Flightscope



Technology has taken sport to a level of competition that is unlike anything seen before. More accurate sports measurement systems have resulted in improvements in many aspects of many sports – not only for players, but for spectators, too. One such technological advent is that of 3D ball tracking. This is great for golfers, for example, who are looking for a ball tracking monitor or 3D golf radar and a method of golf swing analysis that provides genuinely useful feedback. If you’ve been wondering how a 3D Doppler tracking golf radar works to enhance your game, wonder no more!  The secret of FlightScope’s 3D ball tracking success lies in the patented phased array tracking technology that is used in the device. The two main technological aspects of the FlightScope 3D motion tracking device are its radar technology (very similar to that which is used in the military), and its advanced industrial electronics.

So what does this mean for you in a practical sense? Well, it means that the membership at Wanumetonomy will have access to a level of ball measurement and ball tracking that is difficult to beat.  This is a very expensive machine and we were the first facility in Rhode Island to have one.

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Flightscope FAQ

What is FlightScope?
FlightScope is a 3D Doppler tracking radar for Golf and other sports. It accurately measures the launch and flight of balls and clubs and provides quantitative data about player and equipment performance.

How does FlightScope work?
FlightScope creates a low level electromagnetic field through which the golf ball and the golf club move. The movement creates a disturbance that is detected and processed to extract position and speed data. The measured launch and flight data is sent to a PC program where it is displayed in various views, and stored. Measurements include: ball and clubhead speeds, launch angles, spin, carry distance, smash factor, and more.

How is FlightScope different from other golf measurement systems?
FlightScope is fundamentally different from most other launch monitors because it measures ball speed, position and direction continuously along the ball’s flight path using FlightScope measures what the ball is actually doing, and is much more accurate than camera or light beam methods that take only single launch data points and estimate what the ball will do. This is even important in short flight situations e.g. in a hitting cage. FlightScope is not dependent on ambient lighting conditions (it can work in complete darkness), nor does it create blinding flashes of light.

How accurate is it?
FlightScope represents the state of the art in measuring technology for projectiles in flight. It is in a different class to launch-only monitors, and is able to track speeds extremely accurately and determine ball positions to within single yards.

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Thoughts on Flightscope as a game changer

Beyond a shadow of a doubt that 3D Doppler radar technology found in Flightscope (also found in competitor Trackman) provides us the most powerful information a golfer and instructor can ever have. Put simply, it reveals the truth about your impact.

Flightscope does what you would expect from a launch monitor. It gives you a variety of ball flight metrics to analyze your shot. However, unlike other low and midrange options on the market, Flightscope’s Doppler radar tracks the golf ball in flight from the moment it leaves the club face to when it lands on the ground giving us unparalleled precision.

But FlightScope is far more that just a launch monitor. It is the best instruction and learning tool ever created. Flightscope’s real power comes is it’s ability to track the golf club in 3D from hip high to hip high through the impact interval. It provides a variety of different metrics to analyze your impact helping golfers understand how their swing and impact created their ball flight. Most important, however, is this information helps the golfer understand what needs to change to achieve efficient impact and optimal ball flight.

These important impact metrics that are displayed to the instructor or student on each swing include face angle at impact, club path at impact, angle of attack at impact, spin axis tilt on the golf ball, the horizontal angle of the plane and the vertical angle of the plane. How all of these metrics align at impact create the ball flight that we see after each swing. A change in any one of these variables will change the ball flight on the very next swing. This powerful information has allowed us to disprove some of the old, traditional ball flight laws that have been around for the better part of the last century.

I have to admit that Flightscope has not only changed what I believe about the golf swing but more importantly how I approach golf instruction in general. I have always been a proponent of teaching students to feel the changes I make to their golf swings but until now I have never had the proper tools to quantitatively measure the results that changing what they feel has on their impact. Impact itself happens in 4/10,000 of one second and to think that any instructor with their human eye can tell exactly what happened is absurd. Thanks to Flightscope, this ability to see impact angles allows me to quickly abandon changes to feel that don’t effect a player impact positively and suggest a different approach that will create results faster and more efficiently. While it may be my subjective opinion on how best to change impact it it based off of factual information about what is happening at impact and that is a massive step forward in golf instruction.

Sure, for decades video has been the industry standard used to analyzing a players golf swing. The problem with video is there is no quantifiable way to measure what happens at impact or the resulting change at impact by simply changing what a player’s feels like and looks like on video. Flightscope allows me to look beyond the obvious change to swing shape we see on video and see if there is any measurable improvement to impact as a result of the change to feel. Using a medical analogy, video is the x-ray or 2 dimensional analysis while Flightscope is the MRI or 3 dimensional analysis of impact allowing us to look at the moment of truth from every possible angle. Video will still have it’s place in instruction but any golf professional teaching without radar technology can at best only guess about what is happening at impact.

What I find fascinating is I have found myself moving farther away from teaching technical positions in the golf swing and working on modifying a players feel to achieve a more optimal set of conditions at impact. In my sessions players are quickly learning to feel the numbers that create optimal impact and feel the numbers that produce their errant shots. Using Flightscope, I have seen bigger changes in a shorter period of time than I have ever experienced in 30 years teaching the game. Players who have never hit a draw, draw the ball within a few swings because learn what needs to happen at impact to create a draw but more importantly learn to feel it.

Flightscope helps bridge the gap between “feel and real” by showing accurate information on impact and ball flight on each shot. There is an increased sense of trust between myself and the student because we know the numbers and we know they are fact. People may look at the numbers and be of the opinion it is too mechanical. I completely disagree. The numbers are not mechanical; they are fact and as a result I find myself focusing more on feel and less on mechanics or technique. The sign of a good teacher is to slowly make the student less dependent on your instruction. To do this players need to know how to feel a change to their swing to produce a different impact. After all feel is all we have to lean on when we are on the course!