TrackMan and the $1,000,000 Golf Lesson

In my 25 plus years of teaching golf, I have noticed a pattern in golf information. The pattern I’m talking about is a pattern of recycled information mixed in with an occasional gem. I have a story about one of these “gems” that will sum up exactly what I mean. After the first round of a Men’s Member-Guest tournament at club that I was working at. I had one of our members come to me with his guest from up north asking for help. This is a tricky request, considering the bad golf that was played that day, and the fact that there were two more days of tournament golf to go. It turns out “John” was snap hooking everything left. He turned to me after hitting a few and said “I’ve been coming over the top for 30 years; if you can fix it I’ll pay you a million bucks.” John was neither aware of nor had ever hit using TrackMan before, but I took this opportunity to track every shot he hit. I explained to him that in righthanded TrackMan lingo, a closed clubface at impact is a negative number, and an open clubface is a positive number. The same readings apply to the path that the club is traveling at impact. (Negative is left and positive is right.) When I showed him his two numbers, they averaged: face angle minus 10 degrees, path plus 5 degrees. I explained to John that he was not over the top but that his clubface was closed at impact, making the ball go left. The look on his face was a cross between confused and stunned. To top it off, I suggested that he may have never been coming over the top at all, but just playing with a closed clubface the whole time. He said, “Do you mean I’ve been practicing the wrong thing all this time?!” Yep. At that point I reminded him about his earlier statement and told him he could make the million-dollar check out to my wife! 

This is an example of an informational gem that I mentioned earlier that can be a game changer for amateurs as well as PGA Tour players. We made some adjustments, and John immediately started hitting the ball straight. The proof was not only in the shots, but also in TrackMan’s readings which were now: clubface plus 1 degree, path plus 5 degrees. Wow! But as you can imagine, after a few shots he digressed to the left and cursed that he came over the top again. Wrong! At this point, I showed him that his clubface was minus 8 degrees and his path was plus 4 degrees, not over the top. As he continued to hit, I encouraged him to eliminate the left side of the golf course for the Member-Guest tournament, and actually for the rest of his life! 

This information may not actually be worth a million dollars, but the sanity that it offers can be priceless and should keep him playing in Member-Guest events for a while. As an Instructor, it never ceases to amaze me how often a student comes to me thinking one thing and finding out another. With today’s technology and a seasoned PGA Golf Professional, you should be the closest to hitting your mark in your golf game than ever before.

David is Director of Coaching for Mission Golf Academy, a TrackMan Master Professional, and can be contacted at , 843-295-8239, or .

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