Best Practices: Bill Crist, PGA
By George Pinnell, PGA Teaching Professional at Rowland Heights Golf Center
Much has been written about the golf swing and how to instruct player’s to strike the ball more efficiently and therefore, have better control of their ball flight. Teacher’s have been teaching the swing throughout the world for many year’s based on what “we” have believed happen’s throughout the swing and primarily what happen’s at the critical moment of impact.
Several year’s ago, TrackMan was recognized as the “standard” of ball and club measurement throughout the industry. Since then, other companies have entered the arena. Those of us who use TrackMan in our instruction, have learned how important and how precise the club must be delivered to the golf ball to get the optimal ball flight that the player is searching for. Technology has always helped us to be better teacher’s. Video see’s what the eye cannot see and TrackMan see’s what video cannot see. It is a fascinating experience to teach/coach with TrackMan.
There are player’s who like to see the ball fly from right to left and those who prefer left to right. Either way will provide a result that will be rewarded if the relationship between the club path and the face angle are delivered within a reasonable range. The ball does not care which side (left or right) of the target line the club is delivered from, it is concerned with the relationship of the attack angle, club path, face angle and swing direction at the impact position.
When using video with TrackMan, we can see how important the “measurement’s” are. On video, the swing will look quite good but when measured by TrackMan, it may not be as good as we once thought. Therefore, video is still an important part of instruction, but I use it differently than I did before TrackMan came along with it’s measurement’s of club and ball data. I use video to demonstrate position’s that we want the player’s body and/or club to be in, as a point of reference, during the various part’s of the swing. TrackMan improve’s upon what we see visually by measuring, within a tenth of a degree, of where the club path and face angle are before and after impact. A fascinating experience. (TrackMan sample’s at 24,000 x per second!)
Again, the ball does not care where the club is coming from, in to out or out to in. I have been fortunate to work with Japan Tour Player, Jay Choi for 15 year’s, Rory Hie, AJGA 2010 Player of the Year, Kristen Park and more recently had the opportunity to see the swing’s of Jason Day, Rory Mcilroy, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Lexi Thompson on my TrackMan. The aforementioned player’s have a particular way they approach the ball that will produce the desired ball flight. With TrackMan, coach’s can now determine which avenue is best for the individual player. And, once we know the player’s “number’s,” it is much easier for the player to get back on track when he/she deviate’s a little from his/her “best” number.
It is fun to watch. Whenever you see a ball that is traveling to it’s target you are guaranteed that when you turn to look at his/her TrackMan data, that it will correlate with the ball flight. Conversely, if the ball is off line, the data will reflect exactly that. The TrackMan make’s teaching more interesting for the student as well the instructor. If used properly, it will benefit the player and the coach in way’s never expected 10 year’s ago.
TrackMan is a great tool for practice session’s. Back in the day, if a player wanted to practice distance control, they would send the caddy out and the player would hit ball’s in the direction of the caddy who might be standing there with a baseball glove. With TrackMan you can practice using program’s set up for specific distance’s, random distance’s or the popular Combine, a skill’s test. A truly innovative way to practice and coach.
There are over 150 PGA/LPGA Tour Player’s currently have their own TrackMan to train on.
If you have an instruction article you would like to submit please send to Bill Hulbert at email@example.com.