Ask any TrackMan user about the Combine, and most will tell you that it can be a great tool for baselining a student and tracking their learning. Over the course of 60 shots, patterns will appear and those patterns can be very revealing. The focus of this article, however, is to help the user go a little deeper into the data to get a bigger picture of what is happening.
Earlier this year, I was fortunate to have a contestant from Golf Channel’s Big Break take a Combine Test on my radar. As he is going through the test, I am consistently seeing pretty good scoring and a very keen ability to adjust his yardages. From watching ball flight, though, it appeared as if everything was flying a bit lower than I was expecting.
When we were wrapped up with the test, the results showed a pretty respectable score of 85.8.
As I looked through the report, I noticed that his consistency numbers on all shots were very good and his averages were where I’d expect them to be with his wedge play. But I started to see some concerning patterns as we moved into the longer shots. In regards to scoring well on the test, yes, you need to be able to control how far you fly it and how close it lands to the target. While that may allow for some good scores on the Combine Test, it may not necessarily create workable outcomes on the course. One of the things I typically do, as I believe most users do, is that I pulled up this player’s data to look at other parameters to get a better idea of what the shot may look like during a round.
Here is a screenshot of this player’s report from 180 yards. All shots at this target were hit with a 7 iron.
When first looking at the report, you see an average of 89.3 points and an average of only 9 feet right of the target. But if you open TPS and start looking at Total and Land Angle, a whole different story can be told.
From 180 yards, this player was averaging having the ball carry 185 yards, and roll out to 200 yards. He launched it at 12.7 degrees with 4804 rpms. His average height was 77.1 feet and his land angle was 39.1. In comparison, the PGA Tour Average height for full shots is 90 feet. Jason Day is around 120 to 130 feet. Other than his 9 iron from 160 yards, which reached 82.6 feet, this player did not have a target on the Combine Test that his shots reached an average height over 80 feet.
So what does this all mean? To really help a player learn and help them motivate themselves to create different outcomes, you sometimes need to use more than just the Combine Report to evaluate a player’s patterns. Below I’ve pasted an image of one of his shots from 180 yards as seen through the Optimizer feature in TPS. I’ve added a bunch of parameters so you can see a fuller picture of his delivery.
Can we learn something by digging deeper? What is impact telling us that isn’t visible with ball flight? How do we create different outcomes?
Seeing patterns like this and utilizing tools like TrackMan to create some relevancy and create new outcomes, and backing those outcomes up with proof, is what I really enjoy about helping people learn in this game. I haven’t gone into any discussion about what to change or how to change it, because I believe that is up to the coach and student to figure out. And, that wasn’t the purpose of this article. I want to see coaches who use this technology challenge themselves to use it better, and part of using it better is seeking out what it IS telling us and what it IS NOT telling us.
Be on the lookout for more articles over the coming weeks. I’m learning new stuff about this and many other things every day. Are you?
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