What is an alternative to using TrackMan or FlightScope?
Understanding impact & ball flight
Before trackman & foresight, there was John Jacobs who said the sole purpose of a golf swing was to produce a correct & repetitive ball flight… he went on to say the method employed was of no consequence as long as it was correct & repetitive. When I started teaching I was fortunate to be mentored by the older much wiser Jim Hardy who taught me and hundreds of teachers (via the Plane Truth). He taught, like Jacobs that swings were either pretty neutral and worked just fine or they were too shallow, too steep, or missed the radius.
As teachers we simply needed to be able to recognize which of three categories the miss hit fit into and solve for it. If a swing was too steep and the ball flight was a slice or a pull for example, I could instantly recognize the fault and take away steep elements Or add shallow elements until we were close enough to neutral to get the desired impact & ball flight. I think all teachers should be able to recognize impact & ball flight without radar and computers. It’ll make you a better teacher.
Want a fun challenge…close your eyes and listen to someone hitting balls and identify whether it as a steep or shallow impact.
If you are comparing apples to apples, an alternative to these two new age launch monitors would be the Foresight GC Quad. All deliver very similar parameters, but at a price.
However, if we are talking more affordable alternatives for the general golfing population than here are a few: 1) skytrack , 2) Mevo or Mevo Plus 3) rapsodo, 4)Ernest sports Es14, 5) swing caddie sc200. These machines don’t provide the same or as much information as the higher priced monitors, but can be very beneficial for the general golfing population.
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Impact Spot, Club Face, and Carry Distance are Key
Launch monitor technology is invaluable tech for any golfer who is serious about improvement. Devices like TrackMan or FlightScope provide important feedback to measure your current technique and improvements over time, as well as to dial in your club fitting needs. The key is to find a certified instructor or fitter who can utilize the technology effectively, work with you to develop a customized improvement plan, and help select the best equipment for your game.
However, if you don’t currently have access to a launch monitor, several devices can provide feedback. Foot power spray is available at any local drug store and can be sprayed on the club face to measure impact spot and wipes off with a damp towel (try it!). A simple driveway marker from your local hardware store can be used as a golf alignment aid. Stick it vertically down your target line, and you can instantly tell whether your golf ball is starting to the right or left (which tells you if your face is to the right or left at impact, respectively). You can quantify your carry yardages by bringing your laser rangefinder to the range with you and actually scouting out the targets before you begin practice.
Use these three feedback devices together to know your impact spot, club face angle at impact, and carry distance- three keys for swing improvement!
SkyTrak may be your answer
I have been using SkyTrak for the past 3 years and have found it very valuable for my indoor teaching. I honestly have not used it much outdoors. Easy to use and quite a bit less expensive than the others.
A little leg work and patience can give you great answers
Launch monitors exist to collect data that we could get on the course, if we were patient and diligent enough.
When I saw this question, I assumed that it wasn’t going to be a bunch of golf coaches plugging other launch monitors besides the two listed above. Launch monitors exist to tell us how far the ball goes. That’s their main priority. After that, it’s how the ball got there so that we can do it again.
If yardage is what you are looking to learn, then the range is NOT the place to get it. Range balls are really bad and aren’t rotated out fast enough. Instead, you should go to the course with a few free tools on your phone and some extra golf balls. This method takes more time and effort, but is more accurate than the range. All you need is a free GPS app for golf and a spreadsheet program. Create a sheet that has a row for every club and enough columns for 20 or more shots. The furthest right column can be your “average” column. The more shots you collect, the more accurate your average will be. Use the GPS app to measure shots as they happen and record them in the spreadsheet.
I can already hear your arguments now. What about wind and weather and up hill and downhill and all the other stuff you run into on the course? If you collect enough data, it will average out. This is exactly how brands like Arccos and GameGolf work. I love what they do and I believe that that knowledge will lower your score. These systems are great replacements for launch monitors, but they take more time.
Olde School feedback/ pound some balls and see where they go!
It is nice to be able to take advantage of all of the technology available today. But playing the game well always comes down to associating your routine, swing keys, and feel with the character and quality of the shot! It is so important to simply observe your shots, be aware of the swing keys and feel, learn your own tendencies and bring that thought process on to the course.
You can’t bring your Trackman and launch monitor with you, but you can bring your routine, feel, and inner focus on the course.
Use all of the advantages you can, but don’t forget, the best players ALWAYS “dig it out of the dirt” by beating a ton of balls and watching where they go. That little walnut size computer in your head is logging in all the data you need to become a great player.
Toy's vs. Fundamentals...
How about your eye’s….Any good teacher or fitter can see the ball spinning in the air….Too much spin stiffer shaft…Low spin a more flexible shaft….Lastly, this obsession with these “toys” really takes away the true issues of the student trying to find the correct shaft or club: Poor swing fundamentals!…
Dig it out of the dirt!
Both of those devises are an important part of learning. For coaches they are a valuable asset and tool. For golfers they are fun and provide feedback. A golfer must practice and let the club and turf give you feedback first and foremost. You have to dig it out of the turf to figure it out, so to speak. And please seek out a qualified professional if guidance is needed.
The Naked Eye
Don’t get me wrong, I think technology can be great, but oftentimes it confuses students more than helping them, as their minds get flooded with swing thoughts and they can get paralysis from analysis. If you really have a good teaching pro that keeps it simple and knows swing fundamentals along with ball flight laws, he/she should be able to identify and fix most every swing issue with a student just by seeing their ball flight, swing and set up. Fancy technology should not be necessary (only a luxury) for a knowledgeable and experienced teaching pro who really does know the swing!