I bought a launch monitor, a GolfAchiever unit in 2005. I have used a a few times for lessons, although to be perfectly honest, there is not much call for high-tech golf instruction tools around here. It is not that golfers won’t pay for it, it is just that they reject and are afraid of what they do not or will not understand. It is that way with everything on earth. I have however used the GolfAchiever launch monitor to the extreme as far as my own game is concerned. I have hit thousands upon thousands of golf balls  from the Achiever mat, and have learned to understand and interpret the data for golf swing correcting. It is a great tool with an indoor and outdoor mode and gives just about every number one could imagine.

My first excursion into high tech was naturally club speed and ball speed readings. My goal was to get to 120 mph swing speed and still maintain control of what I was doing. Since the monitor shows the shape and distance of each individual shot, it is not too hard to know when you are out of control. I started with speeds of about 108 which is really not too bad, then gradually increased to the mid teens. Through the careful used of technique and concentration and focus, I got my swing speed to about 122 mph; and the shot shape on the monitor screen was still within reason. It felt good and was a real awakening for me.

I do most of my own training in the off season, and quickly learned how to diagnose my own swing flaws from the launch monitor readings. A couple days ago I was hitting balls into a net in the dining room at Dutch Hollow CC, my place of employment. My backspin reading were exceptionally high, about 3400-to 3800 rpm. I tried different balls and different clubs and shafts, with the same results. I deduced it was something in my swing, because once in a while I would hit a shot with the driver that carried backspin of about 2200 rpm with a pretty good swing speed. I was starting to catch on. Even though I was keeping a wide arc to the top of my backswing, I was pulling my hands in toward my body at the transition, and coming down at too steep of an angle. So I started to make and effort to keep my hands away from my body during the downswing and in essence keep the handle of the club closer to the ground once I made the commitment to let it, the club head, fly through impact. I was keeping the width now through the entire swing through impact, instead of shortening it and for all intents hitting down on the ball with a steeper angle, thus creating more backspin. Once I started pulling my hands through impact on the same path that I took them back on the backswing, my club head speed started to increase and my backspin numbers lowered to about 2400-2600 rpm, a significant change. I did not need video all I needed was to pay attention to the readings and to what I was doing feel-wise during the swing. I will continue to work on this technique.

My club head speed is now significantly lower, due to three years of illness that started with prostate cancer, surgery, a knee injury and more surgery. It just knocks the livin’ shit out of you. I have been cross-country skiing this winter to build core strength, increase balance awareness, and build stamina. I hope it pays some dividends this summer on the CNYPGA Section Tour.


learning from launch monitors

January 29, 2010