Trackman – The Basics
Trackman – The Basics
By Mary Doyle
March 6, 2019
What can it tell me? And why do we use it?
Initially, I found the figures Trackman provides overwhelming and confusing. I was almost annoyed with some of the feedback I got from this machine, mainly because I didn’t really understand what these numbers meant. But now that I’m a little older, (and so much wiser…), I can see that I allowed myself become ignorant to a training aid that can really help me identify my strengths and weaknesses. However, the key to using this tool efficiently, is to know what some of the main figures mean and tell you about your swing and ball flight.
- Distance; the two figures that will correlate to how far you’re going to finish up the fairway are – Swing speed and Ball speed. The first relates to how fast your club is travelling at roughly 4 feet before and 4 feet after the ball. So it doesn’t matter how fast your swinging at the top of your backswing! Ball speed is created by a combination of a player’s swing speed and impact. It is mainly to do with what part of the club face makes impact with the ball. If you hit the ball close to the heel or toe your ball speed will go down. The closer to the middle the better. A 5mph gain in ball speed can increase your driving distance by 10 yards.
- Shot Shape; your club path and club face, and how they work together, will tell you what sort of movement you will see when the ball is in the air. I like to describe path as the direction of a club in relation to ‘down the line’ – this is a phrase that describes an imaginary straight line six inches either side of the ball in line with the target. If your club path is moving from inside the line to outside after impact, you will either hit a push or a draw, depending on you club face. If your path moves from outside the line to inside after impact, you will either hit a pull or a fade depending on where your club face is pointing. If you club face goes against your path you should see movement in the air, when the club face matches the path the shot will have less movement but it will travel in the direction your path is moving. The relationship between path and face is what creates spin which essentially is what creates the shape of a shot.
- Spin axis; this figure gives feedback on a combination of the above two elements. Depending on whether the number is positive or negative, and how large the number is, translates to what way the ball is spinning and how much it is spinning. A minus figure will represent a shot that is spinning to the left and a positive number will represent a shot spinning to the right. A shot that has a spin axis of zero, (this is a rare sight) will represent a shot with no curvature. This number can be affected by your path and face. However, what players tend to forget, is that spin axis can be affected by how far or close the ball was hit from the centre of the club. So if I wanted to try get a really big number in the spin axis, the easiest way for me to do this would be to try hit it out of the heel. This makes the ball spin more than usual, but my ball speed would go down. In order to hit it further you need to be hitting it close to the centre, and if you want less curvature you should try aim for a neutral path and face at impact.
Trackman has a lot of useful information for golfers, but these figures are only helpful when you know what they represent. The above areas are what I find the most useful for my own game at present. However, I don’t enough about the other figures to capitalise on them yet. This is when I have to go to the Academy’s coaches with my list of questions!
We hire TrackMan out to members of the public to test themselves, to see what distance each club gives them and for club fitting purposes.
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