Trackman Launch Monitor Technology
Trackman uses the latest Doppler radar technology to monitor three-dimensional golf clubhead movement and the entire ball flight, from impact to landing. The same technology is used in military applications for the purpose of tracking projectiles and missiles. Ball Launch as well as the 3D movement of the club is measured. Based on the measured data, TrackManTM Launch calculates the length, side and trajectory of the shot, using a proprietary world class ball model. Butler Golf uses this vast array of data to properly custom fit any golf club for its optimum performance for the individual player.
Trackman is used by major equipment manufacturers in their product development and testing programmes. It is also used by the R&A and the USGA for monitoring equipment and player performance.
The world's best players use TrackMan every week. TrackMan is now available on the driving range Monday through Wednesday during most PGA Tour events. Likewise, TrackMan is available at selected LPGA Tour events. The players use TrackMan for club fitting, approach practice, gap fitting, or simply shot analysis.
Other than weather and ground conditions,the distance traveled by a golf ball is determined by three key parameters, namely initial ball velocity as it leaves the club face, the launch angle in relation to the ground and the initial ball spin rate.
A launch monitor is a tool capable of measuring these three parameters. The cheaper camera or laser-based launch monitors then use this information to predict the ball flight on a computer screen. This has limitations. David Butler uses the top-of-the-price range ball flight monitor called Trackman, which, instead of trying to predict the ball flight, actually tracks the path of the ball in the air, giving exact yardages and shot shape. It does this by using sophisticated Doppler radar technology, similar to the systems used by the military for tracking ballistic missiles. We can now measure distances to an accuracy of 1-2 yards.Amateurs can also benefit from a launch monitor session. They are unable to achieve a high enough launch angle or spin rate from standard lofted drivers AND poor shafts, and as such are losing precious distance off the tee.
The Trackman Launch Monitor
Golf Digest, by Tim Rosaforte
Twenty yards in 20 minutes. That sounds like a Golf Digest cover line, and in my case it really happened. You want more distance? Take it from an addicted instruction and equipment junkie and, as a senior writer for this magazine, someone who has access to the top minds in the game. The answer is a launch monitor. You need to get optimized.TrackMan Launch Monitor
The launch monitor may not be every player's salvation, but most experts who use them and players who've tried them say they provide what the equipment-selection process has lacked: raw data.
A launch monitor or ball-flight monitor is a relatively simple-looking device that is immensely complex below the surface (which is why they can cost $20,000 or more). It can measure a host of characteristics at impact, including but not limited to launch angle, clubhead speed, ball speed, ball spin, distance and trajectory, along with things like angle of attack, face angle and dispersion.
I had tried everything else--lessons from the top instructors on Golf Digest's staff, a year and a half of hot yoga designed to increase flexibility, throwing medicine balls into a trampoline as part of a "core training" program to create body speed. Yeah, I tested all the new "hot" drivers, too.
I was still hitting what Tiger calls "weak-ass fades," these little floaters that would reach an apex at about 230 yards and listlessly fall to earth, usually in the right rough. Instead of rolling out after landing, my drives would sometimes leave ball marks and back up. Into the wind I had no chance. When I caught one downwind, the ball might fly 250 yards. As an 8-handicapper, maybe I shouldn't have expected much more. But on 450-yard par 4s those distances weren't getting it done.
So earlier this year I went to a product test facility used by tour professionals. Much to my amazement, and in less than half an hour, the master clubfitter had me in the right shaft and loft to produce a flatter ball flight that was consistently resulting in 250 yards of carry, and another 25 yards of roll. On top of that, the dispersion window of my misses had narrowed dramatically. This was nirvana!
Before I began the optimization process, I hit more than 100 balls on the range to get loose. At the launch monitor I started with my 7-degree driver. The computer showed my ball speed was 150 miles per hour, my launch angle 14 degrees and my spin rate 4,400 revolutions per minute. What I needed was less spin. That would flatten out the ball flight and increase roll. To achieve that the fitter began experimenting with shafts and lofts with several drivers.
My fitting process was similar to the treatment tour pros get, and it made me realize: If a little tweaking can help me, imagine what it can do for Chris DiMarco, Mark Calcavecchia or anyone else who plays this game for a living. Several tour players had stopped by that week, and what really stands out is their ball speed. Average-length tour players produce ball speeds of 165 mph or higher. Kevin Sutherland, for example, launches tee shots at 14 to 15 degrees with a spin rate of between 1,800 rpm and 2,000 rpm. They bounce and run like they're loaded with overspin. By comparison, Tiger's ball speed is 180 mph. When the folks at Nike Golf tested him with graphite shafts a while back, his ball speed jumped to nearly 200 mph.
My numbers, which popped up on the computer screen at the driving range, weren't nearly that good. Before long, though, I could feel the difference in my hands without seeing my stats. There are many sensors in the $30,000 TrackMan launch monitor that give a precise reading of where the ball lands, and as tweaking continued, my floaters turned into line drives. By the 20th shot, my ball speed had risen a few miles per hour, my launch angle had decreased slightly and my spin rate had been cut in half, down to 2,200. All that mattered to me was the distance I was suddenly hitting the ball. My longest drive registered a carry of 258 yards and had rolled another 25.
I told friends it was like going to an optometrist. You start out nearsighted, but by the time you're down to the last two lenses the differences are so close you can barely tell one from the other.
"Lower torque cuts down on sidespin," as explained. "Lower loft cuts down on your backspin." My mis-hits tended to come toward the heel of the club, so he flattened my lie angle to promote what he called "gear effect."
I can't wait to see Tiger again. I've got to tell him that all my yoga and core training has finally paid off.