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The 6 Biggest Myths About TrackMan

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Recently, there has been quite a bit of discussion on TrackMan and technology warning golfers and teachers to be wary of TrackMan. I actually agree with some of what has been said, however, I feel as though there are quite a few misconceptions about TrackMan that are either just misunderstood or sometimes flat out “fake news.”

Here are the most common things I hear and have seen from tech or TrackMan naysayers. Inspired by fact-checking websites in the political world we all have been living in, I will grade each of these statements with five categories. TRUE, LACKING CONTEXT, IT’S COMPLICATED, MOSTLY SPIN, or FALSE.

Full disclosure, I worked for TrackMan for three years. If you think that makes me biased, you are entitled to that opinion, but I would strongly argue it only makes me more qualified to make an impartial judgement on these statements. After I left TrackMan, I had the decision just as every other teaching professional out there of what launch monitor to buy. Spoiler alert, I bought TrackMan.

No. 6: TrackMan numbers are wrong if you don’t hit the ball on the center of the face

Grade: FALSE

This one is completely false and comes from a misunderstanding of the numbers. TrackMan always calculates the face angle from where you hit the ball on the face. It doesn’t matter if you hit it center, on the heel, on the toe or in the hosel. TrackMan will tell you where that spot on the face was pointed at impact.

All things constant, if you hit one shot dead center on the face and the next shot exactly the same but 1 inch towards the toe (excluding twist face here) you will get a Face Angle number of 5 degrees more open. When reading these numbers, you will see the face angle open to the path, but the ball will hook.

This is where people don’t understand the numbers and get confused. TrackMan is accurate on both numbers, but because there is gearing in this shot the gear effect overrides the face-to-path ratio in the ultimate curvature of the ball. Great news for this is that TrackMan is about to release a software update that shows where the ball was hit on the face so you can understand the gearing even easier.

No. 5: TrackMan is Measuring a Blob Hitting a Blob

Grade: MOSTLY SPIN

While this isn’t necessarily a completely false statement, it is extremely misleading. If you or I were to look at a raw radar readout from TrackMan (like the one above), we would absolutely just see some blobs — but that by no means says anything about TrackMan or the accuracy of its data.

There are very smart people and highly intelligent software that take the readout and tell us exactly what happened at impact and in the resultant ball flight. For context, I once sent a raw radar file to TrackMan HQ because I didn’t understand what was going on with some of the numbers. After looking at this file one of the TrackMan engineers asked me, “Hunter, are you using a big plastic tee on a mat about 3 inches high and 2 inches in diameter?” He was exactly right. That is what I was using, and unfortunately it caused some interference with the radar.

The TrackMan engineers could look at that “blob” and tell me the exact dimensions and shape of a plastic tee I was using without any prior knowledge. People who say TrackMan is just measuring a blob hitting a blob don’t fully understand the technology… or they have another agenda.

No. 4: TrackMan Takes Out the Feel of the Game

Grade: MOSTLY SPIN

There is no doubt that I have seen and even personally experienced times where I felt like I was trying to perfect the numbers and got wrapped up in the 28 different data points TrackMan offers. This has absolutely nothing to do with the machine, however, and everything to do with the coach or teacher.

If your teacher is using TrackMan in a way that makes you feel trapped by positions and numbers, then your coach isn’t judging you well and is not using TrackMan properly. I still haven’t heard TrackMan ever tell me or one of my students that a shot was “bad” (but maybe Amazon will join in and Alexa can tell us we all stink).

I have used TrackMan for 10 years, and the coolest thing about it is that once you understand the numbers and the relationship they create between golf swing and causality of ball flight, you can get away from being technical. It actually helps to create feel in my students because they can relate the number to a feel in their golf swing. Now that they have the information or feel based on those numbers, they realize and learn how far they have to change things in order to actually accomplish a change in ball flight.

No. 3: TrackMan Can’t See the Face

Grade: LACKING CONTEXT

Yes, TrackMan is positioned behind the ball, driver and golfer. So technically speaking, it cannot directly see the front of the club face at impact. This doesn’t mean that it cannot accurately calculate the face angle of the golf club. With the new Trackman 4, it can actually bend the radar waves around the shape of an object to more accurately calculate club face numbers.

Without getting super scientific, the easiest way to explain this is by thinking about cell phone reception. Just because you are behind a wall or underneath a building doesn’t mean you cannot get cell service. The waves bend. If you would like to learn more on this subject, click the following link: https://blog.trackmangolf.com/looking-around-corners-radar/

No. 2: TrackMan is Too Expensive

Grade: IT’S COMPLICATED

I know you’re already thinking this is a cop out answer, but I strongly believe otherwise. Because what is too expensive? Isn’t that a relative term? No, I am not saying that $16,000-$25,000 is not a lot of money, and I’m also not saying every golfer should invest in a TrackMan. What I am saying is that there is absolutely a high value in an investment in TrackMan.

If you are a teaching professional or golf course, Trackman is vital to your operation. I know of hundreds of PGA Professionals including myself who have not just paid off their TrackMan, but make more money because of it.

No. 1: TrackMan isn’t Perfect

Grade: TRUE

This is absolutely true, and I have never heard anyone from TrackMan nor users who know the system ever make this statement. TrackMan has limitations as all technology does. It has made a mistake (once or twice) in the numbers. The good news is that TrackMan is and always has been the best, most accurate launch monitor on the market. This is directly due to how TrackMan is operated as a company, the tolerances it has for its products, the hundreds of employees who ensure mistakes don’t happen and the millions of dollars invested testing its own product.

TrackMan continues to push itself and the golf industry by constantly innovating and questioning its own product. So if there is a limitation, you can guarantee the engineers at TrackMan are hard at work trying to solve it.

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PGA Member and Golf Professional at Biltmore Forest Country Club in Asheville, NC. Former PGA Tour and Regional Representative for TrackMan Golf. Graduate of Campbell University's PGM Program with 12 years of experience in the golf industry. My passion for knowledge and application of instruction in golf is what drives me everyday.

43 Comments

43 Comments

  1. Doug

    Mar 30, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    What about the health risk with the radar? I read stories about soldiers which got cancer from working with radar systems

  2. randy

    Mar 20, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Most of you people are just mad because you can’t afford it and don’t understand all the data it gives you. And if you think the distance isn’t accurate don’t tell Dustin Johnson!

  3. Myron miller

    Mar 15, 2018 at 10:20 am

    I’ve used a trackman a number of times and have yet to have the distance a drive was hit correct from trackman. And when I talked to a trackman rep at one course, he indicated that they use “pro conditions” for estimating rollout. it has given me consistently total distance in the 250-280 range with the ball actually landing 180-190 and then rolling out according to it’s internal calculations another 40-90 yards. IN real life, if i get 20 yards roll, i’m ecstatic. And i use a gps and also range finders to get actual yardage in real life so i know they’re reasonably accurate.

    Nothing in this article other than author bias that trackman is better or worse than any foresight tool or several others. The article is strictly biased that trackman is the best for everything and nothing else works as well overall. As several replies above indicate, that is not necessarily accurate by a large margin. Each is better depending upon how the person uses it and what information is being derived and used. Trackman can be beneficial and it can be harmful. It depends upon how the person using it actually uses the data. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and user really.

    It’s a good tool that can be misused and is sometimes misleading. Like any tool, one has to understand the numbers and where they come from, which are calculated, which are actual and which are useful to the task being performed at the time. If tracking the swing thru the complete swing, then trackman is mostly useless. Other tools much better, such as swingbyte. Telling what the clubhead is doing at point of impact and path of the ball flight, then Trackman is excellent.

  4. Shafted

    Mar 15, 2018 at 2:06 am

    Trackman 5 will be able to see through your shirt. They will be installing them at airports as you walk thru the barrier with your golf clubs. It is going to know how many inches your shafts are.

  5. Martin

    Mar 14, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Hallelujah!!

  6. Michael Pasquill

    Mar 14, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    My issue with trackman is that it does not take into account is the affect of wind, air temp, or humidity when a person is hitting a ball especially inside it is a vacuum when you are inside. Outside I have seen it have issues too. I would rather do the evaluation on my feel and the trajectory that I am looking for. As a slow swing person under 80 mph many of the drivers are designed for players with higher swing speeds which does not help me a bit. Its about the shaft of the club for the most part.

    • Ben

      Mar 15, 2018 at 3:33 am

      Actually it does.
      TrackMan tracks the full ball flight outdoor incl. temp, wind, humidity.. they even have a normalize feature where you can see how the data would look like if you change to no wind, another temp or elevation.

    • Pat

      Apr 1, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      False. There’s a Normalize function on Trackman to remove outside factors. You can add in temperature as well. Think of it, fitters would never be able to fit on windy days…

    • AndyK

      Apr 1, 2018 at 7:42 pm

      you’re wrong here, its why tour guys travel with them and get their carry yardages based on environment they are in while practicing.

  7. Aaatkr

    Mar 14, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    GC Quad for my money. It shows your lie angle and contact point at impact. Trackman cannot. A picture is worth a thousand words.

    • AZ

      Mar 15, 2018 at 11:03 am

      It lies to you about the angles and a wrong picture costs you thousand of explanations. Just because a system put a number or a picture out there doesn’t mean it’s (close to) accurate.

  8. Dave

    Mar 14, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    How much did Trackman pay you to say all of this, it’s clearly a sponsored article. I work in the military and can catogorically tell you radar can not see round corner and will prove it if you want me to. As you a coach you are brilliant and stick that.

    • Anthony

      Mar 14, 2018 at 4:59 pm

      “THIS” A radar beam can’t bend around corners!
      GC Quad is A much better unit for teaching and fitting and yes, I have used both as I am a custom fitter and instructor. Nice sponsored article lol….
      And about price, GC Quad is too expensive as well!

      • Hunter Brown

        Mar 15, 2018 at 8:40 am

        Hey Anthony thanks for the reply here but see below for info on how TrackMan can see around corners

        Radar waves from TrackMan DO see around the clubhead. The physics are a bit complicated, but here we go:

        The wavelength of the TrackMan radar is ½-1½ inches – this is in the same order of magnitude as the club head and golf ball. This means that the radar reflection, the so-called scattering mechanism, is in the ‘resonance region’ (see f.ex. http://www.radartutorial.eu/01.basics/Rayleigh-%20versus%20Mie-Scattering.en.html a simplified explanation of this).

        In the ‘resonant region’ the reflecting objects generates ‘creeping waves’ that wraps around the object. An electromagnetic field that impact an object, will generate a current on this object, current are ‘closed loops’ which means the current will also run on parts of the object that is not facing the incident electromagnetic wave. The current will then generate a new electromagnetic field (the reflected signal) which will consequently also be radiated from parts of the object that is not facing the incident electromagnetic wave.

        However, no matter the physical explanation the raw data from TrackMan clearly shows that we can see ‘around’ the club head. F.ex. it is clear in the radar signal from TrackMan exactly when the ball separates from the club face despite the club head occluding the ball completely.

    • Hunter Brown

      Mar 15, 2018 at 8:46 am

      Dave thanks for reading and the comment. Unfortunately I am not paid by TM, anymore, as I stated in the article I did work for TrackMan for 3 years. Also see below for the explanation on TM seeing around corners.

      Radar waves from TrackMan DO see around the clubhead. The physics are a bit complicated, but here we go:

      The wavelength of the TrackMan radar is ½-1½ inches – this is in the same order of magnitude as the club head and golf ball. This means that the radar reflection, the so-called scattering mechanism, is in the ‘resonance region’ (see f.ex. http://www.radartutorial.eu/01.basics/Rayleigh-%20versus%20Mie-Scattering.en.html a simplified explanation of this).

      In the ‘resonant region’ the reflecting objects generates ‘creeping waves’ that wraps around the object. An electromagnetic field that impact an object, will generate a current on this object, current are ‘closed loops’ which means the current will also run on parts of the object that is not facing the incident electromagnetic wave. The current will then generate a new electromagnetic field (the reflected signal) which will consequently also be radiated from parts of the object that is not facing the incident electromagnetic wave.

      However, no matter the physical explanation the raw data from TrackMan clearly shows that we can see ‘around’ the club head. F.ex. it is clear in the radar signal from TrackMan exactly when the ball separates from the club face despite the club head occluding the ball completely.

    • AZ

      Mar 15, 2018 at 11:06 am

      I think i agree with you on that single point. The face angle is calculated based on toe and heel positions, and impact location. And buldge and roll where all brands used to have the same

  9. Coach Vitti

    Mar 14, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Well, nice try, but superficial. I’m a retired teaching pro and never, once, used a trackman in my sessions. First reason? Cost. I could make zero business sense out of buying or leasing a Trackman or any other expensive launch monitors. Second reason? While I know that spin rates and directions, launch angles, path and club face angles matter, they really only matter to low-handicappers, pros and salesmen!

    I never, once, had a student ask me “Hey, Coach, where’s your $25,000 launch monitor? Don’t we need the 28 ‘data’ points it provides?” Whether 28 points or 280 points, it’s not something that is going to benefit most amateurs as they struggle to get the club back to the ball!

    I’ve only used a launch monitor on my own swing during a fitting. That’s an appropriate use of the technology, even for amateurs. It gives the fitter valuable information to fit the correct clubs to your swing and nothing more.

    Besides, I can get all the information I need during a lesson from a $200 Swingbyte. That fits most pro’s budgets and get a better than 80% solution for 90% of students. Unfortunately, my season-long test of that tech failed to meet my reliability standards.

    Oh, I forgot to mention that I am also a retired Systems Engineer with 20 years in Test and Evaluation. I spent several years around Doppler radar systems. So, please tell me how many ‘data points’ are actual measurements and how many are ‘calculated’? Hmmmmm….

    And how about calibration? How about the human-in-the-loop (operator)? How about software bugs?

    I also know snake oil salesmen.

    • Regis

      Mar 15, 2018 at 7:41 am

      I’m retired in a golf centric area and there are a lot of courses within 20 minutes of my home. I’ve been playing for over 50 years and have taken a lot of lessons. I will take an occasional lesson with any good pro but when it comes to a lesson package I only work with a pro that has launch monitor and video technology preferably outdoors.(I will never take an indoor lesson) Not for every lesson necessarily but integrated into the teaching. And I almost never buy a club without using a launch monitor. I appreciate the cost involved for the pro but from the students perspective that’s what I look for. It’s easily available and at least in terms of a lesson package it should be standard. Like bringing your car to a mechanic. They all have diagnostic equipment. Some have more sophisticated equipment.

    • Hunter Brown

      Mar 15, 2018 at 8:53 am

      Coach Vitti thanks for taking the time to read and reply with your experience. I am glad you had a successful career teaching. I never stated you had to have TrackMan to be a great teacher. There have been plenty of great teachers before TrackMan and still great teachers today who do not use TrackMan like a Butch Harmon. I simply choose to use it and encourage others to use it as it makes the learning process more efficient. Also from my experience TrackMan is best suited for Amateurs not scratch golfers or tour pros. The reason I believe this is because tour pros or already have good “numbers”. That is why they strike the ball so well and play for a living. They use it mostly as you stated for club fitting, distance training, and checking in on things. Amateurs or the 5-25 handicap range can find using TrackMan very positive because it helps them understand the difference between feel and real. If you are ever in Asheville, NC and are curious about how teachers use TM please let me know! I would be happy to show you how I use it and hopefully you will see that it is positive and not detrimental to the game of golf.

  10. JustWellsy

    Mar 14, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Most people reading this are not Golf pros and for us it’s ridiculously expensive. It would be expensive for most of us at $2,000. You are not considering the little guy at all.

    This article was mostly a waste of time other than the very first point, which is informative for a lot of folks. Plus, one of the “myths” was true! Haha. Honestly, this article feels to me like you had a couple good points in your mind and had to manufacture additional content in order to make an article out of it.

    You are not outwardly bias, but you do have an “entrenchment” bias that is subconscious. I would bet that if you worked for foresight you would have bought a GC Quad. It’s easy for you to refute that by simply saying no, but think of what you’d know about the inner workings of that machine vs trackman and having never worked for them.

    I get the intent and appreciate your work as a teaching pro, but for me you missed the mark for your likely target audience. Consider this like a movie review where I express my opinion and my opinion only. Thanks.

    • Hunter Brown

      Mar 15, 2018 at 8:59 am

      Thanks for reading and commenting your thoughts. I agree with some and think I could have included a little more for the average amateur. What I would suggest here instead of recommending another price point launch monitor is to encourage your pro at your club to look into getting TrackMan or find someone in your area who has and uses TM for teaching and fitting. Also to your point about Foresight, you can definitely make the argument that I have entrenchment but I don’t think that makes this article invaluable. The point of the article was to dispel the misconceptions people make about TrackMan it had nothing to do with other launch monitors. Also honestly I never would have gone to work for Foresight and that is not a bash on them. I worked at 2 clubs before I worked at TrackMan and had the opportunity to recommend a launch monitor purchase. We looked at several and decided on TrackMan because it was the best then and is the best now.

  11. Leonard

    Mar 14, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Excellent piece. Well thought out and explained!

  12. Frank Xavier

    Mar 14, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Definitely an interesting analysis and description. It could have been more insightful with some comparative observations to more economic solutions like Skytrak which according to their side by side produces very close results to Trackman for a fraction of the cost.

  13. Tim S

    Mar 14, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    I think TrackMan is in invaluable tool. You can stand on the range and hit different drivers and watch them go, but the info you need really isn’t there without something measuring it. Spin and launch angle are hugely important in distance, and TrackMan gives you that info.

    TrackMan can help you select a club. It’s up to you to dial it in.

  14. Blake

    Mar 14, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    I wish he would have addressed indoor data performance and touched on the comparison to Flightscope. Regardless of that, good article and information.

    • Gregs

      Mar 14, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      Trackman is not great for indoor use for the driver or most clubs that gear effect is more prominent, since trackman can not follow the ball after it hits the screen. Hitting it on the toe comes up as a block even though it would gear back to center if not left of center. Foresight GCQuad is the best for indoor use and indoor fitting as it’s picks up strike zone and it will pick up gear effect. Outside trackman actually follows the ball so it takes in to account gear effect through tracking the actual ball throughout its flight. Trackman wins in the outside environment.

      • Judge

        Mar 14, 2018 at 6:45 pm

        My guess is that the whole indoor debate will change very soon. Just like TrackMan how couldn’t measure impact location or dynamic lie.. Their track record speaks for itself!

      • RJ

        Apr 3, 2018 at 1:08 am

        Thumbs up on your comments…. I use both in different fashions and can boast about features and benefits for both. To each his own based on his / her finances..

  15. MIKEYP

    Mar 14, 2018 at 11:59 am

    I got a trackman and went to a secluded range with a pro and hit several shots. The pro went out into the range and put stakes in ground were the ball landed and were it finished. The trackman said the balls were landing at certain distances and then gave a total distance number. The distances were ALL 4+ yards off from were the ball actually landed and finished. I trust the spin, launch angle and other recorded data is reasonably accurate but the yardages were off every time. Might be the air density, ball, contact etc but the Trackman told a different story than the actual distance.

    • John

      Mar 14, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Hey Dummy…. It isn’t going to get roll out right every time.

      • Coach Vitti

        Mar 15, 2018 at 10:15 pm

        I think I’m the only guy in Texas who can back up a drive! Trackman can’t calculate that!

    • larrybud

      Mar 14, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      What did you measure the stakes with and how do you know that was accurate?? Did they read long or short? Was this your trackman or the pros? Are you guys certified?

      • MIKEYP

        Mar 15, 2018 at 10:28 am

        Chris Moody is the certified pro. We were at a private range at a country club. Some of the shots came up short and some long. He would go to were the ball landed (he’s dangerously standing down range and would go to where the ball hit) and put a stake in the ground. Then went out to where the ball settled and put another stake. We then compared trackman and the distance was off every time. We were simply testing the accuracy of the distance. And yes John, I am a dummy.

  16. raynorfan1

    Mar 14, 2018 at 11:43 am

    “If you are a teaching professional or golf course, Trackman is vital to your operation.”

    How is Trackman “vital” to the operation of a golf course?

    Teaching professional, I get. Club fitter, I get. Pro shop, I get.

    Golf course?

    • Andrew Cooper

      Mar 14, 2018 at 3:20 pm

      “Vital to your operation…”? I’m sure there are plenty of pros and facilities managing ok with their Flightscopes and GC2 Quads.

      • Hunter Brown

        Mar 15, 2018 at 8:44 am

        Andrew I do not disagree with that my main point was that information is vital and I choose TrackMan because it is the best information out there. However my intent was not to turn this into a TrackMan vs conversation just to explain the misconceptions people have

  17. larrybud

    Mar 14, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Hunter, I’m sorry but this is NOT accurate:

    “it can actually bend the radar waves around the shape of an object”

    No, it CANT actually bend the radar waves, and the link you referenced give a simplified description of how it works, but radar does NOT “bend”. In fact, the link talks about cell phone signals bend through walls, but that’s not accurate either. They go THROUGH them because of the wavelength. See this link for more info:

    http://www.physlink.com/Education/AskExperts/ae175.cfm

    Radar is just radio waves, which is a high frequency light wave. Light does not “bend” (* yes, high gravitational objects such as planets/stars/black holes bend space, and thus light does bend around them, but that’s not what we’re talking about here!).

    I think it’s important to be accurate in such articles, especially if your goal is to expel myths!

    • Hunter Brown

      Mar 14, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Larry thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I may have used a slightly misleading word in “bend” I was simply trying to explain the general idea without getting super scientific as I am not qualified to have that kind of conversation. I am just a golf pro! I understand your point though

    • Hunter Brown

      Mar 15, 2018 at 8:42 am

      Larry here is some follow up info on your question

      adar waves from TrackMan DO see around the clubhead. The physics are a bit complicated, but here we go:

      The wavelength of the TrackMan radar is ½-1½ inches – this is in the same order of magnitude as the club head and golf ball. This means that the radar reflection, the so-called scattering mechanism, is in the ‘resonance region’ (see f.ex. http://www.radartutorial.eu/01.basics/Rayleigh-%20versus%20Mie-Scattering.en.html a simplified explanation of this).

      In the ‘resonant region’ the reflecting objects generates ‘creeping waves’ that wraps around the object. An electromagnetic field that impact an object, will generate a current on this object, current are ‘closed loops’ which means the current will also run on parts of the object that is not facing the incident electromagnetic wave. The current will then generate a new electromagnetic field (the reflected signal) which will consequently also be radiated from parts of the object that is not facing the incident electromagnetic wave.

      However, no matter the physical explanation the raw data from TrackMan clearly shows that we can see ‘around’ the club head. F.ex. it is clear in the radar signal from TrackMan exactly when the ball separates from the club face despite the club head occluding the ball completely.

  18. Patrucknorm

    Mar 14, 2018 at 10:44 am

    If I were a pro golfer or a golf pro that teaches, I would invest in one these as a tool. As an amateur I’ve seen my numbers and they are helpful. But it’s a tool not an aid. It’s great for actual yardages and quantifying your swing efficiency. I still believe golf is a game of nuances/ feel. But frankly, I’d rather be playing than hitting balls indoors.

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Opinion & Analysis

A new NCAA transfer rule gets passed… and college coaches are NOT happy

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New rules just keep on coming from the NCAA; college coaches are not happy about this one.

In a summer of block buster coaching changes, the NCAA has done its best to stay atop the news cycle by making some significant changes, which will impact the recruitment process. In an article two months ago entitled “The effect the NCAA’s new recruiting rules will have on college golf,” I spoke to college coaches about a new rule, which will not allow unofficial or official visits until September 1 of the players Junior Year. To go along with this rule, the NCAA has also put in place a new recruiting calendar which will limit the sum of the days of off campus recruiting between a head and assistant coach to 45 days starting August 1, 2018.

The 45-day rule will have several potential impacts for both recruits and assistant coaches. For recruits, it is likely that after a couple (2-3) evaluations, coaches will make offers and ask for speed responses to ensure they are not missing out on other options. I also think you will see far less assistant coaches recruiting, which ultimately hurts their opportunities to learn the art of recruitment.

The new transfer rule

In the past, players were subject to asking their present institution for either permission to contact other schools regarding transfer, or a full release.

Now, starting October 15, players can simply inform their institution of their intensions to leave and then start contacting other schools to find an opportunity. This is a drastic shift in policy, so I decided to poll college coaches to get their reactions.

The poll was conducted anonymously via Survey Monkey. Participation was optional and included 6 questions:

  1. New NCAA Legislation will allow players to transfer without a release starting October 2018. Do you support this rule change?
  2. Do you believe that this rule will have APR implications?
  3. Who do you think will benefit most from this rule?
  4. What are the benefits of allowing students to transfer without a release? What are the potential harms?
  5. New NCAA Legislation will make December a dead period for recruiting off campus. Do you support this legislation?
  6. What implications do you see for this rule?

In all, 62 Division I golf coaches responded, or about 10 percent of all Division I coaches in Men’s and Women’s Golf. The results show that 81.25 percent of DI coaches said that they do NOT support the rule change for transfers.

Also, 90 percent of coaches polled believe that the rule will have APR implications. APR is Academic Progress Rate which holds institutions accountable for the academic progress of their student-athletes through a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete for each academic term.

The APR is calculated as follows:

  • Each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid earns one point for staying in school and one point for being academically eligible.
  • A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by 1,000 to equal the team’s Academic Progress Rate.
  • In addition to a team’s current-year APR, its rolling four-year APR is also used to determine accountability.

Teams must earn a four-year average APR of 930 to compete in championships.

While the APR is intended as an incentive-based approach, it does come with a progression of penalties for teams that under-perform academically over time.

The first penalty level limits teams to 16 hours of practice per week over five days (as opposed to 20 over six days), with the lost four hours to be replaced with academic activities.

A second level adds additional practice and competition reductions, either in the traditional or non-championship season, to the first-level penalties. The third level, where teams could remain until their rate improves, includes a menu of possible penalties, including coaching suspensions, financial aid reductions and restricted NCAA membership.

Clearly coaches are not happy about the move and feel that the rule unfairly benefits both the student athletes and major conference schools, who may have a swell of calls around middle of October as Student athletes play great fall golf and look to transfer. Although coaches are unhappy about the new rule, it is very difficult to predict what direct impact the rule will have on teams; coaches are extremely smart and understand recruiting and development within the frame work of college better than anyone can imagine. As a result, I think coaches will react in many ways which are impossible to predict.

The survey also asked, “new NCAA Legislation will make December a dead period for recruiting off campus. Do you support this legislation?” For this, coaches were more divided with 45 percent in favor of the rule, and 55 percent not.

Although coaches supported the legislation, many (41/62) suggested that it would potentially hurt international recruiting at tournaments like Doral and the Orange Bowl and they had, in the past, used December as a time to recruit.

As we move forward with these changes, here are some potential things that recruits, and their families should consider, including consequences of the rules:

  1. With a limit of 45 days and these transfer rules, it is likely that coaches will be doing significantly more investigation into a player’s personalities and family situation to make sure they know what they are getting.
  2. Coaches may also start skipping over better players in favor of kids they think will be a good fit and are likely to stay
  3. Rosters may get bigger, as coaches are trying to have larger numbers to potentially offset transfers

Unfortunately, we enter a new era of rules at the worst time; we have never had a more competent and deep group of college coaches, the clear majority of whom are tremendous stewards of the game. Hopefully this rule will have insignificant effect on the continued growth of college golf but only time will tell.

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Opinion & Analysis

Is golf actually a team sport?

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Do a little research on the top PGA Tour players, and what you’ll see is that most (if not all of them) employ a team of diverse professionals that support their efforts to perform on the golf course. Take two-time major champion Zach Johnson; he has a team that includes a caddie, a swing instructor, a sports psychologist, a physiotherapist, an agent, a statistician, a spiritual mentor, a financial adviser… and of course his wife.

“I know this seems like a lot, and maybe even too much,” Johnson readily admitted. “But each individual has their place. Each place is different in its role and capacity. In order for me to practice, work out and just play golf, I need these individuals along the way. There is a freedom that comes with having such a great group that allows me to just play.”

My best guess is that Zach Johnson commits hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to this team, and I assume most players on the leading professional tours are making significant investments in their “teams.” There are three questions that jump out at this point. First, is a team necessary? Second, how can anyone compete without one? And third, how to pay for it?

From the club player to the collegiate player to the aspiring/touring professional, everyone can benefit from a team that offers individual instruction, support, guidance, and encouragement. Such a team, however, needs to be credible, timely, beneficial and affordable.

To be affordable, serious golfers should build their team one piece at a time. The obvious first choice is a swing coach. Golf swing coaches charge from $100-$1,500 per hour. The cost explains why players have historically been responsible for their own practice. The next piece, which is a newly developing trend, should be a performance coach who specializes in the supervision of practice, training and tournament preparation. Performance coaching on-site fees range from $200 to $3,000 per day.

So is team support essential for a player to be as good as he/she can be? My research says it is. When a player schedules a practice session, that session is usually based on what the player likes to do or wants to do. “Best Practices” utilized by world-class athletes suggest strongly that great progress in training always occurs when someone other than the player writes, administers and supervises the programs and sessions. The team approach says the player should focus on what needs to be done. Sometimes what the player wants to do and the things needed to be done are the same thing; sometimes they aren’t.

Now for the question of how to pay for it all. Wealthy players, or those with substantial or institutional support, have access to what they need or want… whatever the cost. If you use an on-site coach, teacher or other professional you will be paying for blocks of time. Fees can be hourly, weekly, monthly, yearly or lifetime arrangements based upon several factors. If your coach of choice is not local, you can also incur travel and per diem expenses. The process of paying for someone’s time can really add up. You can review what I charge for various services that require my attendance at edmyersgolf.com.

For those of you who don’t have easy access to on-site expertise or don’t want to incur the expense, I want to offer an approach that business, industry, colleges/universities and entrepreneurs are turning to: “Distance Coaching.” Distance learning is made possible through modern technology. In today’s world, expertise can be delivered using FaceTime, Skype, texting, email and (old fashion) phone calls. Textbooks, videos, specific programs and workbooks can be accessed from anywhere at any time by anyone with a desire to do so… and who knows what’s coming in the future. Through Distance Coaching, individuals can employ professional expertise on an as-needed basis without incurring huge costs or expenses.

The primary team expenses that can be avoided are those associated with face-to-face, on-site visits or experiences. Distance Coaching brings whatever any player needs, wants or desires within financial reach. For example, a player in Australia can walk onto the practice ground and have that day’s practice schedule delivered to a personal device by his/her performance coach. The player then forwards the results of that session back to the coach — let’s say in Memphis, Tennessee. The player is then free to move onto other activities knowing that the performance, training and preparation process is engaged and functioning. In the same vein, that same player in Australia may have moved into learning mode and he/she is now recording the golf swing and is sending it to the swing teacher of choice for analysis and comment.

So what is the cost of Distance Coaching? Teachers, trainers and coaches set their own fees based upon their business plan. Some require membership, partnership or some other form of commitment. For example, I offer free performance coaching with the purchase of one of my books or programs, as do others. Where face-to-face, on-site fees for performance coaching is available for $200 a day, the same expertise from the same coach can cost as little as $50 a month using the distance format, tools and technology. I highly recommend that players responsibly research the options available to them and then build the best team that fits their games, desires and goals. I’m happy to forward a guide of what to look for in a performance coach; just ask for it at edmyersgolf@gmail.com.

Back to Zach Johnson; he recently admitted that his lack of recent success could be traced to his lack of focus and practice discipline. Additional, he concedes that he has been practicing the wrong things. “It goes back to the basics,” he said. “I have to do what I do well. Truth be told, what I’m practicing now is more on my strengths than my weaknesses.”

Zach Johnson has a great team, but as he concedes, he still needs to put in the work.

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Opinion & Analysis

What is “feel” in putting… and how do you get it?

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You’re playing a course for the first time, so you arrive an hour early to warm-up. You make your way toward the practice green and you see a sign at the first tee that reads, “GREEN SPEED TODAY 11.”  That brings up two issues:

  1. How did they arrive at that number?
  2. How is that information valuable to me?

How did they arrive at that number?

They used what’s known as a stimpmeter — a device that’s used to measure the speed of a green. With a stimpmeter, the green’s surface is tested by rolling a ball down the 30-inch ramp that is tilted downward at a 20-degree angle. The number of feet the ball rolls after leaving the ramp is an indication of the green’s speed. The green-speed test is conducted on a flat surface. A total of three balls are rolled in three different directions. The three balls must then finish within eight inches of each other for the test to be valid.

For example, if the ball is rolled down the ramp and were to stop at 8 feet, the green would be running at an “8.” Were the ball to roll down the ramp and stop at 12 feet, the green would be running at a “12.”

Stimpmeter history

The stimpmeter was invented by Edward S. Stimpson, Sr., a Massachusetts State Amateur Champion and former Harvard Golf Team Captain. After attending the 1935 U.S. Open at Oakmont, he saw the need for a universal testing device after watching Gene Sarazen, who was at the top of his game, putt a ball off the green. He was of the opinion that the greens were unreasonably fast, but he had no way to prove it — thus the motivation for creating the invention.

The device is now used by superintendents to make sure all of their greens are rolling close to the same speed. This ensures that golfers are not guessing from one putt to another if a green is fast or slow based on the way it is maintained. The device is also used by tournament officials who want to make sure that green speed is not too severe.

Do Stimp readings matter for my game?

Not very much. That piece of abstract knowledge is of little value until you can translate it into your own personal feel for the speed of the putt. There is a method that will allow you to turn green speed into a legitimate feel, however, and you don’t even need a stimpmeter or a stimp reading to do it. I call it “Setting Your Own Stimpmeter.”

Before we get to how to do it, the first step is to determine if the putting green is the same speed as the greens on the course. The best source of information in this regard are the professionals working in the golf shop. They will be happy to share this information with you. You only need to ask. Assuming that the speed of the putting green is close to the speed of the greens on the course, you are ready to begin setting your own stimpmeter. This is done by inputting data into your neuromuscular system by rolling putts and visually observing the outcome.

Contrary to what most golfers believe, a golfer’s feel for distance is based in the eyes — not in the hands, which only records tactile information. It’s just like basketball. On the court, you look at the distance to the hoop and respond accordingly. While you would feel the ball in your hands, it doesn’t play a role in determining the proper distance to the hoop. Based on what you saw with your eyes, you would access the data that had been previously inputted through shooting practice.

Setting your own Stimpmeter

  1. Start by finding a location on the putting green that is flat and roughly 15 feet away from the fringe.
  2. Using five balls, start rolling putts one at a time toward the fringe. The objective is to roll them just hard enough for them to finish against the edge.
  3. You may be short of the fringe or long, but it is important that you do not judge the outcome— just observe, because the feel for distance is visually based.
  4. You should not try and judge the feel of the putt with your hands or any other part of your body. You can only process information in one sensory system at a time — that should be the eyes.
  5. You should continue to roll balls until you’ve reach the point that most of them are consistently finishing against the fringe. Once you can do that, you have successfully set you stimpmeter.

The key to the entire process is allowing yourself to make a subconscious connection between what your eyes have observed and the associated outcome. You must then trust what you have learned at a sub-conscious level. A conscious attempt to produce a given outcome will short-circuit the system. When it comes to judging speed, you must be prepared to surrender your conscious mind to your sub-conscious mind, which is infinitely wiser and more capable of calculating speed. Want proof? Work through the steps I’ve outlined below. .

  1. After having loaded the data as described in the exercise above, pace off a 25-foot putt.
  2. Using the same five balls, putt to the hole as you would normally using your conscious mind to control the outcome.
  3. Mark the location of the five balls with a tee pushing them down until they are level with the surface of the green.
  4. Allow your eyes to work slowly from the ball to the hole while clearing your conscious mind of any thought.
  5. Using the same five balls, putt to the hole allowing your subconscious mind to control the outcome.
  6. Compare the proximity of the five putts that you just hit to those marked with a tee. What do you observe?

Did you have trouble clearing your mind of any conscious thought? Assuming that your conscious mind intruded at any point, the outcome would be negatively affected. You should then repeat the exercise but this time, emptying your mind of any thought. You will have mastered the technique when you are able to quiet your conscious mind and allow your subconscious to take over.

This technique will improve your proximity to the hole on longer putts. And you know what that means? Fewer three-putts!

Editor’s Note: Rod Lindenberg has authored a book entitled “The Three-Putt Solution”  that is now available through Amazon. 

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