So I often get asked what the real benefit of a launch monitor fitting is and is it really worth the extra $. First off – there are MANY different types of launch monitors available today. I utilize the industries best which is a full array Doppler Radar version. This bad boy not only picks up the full flight and roll characteristics of the ball during flight, but it also picks up what the clubhead, shaft, and user are doing during the swing. Most people think that the Launch monitor basically tells you how far you are hitting the ball and the grouping so the end result would be the customer would naturally go with the driver/shaft combination that gets the most distance. In reality, a significant amount of data must be analyzed relating to the persons swing profile both prior to, during, and after impact. These parameters can fully maximize that individuals swing profile in order to fully optimize the shaft “kick” into the ball at impact in order to fully maximize both ball speed and spin characteristics. The following screen shots may help explain:
Now keep in mind everyone is different but this is a decent example of a player who has a fairly repeatable swing (top right chart) but is concerned because his dispersion and ball striking isn’t as consistent as he likes. Now through the fitting process we end up with a more compatible shaft for his swing profile which displays the following results:
Notice how the acceleration profile of the actual clubhead is much more “tighter” and consistent. Extraordinary advances have recently been made in shaft profiling (see related posts on S3) which can help the professional fitter more specifically match a shaft bend profile to that particular golfer assuming the fitter knows what the heck they are doing. The launch monitor is an incredible tool to help the professional fitter but in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they are doing (i.e. just looking at a monitor and recommending the driver that hits it the farthest) the launch monitor can be a pretty dangerous tool. Now I still have some issues with why the shaft is almost de-accelerating at impact (whereas it should be accelerating) so this fitting is far from over – stay tuned to see how it gets better.