Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Using Ball Flight Technology

I learned how to hit a golf ball as a young man. That said, I am still learning to play the game of golf. If you wish to shoot lower scores it is important to realize the difference between the two. It has become a common practice to include ball flight and video technology in all club fitting and golf instruction. Ball flight and video technology measure how you "hit" the golf ball. They do not teach you how to navigate the golf course.

Many instructors and players use ball flight technology to identify the optimal ball flight for each club. In my opinion this is the wrong plan. The search for optimal ball flight is an inefficient goal in your endeavor to become a better player. The problem is that optimal ball flight doesn't always produce optimal results on the golf course.  There is only one optimal shot per golf club. With the exception of maybe your driver, it is unlikely you can go an entire round and have every shot require the optimal results for the club you have chosen.

What separates the really skilled players from the hitters, is the ability to play the shots in between the optimal numbers for each club. Ball flight and video technology can be quite valuable in learning these shots as well. You have to have knowledge of what measureable parameters a particular shot requires and what combination of club and technique produces the proper "math". In other words the true optimal numbers are determined by the shot shape and distance required, not by the maximum effort with each club.

As an old guy, I am concerned we are taking the information provided by technology too far. I got on the tech bandwagon pretty early. The thing I have learned is that feedback is a great thing, but  it doesn't define the result and more importantly it doesn't define the technique. The target is the goal, and the important numbers are the ones that get you there.

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