The New Rules

Tom Stickney, PGA, outlines the new rules for ballflight


Whether you use Trackman or any other sort of swing or launch monitoring device, remember at the end of the day it's how you use your "feels" to produce consistent swings that matters. It's what you do with the information you get from the machine and from your coach, and how you put it to work. Is Trackman going to help you make a better swing? Will it hit any shots for you? Can a 3-D swing analysis provide club or shot selection when you're coming down the stretch and desperately need a birdie to save your match? No way. Today's high-tech wizardry can only tell you what your current swing produces, and it's then up to your coach to help explain what you need to change in efforts to produce a new shot pattern.

I've seen students become so fixated on developing a perfect swing that they forget that the game is more about managing your mistakes than it is hitting every shot dead- solid perfect. Folks, you're going to make bad swings. You're going to have bad days. The key, especially as it relates to using Trackman or any other computer-assisted tool, is to find what shot pattern is your most repeatable one. Think of it this way: You may be better at repeating a 245-yard fade than you are at sometimes pulling off a 270-yard draw. Which in that case, why bother trying to change your swing and hit that 270-yard draw when it's significantly easier to replicate the 245-yard fade? This is the hidden danger in using tools like Trackman. If you go down the road where you're constantly trying to fix your swing and hit shots you can only sometimes pull off, you run the risk of actually becoming a worse player than you were at the start. You're always going to be better off fine-tuning and making the most of what shots you can repeat and not trying to dial in a perfect swing and shot pattern every single time. Your best shot isn't always the best shot you can hit!

Tom Stickney, PGA, teaches at Bighorn CC in California and Promontory Club in Utah. He's a leading expert in Trackman science. For more information, visit

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