NEVER has one wild hack of a seven iron yielded so much detailed information.
In fact, there isn’t much Taunton & Pickeridge Golf Club’s new FlightScope technology can’t tell you about your game.
Besides reminding me just how far left my last shot had flown, within seconds the club’s latest gadget showed me the speed of the ball, angle of my club head on impact and exactly why the tree on the left of the driving range was taking a battering.
The technology has taken the club’s coaching services to the next level and is benefiting players of all abilities, from the novice, like myself, to scratch handicappers looking to fine tune their game.
At £8,000, the technology is a substantial investment by the club, but PGA professional and head coach Simon Stevenson believes the benefits will be huge.
He explains: “The advances in launch monitor technology have really come on in the last few years like a lot of things, such as iPads and iPhones.
“This unit is battery-operated and has a wireless link to an iPad, so it can be used anywhere – on the course or short range driving range, and with the same technology in a golf simulator scenario.
“It’s a significant investment from me as the pro, but the advantages it’s going to bring to the club are quite significant.
“We’re the only professional shop in the area offering Flight- Scope, and you can see from the information it gives that the benefit it gives the coach and the customer is huge.
“I know for a fact that the stuff I’m fitting people with is better.
“It’s going to help me fit better and coach better, help my players improve quicker and, hopefully, raise the profile of the club.”
FlightScope’s technology is based on that used in missile tracking devices, but my swing was raining pellets rather than anything more potent.
The remarkable white device seen in the photos is linked to an iPad, allowing a coach to instantaneously analyse a player’s game.
The information and statistics collected are then readily available to email, publish or send to relevant parties.
Simon says: “Customers now are almost expecting that level of service – if you think of all the large manufacturers when they run fitting days, they bring FlightScope as part of their fitting gear.
“It’s important that customers who come to get fitted on a fitting day have the Flight- Scope experience, so if I can offer that experience on a dayto- day basis that can really help.
“It has been received really well – we’ve had quite a bit of training on it and it has been really well received by members.
“I still want to try to get the message out there more to members.
“January and February were obviously pretty quiet for us, but it was a good time for us to guinea pig the technology.
“A lot of our better players, plus three handicappers, the scratch players, like the sort of information FlightScope can provide, and golf scholarships now are looking for numbers rather than videos.”
After a quick change in grip and back swing I was able to give the left-hand side of the driving range some respite with a couple of respectable shots – all achieved in a mere 30 minutes thanks to Simon and the gadgetry at his disposal.
FlightScope’s benefits encompass players of all abilities, but it’s certainly the better players who will reap the biggest rewards from the finer statistics generated.
Simon says: “I think where it will really help is that it will drill down to a touch more detail for the better players for them to be able to see their angle of attack and D-plane, which is a little bit complicated, but helps them see the finer elements of what’s going on.
“For the more novice player you can very quickly see, like yourself today, why the ball’s going left.”
With summer approaching, the number of players heading to the first tee is beginning to rise to its seasonal peak, and with state-of-the-art technology now at everyone’s disposal you can expect club handicaps to move swiftly in the opposite direction.