Trackman and the Philosophers Swing

A lot has been written about Trackman of late. The haters gonna continue to hate (not mentioning any names………..Brandel Chamblee) and the lovers are still gonna love what Trackman can provide to all sorts of golfers. The detail is immense and continues to innovate to become an even better launch monitor to help us all.

As a coach who does a lot of work with Trackman in teaching and as a specialist Callaway custom fitter, I see a lot of benefits to the famous Orange box……….. as long as the person uses it correctly as opposed to distributing every single piece of information Trackman has to give (and that’s a lot)

Trackman has single handedly changed the way golf is taught, simply by proving ball flight laws to be not quite as they seemed (‘path bends it, face sends it’ as it now is compared to ‘face bends it, path sends it’ as it used to be). It has proved that the balls starting direction is majorly influenced by the face angle and the curvature is caused by the path that the sweetspot travels. Revolutionary!

It has also provided the golfer with much needed information about the angle the clubhead arrives at the golf ball, defining the correct angle that a specific club should approach the ball at to help the quality of the contact the club makes with the ground, vital in consistent ball striking.

Trackman has also provided us with information about exactly how far we hit the ball. Yes, many launch monitors can do this, but to the degree of accuracy of Trackman?

So if there are all these benefits to the Orange box, why has it got so many people not even considering parting with a single pound/dollar/euro to purchase?

The argument is golf (as in any sport, but more so this great game), has to be instinctive to reach your potential in achieving what you can, whether it be to break 100 or to achieve a top 50 in the world rankings. And the argument is that Trackman takes away our instinctive abilities and forces us into consciously improving our positions to ensure our spin axis tilt doesn’t go beyond 2 degrees left or right consistently, our swing direction stays fairly neutral and our dynamic loft with a 6 iron remains constant. Forever monitoring and persistent evaluation on every shot is not exactly condusive togood golf.

However, the key to using Trackman to its full potential, helping you perform to your best ability not only technically but mentally as well is discovered in research conducted by Dr Gabriele Wulf of the University of Nevada. Her research focused on 2 keys areas of learning…… internal focus V external focus. Internal focus is placing attention on the areas of the body movements during the golf swing, generally the way coaches have taught since Golf began. The external focus, however, is the way that many a good golf coach is adamant in teaching. The external focus in golf are our ‘tools’, our club and our ball. To get the best out of any golfer, for short and long term gain, learning about what our club and ball are doing is crucial, as opposed to focusing on the movement of the body where it becomes a very conscious, robotic move in any change we make to seek out improved ball striking.

This is where Trackman comes in. Trackman takes measurements of our external factors, it hasn’t got a clue (or even cares) where the body is positioned in the swing. And any coach worth their salt will discuss with their clients what the CLUB is doing to influence the ball flight. The player can therefore then subconsciously do what they need to do by simply applying focus to the external factors and not the ‘mechanics’ of the body movement thanks to the information that Trackman provides to improve their shots. By recognising what the ball is doing (remember, ‘The flight of the balls tells it all’……… John Jacobs), we can correct it fairly easily without having to consciously think about where our hands are or where our elbows are at certain points in the golf swing. Trackman can tell you what the club is doing to influence the ball. Go and see a PGA Pro who has Trackman (or any other launch monitor) and get them (if they don’t already) to explain your club/ball relationship and how, by making adjustments to those external factors, will help you and your game