics coach.

"I've spent a lot of time working with my coach Mike Walker and my biomechanist Sasho MacKenzie," said Fitzpatrick, after winning the title.

Fitzpatrick, a 27-year-old from the U.K., was never known as a big hitter on the PGA Tour until this season.

He credits a training device called the Stack System for adding length to his drives. The device was co-designed by MacKenzie, a professor in the human kinetics department at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S.

Training guru

"Essentially it is a weighted club that has different weight levels to allow you to do overload and over-speed training," said MacKenzie. "You can pair it with an app that allows you to customize your needs as a golfer."

MacKenzie has become a bit of a training guru when it comes to golf.

He's done engineering consulting for golf company Ping and he is a biomechanics advisor and software developer for another golf company, Footjoy. He has published over 20 golf-related research articles in a variety of journals.

In addition to golf, MacKenzie has worked with multiple Major League Baseball teams as a biomechanics consultant, including the 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers, winners of the World Series.

Two men chat on a golf green.
Sasho MacKenzie has advises some pro golfers and golf product companies. (Submitted by Ben Salisbury)

Improving his clubhead speed to give him longer tee shots was the difference for Fitzpatrick on Sunday. There was one hole in particular that stood out.

"It was cold and the wind was in his face, but there was a driveable par four and he was the only player to hit it onto the green with his drive," said MacKenzie. "His clubhead speed was over 120 miles per hour."

MacKenzie, a native of Montague, P.E.I., just completed his 16th year teaching biomechanics at St. FX.

"It's taking physics and engineering and applying it to the human body," said MacKenzie. "We specifically try to figure out what are the best ways to perform a skill in sports to move something fast, to be more accurate and to prevent injury."

When asked if he uses the Stack System to benefit his own game at his hometown course, MacKenzie responded with a very quick answer.

"Absolutely, I use it religiously," said MacKenzie. "Everybody I'm competing against for the club championship is at least 10 or 15 years younger than me."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Palmeter is an award-winning video journalist born and raised in the Annapolis Valley. He has covered news and sports stories across the province for 30 years.

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