Employing science to improve fitting, swing and overall golf game

Jean Harris


Employing science to improve  fitting, swing and overall golf game

COURTESY TRACKMAN

I recently got fitted for golf clubs using a Trackman device. I have always been interested in science and being fitted with the correct clubs for my golf swing was important to me.

Trackman can monitor and display the trajectory of any shot from a six-foot putt to a 400-yard drive.

There are several facilities in the Lowcountry that have a Trackman. The club fitter will be able to discuss your results and how you can improve your game with the proper equipment and ball. Just go to Trackman website and look for locations.

Trackman can measure all the following during a golf swing:

• Ball speed is the speed of the ball immediately after impact. Ball speed is created by club speed and the impact on the clubface. Gaining 1 mph of ball speed can increase your driver distance by up to three yards. Thus, finding the right ball for your game is critical.

• Club speed is the speed the club head is traveling immediately prior to impact. More club head speed equals more potential distance.

• Smash factor is the ball speed divided by the club speed. Smash factor relates to the amount of energy transferred from the club head to the golf ball. The higher the smash factor the more energy transferred to the ball.

• Spin rate is the amount of spin on the ball immediately after impact. Spin rate has a major influence on the height and distance of a shot. A high spin rate is the enemy when hitting into the wind. More loft on a club increases spin rate.

• Dynamic loft is the amount of loft on the club at impact. The club fitter needs to create the proper loft for the golfer's club speed.

• Launch angle is the angle the ball takes off relative to the ground. Every golfer should be fitted to achieve the optimal balance of launch angle and spin rate based on their club speed and ball speed.

• Carry is the distance the ball travels in the air on a flat lie. This is more important to know with your irons since your woods tend to roll more after hitting ground.

• Attack angle is the direction the club head is moving at impact (up or down). Balls hit off the ground should have a negative angle to create "ball first" contact.

• Club path is the direction the club head is moving (right or left) at impact. To hit a straight shot the club path should be zero.

• Face angle is the direction the clubface is pointed at impact. The face angle depends on the type of shot you want to hit.

If science isn't your thing, then Trackman might not be for you. However, I find it incredible that this machine can do all the above.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris@gmail.com; golfdoctorjean.com