How TrackMan can improve your gameMay, 2012
Joseph Mayo - one of the world's leading TrackMan doppler radar experts - explains facts about how and why your ball flies the way it does...
TrackMan is a serious piece of kit – it’s a high-tech launch monitor that tracks your ball flight with a serious level of accuracy.
Hit shots in front of it and everything from ball speed to spin to quality of strike can be measured. All the top professionals use it to help fine-tune new equipment and work on their swing.
Joseph Mayo, based in Las Vegas, USA, is one of the world’s leading experts and, below, has busted five common misconceptions about the device.
He thinks this information can help you play your best golf ever.
SWING PATH DETERMINES START POINT
MANY believe that it is your swing path that determines where the ball starts its flight, but TrackMan has proven that the club face is, in fact, primarily responsible for the initial direction of your golf shot.
Indeed, the direction in which you swing the club has little to do with start line. When a golfer hits a draw shot that begins its flight to the right of the flag, the face was pointing there at impact. The face was actually open to the target – not closed like many seem to think.
For golfers that hit a slice that starts left of the target then curves right, the club face was closed – pointing left of target. That’s why the ball started to the left.
HITTING DOWN CREATES MORE BACKSPIN
THIS is a long-standing belief that is simply untrue. Backspin is a result of many things: ball type, grooves, club speed, contact quality, etc.
Angle of attack, in itself, does not create more spin. More spin is created when the angle between angle of attack and dynamic loft increases.
TrackMan has shown that, when a golfer hits down more steeply, he also reduces the dynamic loft accordingly. In other words, hitting down on the ball simply aims the spin more downward.
It does not increase it. To increase backspin, the golfer would have to hit down more sharply while keeping the loft the same or even increasing it. Hitting down alone is not enough.
When a golfer hits a draw shot that begins its flight to the right, the face was pointing there at impact.
SWINGING STEEPLY MAKES THE BALL FLY HIGHER
ONCE again, this is a long-standing belief that is not true.
TrackMan has proved that hitting down steeply into the ball does not increase launch. It actually does the opposite – it causes the launch angle to be lower. When the club strikes the ball, the friction between the grooves and the cover cause the initial launch angle to be pulled down.
The more steeply the club is swung, the more the launch angle is pulled downward. I am sure you have all heard that in golf you must hit down to make the ball go up – in actuality that is not true.
DRAWS SPIN LESS THAN FADES
THIS myth goes hand in hand with another, which says that fades spin more than draws.
TrackMan has proved that both these ideas are untrue. Recently, I had one of my PGA Tour students hit draws and fades with his 5-iron.
I showed him the spin rates and he was truly amazed. Of the five draws and five fades he hit, the balls spun basically the same. As a matter of fact, the shot that spun the most was a draw!
I realise this sounds impossible, but it is true. Remember what I said earlier: spin is a result of many factors, and whether the shot shape is a draw or a fade is not one of them.
HITTING UP ON THE DRIVER IS KEY
THIS is not a myth – it’s a fact that many people don’t seem to believe but that TrackMan has proved. Although many tour professionals do hit down on their drivers, they have the speed to allow them to do so and not lose too much.
However, it is a mathematical fact that, all things being equal, hitting up on the driver is superior to hitting down. It increases ball speed, and most importantly, allows you to use a driver with less loft and thus reduce spin.
Hitting up on the driver unquestionably results in more distance than hitting down. To maximise your potential off the tee, make sure you hit your drives with an upward blow.
Joseph Mayo is a golf professional located in Las Vegas, USA.
He teaches full time on the PGA Tour with his instructional partner Grant Waite. Joseph can be reached at TrackmanMaestro@yahoo.com, on Twitter @TrackmanMaestro, and on YouTube at WaiteMayoGolf.
Interview by Joe Whitley