Backswing RoundUp

How golf professionals use ball flight technology when giving lessons

How golf professionals use ball flight technology when giving lessons

Image credit: GolfTEC

Ball flight monitors can provide an incredible amount of information about your golf shot, but how can they really help your golf swing? We asked our golf professional how they use it when giving a lesson.

30 Professionals Contributed

I use ball flight technology in club fittings and with more advanced players to dial in wedges or check the launch angle of drives.

Libby Larsen once said that “The great myth of our times is that technology is communication”. Ball flight technology provides many data points for PGA instructors during their lessons and they use this data to paint a more complete picture of the golf swing. However, an influx of data without a basic understanding of the golf swing can lead a student down a wayward path, possibly leading him or her to work on parts of the swing that may lead to bad habits. Go see a PGA professional and ensure that ball flight technology is used as part of the curriculum, not the whole lesson. I use ball flight technology in club fittings and with more advanced players to dial in wedges or check the launch angle of drives. They can be used to check progress and detect patterns that a teacher may miss. PGA instructors are thirsty for knowledge and use this technology to compliment their already robust knowledge of the game.

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PGA Golf Pro

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" @SwingEssentials Click to Tweet

The way that I use ball flight technology is through my Foresight GC Quad.

The use of technology in golf is a MUST in today’s day in age. But too many players and instructors beginning their careers use it a little too much in my opinion. Technology has it’s place in instruction to either give needed feedback on club performance, or to give feedback of a desired outcome the player is trying to produce.

The way that I use ball flight technology is through my Foresight GC Quad. This is the same device that you see Bryson Dechambeau, Tiger Woods, and countless others use on the driving range on Monday and Tuesday before the tournament. I use this technology very much like they do, to allow my players to check carry distances, peak height, angle of decent, etc, but it isn’t the end all. When performing a club analysis and or a club fitting, technology makes it 10x easier and more efficient. But the question is, is it helping average golfers get better and understand their swings?

I tend to be a little traditional and lean heavily on Ball Flight Laws. These principles have been consistent throughout the years, and will never change. I have always thought that it is our job as instructors to make ourselves “obsolete”. What I mean by this is it is our job to give the students the knowledge to understand what is causing their golf ball to move the way it is. It is then our job to explain how a certain path / face angle can be cause by either a grip, posture, club position, movement pattern, etc. If you rely solely on technology you are hindering their learning. You could cure a slice in 1 hour, but what are they doing to do when in 2 weeks in creeps back?

You eyes and the golf ball are the only ball flight technology you need as a player. If you can see the ball fly through the air, then you know how it was created. Part of getting better is understanding.

Timber Creek Golf Course

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" @dzach_3 Click to Tweet

I use ball flight technology in every lesson.

I use ball flight technology in every lesson. I find it very helpful in helping students understand how and why the swing changes we are making are important. It also helps encourage them to see specific parameters of improvement through the lesson

GOLFTEC - Spokane

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

Golf practice and player development are going through a period of tremendous change, and technology is a central component in that transformation.

When I’m teaching indoor I use Ball Flight Technology all the time. I’ve been blessed to have access to a TrackMan Simulator and rely on it for ever indoor lesson I give. Golf practice and player development are going through a period of tremendous change, and technology is a central component in that transformation. This not only helps me as a coach but also helps show my students their specs on face angle, club path, launch angle, spin rate, swing speed etc. This also helps the student closer understand the swing changes they make during a lesson.

Canyon Crest Country Club

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

What I have found though is using the data really depends on the skill set of the player.

I am fortunate enough to be able to Teach both indoors and outdoors. In season I am outdoors at the course and during the off season, and on inclement weather days, I have a Teaching Studio. In the Teaching Studio I have a GC Quad Launch Monitor, it also is what drives the Simulator.

I taught for years without a Launch Monitor, having a pretty good understanding of ball flight laws makes it fairly easy to “Let the ball tell you what is happening”.

When Teaching Indoors you obviously have to rely on the Launch Monitor, it gives you your simulated ball flight.

What I have found though is using the data really depends on the skill set of the player. Looking at Launch Angles and Spin rates is really proper information for fine tuning a better player. I feel like it is just to much information for a beginner or a high handicap player to digest. With them you are really just looking to build a better swing and working on making better contact.

The Launch Monitor information that has been the most valuable for higher handicaps is the club data. Being able to quantify angle of attack, club path and club face angle at impact has been much more beneficial than analyzing Launch Angles and Spin Rates.

Flagler Golf Academy

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

I do currently use both a Flightscope Xi and a Foresight GC Quad.

Ball flight technology has come a long way. I do currently use both a Flightscope Xi and a Foresight GC Quad. I only pull out the launch monitor when we want to see the numbers and make changes. This allows me to show the changes in either angle of attack, face angle, club path, etc. can improve ball flight.
But nothing works better than your eyes. A good coach can tell a lot from ball flight from just seeing the shot. I know that the best old school teachers could even tell you the spin numbers by what they saw and once put up next to a launch monitor, they were within a couple of hundred rpms.

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

When I teach with TRACKMAN, I like to explain to my students that there are only two numbers we’re going to study together:

TRACKMAN launch monitor technology is put to use on my lesson tee when I custom fit golf equipment. It gives me all the ball flight information I need to accurately read my students’ needs when it comes to equipment. Launch angle, spin rate, ball speed, smash factor, angle of attack and land angle are the most vital numbers that I read from TRACKMAN.

When I teach with TRACKMAN, I like to explain to my students that there are only two numbers we’re going to study together: your club path, in relation to the target line and your club face angle in relation to that path. Enlightenment is the goal for why and how I use ball flight technology. TRACKMAN lessons are a must for every golfer striving to improve!

The Country Club of Virginia

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

I do not use it at all. I would only do so during a fitting.

I do not use it at all. I would only do so during a fitting. The average golfers has many other issues he/she has going on & ball flight is not one of them, (except getting the ball in the air)!

Brookshire Golf Club

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

Trackman and flightscope are like an MRI for a golfer.

Trackman and flightscope are like an MRI for a golfer. Get the information and then turn it off. They don’t continue to put you in and out of the MRI machine when you have to get one. Once you come out of the machine they have the images needed and give to the doctor to read.
Too many teachers continue to put their students back and forth in the machine so to speak. Trying to get perfect numbers leads a lot of students down the path of playing swing rather than playing golf. I’ll use this technology for a few minutes, find the consistent issue and then turn it off. The technology makes us better and faster at analyzing the swing, but we are still the doctor who has to teach the student not the machine.

Whispering Pines Golf Club

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

We use ball flight tech when fitting as far as showing spin rates and club distances...

I’m an old guy and teach in the old school way of knowing what produces certain types of ball flight. The only thing that matters in the golf swing is your clubface at impact and the path of the club with the two matching up for direction, period. We use ball flight tech when fitting as far as showing spin rates and club distances but as far as leaning on it to do my daily lessons, no way. I’m good, I don’t need that!!

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

I am a FlightScope Ambassador and use it often with clients.

I am a FlightScope Ambassador and use it often with clients. I mainly use it as an “MRI” to show clients the 3-dimensional shape of their swings and how we plan to make improvements. Using a lot of numbers can confuse some clientele. But using it as a confirmation of what is happening in their swing now is important.

It is also important to use FlightScope to benchmark progress. At regular intervals of Coaching and Improvement, we’ll use FlightScope as an objective measurement tool to compare where the client started to how their improvement has progressed. Doing so provides real data to continue to the improvement process.

John Hughes Golf

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" @johnhughesgolf Click to Tweet

I use it to verify what I see on camera, then zero in on what number/swing issue is most needed.

I use it to verify what I see on camera, then zero in on what number/swing issue is most needed. I only show a few numbers to students so they don’t get too confused.

Steve Bosdosh Golf Academy

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" @stevebosdosh Click to Tweet

It depends on the student

Having been a PGA PROFESSIONAL for 20+ years, the answer for me is that it depends on the student. A serious player is yes, the more information regading launch angle, spin rate, path, swing speeds on all clubs, carry distance, etc., is extremely vital. For the majority of players, the answer is also yes!!! These are absolutely invaluable for an expert club fitter like me. It will show what weaknesses there are, where my teaching should focus, and sets me up a pathway to help my clients/customers fast track to improvement!!! Absolutely very important!!!

Chris Rudi Golf Services

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

The ball flight laws are the only absolutes in golf.

The ball flight laws are the only absolutes in golf.

How all shots start is according to the club face at impact. Your grip and aim are primarily responsible for the face at impact. How all shots curve is the swing path in relation to the face. Your aim and posture are primarily responsible.

We use the technology to convince the golfer of the face and path as well as the angle of attack and of course speed.

On a practice tee or course, having a device to measure mainly carry distance can be very helpful.

The ball flight doesn’t lie and neither do the numbers.

Timarron Country Club

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

The use of a launch monitor in a lesson is double-sided.

The use of a launch monitor in a lesson is double-sided. I find it very useful to know what the player is doing and measure any changes. However, it becomes a distraction when the player focuses too much on the numbers and not how they are making changes in their swing. I usually don’t let my students see the numbers unless it’s necessary, and I control what numbers they see.

Sleepy Hollow Country Club

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" @KevinSprecher Click to Tweet

With regards to ball flight technology during lessons, I try to keep things pretty simple for my students

With regards to ball flight technology during lessons, I try to keep things pretty simple for my students as most people we teach are beginners. So, I may show a student the difference in spin between a Titleist pro v1 and a Pinnacle or some other hard (low spin) ball in the short game area per say, so they can see how different balls react around the greens and how that the ball you play really can make quite a difference. I personally rely on golf ball technology pretty heavily because it matters if you’re a better player. As for a typical beginner, I really leave it up to them but make it clear to them that though golf ball technology matters and helps, it’s still not going to prevent you from losing balls in the beginning. So, it may be a wise choice to play cheaper balls starting out until you learn how to keep the ball more in play.

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

I rely on it quite a bit because measuring what our eyes cannot see if helpful.

I rely on it quite a bit because measuring what our eyes cannot see if helpful. I also think it helps the student see progress in a form that is objective rather than subjective

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Glf66Grl Click to Tweet

I teach primarily in a hitting bay using video, a BodiTrak pressure mat and a Flightscope launch monitor.

I teach primarily in a hitting bay using video, a BodiTrak pressure mat and a Flightscope launch monitor.
I use the Flightscope to measure how swing changes effect ball flight, to compare different clubs (especially drivers) and to practice distance control.
I have a large junior program and I use the launch monitor in drills to practice distance control

DragonRidge Country Club

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

I use Trackman technology on nearly every lesson on full swing.

I use Trackman technology on nearly every lesson on full swing. I’ve been doing it for 6 years. I use it with the Trackman Camera App so that when I want to show the student a slow motion video of their swing it is ready after every swing. Sometimes I show them the data and sometimes I don’t. It depends on what I’m trying to teach them about their swing and how that influences the flight of the ball. Usually within the first couple lessons the ball flight laws are explained and I turn the student into the coach. As Hogan said “The great thing about golf is the ball never lies.”

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

I do not use ball flight technology. Living in the south means I’m outdoors for full swing lessons.

I do not use ball flight technology. Living in the south means I’m outdoors for full swing lessons. We can see ball flight. My students are interested in watching the ball fly, not looking at numbers on a screen.

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" @barrywchurchill Click to Tweet

I have learned a great deal using TrackMan with my students. It is especially useful for seeing angle of attack.

I have learned a great deal using TrackMan with my students. It is especially useful for seeing angle of attack. I’ve given 40,000 lessons. I can generally see club path and club face but angle of attack in my opinion is impossible to determine without TrackMan. Divots mean nothing. Many low handicap players hit hooks because of a positive an angle of attack or hit fades because of negative angle of attack. I found it is easy to misidentify swing flaws without a great launch monitor and an understanding of the data it provides you.

PGA Golf Professional

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

I use a foresight gc 2 launch monitor.

I use a foresight gc 2 launch monitor. Only rely on it partly, mainly for better players needing to control 1 degree on path and for club-fittings. Like to associate feel vs real with it for students that like to see numbers.

Empire Ranch Golf Club

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

I am always looking at the ball flight to help me determine the easiest way to help my student not only improve, but understand why shots happen!

I am always looking at the ball flight to help me determine the easiest way to help my student not only improve, but understand why shots happen! My FlightScope X3 is always running so I can measure each shot, then, when I need to explain to a student what caused a shot to curve the way it did, I show them simple data and visuals so they can easily understand cause/effect. We then use the FlightScope to help them incorporate feels, validate changes, and see measured improvements. All without being too “overly-tech heavy.”

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Long Cove Club

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" @dagolfdoc Click to Tweet

I only use launch monitors in club fittings

I only use launch monitors in club fittings. A lesson with a launch monitor turns into how fast was the club head, faster than the last?? A waste of a lesson

Westerville Golf Center

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" @GolfDrDave Click to Tweet

I use ball flight technology more for getting distances and dialing land angles these days.

I use ball flight technology more for getting distances and dialing land angles these days. From using it pretty heavily over the years, my eye has improved, but if I ever question what I’m seeing I’ll for sure double check it.

Nick Duffy Golf

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

Technology is a beautiful thing! The more information you can collect the better off you are.

Technology is a beautiful thing! The more information you can collect the better off you are. Whether you share that information with the student to help him/her learn is a decision the instructor needs to make. I enjoy seeing the information as it ties good results with correct positions / feels for me.

Sun City West Golf

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

I use it frequently but for my information mostly.

I use it frequently but for my information mostly. Explaining low point or path and face angles can be quite challenging to many students and looking for the difference between a path that is 2 degrees in to out vs. 5 degrees in to out is not helpful to many students. Launch angles for drivers and peak height for some players help then see what proper impact does to the ball. Numbers though tend to confuse them.

The Golf Center at the Highlands

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

I have an indoor studio with Flightscope and E6 software. It is the only way to learn the game.

I have an indoor studio with Flightscope and E6 software. It is the only way to learn the game. Shaping shots and controlling ball flight is the way to play golf.

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

I have never needed technology to show someone how to control their ball flight.

I have never needed technology to show someone how to control their ball flight. The harder a person swings the more backspin and the higher the ball will fly. Backspin is counterproductive when it comes to hitting a lower ball flight. I teach students to take one or two more clubs than the distance requires, move the ball back in their stance and only swing 70% of their normal speed. This will produce a shot you can play under tree-limbs with enough topspin to run onto the green.

Maroon Creek Club

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

I, like others, watch ball flight and relate that to the golf club alignment through impact.

I, like others, watch ball flight and relate that to the golf club alignment through impact. But do not use any tech.

PGA Golf Professional

"Overrated....Harvey Penick did just fine without it" Click to Tweet

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