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My range added Toptracer, and it's not good


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My practice place (and lessons and clubfitting) is Miles of Golf Cincinnati. They have added Toptracer, and today was my first time using it. I had heard others complain that the yardage numbers it gave were way short, and I found that to be quite true today. It's a neat setup,  if they get it to be accurate. In the mat bays they have a monitor in each bay,  but for the grass tees you need a smartphone and the app. They provide a bunch of stands to hold your phone, and you can move it where it works best for you. You start by hitting a few shots, and it fixes your position based on sound. Once you confirm your spot, before hitting a shot you input which club you're using. For each shot it gives you "flat" carry, total distance, launch angle, height, landing angle, hang time, curve, and offline. It gives you summary stats for each club. All sounds great, but the yardage it calculates is clearly way short. I used my rangefinder to shoot some of the targets (the app also gives you a map of the range with yardage for each target - that was accurate), and, with my 8 iron, for example, I was hitting it consistently a few yards past a pole at 149 yards. The app said my average carry was 133. With the driver I was carrying it between the 225 and 250 markers, but the app said my average was 204. I'd really love to be able to use this to dial in carry yardage for partial shots, and especially wedges, but right now it's not good enough. Unfortunately, I have not been on a launch monitor in some time, so I can't comment on the accuracy of the other stats. I did not have a chance to ask any of the staff about it, as the shop was not yet open (balls can be gotten from an auto dispenser before and after hours). I have a lesson next week, and I plan to find out more.

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Moose, my cat, is Siamese

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yeah i spent some time hitting at a range with top tracer back in july and if you were to take those distances to heart, it would be humbling to say the least. 

i was really striping long irons that were being clocked at 220-230 despite flying well past the 250 marker. 

is it the software? the dead range balls? probably a little column A and a little column B. 

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Must be a location thing. The one I’ve been to (Griffith Park driving range) was very accurate. This is the full setup with individual screens in each bay. At the end of the day, it’s not going to be as accurate as a full on launch monitor just because of the limitations of the system, but I was still pretty impressed.

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I had an experience at Del Mar in San Diego with this technology. 

The limitations of it not picking up every shot, not seeing the ball below about 10 ft above the ground, and the limited flight range balls turned out to be only a partial hindrance. 

The cool things were being able to see ball speed, peak height, and a history of shots. If it was not super accurate to my normal course yardages, which it wasn't, I could still use the relative distance gaps from club to club accurately. 

Overall, I thought it was a great addition that does more good than harm. It seemed to be good to have a friend calling out the numbers instead of trying to hit and look myself. 

Golf is simple - people are complicated.

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If the inaccuracy is consistant across all clubs you can easily just add the dievation to your results. So if you hit your 8 iron to the 150  mark and the system tells you 130 just add 20 yards. Basically you are looking for consistancy  anyway. 

Any range work will yield results less than actual unless you are on tour hitting new ProV"s on the range. My course does not use restricted flight golf balls. I can hit to the back of the range. The first tee is right beside the range and I can hit it 30 yards further down the fairway past the end of the range. Our range balls are replaced every other year. Range balls are meant to be beat to death. Harder scratch resistant covers two piece cheap balls. PS: I'm not a long hitter. 250 on a great hit.

Its the same thing with Top Golf. Restricted balls with locating chips in them. Crappy clubs with big offsets. You smoke a driver and it barely gets to the back net at 200 yards. Its a golf game promoting a party atmosphere. You can't take it too seriously if your a decent golfer. But you can always become a platinum member and rent better clubs. I wouldn't bring my own clubs there. 

Anyway I rambled a bit...... just achieve consistency on the range and don't worry about distance.

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12 hours ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

If the inaccuracy is consistant across all clubs you can easily just add the dievation to your results. So if you hit your 8 iron to the 150  mark and the system tells you 130 just add 20 yards. Basically you are looking for consistancy  anyway. 

Any range work will yield results less than actual unless you are on tour hitting new ProV"s on the range. My course does not use restricted flight golf balls. I can hit to the back of the range. The first tee is right beside the range and I can hit it 30 yards further down the fairway past the end of the range. Our range balls are replaced every other year. Range balls are meant to be beat to death. Harder scratch resistant covers two piece cheap balls. PS: I'm not a long hitter. 250 on a great hit.

Its the same thing with Top Golf. Restricted balls with locating chips in them. Crappy clubs with big offsets. You smoke a driver and it barely gets to the back net at 200 yards. Its a golf game promoting a party atmosphere. You can't take it too seriously if your a decent golfer. But you can always become a platinum member and rent better clubs. I wouldn't bring my own clubs there. 

Anyway I rambled a bit...... just achieve consistency on the range and don't worry about distance.

Just for reference, this isn’t a TopGolf setup, but their TopTracer technology. Basically the same thing they use to make the tracer lines on TV. They come to a normal driving range and add cameras to set up the system, then the players get all the standard ball flight data except for spin. Besides the virtual range mode, they have target practice, long drive, and virtual golf games in the system as well. At my local range, it’s 20 bucks for 75 minutes and includes the range balls.

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Currently reviewing PXG 0311 GEN5 Full Bag:
Driver: 7.5 degree Autoflex 505x

4 wood: Fujikura Motore X F3 6

3 Hybrid: Mitsubishi MMT 80g 

4-GW - 0311P GEN5 Xtreme Dark SteelFiber 95cw

54*/60* - Sugar Daddy II Xtreme Dark SteelFiber 95cw

Putter: PXG Blackjack center shaft 34"

Bag: Vessel VLX Iridium / Sunday Golf Loma

“Golf is a good walk enhanced”

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5 hours ago, Cory O said:

Just for reference, this isn’t a TopGolf setup, but their TopTracer technology. Basically the same thing they use to make the tracer lines on TV. They come to a normal driving range and add cameras to set up the system, then the players get all the standard ball flight data except for spin. Besides the virtual range mode, they have target practice, long drive, and virtual golf games in the system as well. At my local range, it’s 20 bucks for 75 minutes and includes the range balls.

Yes, I'm familiar with both systems. Just really stating that all range balls will not give you the results of the ball you actually play.

:titleist-small: Driver, TSi1 10* Stiff Flex

:taylormade-small: 3 Wood, SLDR  HL 17*  R Flex

:taylormade-small: 5 Wood, SLDR 19* R Flex

:cobra-small: 7 Wood, F6 22.5* R Flex

:Sub70: 939x 5 hybrid

:Sub70: Irons, 699 Pro's S Flex (6 - AW)

:Sub70:  JB Wedge 56*

:cleveland-small: Wedge, CBX 60*

:odyssey-small: Putter, Marksman Fang 35"

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4 hours ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

Yes, I'm familiar with both systems. Just really stating that all range balls will not give you the results of the ball you actually play.

The range got their new balls to coincide with the introduction of the Toptracer system, so they're pretty new. And to emphasize, I can hit a range ball to 150, and Toptracer says 133. And unfortunately, the difference is not linear. If I hit a partial wedge to 70, it says 40, if I hit to 200, it says 160, if I hit driver that carries between 25 and 250 (can only go by the markers, I don't know more precise than that, but on the course I can usually count on 240), it says 194. Until they get it calibrated better, I won't try to use it again.

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Moose, my cat, is Siamese

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The thing with range balls is that they may be limited flight and the yardage markers you see out on the range might be adjusted based on that. Track Man (https://blog.trackmangolf.com/trackman-webinar-ball-conversion/) has the ability to convert range balls to regular golf balls via some special calculations and I suspect Toptracer has a similar setup, but  it's possible those adjustments haven't been made at your range. 

There's a Toptracer range near me and the numbers I've seen appear to be fairly accurate. The longer clubs are the only place where it seems to struggle a little, but even then it's still usable.

There is one admittedly imperfect, but reasonable way to determine how accurate or inaccurate your Toptracer range may be. If you know your driver swing speed, you can hit a few balls and once you feel like you've crushed a couple dead center, look at your ball speed numbers. Calculate your smash factor by taking the ball speed and dividing it by your known average club speed. If your smash is below 1.4 then there's a reasonable chance these additional calculations aren't being used (it's also remotely possible you're not hitting it as well as you think). One way to really know if the calculations are turned on is when you get the occasional smash of 1.59 or something like that. I've seen those numbers at my range before and while it's possible that particular swing was just faster than normal it's a good indication that you're getting calculated numbers instead of real numbers off a limited flight ball.

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I went back this morning for my second try with Toptracer, and it was much better. The yardages it reported were spot on up to about 160 yards. Beyond that I think it was understating by up to 20 yards. I hit my 5 iron right at or a little past a pole at 183, but it showed my carry at 165. I have still not had the chance to speak with the staff, as I was there before the shop opened (automated dispenser with a range card). One difference might be on my first trip the tee line was as far back as could be, and the cameras were almost directly above. This week the line was very far forward. The cameras are fixed, so there was a good bit more room between me and them. Is that important? I don't know. At least with the accuracy good for shorter shots I really liked how it helped my partial wedge practice.

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Moose, my cat, is Siamese

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Sounds like to me that they had not calibrated it properly. Where I get my lessons they use the latest Trackman and Sam checks the calibration every 4-5 weeks. 90% of the time it is good but he has found that every now and then it go out and he has know idea why.

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  • 1 month later...

A follow up after a few more trips back:

Until today, all of my sessions were on the grass tees. There, you use a phone app to display your results. The sensors have to "find" you first, which is done by the sound of hitting a few balls and then confirming which spot you're in. Today it is raining, so I went to the covered bays. Each bay has it's own monitor, and the location is preprogrammed. Today I found the results to be absolutely spot on. Is it +/- 1 yard, as they claim? I can't say that, but it's certainly close enough for me to use and be happy. I'm currently taking lessons to build a new swing for my aging back, and my instructor prefers me to ignore TopTracer while I'm working on mechanics, but I found it extremely useful in determining yardages for partial wedges, as well as punch shots. If there's no trouble to carry on a shorter short, my instructor wants me to punch it more often. I've had trouble learning the yardages those punch shots travel. It also confirmed something I suspected, that my 5 iron carries just as far as my 4 hybrid. For the majority of my practice I will stick with the grass tees when possible, but I'll use the bays in poor weather, and I'll turn the TopTracer on when I do.

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Moose, my cat, is Siamese

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The range got their new balls to coincide with the introduction of the Toptracer system, so they're pretty new. And to emphasize, I can hit a range ball to 150, and Toptracer says 133. And unfortunately, the difference is not linear. If I hit a partial wedge to 70, it says 40, if I hit to 200, it says 160, if I hit driver that carries between 25 and 250 (can only go by the markers, I don't know more precise than that, but on the course I can usually count on 240), it says 194. Until they get it calibrated better, I won't try to use it again.
I've experienced the same issue with the toptracer lounge at my local course. We more or less use it to play virtual golf and games now. Calibration was iffy, it has improved, I still find in about a club short compared to where I'm hitting it to on the physical range. It's not perfect, and I wouldn't use it as a standard for gapping. Especially not on mats. Mine is indoor with heated bays and a bar right behind. I'm hoping to spend some more time there this winter. Beer and playing golf when there is snow on the ground will be worth the trade off in distance accuracy


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  • 2 months later...

My driving range McGolf in Dedham MA now has TopTracer. I recently bought a launch monitor yupiteru Atlas from Japan which claims to be quite accurate. I tried both today to compare. I found TT reports way shorter distance than Atlas.  I also use GPS watch that records my shots on golf course that shows similar distance compared to Atlas.  So I would say TT is underestimating.  Yes it's more fun but inaccurate distance is not cool.

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2 hours ago, Drqili said:

My driving range McGolf in Dedham MA now has TopTracer. I recently bought a launch monitor yupiteru Atlas from Japan which claims to be quite accurate. I tried both today to compare. I found TT reports way shorter distance than Atlas.  I also use GPS watch that records my shots on golf course that shows similar distance compared to Atlas.  So I would say TT is underestimating.  Yes it's more fun but inaccurate distance is not cool.

I found Top Tracer (TT) did not capture the last few or first few yards of flight which might account for the difference since personal launch monitors are using algorithms that are based on best conditions and premium balls. 

Additionally, range balls can be limited flight which makes the actual flight less.

All that to say, the good thing about TT are the stats and gaps from club to club which are extremely useful.

Golf is simple - people are complicated.

5w Taylormade SLDR S 19* - 220yd, Ping G2 5-U - 190-105, Maltby M+ 54* & MG 60* - 95-75, Evnroll ER8, Titleist 816 H1 4h 21*, Maltby 4 Hybrid Iron 24* - 210-200, Callaway XR16 8* - 235 carry

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  • 2 weeks later...

I might assume that the data shown on the monitor is based on distances at sea level and not where you are located. . I just got fitted at Club Champion in Indiana and their Trackman was set up at sea level. Due to playing in Indiana, I was told by the store owner that we should add 10-15 yards because of our elevation. I bet most of these tracking systems are set the same way and you need to make your own adjustment level for the elevation in your hometown. 

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  • 4 months later...
On 9/8/2020 at 5:31 PM, Siamese Moose said:

My practice place (and lessons and clubfitting) is Miles of Golf Cincinnati. They have added Toptracer, and today was my first time using it. I had heard others complain that the yardage numbers it gave were way short, and I found that to be quite true today. It's a neat setup,  if they get it to be accurate. In the mat bays they have a monitor in each bay,  but for the grass tees you need a smartphone and the app. They provide a bunch of stands to hold your phone, and you can move it where it works best for you. You start by hitting a few shots, and it fixes your position based on sound. Once you confirm your spot, before hitting a shot you input which club you're using. For each shot it gives you "flat" carry, total distance, launch angle, height, landing angle, hang time, curve, and offline. It gives you summary stats for each club. All sounds great, but the yardage it calculates is clearly way short. I used my rangefinder to shoot some of the targets (the app also gives you a map of the range with yardage for each target - that was accurate), and, with my 8 iron, for example, I was hitting it consistently a few yards past a pole at 149 yards. The app said my average carry was 133. With the driver I was carrying it between the 225 and 250 markers, but the app said my average was 204. I'd really love to be able to use this to dial in carry yardage for partial shots, and especially wedges, but right now it's not good enough. Unfortunately, I have not been on a launch monitor in some time, so I can't comment on the accuracy of the other stats. I did not have a chance to ask any of the staff about it, as the shop was not yet open (balls can be gotten from an auto dispenser before and after hours). I have a lesson next week, and I plan to find out more.

Saimese I too live in the Cincy area (Trenton) and I’ve been going to Miles since they bought it from the previous owners. I was stoked to hear about TopTracer. I had shoulder surgery and was unable to play from August through February but I’ve been multiple times since then. 
 

I had this very same issue today and it’s something that hasn’t happened before. I got a new shaft for my Driver (Autoflex 505) and wanted to dial it in a bit with the head weights etc. My club speed is in the high 110’s and sometimes creeps into the 120’s so you can imagine my ball speed Hovers in the low 170’s to 180’s. The tracer was giving me low ball speeds, terrible launch angles and carry distances about 30-40 yards off from where they were landing. It became very frustrating as I was trying to dial a few things in but wasn’t getting the Data I needed to do so. 

After talking with some instructors and employees there, since the tracer is camera based, it actually will struggle at times with weather, glare from sun etc. Also some bays are worse than others apparently and the further out you hit the more drastic it becomes. 

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One of my local ranges added Top Tracer about a year ago, I’ve been there a few times. I’ve found it to be more accurate on shorter clubs, it seems the longer distance the more inaccurate it is.

I had a full fitting with trackman one day and went to that range the next....7 iron carry on trackman 165....on Top Tracer 138

I really had high hopes for this technology, it would be great to be able to get accurate data at a local range.

 

 

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On 9/12/2020 at 1:37 PM, Tom the Golf Nut said:

Yes, I'm familiar with both systems. Just really stating that all range balls will not give you the results of the ball you actually play.

I believe they have a setting you can choose where they give you the distances based on a "premium" ball

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