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What is a launch monitor?
Launch monitors are sophisticated electronic devices but ultimately their uses are fairly simple – a launch monitor measures a variety of different aspects relating to what happens when a golf ball is struck by a golf club. They are typically used to allow golfers to understand the fine details of their performance so that they have a better idea of the things they need to improve. They can even be used in conjunction with golf simulators to provide a truly accurate reflection of the shots you take.
How do they work?
A launch monitor is placed behind the golfer before they hit their shot – then they use one of two methods to track the flight of the ball and understand; Doppler radar technology or camera technology. These are two very different types of a monitoring system and the one that you choose will depend on your preference.
Source: Golf Swing Systems
What are the types of launch monitor?
The first type of launch monitor uses radar technology, making use of a scientific principle known as the Doppler Effect. The monitor emits a microwave signal that radiates away from the device. This microwave signal is interrupted by the moving golfball, and this information is then transferred back to the monitor. Radar technology purely tracks the flight of the ball and makes assumptions about the club head movement.
The second type of launch monitor uses camera technology. This differs from radar in the back that camera technology only tracks the movement of the club and the ball data at impact. The software in the monitor then projects the ball data – the opposite to the radar.
How accurate are they?
While both types of launch monitor use a very different method of tracking shots, they are both extremely accurate. Of course, there are some margins for error. Different brands provide their own data on accuracy, so it is worth investigating them to establish which monitor might be right for you.
It could extremely accurate that radar monitors will naturally provide you with more accurate data about the ball, while camera monitor will provide you more accurate data about the club, as these collect real data from the events.
Although in a golf simulator environment, radar-based launch monitors are less effective. This is due to the fact that golf simulators only have the ball in flight for a very short period. The rest of the data who they have to make assumptions.
What types of data do they provide?
Launch monitors provide a large range of data on both the flight of the ball and the club swing. Individual models will provide specific details of the data they track, but in general a monitor can measure:
Club swing data:
- Swing direction
- Attack angle
- Ball speed
- Launch angle
- Launch direction
- Spin rate
- Landing angle
- Hang time
Source: Golf Swing Systems
Will a launch monitor improve your game?
Having access to this kind of data can provide you with a huge scope to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your performance on the golf course. Whether you are using it out on the golf course or indoors in a golf simulator, it can be fantastic to have data you can track over time to see your improvements. This can be a huge motivator for improving your golf game.
Who uses launch monitors?
Any golfer who has interest in learning more about their shots in order to improve their game should look into the possibility of owning a launch monitor. Certainly, a monitor can be extremely useful for highly proficient golfers looking to make small improvements to their handicap. But it can also be an enormously beneficial tool for those who are interesting in getting more into the game.
It is best to use a launch monitor in conjunction with an experienced golf instructor who can help you to interpret the data and understand what sorts of things you can do differently.
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