Healthy Launch Monitor Debate

Re: Healthy Launch Monitor Debate

Postby lagpressure » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:20 pm

Is there a data entry on the machine where you put input the weight of the clubhead and some sort of stiffness of the shaft?

No they do not. Please explain how the ball knows the characteristics of the shaft?

I make the same swing with a tipped X shaft one a regular flex shaft. The ball will do different things. I'll likely hook the regular flex shaft off the planet. I'm not going to change my swing to please the machine. I'll change shafts.

Additionally, show me how weight affects ball flight.

A change in the mass of an accelerating object will change the outcome of a collision.


I believe alloy charcteristics will have a bigger effect on ball flight than weight.


I hope there is a scientific study to prove wrong. In the end: mass x acceleration=force. However iF I have inferior alloys, I will not be able to efficiently transfer energy into the ball at higher velocities.

You use alloys, I'll use inserts. I play Gamma Fire's for this reason

Do the machines measure acceleration rates or declines pre and post impact?

No they do not, but they do measure smash factor which shows how effectively you transferred energy into the ball. I would assume PIA intentions would lead to better ball flight on off center hits...but to me that is a moot point when you put elite ball strikers together.

I don't need smash factor, I need to know the change in acceleration post impact. That's of interest to me. When they do that, I'm interested.

That would be interesting information to me.

Why? It is impossible to accelerate the clubhead past impact, physics proves that.

It's not impossible. I can accelerate my car through a wall of ping pong balls, can I not? I'm sure one could build an "Iron Byron" type machine that could just rip through a golf ball with no loss of acceleration if the materials were stiff enough and the machine was strong enough. I'll keep working toward that higher ideal.


The ball is the only way to track the importance of Post Impact Intentions...

I disagree. I am more interested in the changing clubhead acceleration rates pre and post impact to assess PIA intentions.



My experiences are brief on the machines... but as a player, I disagree with some sort of ideal launch angle. If it is 13 degrees in a vacuum or golf is played indoors in a dome etc.. then there might be some value to that, but when I play, there is usually always some wind and I look to keep the ball down quite often, or might want to throw one up higher downwind. My trajectory is going to change if I draw or fade the ball off the tee. What is the machine going to tell me that ball flight is not going to tell me?

From my vantage point, limited LM experience does not provide you the authority to call the science bogus.

Seeing the machine spit out even a few bad numbers is all I need to question it's reliability and accuracy, just for starters.
One bite of a lemon and I know it's sour. I don't need to eat the whole tree.


This is close-minded and confusing.

Close minded would be that I never got on a machine. I only know what the ball is doing when I watch it fly through the air, and how it reacts against cross winds, how it rolls out and where it eventually ends up.



As an advanced ball striker and instructor I would hope that you have a constant yearning to grow in your knowledge.

I have increased the data base in the ABS student forum with many many supplementary videos, a putting and chipping module, and have a new series of 26 videos to be released in a new series coming out later this month. I'm growing my knowledge I can assure you.


However, this is not the case when it comes to using technology--any technology. The ball flight "laws" are sound and replicated 100% of the time...it's science and math. You just can't argue it isn't valid.

It's just far too primitive in the overall scope of hitting golf shots. My brain is a much more sophisticated calculating tool for playing golf. I don't even play with yardages. I fully understand why Hogan passed on using yardages also.

The machine is going to help you refine your feels. Ball flight is always the best instructor,

Yes, ball fight is the best instructor.


but feel is our only path to consistent day to day results. I concur with you point of view about wind, etc....but you can set up these systems on Golf courses, replicate those conditions quite accurately and test fundamentals against it. All of these devices travel outside and can be used in conjunction with the elements. So, IMHO...this argument is obsolete.

What about side hill lies and the lie itself? The course I often play, I get all kinds of different lies even in the fairways.
Hitting from slight depressions, grain in the grass, moisture, sand, mud, hardpan, all these things are not considered yet by the machine.


Why do I have to line up square to the target line? I set up 15 degrees left often on standard shots.

There is no LM that forces you to line up square. You just have to point it at your target and stick your ball in the middle of that line. In fact, I have been testing ball position, stance and alignment over the past month. I'm finding that I also play best with an open stance.

I'm not talking about an open stance. There is a difference between open stance to the body and square stance to the body but starting the ball on a different initial flight path.

Does the machine measure torquing or twisting rates of off centered hits between initial contact and separation? or does it just say path was this and face angle was that and ball did this?

It does not measure these things.

It needs to measure these things to check the material integrity of the grips you have installed on your clubs as well and shaft stiffness, and effect on off centered hits. Hugely critical.

If I hit 14 drives in a round, I usually hit at least four iron shots off tees or 2 woods etc. Of those 10 remaining drives, probably half of them I am more interested in positioning the ball to a particular place or angle in the fairway. There might be 4 times a round where the longest drive possible would be of great advantage. My point being that putting great priority on getting high swing velocity #s on a machine is not going to have much to do with scoring better on the course.

I would never advocate using these machines to see how far I hit it. Only efficiency and accuracy...both of those things will most definitely have an affect on score!

I used to hit to a shag bag and then walk out there and look at the dispersion of 100 golf balls. That worked well and was very reliable data.

In fact, once again--you can pull up a course you like to play and practice hitting to those spots...

Side hill lies? What about varying the moisture of the grass, feeling the wind's affect upon your body or even psychie?


The last time we were testing some golf balls, the machine was spitting out all kinds of wacky #s that simply were not correct for whatever reason.

You do get odd readings every now and then indoors, even with the top of line launch monitors. Luckily, Trackman and others have written code to no longer log those readings. Additionally, when using the doppler systems outdoors this RARELY if EVER happens.

It was spitting out weird numbers like a well struck 6 iron going 132 yards.


Just my thoughts.

This is my major issue Lag. You strike me as an intelligent man and a great ball striker who enjoys sharing/teaching. Thoughts are not fact, especially when based on limited experience... I just can't understand why you would ever limit your knowledge? I'm not saying you have to embrace and support it...but why limit it?

Good for some feedback when you're buried in the snow and can't play a golf course or hit on a range. I get not wanting to hit balls when it's sub zero freezing and the coffee machine is broken. :?
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Re: Healthy Launch Monitor Debate

Postby Richie3Jack » Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:23 pm

Ded2Journey wrote:3Jack,

Wow...this was eye opening. I'm not a huge fan of trackman...but it is the most utilized and documented device. Thus, I tend to gravitate towards their newsletters and theories for education...

This study was done 2 years ago--I would hope someone took notice. As I mentioned before, I really started diving into LM's about 6 months ago. Is it possible that the algorithms and technology has improved since then?


Tuxen claimed that he would have a reply back when the study came out and has never done so. They tried to claim that there were issues with how QCG conducted the testing, but last I talked to Dr. Paul Hurrion from QCG, he still stands behind his study. Most of the main problems are on off-center hits. And the algorithms are based on Dr. Theodore Jorgenson's D-Plane theory. The problem with the D-Plane theory is it does not account for off-center hits, rate of closure, club head speed, etc. Still a good rule of thumb to live by, but we don't know how much the face angle accounts for the ball's initial direction based on those factors. Kelvin Miyahira uses a Trackman and a GC2 and has shown how these readings can be inaccurate, by a wide margin depending on where the ball is struck and the rate of closure. Unfortunately, there is no machine that can accurately measure the club face's rate of closure (most of them just measure the handle rotation).

I do not think the machines I use are insanely accurate, but I do believe that they are within the tolerances in their manual.


How?

Their tolerances are supposedly +/- 0.7 degrees according to their manual and we are seeing far more than than in those examples.

I will say that you've had a lot of bad experiences and have seen much more data than I have. Thanks for educating me...I never knew the study existed.


I don't view it as a bad thing. It's just knowing the positives and negatives of a tool you are using. If I own a Corvette C7, it's good to know that it has great performance speed, but it's not going to run well in the snow or off-road.

I feel the best way to look at it is to examine those positives and negatives and try to analyze those negatives (and positives) to come up with more questions and to hopefully break thru to get more questions answered.

I still think Trackman is helpful in golfer development. But, there has been some problems with that player development from guys that use Trackman extensively (it spits out impact numbers, but doesn't tell you what your mechanics are doing). That's why many first Trackman owners have told me of problems of going thru the honeymoon phase and then returning to their old level of ballstriking. Or the guys that have taken it out on the course and have seen vastly different numbers than what they are doing on the range (which leads to questions as to why golfers post different numbers on the course than the range?).

I have carte blanche to use 4 different Trackmans and 1 FlightScope X2 anytime I want for free. And from time to time I take these owners up on their offer. As Dr. Paul Wood (Ping engineer) once agreed with...you have to take the face angle numbers with a grain of salt. Too many factors can alter the face angle numbers. You should understand that the club speed with the driver will be about 4 mph understated. But, I still use Trackman because I understand factors like this and in the end I can get a decent ballpark of what is going on. I just wouldn't get too much into every reading on every shot.





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Re: Healthy Launch Monitor Debate

Postby twomasters » Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:05 pm

Excellent posts Richie - thankyou
I always found playing and definitely now teaching the 'sound' of the ball also indicates a lot. I was doing a lesson a couple of days ago and went inside the indoor area to grab my camera or load my SD card into my computer and could hear a student hitting shots without seeing him swing obviously- and when I went back out I told him thin right - then heavy popper then a flush... He wondered how on earth I would know that - and laughed when I told him by the sound.
Kind of like a trouble with the curve Clint Eastwood thing.
Would you agreee that there is still a lot of instinct & knowledge being forgotten by these machines by focusing too heavily on numbers and less on the ability to learn and solve based on divot- traj- curve and sound. I always find that a better tool to use- which you seem to pronounce also here and one tool of learning that then lingers longer into our capacities than racing to the printout/screen to see the result or numbers displayed.
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Re: Healthy Launch Monitor Debate

Postby jfischer13 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:08 pm

I think the launch monitor is a technology that is still evolving.Obviously the concept is great, its a tool to give you some objective data on what your golf swing is producing. However, the launch monitor in its current form seems to be inaccurate at times. With all that being said, it will never replace the sound, feel, and sight of a pure shot. Being able to combine all of these with the analysis of the divot is the true art of golf. Recently, I made a trip out to Lincoln Park in San Francisco to play with Lag. Playing with him always teaches me at least 10 new things and really opens my eyes to how the golf swing should be performed as well as how golf should be played. The first time I played with lag the sound of the strike is what i noticed, this trip it was the tradjectory. Im sure next time Ill learn something else. Prior to starting abs I was a yardage driven player, I knew each club flew a specific yardage at full,3/4,1/2 swings. The first time I played with John I was amazed at his yardages. Never taking a look at the yardages and hitting it pin high on each hole. This trip to lincoln park was simply an amazing display of distance and tradjectory control. It seemed that each approach shot had a chance of going in the hole. The most memorable was a 1 iron on the 16th. In my opinion, you are much better off being able to truly feel your golf shot and execute it. Only then will you truly know how to take into account the factors that determine how far the ball flys. If your going to go the route of trackman, yardages, and computers you better know what those numbers are for each change in weather, humidity, lie etc. To many factors to try to perfect for me, I like hitting it close!
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Re: Healthy Launch Monitor Debate

Postby Ded2Journey » Sun Jan 11, 2015 5:10 am

This discussion is leading us down a very different path...but I like it.

TM/Lag,

Since we all believe the mind is a far more sensitive tool...Would you propose that it is better to hit into a net with no visual feedback at all and just focus on sound and feel? Unfortunately--it's the winter and I have to use something...but I'm willing to try the opposite extreme.

What do you anticipate the outcome would be?
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Re: Healthy Launch Monitor Debate

Postby lagpressure » Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:33 am

A net has it's place. I can hit balls into a net and simply work on making solid contact. If I am working on a specific move or feel in my swing, I do that usually first with drills. Then I work on taking that to a ball. I need to make good contact first in a repeatable way. I like not having the visual feedback at first. My initial net practice would be refining the repeatability of my motion, sweetspot and spacial awareness focus. Once I am comfortable with that, meaning I feel I am flushing most every shot into a net, I need to then see ball flight. I can further refine from there.

All I need to play quality golf is a consistent shot pattern. It's surprising how good you can play with just one shot.. a slight fade or draw on every shot. If you can do that, you can play wonderful golf if you then manage your game accordingly.

However, to play best, one needs to be able to shape the ball both ways to give yourself the best chance of hitting the most fairways into ideal positions and getting the ball closest to the hole for birdie putts.

But if you don't have equal ability to shape shots or drives either direction, one would be better to master one repeatable shot. Good golf is MUCH more about not hitting bad shots than it is great shots. A really bad shot will likely cost you bogey or worse. A great shot will not guarantee a lower score. A perfect drive has only a slight advantage over a drive 30 yards away but still in the fairway. An iron hit six feet from the pin ends up with the same score as an up and down from short right of the green if the putt is missed. But the drive hit out of bounds costs two shots every time.

Going out with only a fade off the tee might mean I can't gain ideal position on right to left doglegs, but if my ability to draw the ball results in the occasional hook out of bounds, it's not worth it. The fade off the tee on the right to left dogleg
might put me 10 or 20 yards behind the gentle draw, but that only slightly increases my chances at birdie. My shot dispersion pattern between an 8 iron and a 6 iron is not going to be hugely significant.

The best practice for me has always been out on the golf course late in the day when no one is around. Actually hitting shots from real grass and different lies to real pins off sidehill lies, studying prevailing winds and driving into real fairways with cross winds, shaping shots.. that's how you learn this game.
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Re: Healthy Launch Monitor Debate

Postby Ded2Journey » Sun Jan 11, 2015 3:21 pm

lagpressure wrote:A net has it's place. I can hit balls into a net and simply work on making solid contact. If I am working on a specific move or feel in my swing, I do that usually first with drills. Then I work on taking that to a ball. I need to make good contact first in a repeatable way. I like not having the visual feedback at first. My initial net practice would be refining the repeatability of my motion, sweetspot and spacial awareness focus. Once I am comfortable with that, meaning I feel I am flushing most every shot into a net, I need to then see ball flight. I can further refine from there.

All I need to play quality golf is a consistent shot pattern. It's surprising how good you can play with just one shot.. a slight fade or draw on every shot. If you can do that, you can play wonderful golf if you then manage your game accordingly.

However, to play best, one needs to be able to shape the ball both ways to give yourself the best chance of hitting the most fairways into ideal positions and getting the ball closest to the hole for birdie putts.

But if you don't have equal ability to shape shots or drives either direction, one would be better to master one repeatable shot. Good golf is MUCH more about not hitting bad shots than it is great shots. A really bad shot will likely cost you bogey or worse. A great shot will not guarantee a lower score. A perfect drive has only a slight advantage over a drive 30 yards away but still in the fairway. An iron hit six feet from the pin ends up with the same score as an up and down from short right of the green if the putt is missed. But the drive hit out of bounds costs two shots every time.

Going out with only a fade off the tee might mean I can't gain ideal position on right to left doglegs, but if my ability to draw the ball results in the occasional hook out of bounds, it's not worth it. The fade off the tee on the right to left dogleg
might put me 10 or 20 yards behind the gentle draw, but that only slightly increases my chances at birdie. My shot dispersion pattern between an 8 iron and a 6 iron is not going to be hugely significant.

The best practice for me has always been out on the golf course late in the day when no one is around. Actually hitting shots from real grass and different lies to real pins off sidehill lies, studying prevailing winds and driving into real fairways with cross winds, shaping shots.. that's how you learn this game.


Lag,

Trust me...if the weather allowed, I would do this. However, it's the middle of winter. So, going back to using a net--I like the concept of working on spacial awareness and contact before getting visual results. Hopefully, Denver courses and driving ranges will be open by Feb 1st....until then I'll warm up as suggested above. Thank you.
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Re: Healthy Launch Monitor Debate

Postby lagpressure » Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:15 pm

If I were locked in all winter, I would spend a lot of time putting or chipping one ball toward another. I would chip down the hall and try to leave the ball between two pieces of tape on the floor spaced about 2 feet apart (assuming carpet)

I would hopefully have vaulted ceilings somewhere and just take a lot of practice swings just grazing the carpet when no one was looking! 8-)
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Re: Healthy Launch Monitor Debate

Postby Richie3Jack » Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:14 am

twomasters wrote:Would you agreee that there is still a lot of instinct & knowledge being forgotten by these machines by focusing too heavily on numbers and less on the ability to learn and solve based on divot- traj- curve and sound. I always find that a better tool to use- which you seem to pronounce also here and one tool of learning that then lingers longer into our capacities than racing to the printout/screen to see the result or numbers displayed.


I think it could go down that road. I don't place a lot of value in a divot though. Too many factors that can cause that to fool you.

I think in the end I see the largest problem with players not being able to replicate that stuff on the range to the course. For example, somebody may come in with a -6 degree attack angle with the driver and try to get that to zero. They get it at 0 degrees on the range, but when they get on the course their attack angle may be at -4 degrees. Better than -6 degrees, but still far different from what they were doing on the range. I work with a half dozen Tour players on a full-time basis on the statistics of the game (a Moneyball approach). So, I use some of their Trackman readings to help with that and it is a constant problem that many clients face...going from the range to the course.

To me, that shows a disconnect caused by how the brain learns and acquire skills.

I tend to blame that on 'chasing feels' rather than legitimately acquiring a feel (or visualization). I think what these machines do is since they can instantly spit out the numbers, the player ends up trying to reverse engineer the process. Instead of working on the mechanics first and seeing the difference in ball flight, they are looking at the impact numbers and basing what they should do off those numbers.

Let's say you feel you have too much forward shaft lean at impact and the numbers indicate that. You can fool around with the machine and hit ball-after-ball and try to change the dynamic loft. You're not really going in there with a plan of I need to changed these mechanic(s) in order to get the dynamic loft higher. Instead you're trying to hit balls and search for some sort of feel that will change the dynamic loft number.

It's not always bad and that may work, but from what I've read recently on skill acquisition, motor skills learning, cognitive learning, etc...it's extremely limited and it will take longer to actually get the job accomplished.

Recently, I figured out something about Tour players...the amount of time a part of their game regresses it usually takes an equal period of time, if not longer, to get their game back to their old performance. So if a player's driving regresses for 3 months, it's going to take about 3 months for them to get it back as long as they are working on the right things.

To me, it's just too long for that to happen and I blame the practice methods of hitting ball after ball and trying to chase feels and hoping to find one that clicks (which will eventually go away in a short period of time).

I would say that launch monitors can be dangerous in an inexperienced golfer's hands because they really need to understand feedback and what a shot that was struck flush is versus a shot that was struck pretty well, versus a decently struck shot versus a mediocre shot versus a poorly struck shot actually is. If they are naïve enough to base everything off the numbers, they'll lose that ability to understand feedback.

I'm not trying to bash launch monitors. I do believe one could use one and acquire new mechanics more quickly, but they need to understand how to practice with it and most people end up hitting shot after shot with Trackman, putting the focus on the numbers instead of the mechanics that allow you to achieve those numbers.




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Re: Healthy Launch Monitor Debate

Postby lagpressure » Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:45 am

I think if you could see the same numbers every time, then that would be better than striving for some ideal ball flight that has been proclaimed optimum by a random expert.

Peter Thomson was a notorious low ball hitter. Probably due to the position of his right hand on the club. Very strong and created a more shut clubface through transition and the downswing than other players. Won a bunch of British Opens though.
If he were to come in for a Trackman session, I would guess his numbers would not be ideal, however, I would speculate they would be very consistent and repeat remarkably well.

To play good golf, you can get a lot out of your game with a repeating shot pattern. I saw a lot of guys on tour that won with basically a stock shot. I've seen guys with with low fades win, high fades, low draws, high draws etc.. and just play that shot over and over and over regardless of the contour of the fairway or pin placement. A dependable repeating shot can keep the player out of trouble and while not always optimal, will find nearly every fairway and green.

I would rather see my clubface come in 6 degrees open with a maximum deviation of 1 degree over a a sample of 100 balls than a zero reading with the same 1 degree deviation across 95% of the balls, but then lose 5% of them far outside that range.

This was the main problem I had as a youth learning the popular TGM swinging procedure. I could hit the purest shots most of the time, but my mishits were just horrible. Mishits were not managable. A light grip on the club left open massive clubface torquing on off centered hits. I had to hit it dead flush every time or I was dead in the water. The argument or solution from Doyle and other TGM instructors was that I needed better "educated hands".

My point being that these machines need to be looking at the torquing dispersion variances of off centered hits in tandem with the degree of error from the true sweet spot on the club. Different clubs have differing sweetspot locations also.

The cavity back theory attempts to minimize this problem but doesn't take into account the loss of true sweetspot feedback the player needs to properly refine their technique. This is very real stuff that is conveniently overlooked.
I get that it might be difficult to measure some of this stuff, but the science nuts need to understand the importance of human feedback interaction with the club and how that is intrinsically tied to improvement over time.
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