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The Full Story



Firestone Golf Club

by Justin From trackman

I do not think that watching events at Firestone Country Club on TV ever did the place justice. What a venue! The course is in amazing shape this week. Here's a look down the fairway at the first hole.

When was the last time someone checked your lofts and lies? Never?!? That would probably be the answer of most. You would be amazed how much of a difference this could make and it is probably the easiest and most inexpensive thing you could have done to help improve your game. Even if you custom ordered a set of clubs, it is a good idea to have them checked for accuracy. The following case comes from a PGA Tour professional who recently had his irons updated.

One player had new Cleveland irons and wanted to make sure that the distance gaps were correct. He hit through all of his irons and wedges. From the data, it looked like there was a problem with his 6 iron. It didn't seem to be carrying far enough. When the player looked at the data, he said he knew there was something funny going on. Last week was the first time he had played with the new irons and he told me he knew there was something wrong with the 6 iron. After two of the Cleveland Reps came over and watched him hit more shots with his 5, 6 and 7 iron, they took the 6 iron to the truck to check the loft and lie. Both the loft and lie were off by 0.5 degrees! Even though that doesn't seem like much, it solved the problem.

The Cleveland player also hit shots with his Hi-Bore XL driver. At one point he hit three different shots: a normal shot, a low cut and a high launch. Look at the club delivery numbers! It was great to discuss these numbers with the player and hear him say that that's exactly what he was trying to do.

It is really interesting to look at how his angle of attack and club path numbers varied with each swing. Also, whether it was conscious or subconscious the player's swing plane shifted more to an inside-out swing when he was trying to launch the ball higher. A player must do this in order to start the ball on their intended target line. TrackMan is an amazing tool for looking at what the club is doing through impact and then using the numbers to practice the swing you are trying to obtain.

The following is an example how much difference a ball can make to a player. This Callaway player came by to test out a couple different shafts. He found one club that he liked but the numbers were not quite where the player wanted them. He was hitting the HX Tour 56, but he normally plays a different Callaway ball. The Callaway Rep told him that the spin would drop a couple hundred rpm's with the ball he normally plays (which was the desired effect). The player pulled a couple balls out of his bag to test. Here are the results...

The launch conditions with the player's "gamer ball" not only allowed the shots to carry further, but also land at an angle that would allow the ball to release more on the fairway. End result: More Distance! No other system can track the ball the entire way and allow a player to determine these types of differences.

So, how do a player's launch conditions vary from the range to when they are on the course in competition? Because the PGA Tour uses TrackMan every week to collect data on the course, we are able to look at this. This week TrackMan was setup on Hole 16, the 667 yard par 5. Here are the numbers of players who hit driver on the range on my TrackMan this week and also what they did during the first round of competition.

NOTE: Any tee shot that is drawing will most certainly end up in the left rough and no one is going to reach this green in two, so hitting a bomb is not a priority on this hole.

Here is a look down the fairway of 16 from the tee box. It takes about a 280+ yard shot to carry the second bunker. The fairway is sloped severely downhill hill and right to left past that bunker.

My next event will be the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, NC, and then it's on to the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Until next time...

All the best,


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