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Technical Editor Joel Tadman looks at the various different ways launch monitors can help your golf game.
8 Ways A Launch Monitor Can Help Your Game
1. Learn How Far You Hit Your Clubs
The majority of golfers overestimate how far they hit the ball with each club, which is a crucial mistake as most hazards on approach shots are positioned short of the green. Only by hitting shots on a launch monitor can you find out for sure how far you hit each club in relation to carry and total distance.
Our tip is to hit a variety of shots on a reputable launch monitor, like the Foresight Sports GCQuad, with each club in your bag using the make and model of ball you use on the course and make a note of the average distance. This will allow you to call upon the correct club for the shot in hand with confidence.
2. Changing Your Swing Based On Facts
A lot of us have an idea on what the club is doing through impact based upon what the ball is doing in terms of flight, shape and so on. But a launch monitor can give even greater and more immediate feedback. A camera-based launch monitor in particular can measure what the ball does after impact by giving us measured data on launch, spin and speed, before using accurate ball-flight models to predict things like curvature, carry distance and height. Some launch monitors can also give feedback on club-related data like angle of attack, loft, club path and so on. We recommend that your local PGA Pro then interprets the data for you to put you on the best course of action.
3. Know How You're Hitting It On The Day
A common trap golfers fall into is not taking into account outdoor conditions when at the range. Crosswinds, for example, could be resulting in your shots drawing or fading whereas a camera-based launch monitor uses closed data, which is not affected by downrange conditions. Therefore a launch monitor, once calibrated to aim at a specific target, would give you a clearer picture on how you're actually hitting the ball on the day, which you can then take to the course with confidence.
4. Short Game Experimentation
Quite often the best way to practice is by hitting short-game shots with a trial and error mindset. A launch monitor can help here by giving you feedback on those shots immediately and can give you an idea on what type of shot or a change in your technique was working, and what wasn't.
5. Distance Gapping With Your Wedges
Making sure you have even gaps between all your clubs is important, especially your wedges as they are the scoring clubs. A launch monitor helps here and can also be vitally important in allowing you to know how far the ball travels on those half-swing or a three-quarter-swing shots. Mastering those awkward distances can lead to better scores and a launch monitor provides the all important feedback.
6. Putting Analysis
A launch monitor isn't just for your long game. A model like the Foresight Sports GCQuad can also provide a performance analysis of your putting. Two key areas are launch angle and how well the ball is rolling (otherwise known as skid or distance to roll). These could be particularly helpful in terms of getting fitted for a putter or if you are trying to see if your putter is performing as it should be.
7. Practice Anywhere, Anytime
As we come into the winter months the thought of dragging ourselves down to the range to hit balls gets harder and harder. But a launch monitor and access to an indoor set up allows you to practice in comfort - all you really need is a mat, a net and a compatible device like a laptop or a tablet. When you can't hit balls outside, a launch monitor allows you to keep practicing, giving you that competitive edge for those winter competitions.
8. Have Some Fun!
Golf is supposed to be fun at the end of the day and sometimes practice doesn't have to be about constantly hitting balls and the process of improving. A launch monitor like the Foresight Sports GCQuad has a software package with numerous fairground games like the one pictured above.
Not only are these games fun for all genders, ages and abilities, they also help introduce more non-golfers into the sport. You can also play some of the world's best courses, like Pebble Beach or the West course at Wentworth, on a simulator.
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Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.
During these enjoyable years he has had some money-can't-buy experiences, like interviewing Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy one-on-one and covering the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 87 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 4.7.
Joel's current What's In The Bag?
Driver: TaylorMade SIM2, 9°
Fairway wood: Titleist TSi3, 15°
Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18°
Irons: TaylorMade P770, 4-PW
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 50°, 54° and 58°
Putter: Evnroll ER2V
Ball: 2021 Titleist Pro V1x
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