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Jon Brittan

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About Jon Brittan

  • Birthday 07/10/1979

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    Cambridge, UK

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  1. It also knocks out outliers anyway. If you want to know your playing distances you should be looking at "P-average" not "Average". P-average throws out outliers and tries to give a more accurate impression of what you should be expecting the club to do on a full shot.
  2. Hi All. First off, apologies that this is a lot later than I had intended, life sometimes has its ways of getting in the way, and it has done so to great effect over the last number of months. (Photos will be added to this post later) I need to say a huge Thank you to Skytrak golf for loaning me a unit for use in my Ben Hogan Ft. Worth review for this site previously, and this will now comprise my thoughts on the unit itself. I intend to stage this the same as we would for our other reviews, so there will be a Stage One introduction, a Stage Two with the full report and then some space for updated thoughts over time. So, without further delay: About me I have been playing golf for slowly coming on towards three years now. If you want a more thorough overview, then you can read it in my Ft. Worth Black review (here), which was also the initial spawn to this review. I am a self-taught golfer who wants to get as close to scratch (or beyond) as he can through a personal understanding of the game. I want to see if I can get myself there, ideally, so am intentionally working without a coach. I have a background in sports, while I have always worked in technical fields with a particular interest in knowing subjects inside out. This was one of the initial draws of golf for me. Golf is a sport, more than most, where performance can be improved significantly through the understanding of the physics and movements involved. You, a ball and a target, you have as much control over all of the input factors as you can in almost any sport, so learn the concept, learn the physics, and you should be pretty close to the game. Why a launch monitor Data. It really is that simple. You can improve over time just by hitting balls on a range. You can improve just by playing the game on a course. Ultimately, though, there will be a limit to how quickly you can improve and even just how far you can improve if you’re eye-balling everything or beholden to the elements and the effect of chance found of a golf course. To qualify that last statement, you can never control every element of a golf course: There is wind; you will get odd bounces; many courses the greens won’t run consistently. To this end, the aim should always be to minimise the random effects that are a factor in your game. As Tiger Woods once said, on tour everyone’s A-game is incredible, they don’t work much to improve their best, they work to minimise their miss, to bring their worst up as close as possible to their best. This applies equally to the amateur golfer, if not even more so. Many of us are capable of occasionally hitting the perfect shot, and we don’t need to be able to achieve much more than we are already capable of. What we need to do is get to the point where we can regularly perform at or near our best shots, rather than only seeing them occasionally. It’s all well and good focusing on improving your swing speed, for example, but if your club-face contact is still tremendously random, then you’re not getting the benefit. Who really wants one 300+ yard drive down the centre, followed by two of 215 yards and well off the fairway? What we should be aiming for is not adding 10 yards to your 7-iron, it’s reducing the radius of your 7-iron shot distribution and getting a consistent level of spin, so you know what the ball will do both in the air and when it lands. That is where we actually pick up our shots, knowing that our “bad” will still always have a chance of being recoverable and that our worst doesn’t come along too often. Types of launch monitor These days there are a lot of options in the launch monitor field, with a range of technologies and a wide variety of price ranges. The core technologies are optical or radar-based ball tracking. At the lower end of the market, price-wise, are options like the Opti-shot, which is not so much a “launch monitor” as a “launch conditions monitor” as it takes its reading from the club passing over an optical sensor rather than the ball. Also at this end of the market are radar-based systems like the Ernest Sports ES12/14 units, the Flightscope Mevo and the SwingCaddy SC series. These are not “equal” units, but they utilise similar technologies, short-range Doppler radar to watch the first meters of ball flight and use information such as the ball speed, the launch angle and the club (you have told the system) you used to calculate probable spin, carry and total distances. Most of these units should fall well into the potential budget of most amateur golfers and can certainly add some useful information for consistent practice, taking out some of the random factors and giving you consistent data to work against as you try to improve your game. At the top end of the market are units like the Trackman devices, using multiple Doppler radar inputs to watch the full flight of the ball from launch to landing and also the club through the swing. It still calculates ball spin, but the volume of input and the full flight of the ball give better data points to allow for significantly more accuracy than the products at the lower end of the market. There are also options like the Foresight GC2 and GCQuad, based on optical technologies. The GC2 with an HMT device added, and the GCQuad natively watch the ball at the point of contact, they see the launch speed of the ball, the launch angle and can read the spin rate of the ball at launch along with all of the club head data. With both sets of devices, you get all of the information you need to be able to fine-tune your swing, knowing what the ball did, what your club did at impact and giving you plenty of information on how to change impact to provide the result you want. There is a differentiation here in what you do get, though. The Trackman device should give you a very accurate recreation of what happened to your ball if you hit it down a full range, including the environmental effects on the ball. The GC devices will give you a recreation of what would happen to the ball in neutral conditions (or whatever conditions you have set for the system and software) regardless of external factors such as wind, but for this reason, the ball flight on screen and that you see in real life may not perfectly match. There is an argument to be made here that purely for practice purposes the optical device potentially holds an advantage as it eliminates external factors allowing you to ignore things like wind, which continually changes and to know the spin-rate recorded is real and not estimated. These devices, however, are costly, running into five-figures often even in reconditioned form. Incredible units, they are, but they are out of the budget of most amateurs and really belong in coaching bays of local professionals. Skytrak Skytrak holds the middle ground in the launch monitor space. An optical unit, offering the same approach to ball tracking as the Foresight GC units at a price far closer to an amateur’s budget. The Skytrak promises accurate launch data to give a full-flight representation with close to Premium unit accuracy for a fraction of the price, along with the ability to be used as a full gaming simulator. What Skytrak does not offer, that is available either as standard or an add-on to the premium units, is club-head data 1 What you should get is everything you need to be able to tune your practice towards achieving specific ball outcomes along with the option to create a home simulator to play full rounds of golf. The ability to focus your practice on specific outcomes should improve practice efficiency significantly There is one key point worth noting, however. Skytrak requires a subscription for all but the most fundamental aspects of the device, so if you want anything more than a straight driving range, there is a yearly cost associated. 1 With the addition of a SkyPro device, which straps to the shaft of your club, it is possible to add club data for a more complete dataset. First impressions The Skytrak unit comes in a very tidy, neat little box. To be honest, there isn’t a great deal to it, what you get are the Skytrak device itself and a charging cable. Additionally, you can have a protective case (included here) which has adjustable feet to change the height and levelling of the device and a stick on spirit level (which is quite useful for ensuring the thing is flat, so your data is accurate) It’s a little hard to judge the unit on first impressions. It’s a neat, small box. The plastic finish is possible a little “cheap” for what the unit costs, but at the same time we need to keep one eye on the fact that we’re paying for what is inside and if it matches up to its claims of accuracy then the unit is cheap compared to its very high-end competitors. Setup is simple: Charge the unit and download the app while you wait (this exists for Desktop computers, Android and iOS), then create yourself an account. Once the system is charged, you have the app and a valid login you’re headed to your hitting space. Get the unit parallel to your strike area, turn it on and pair it to your device. The Skytrak has a built-in Wifi hotspot that you can connect to with your device of choice for a direct connection, you can use a USB cable for a physical connection, or finally, you can join the device to your Wifi and then connect to the unit via your home/local network. Once the device is in place, turned on and you are connected to it you’re down to picking the mode you want to use and getting swinging, but I’ll leave the rest of this to the full review. The provided software looks very much like an app, it’s easy to navigate, and if you go for the full practice package, then there are some handy looking tools available to you. The first impressions overall are good. It would have been a boon for the unit to have a slightly more premium appearance for a device that costs more than a good laptop, but the setup and what is on offer as a unit can justify the price if it performs as promised. A first run through the software and some practice strokes are enough to entice further testing, so let’s take some time and put this thing through its paces.
  3. I'm not sure I'd say that. Half the golfing world is still on winter break. They are releasing new Firmware currently, I'm on the Beta program and they've publicly released the more recent set of updates and just provided a new Beta firmware which helps with battery life, speed of GPS signal location and some of the new rules of golf (built in search timer). I use it every single round still and I think, of it's kind, it's still the best distance and shot tracking system on the market at present (personal opinion).
  4. Another ER2 stalwart here. Took me forever to decide on a replacement to my original putter, went with the ER2 after extensive testing of just about everything and at this moment in time I don't think you'd even be able to rip it out of my cold, dead hands, I'd still be hanging on to it...
  5. Thanks for the shout-out @GB13 My bits of advice: Get a notepad and on the last page write your full target goal, be that making scratch or the PGA Tour, whatever, you are going to refer back to this repeatedly when setting your short-term goals, but you're going to close the book on that for the time being and not be solely focused on that, we now need achievable targets to remain motivated. Set simple targets for your improvement, not easy but something you could expect to achieve in a month, for example, with regular and focused practice. This is how we're going to improve our game rapidly, but being achievable also helps keep motivation and morale high. Targets can be simple and decide how far you want to push yourself and how you want to achieve your aims. Do you want to be as good as possible as soon as possible? Then pick your biggest scoring weakness to work on and set hard targets like approach proximity etc Do you want the game to be fun and improve at the same time? Set yourself short term goals like hitting more greens in regulation than your last round. Having fewer putts than your last round Play as much as possible. Swing a club every day if you can, even if it's only a few times and it's not at a ball, but do it all with focus on what you're trying to achieve. Use cameras and data as much as you can. It's one thing to eyeball your range balls, it's something different to have a launch monitor and see every aspect of your ball launch and know how each change you make affects your result. You can also target specific areas to improve with each session. I use a piece of software called Kinovea, which is useful for a bunch of reasons. It's free, for a start, but it allows you to set a short delay on "live" camera feeds and multiple inputs, so you can have both an in-front and a down the line camera on a four second delay, take your swing and then look at the screen to see it back immediately. It also allows you to record, to put two videos time-synced next to each other so you can compare your swing from today with your swing from a point in the past or even to a professional's swing and you can measure angles etc easily Practice with the intention of improving, play with the intention of enjoying. I, personally at least, really hampered my scoring for a while when I got to the point I knew I could get birdies, I started trying too hard to give myself the chances and making silly mistakes where I would then be scrambling to maintain par. I scored better when I focused on making par on every hole. My best golf has come in the last few weeks where I'm letting ShotScope record my rounds for me and not even bothering keep tally at any point in the round, simply focusing on every shot as it comes. No matter how a round goes, always find something you did well and something you can learn from. Never waste a bad round dwelling on the fact you didn't play as well as you wanted, make it work to your advantage and think about what you can learn. Never allow a better than usual round to make you think all is perfect, appreciate what went well, think about anywhere you got lucky and look for the bits you still could have done better. That's become quite extensive, so I'll leave it there other than to say one last thing. Everyone is different and has both different ways of learning and enjoying their activities, so find what works best for you, try new things and enjoy the process. Good luck!
  6. I don't have an official handicap, I've not taken membership anywhere as I prefer a nomadic approach to where I play my golf. I've been playing to about a 6 for the last year. So far, over the Christmas period, I've just played 5 straight rounds under par for an average 2.75 under par, but that is aided by the fact all of those rounds are on what I would consider "easy" courses, that I also know really well. I think anywhere between 6-10 is probably about fair in terms of actual performance level were I to play competitions at better standard courses that I don't know...
  7. Ooh, only just noticed this thread. Can I have UK, Broke 70 (Can be checked via ShotScope where I'm in the MyGolfSpy leaderboards) and Tester '18, please?
  8. I'm just going to keep gently ticking on this. These are still working for me. I've now shot four consecutive under-par rounds (admittedly on easier courses that I know quite well) and it's been based mostly on iron shots in the current weather. I really have few complaints about these, for what they are. That said, in a few weeks I'm going to try to get my hands on a demo set of a couple of different irons and do a fresh comparison.
  9. Yes, there is... Image for proof of MyGolfSpy leaderboard existence only, of course
  10. It would if their GPS location was off by even a small amount so the recorded location doesn't match the map overlay perfectly...
  11. And it looks like the "Beta" firmware is now available to all
  12. The Beta firmware so far is great, seems to pick up location faster and gives you a more "reassuring" screen as to what it's doing and that it hasn't just locked up and achieved nothing while it is looking for signal. Being able to play a back-9 on reciprocating or multiple-9s courses is great too. It seems to be better at picking up your putting location more quickly too, though that may just be my perception. That's been the one area I've had questions in the past, where I tend to be over my putt and take it fairly quickly and I've had to edit putt and flag locations more than any other thing previously, though I also think some of that is simply that the course I most commonly play needs re-mapping. The only other minor gripe I have is that the mobile app is slightly confusing around the turn of the year. I downloaded my first round of this year yesterday and immediately couldn't see it, it looked like it was just lost. I'd forgotten/hadn't realised that rounds are stored per-year and I was still looking at the 2018 page. Still, scoring is coming along well and I'm #1 in more than one category on the MGS leaderboards, so step your games up fellas (though you can expect my position on at least one of those to drop right off as soon as I play a slightly more difficult course...)
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