It's not new, yet it's something you should always remember and act upon: In golf, it's like any learned movement: over time, mistakes creep in. This is also or especially the case with ambitious training. It is important to counteract this.
For golfers, their hobby is more than just sport. It is a complete escape from everyday life. The daily demands, problems and feelings of stress are not just incidental to the journey to the course. They are simply non-existent for the duration of the upcoming round.
From the first address of the ball, only the club, ball and hole count. All concentration is tied up, the surrounding disappears from the thoughts. The sequence of movements is recapitulated in the head, then comes the first stroke and off you go.
But it is precisely in these moments that mistakes creep in, unnoticed because they are minimal. But they can add up and multiply from swing to swing, shot to shot. At the end of the season, your golf swing suddenly looks different than it did at the beginning. And the result is also different, often even worse.
Professional golfers are very aware of this. It is not uncommon for them to start the real work after the season: together with their coach, they analyze their golf swing, take it apart and often rebuild it from scratch.
Of course, amateur golfers do not make this effort, or at least only very rarely. But if you take your sport seriously and want to improve your handicap in the long term, you will use the support of a trainer - just like a professional. Some do this once or twice at the beginning of the season, others have themselves regularly checked, trained and thus improved.
Those who can't or don't want to do this, for a variety of reasons, can also coach themselves within certain limits. The tool needed for this is called a "launch monitor" and is a modern piece of technology that uses cameras and/or lasers to document the stroke movement, speed and ball flight.
Anyone who has ever bought a new club in a well-equipped pro store will already be familiar with this device. To measure one's own swing data, one hits the ball on a screen that shows any, usually freely selectable golf path.
The club and the results are then displayed on it using many parameters. First of all, the flight curve of the ball is shown in a very vivid way. In addition, there is information about the speed of the swing and the ball, the angle of impact, the alignment of the club head, the deviation of the stroke from the targeted straight line, and much more.
In the pro store, this is the only thing that should help to show the golfer what effect the material being played with really has. Because not all clubs are the same, logically. Different weight distributions have just as much influence on the swing and ball flight as the degree of flex of the shaft or the condition of the club grip.
But the data collected by the Lauch monitor can do much more. They are the basis for a perfect analysis of one's own golf swing and can show directly readable errors: Incorrect stance, club head alignment that is too open or closed, etc.
But as is so often the case, the market also offers a myriad of different devices with a wide variety of options. If you don't have to pay attention to the price and maybe you have a free room in your domicile, you can set up completely. Then training can continue even in the depths of winter.
Then a few thousand euros for the monitor system, the screen, the beamer and smaller details come together quickly. But that is certainly a real luxury that very few people want or are able to afford.
There are even cell phone apps on the market that can capture data via camera. What these apps can really do remains to be seen. And if you don't want to be disappointed right away, you should certainly buy a standalone device, which are available for a few hundred euros.
These are set up on the ground opposite the tee point and can thus capture a lot of data simultaneously via laser. The evaluation then takes place by means of a connected computer, tablet or even cell phone.
Ultimately, you have to consider exactly what you really need for your own training before purchasing. Many functions are useful, others not really necessary, but fun.
For example, there are devices on which you can select the desired course from thousands of existing golf courses. However, these monitors are more for stationary use, as you can also play a "real" round with them and record the scorecard.
However, for those who do not want to count but only work on their swing, this additional equipment is unnecessary. If only swing data is to be recorded, then a simple small box for measuring is sufficient. You can take it with you to your favorite course and set it up next to the tee to start your training effectively.
But one thing must not be forgotten with all this beautiful technology: Such a monitor system only collects data. But they don't really tell you how to improve them and thus arrive at a successful golf swing. However, they can help in a subsequent coaching session to recognize errors that have crept in more quickly. The golf pro then knows what to do.
Previous article in the series: Which club to use? - Part 2