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Jon Brittan

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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...)
  13. We had a ridiculously hot summer over here and, in all honesty, I didn't notice it
  14. I am, yes. Most easily found on the scoring average chart Windy as anything today, so FIR and GIR were both hard work today, I've got those to pick up and it's cold, so I've got some driving distance to add as soon as it's not cold and windy, but more than doubled my current points today.
  15. Hey, hey @Nunfa0, I've finally managed to log an 18 hole round since the advent of medals... A very rapid jump in my medal total Straight up to 109 medals and 2645 points. 52 medals in one round
  16. I think what we can take from this is that someone from Hogan's marketing team probably needs to get a bit better at giving a clear message. What I was referring to was in their further write-up of the Equalizers: "In effect, the lower lofted wedges have a higher Center of Mass that generates flatter, penetrating shot trajectories that skip on the green, and stop quickly. The higher lofted wedges have been designed with a lower Center of Mass to deliver shots that fly higher, land softly on the green and stop. The result is that each Equalizer wedges perform exactly for its intended purposes." So, basically only the stronger lofted wedges are designed to be "penetrating" and the shorter wedges are designed, intentionally, to give a higher ball flight relative to their loft. Basically, in the shortest of their wedges, the opposite of the bit you have quoted from them... Basically, they need to be a bit more clear as to what they are saying and trying to achieve, as I agree with the point about their suggestion that the Ft Worth's are, essentially, like playing a Game Improvement iron too. Take that statement out and it's all a lot more palatable.
  17. Then I think we're really in the same place, other than what we feel Hogan are aiming for here. It seems, to me, that the PTx probably resembles what you've (accurately) described as a modern players iron. To me, the Ft Worth is a shot at a very traditional blade and nothing more than that. I don't see the Ft. Worth being the club that many people put in their bags with a view to winning their county/regional championships, but at the same time, I can honestly say that, for me, I didn't find them particularly harsh compared to pretty much anything else I play and again, for me, they suit what I currently want out of golf. I think, in the same way that modern power irons don't suit some players (with a 7 iron stronger lofted than your usual 5 iron), the current Ben Hogan philosophy probably has it's niche. Again, with reference to your comments on wedge flights, I understand the common desire, but look at their blurb on their aims with the Equalizer wedges which is nearly the complete opposite.
  18. I have to say, that this is a topic in this thread has me a little confused. A lot of players clubs have thinner soles in the long irons and it's a very intentional design factor. Thicker soles allow you to move more weight low to provide higher launch and more forgiveness, but the assumption in players irons is that you don't need this so much. At the same time, thinner soles provide more workability, both in terms of flighting shots up and down and also in looking to add lateral spin. Typically, players are more likely to want to shape shots in longer irons rather than shorter irons where the backspin overwhelms the effect of side-spin anyway, so the longer irons have thinner soles both by virtue of their natural shape, the lower requirement for forgiveness in the target market and to facilitate better shot-shaping. Most of my sets of traditional clubs have thinner long irons than short. As I've stated in my review, I think these are very much a "target market" club and, as the Tour itself proves, even the best of players in the World have to pick what suits them best and even in that tiny, tiny demographic you get people ranging between very traditional style blades through to AP2s and similar. I will say that, for almost every player, if you want to play tournaments and aren't living every second of your life with your irons wrapped into your hands then there are probably other irons that will facilitate better scoring, but I don't see anything wrong in these for what they are intended to be.
  19. In my opinion, no and while I understand the concept of MPF, I really think this is one of those areas of allowing numbers to replace reality. For example, this assumes that all players will contact the ball with the same lofting/de-lofting of the face, that they will strike the ball in exactly the same region of the face and that material or construction of the face also plays no part. It also completely ignores the sole construction of the club and how that plays a factor through strike. MPF is a guideline, a starting point for a thought process, not a "conclusion". I own lots of sets of clubs that are on their list and, for me, the actual experience in hitting them is all over the place relative to their listing. Let's take a sample set based on clubs I have: Wilson Deep Red II - MPF 942 Titleist 690CB - MPF 431 Mizuno MP-5 - MPF 359 Titleist ZB - MPF 495 Mizuno MP-15 - MPF 374 Mizuno MP-25 - MPF 290 Srixon Z765 - MPF 473 Ping G15 - MPF 844 Ft Worth - MPF 90 For me, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, I least like hitting (and get the worst results) with the Ping and Wilson sets, I just can't consistently hit the shots I want, yet according to MPF they should be far and away the easiest clubs I have to hit. My favourites fall between the Ft Worth and Srixon sets and I really find very little difference in terms of hitting each of them at all, yet one is on the high end of a players club and the other is supposedly among the hardest to hit clubs of recent history. Put both in my hand on course and I wouldn't be able to tell you either way. I find the MP-5s the easiest to hit of the Mizunos, despite falling in the middle of the group. It's really a guideline to the head's potential forgiveness under a very specific set of circumstances that doesn't tally with my, personal, experience at all. If you told me I had to play a match that mattered tomorrow and threw me the option of the Wilsons, one of the "best" clubs on the MPF scale or the Ft Worth, one of the "worst", there is only one club I would even contemplate and it's not the Wilsons.
  20. This is simply a training issue and it's something sports people and athletes have to deal with. As @02uwmadgrad has said, this would have been more detrimental early in your training. Superspeed golf state that the main aim of this training is to build not only the muscle based practice, but the psychology of swinging fast. Personally, I would say you're better off doing back-to-back than missing a session out of the week, but what you may want to do if you need to is to simply do fewer reps in the second workout if that helps you to swing faster. If you ache at all then focus on fewer swings that are at your peak speed rather than "go[ing] through the motions" as you put it. I would suggest that a casual, slow set purely for the purposes of volume would be detrimental really, where 2-3 reps at full speed would be better than nothing. The core is always to think about what you are trying to train (mind as much as muscles) and what your aim is (speed) and focus on that, 2 full-speed reps is better than no exercise, which is also better than "exercise" which tells your body it's okay to swing slow if that's what you need to do today. So to clarify, my suggestion would be to do back-to-back if you can, but only if you can hit full speed and if necessary reduce the reps you do to do so. If you don't feel you can swing fast at all on the second day, it's better to skip than to swing slow.
  21. May be worth just a little investigation. Some companies measure their club shafts differently to others and long drive driver shafts are measured differently to traditional drivers, for example. It's entirely possible you did get an "Odyssey 24" ", it's just that it turns out not to be the same thing as brand B's 34" depending on precisely what is being measured. In some ways, that is one of the true problems of the sport, very few true standards, so as a customer who doesn't necessarily want to have to understand too much about what you're buying you can end up with something other than what you expected.
  22. Putting, being the most demanding part of the game, is all about the commitment. You can be good, but never truly great at putting without having a very solid relationship with your putter. Close is good enough with every other club in your bag... I would also wager that for the vast majority of amateur golfers, the balance of time spent practicing with a putter in hand compared to all of your other clubs is way off...
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