TrackMan Golf Case Study – January 2013: “Swinging more slowly usually isn’t the answer”
Subject: RH male, early-50’s, fit, in good health with no physical issues holding him back. Career best score of 73. Although this golfer has enjoyed reasonable success in the past, his scores have suffered recently and he “would be lucky to break 90”. He mentioned that he had developed “the shanks” over the course of the 2012 season and had been struggling with various solutions to the problem.
After warming up, we used TrackMan to gather a set of test shots that he agreed were “fairly typical” of his normal tendencies of late. These stats are from an initial analysis series of 12 shots (6-iron):
Club Speed: 72.8 mph
Ball Speed: 86.2 mph
Smash Factor: 1.18
Attack Angle: +1.5*
Launch Direction: +7.9*
Spin Axis: +28.3*
Launch Angle: 11.5*
Carry Distance: best of bunch = 119 yards
Face to Path: +13.2* (yep, that’s shank territory)
After discussing corrective measures and experimenting for about 20 minutes, this same golfer, using the same club, produced the following results in a set of 19 measured shots.
Club Speed: 81.4 mph – increase of 8.6 mph
Ball Speed: 111.8 mph – increase of 25.6 mph
Smash Factor: 1.37 – increase of 19 pts
Attack Angle: -1.4* – went from hitting up to hitting down
Launch Direction: 0.0 – went from launching ball significantly rightward to dead square
Spin Axis: -.6* – went from hitting a violent slice/shank to virtually straight
Launch Angle: 17.0* – launch now approaching optimal range
Carry Distance: best of bunch = 175.5 yards – 50+ yard increase (average was 165.3)
Height: 69.9 – 50 feet higher
Face to Path: -.1* – went from 13* open to virtually zero
Over time, he had turned his right hand into a very weak position, too much “on top” of the club. In my opinion, however, there was a bigger issue in play: he had bought into the notion that swinging more slowly would improve his contact and help him “stay in control”. As often happens, this strategy backfired and he ended up swinging so tentatively that he was giving up quality contact, distance and accuracy. I recommended a slight grip adjustment that allowed him to maximize his swing arc and a minor adjustment to ball position to encourage a more downward strike – but above all else, I gave him “permission” to swing faster. We did not approach the question of increasing swing speed recklessly – it was a simple case of measuring performance and identifying a clear deficiency. Why would I instruct a golfer who is healthy and strong, to swing at 70 mph when his physical capabilities allow him to swing – in balance and in control – at speeds that are 10 mph faster? Of course, “individual results may vary”, but in this case, the numbers speak volumes. Swinging “more slowly” usually isn’t the answer!
See the data summary here: TrackMan Golf Lesson Case Study
About the Author
I’m Bill Dreger, a Member of the Professional Golfers Association of Canada and the owner/operator of nonstopGOLF. I’m a certified golf geek with more than 15 years experience in coaching, instruction and program development. I help new golfers and experienced players alike get their games in tune with golf lessons featuring the TrackMan Golf launch monitor system. My approach is relaxed and conversational, promoting intuitive learning through skill development and guided discovery. TrackMan training sessions are available year-round at Calgary’s Riverside Golf Centre and in-season at the Wintergreen G&CC, located in Bragg Creek.