Trackman has undoubtedly changed the game of golf. It uses military radar tracking technology to provide amazingly detailed accurate information about impact and the ball flight.
It has taken away so much of the guesswork and opinion that divided golfers and coaches for so many years. It has removed the mystery from what is required to achieve a certain level of performance.
In this introduction to TRACKMAN I won’t cover every single feature and benefit – just give you a flavour of its importance for your game. Here is an action plan for getting the most from Trackman:
WHAT ARE YOU DOING
Trackman creates masses of data for every shot. It is not your job as the player to analyse this or to understand the details. But if you are to improve it is important to record your performance. With a coaches help this will provide you with confidence that you are improving your abilities even if you haven’t put it all together for a great 18 holes.
Any swing change probably creates a different looking good or bad shot. By recording your swing it is very easy for the coach to see why.
Popular examples may be checking your swing speed or how much you hit down on the ball (attack angle).
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO
Look at the image below – there are a lot of different numbers here. Many amateurs get very focused on one or two of these numbers when searching for improvement. Sometimes this works but more often than not it can create another set of problems.
The best way to think of all the data is like a language. It takes time to become fluent and understand the implications of changing something in the swing. (Trackman University is a great free online resource for understanding things in better detail).
A good first lesson or clubfitting with Trackman should quickly show your least optimised areas. For instance you may have great club speed but dont generate the distance you should. Is your spin rate correct for your club?
HOW YOU CAN DO IT
Making changes or improvement happens much faster with the aid of TRACKMAN. Video is always helpful but it does not provide enough feedback at impact. Things are simply moving so fast at that point.
Lets say I am trying to slice it less, I might be looking to change my clubpath and swing more towards the target rather than left of it. A normal clubpath for a slicer is -14 degrees. On every single shot I can check this number as I work on changes. This instant feedback gives me confidence I am doing the right thing as it is very common to lose your consistency when you first make any change. It is sure to feel very strange.
To ensure you work on the correct changes it is always best to enlist the help of a professional coach! Make sure you communicate with them effectively – let them know what kind of golfer you are. Are you Dustin Johnson and 100% feel with no interest in how it all works or are you a Padraig Harrington who needs to know everything?!
TAKING IT TO THE COURSE
A lesson or practice session with Trackman can be very valuable. Research has shown that some of its features provide the closest possible environment to that of pressure on the golf course.
A vital piece of analysis to carry out before aiming to play your best golf is to look at your shot pattern. For example hit fifteen 8 iron shots to a target. Trackman will show you that your average might be 8 yards short and 12 yards right. This info helps you to employ a better strategy on the course.
It is a common mistake for golfers to plan for only their best shots and not their normal or average shot.
Trackman Combine is a feature that gives you a score based on a number of different shots. It takes around half an hour to complete (click here for the official guide to COMBINE). Another neat feature is the ability to compare yourself to other golfers on international leaderboards.
This type of practice creates an environment of pressure. There is a consequence to every shot – your performance is recorded. Psychologically its similar to the course – each score is recorded. The pressure will never be as high or it will never be as important as a good round of golf but it is fantastic preparation.
Trackman also has a simpler “challenge” feature. Pick one distance and receive a score based on the accuracy of a number shots. Its fantastic for working on a specific weakness or for challenging a friend.
I love how these features reward distance control – it doesn’t award any points for hitting a particular club a long way. When viewed in these terms it is easy to see how shorter hitters like Jim Furyk have had such a stellar career – it may not look as impressive on TV but these guys can score!
I will discuss other features of Trackman in the future but I hope you enjoyed this look into what makes it such a popular tool. I’m struggling to think of a tour player in recent history who has not credited a launch monitor throughout their development.
But as a club golfer there is no need to worry about the complex information that is sometimes discussed by the games elite. Think of Trackman as the most honest caddy you could ever have! How far do you hit it? What’s your average? Where could you improve the most? These questions are all definitively answered with Trackman.
Would love to hear about your experiences with Trackman during lessons or club fittings!