Archive for the ‘Flightscope’ category

Club Path for Doppler Radar

July 6th, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, I had someone send me a picture of their computer screen with some Trackman numbers on it. The screen showed a shot with a draw relationship between face and path but with a fade spin axis with a driver.

The person asked what some of the possible explanations could be such as gear effect, etc. I asked if they had used something to mark the face. I think they said no and I rattled off a couple of possibilities as to why this may happen. One of the things I mentioned was that the way Trackman measures and displays clubpath doesn’t represent what information is going into the ball.

All sorts of hell broke loose.

Before I go on, at one point I mentioned that the way Trackman measured club path was wrong. This was flippant and inaccurate and I apologize for that. What you will see in just a bit is not inaccuracy but a way of measuring that needs to be constantly adjusted by some amount which varies depending on the club and most likely the golfers style.


We’ve all read or heard about D Plane which generally details the information the ball receives from the club to determine it’s flight. This model is based on some very specific assumptions that I won’t get into in this post but at the end of the day, isn’t a great predictive model of ball flight once impact is taken into account.


One of the big factors in determining ball flight is the club path. This club path is generally described as the 3d movement of the head in terms of left and right and up down. For now, we’ll assume it’s always going forward also. =) This definition is similar to how Trackman and other Doppler radars measure the movement of the head. Based on my understanding, Trackman is measuring the movement of the center of the head as it moves through 3d space. This center of the head or the center of the blob will be different for an iron and a driver. For an iron, that center will be very near the face and for a driver, that center will be an inch or 2 away from the face.

Here’s where the trouble starts. The center of the head is not the piece of the club that runs into the ball. The path of the center of the head will always be different than the path of the face that contacts the ball unless the club is moving in a straight line. The number displayed on the screen to represent club path is very accurate but that number isn’t what the ball experiences.

Here’s an analogy I first heard from Chris Como to help explain what I am saying. Imagine a train going in a circle in counter clockwise direction. The same direction the face is closing for a right handed golfer. Imagine this train has only 2 cars which are the engine and the caboose.  Imagine that the front of the engine is the club face and the back of the caboose is the center of the club head. As the train goes around this circle counter clockwise, the direction of the front of the engine is always more left than the direction of the back of the caboose. Bringing it back to Trackman and the number on the screen. Trackman and other dopplers show the direction of the back of the caboose on the screen. The ball experiences the direction of the front of the engine because that’s the piece that runs into the ball. Surely there are many other factor in determining the final spin axis and flight as well.

Here’s a graph from a simulation done by Sasho MacKenzie showing the difference between the path of the center of the face and the path of the center of the blob for a driver. You can see that based on this simulation and the assumptions provided, the path of the center of the club head is further right than the path of the impact point for a right handed golfer. The path was being measured at 100,000Hz near impact.

Club Path Graph

What does this mean?


This means that unless you are adjusting the path number shown by Trackman or other dopplers by some amount, you are teaching off of the incorrect number and you are possibly hurting golfers.

Here’s the good news. For irons, the path of the center of the head number and the path of the impact point will be much more similar. The points are much closer to each other. The other good news is that the adjustment you’ll need to make to the path number on the screen will tend to be a very similar adjustment for that player. Based on the above graph, you can start to get an idea of how much adjustment is needed. As I mentioned, it may not be the same amount for every golfer but it will be something.


The thing I find most interesting is that this information is at least 6 months old and is being written from a putting coach (me) that has never owned a Trackman or similar Doppler radar. I’m surprised at how many golf professionals and players that own this device don’t know the information I’ve shared with you. I’m sure at least some people will want to respond to this and have questions about this that I doubt I will be able to answer them all. I will do my best. I’m also sure that this will be shared with those constantly talking about how useful the machine is wanting an explanation. I think the machine is very, very useful after the adjustment to club path is made in the professionals head and probably nothing as portable with it’s accuracy. I do wish that this information was more readily available and offered up as it’s for the betterment of golfers.

Trackman 2 and Flightscope X2 for Sale

October 13th, 2012

Trackman 2 and Flightscope X2 preowned for sale. I know of one of each currently for sale. If you are interested, please email me at and I will forward your email to the selling parties. I currently have no information on the machines but can speak highly of the sellers.

They are both great and respected coaches. Let me know if you’re interested.


UPDATE (10-14-12) I now know of a Trackman 3 and an additional Flightscope X2 for sale. Trackman 2 is selling for $13000 and Trackman 3 for $19995.




Trackman vs Flightscope X2

July 21st, 2011

Trackman vs Flightscope X2 with John GrahamTrackman and Flightscope are, in my opinion, the two main companies in the Dopplar Radar ball and club measuring devices category. I have written multiple comparisons between the two companies machines and each time I felt Trackman was more accurate. This blog represents the next chapter and will include information from my latest side by side test of the Trackman vs. Flightscope X2. The last side by side blog is here(Trackman v Flightscope) and then my review of Flightscopes new X2 from the PGA show is here(Flightscope X2 Review). Let’s see if the new Flightscope X2 has changed my mind.

In the past, it has been my opinion that the Flightscope offerings weren’t as accurate in measuring the correct club geometry across a couple different models. The X2 that I tested at the PGA Show seemed a significant improvement over all other previous Flightscope machines and I felt it was accurate enough to justify the reduced price. I think the main reason why this series of blogs have been so widely read is because of the significant price difference between the machines (somewhere around $10000 US difference with Trackman being the more expensive machine).

Coaches and players want to know if the extra cost is really worth it. What do you get for that extra $10000? My goal has been to accurately portray the two machines as best that I can. As a coach that owns neither machine, I think it allows me to provide the most honest, fair and critical comparison of the two machines.

Ok, so here we go. First off, I want the thank Christoph Bausek and Markus Teubner for arranging the comparison. Both coaches are from Austria with Christoph being from Linz and Marcus from Mühlviertel. You can learn more about these coaches by visiting their websites. Christoph’s is and Markus’ is Christoph is the one that brought me to Austria and organized the countries first AimPoint Green Reading clinic which included a bunch of Austrian coaches and some amateurs. It was after this AimPoint clinic that we did some Dopplar Radar comparison testing. First we did Trackman vs Trackman (read more here) and then we did Trackman vs Flightscope X2.

Christoph and Marcus did a fantastic job trying to accurately calibrate the two machines to the same target. This proved to be very difficult and certainly to everyones agreement, is a feature that may create inconsistencies in the results. We tried multiple combinations but couldn’t really create a situation that provided perfect calibration so keep that in mind when reading the results.

Here are a couple pictures and videos from the test.

Trackman vs Flightscope X2 pic 1Trackman vs Flightscope X2 pic 2

Here is a video with the Christoph and I discussing the results.

The main thing to take away is that both machines were very similar in their tracking of the golf ball. So much so, that I believe it would be inside the margin of error making both machines equal in performance in this area.  There were some disagreements in the amounts of some of the parameters. Mainly, Angle of attack, Vertical Swing Plane, Club Head speed and Dynamic loft. In each of these areas, Flightscope reported a number that was either greater than Trackman(faster club head speed and higher dynamic loft) or steeper(steeper Angle of Attack and steeper Vertical Swing Plane) than Trackman. Even though there were differences they were consistent. The amount of variance was nearly the same each time. Driver had less variance than iron shots. Here are a couple things to keep in mind. We didn’t know when Flightscope measured dynamic loft whether it was before impact or after.  We also know that calibration was not accurate and this may have something to do with the numbers.

I can say that the Flightscope X2 certainly was an improvement over Flightscopes earlier offerings.  The angles of attack did seem steeper than my personal results from the PGA show and there were no angles of attack that were positive on an iron shot. At the show, I was around 2 to 4 degrees down with a 7 iron and was in that same neighborhood on Trackman.  I didn’t hit balls in the side by side test but the angles of attack from Flightscope seemed steeper than I would imagine for the player hitting. They were mostly in the 7 to 8 degrees down area which didn’t visually match his impact interval appearance. Trackman typically had him in the 3 to 4 degrees down area for the 7 iron. It was mainly this issue (angle of attack numbers) that had concerned me about the accuracy of Flightscope’s earlier machines .  I also must say that a firmware update is coming soon and that Christoph and Markus plan to do another test at some point in the future with the new firmware update.  As we mentioned in the video, there really is no way to tell how far apart these machines are now. We can’t accurately say what the angle of attack really is and it’s quite possible that the real answer could be somewhere in between the two results we received from the different machines.

The big question still remains. Is the $10000 difference in price worth it? Is Trackman $10000 more accurate than Flightscope X2? I can’t really answer that question for you as it is a choice that each coach must come to on their own. As someone that prefers exact over close, I would choose exact.  After testing Trackman vs Trackman and Trackman vs X2 I can’t say either one of them is exact. In the past, I felt that Trackman was the more accurate machine but I can no longer prove that Trackman is more accurate. I can only say that the Trackman is still much easier to set up and use and that Flightscope X2 reports information that is more similar to Trackman than any earlier machine that Flightscope has produced.

I hope this helps and if you know a coach that may be considering a purchase, please consider sharing this post by using the Twitter and Facebook share buttons located at the bottom of this post. Stay tuned for additional posts on this topic as I will update it after the next Flightscope X2 firmware update is in place.

Thanks for reading.

Flightscope X2 – A Review

February 1st, 2011

Flightscope X2The Flightscope X2 is the latest release by EDH, a South African company that develops doppler radar systems across many sports and also the defense industry.  My first experience with Flightscope was with the Kudo. I was in the market for a launch monitor and wanted to see the difference between some of the systems. My review can be read here: Trackman vs Flightscope.  That did not go very well for what I was looking for a the time and still to this day.  Flightscope continued to upgrade the software and firmware and later released the Prime.  I gathered some data from a side by side test of Prime and Trackman and those results can be read here: Trackman vs Flightscope 2.

This post will discuss their newest machine called the X2.  This machine is a completely new and redesigned machine.  If you haven’t read the previous posts listed above, I have been quite critical about the Flightscope machines and there ability to accurately measure the club delivery data.  Specifically, there ability to measure the club heads Angle of Attack into the ball for an iron shot.  This information is critical for accurately determining the clubs 3d path at impact.  The Kudo and the Prime, in my opinion, were just not as accurate as Trackman in this parameter. So the big question is, did the X2 solve this issue?

As far as I can see, the answer is YES.

Or at the very least it sure looks like it because now I can’t tell that the information provided is blatantly inaccurate like I could before.  This machine is a considerable upgrade from the two previous machines and now must seriously be considered a viable competitor in terms of its accuracy with Trackman.  With that hurdle out of the way and the fact that the price tag is still less than half that of Trackman, I think this machine will be tough to beat.

Here’s how my review went. I stopped by the booth to check out the new machine and was asked if I would be willing to meet with the CEO about it.  I agreed and spent about an hour with the CEO and Head Engineer hearing about the new features much of which I didn’t fully understand. =) After that, I went and hit some shots with a 7 iron to test out the one parameter that I was most curious about. Angle of Attack with an iron.  I hit a few shots to warm up and tried to get a sense of what I was feeling relative to the angle of attack it was measuring.  We then shot some video where I try to guess my angle of attack based on feel alone.  Here they are but no laughing at my stand up move. =)

Here’s a look at the numbers from the video. Sorry they are a little small and hard to see but let’s see what’s there.

Flightscope X2 Screen ShotFor those of you that can read the screen, you’ll notice a few swings that stand out as very different than the others.  There are three shots that recorded a dynamic loft less than 10 degrees.  Not possible with a 7 iron so these probably represent the swings where I hit the ball fat but they can surely be ignored.  They mentioned to me that they are hoping to be able to remove those shots in the version that get’s released in April and replace the data with just blanks so it is obvious.  You can see that all of the shots recorded a negative angle of attack showing a downward hit.  My feel also seemed to match what the machine was picking up.

Now, there’s no way for me to say that the machine is way off anymore.  It is clear to me that Flightscope is committed to overcoming the issues I had talked about in previous posts and I applaud them for that.  This machine is a little more expensive and also has a couple other features that are new. Those include an automatic leveler and an integrated targeting camera.  One of the other features of this machine is its ability to be used without a laptop. The integration with the Ipad is a nice touch and could allow for simple use on the course.

I also plan to do an extensive review after Spring time if I can get one to use for a little while when on grass.  That is really the last piece left but so far I think they have made great strides to close the gap and improve their accuracy.  Use this for what it’s worth as I know many of you have been very interested in this review.  Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below that you still may have and I will do my best to answer them.