More on Launch Monitors
I kind of stepped in it a few weeks ago with my post about the kid at my club who was “fitted” by a retail store using a launch monitor to show him that he hit this new ‘XYZ’ 7-iron 154 yards. They got him all pumped up about that, and I kind of teed off on the practice of using launch monitors to sell golf clubs.

I’d like to make an apology to all those highly qualified and professional fitters out there who take their craft seriously and use launch monitors professionally and properly. Those who use them solely to hype how far a golf club can go still have my wrath, however.

Launch monitors have been a huge development in the fitting of golf clubs. If you’ve never had an experience on one with a qualified fitter, you should invest in it. Knowing the exact launch angle, ball speed, spin rates, etc. of your shots can allow a good fitter to drill down to exactly the right prescription for your clubs. This is one reason that the tour players are getting so much out of their clubs – they target optimum spin rate and launch angles, then their companies fit them exactly to the numbers. It leaves no doubt that they are getting more out of their drivers especially, than they ever could through just eye-balling it.

Another great result of proper use of a launch monitor is proper distance gapping of your irons and wedges. We all have our gaps kind of figured out in our heads, but I’ll promise you that your real average distances with each of your irons is not exactly what you think it is. And a launch monitor session can bring science to that analysis. Working through your set with a skilled fitter, you can know exactly how far you carry each iron in your bag, and then tweak them or replace them to get the gaps right where you want them to be.

So, all in all, launch monitors are a huge technical advancement in the fitting of golf clubs, and a session with a skilled fitter with a Trackman®, Zelocity®, Foresight® or other top-grade monitor can be a wonderful experience. Go for it.

But if the “fitter” is using the launch monitor to dazzle you with how far you hit this club or that one, beware. It’s always a good idea to start a session with your current club to get a basis of comparison. Seeing your current club’s spin rate, launch angle and carry distance . . . gives you something to compare the new clubs against.

To all my friends in the fitting business, keep on doing what you do – taking care of golfers and showing them how technology can help them get the right fit.
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[ comments ]
Tim Horan says:
As a corporate entertainment evening a few clients and colleagues went to Urban Golf here in the City of London. There were a few good golfers, the equipment was TaylorMade and the whole set up was modern and well equiped. They use the latest trackman launch monitors and have some pretty good teaching staff on hand. One thing that struck me as odd was that being a TaylorMade outlet I would have thought that they would have jacked up the settings to promote the product. I asked about this and was told that most of their clientele are mid to high handicappers and they get more enjoyment when they keep it on the short stuff (albeit that it is virtual short stuff). It is a bit like real golf!
Kurt the Knife says:
Yep, gotta say the monitor was right. I can consistently throw my 3-wood about 30 yards.
lcgolfer64 says:
definitely a +1!!
brian575 says:
Wow that is pretty good distance out of a 3 wood, I can never get mine to carry over 25. Color me impressed.
bobhooe says:
I was waiting for a regrip at Golf Galaxy so I decided to hit my 6 iron in one of the booths. I noticed you could select what club you were hitting on the computer so I switched it from driver to 6i and hit some balls. average distance was around 150 carry. I decided to switch the settings to a 4i and continue to hit my 6 iron. Carry went up almost 20 yards with same swing and same club. watch out for that if you are testing clubs.
birdieXris says:
@bobhooe - Yea i have one of those simulators in the GolfEtc here in Lancaster. I don't like it. the guy was like "oh wait, i have to change it" i said "why, isn't it supposed to take the info and calculate? what does it matter what club i hit?" He didn't have an answer. Also, Golf Galaxy in Bethlehem pumps their simulator i think. I find it odd that i was hitting some clubs, one with this color, one with that color so i can tell the difference. Well i snuck my old club when i was supposed to be hitting the new club (while the guy was preoccupied with a question) and lo and behold i was hitting my old club farther with the settings for the new club. Jeez trying to sell something much?
RyanJ says:
Nice mention in Wired:

I did a double take when I saw the article.
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