Presently I am in Birmingham, England, at Bescot Stadium where I am presenting at the UK Teaching and Coaching Conference. The theme of the conference is “Technology and Teaching.”
I recently picked up the USA Today and noticed an article titled “Pros Use Testing Labs to Polish Their Play.” The article emphasized the use of a launch monitor in order to find the correct loft and shaft type for your driver. It showed how the pros tweak their clubs until they get the desired launch angle with the minimum of spin.
Believe it or not, this is readily available to all of you at most golf shops that are specializing in club fitting and often offered by your local PGA club professional. I certainly wouldn’t buy a new driver without getting on a launch monitor and trying several clubs.
What are even more beneficial are the new putting monitors that are now available. I have one myself and it’s amazing the amount of information you can get from it. The monitor that I have is called the SAM PuttingLab. This is breakthrough technology that will help your putting stroke and point out tendencies and errors. Some of the information you get with it is:
1. Face angle aim at address and impact
2. The direction of the path through the entire stroke
3. Clubface rotation through the entire stroke
4. Tempo of the stroke
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5. Acceleration of the stroke
6. Symmetry and length of the stroke
7. Angle of approach or rise angle of the putter
8. Consistency of your stroke.
Technology can help your game in many ways. It is the wave of the future as amateurs are getting tired of opinions and want some data and research giving the golfer facts on what they should work on.
MIT has devised several learning aids that measure your body movement. Some of these are: a vest that measures the amount of shoulder and hip rotation; a club that measures the swing plane, the angle of approach, tempo, speed and acceleration; and force plates that monitor weight at address and throughout the swing.
There are many companies that use technology to give Internet golf lessons. The most used and progressive company is Interactive Frontiers. You can literally send your swing to your favorite pro, down the block or to California.
With all this available we can get better by working on the right skills.
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Dr. Jim Suttie, the 2000 PGA Teacher of the Year, is director of instruction at The Club at TwinEagles in North Naples and at Cog Hill Golf Club in Lemont, Ill. He also is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher and rated No. 15 by Golf Digest. Suttie coaches the FGCU men’s golf team. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.