John Renslow: Improving launch angle, Part 2 | TheUnion.com

John Renslow: Improving launch angle, Part 2

By John Renslow | Special to The Union

Last week, we took a drive down the road to a better launch angle. There is, of course, no single answer to the question. Yet, “How do I improve?” cannot be resolved without some specifically chosen equipment.

Do we choose our shirt size, our pants size, and our shoe size? Do we get hiking boots to run or a parka for the gym?

In review, the culmination of what we are trying to achieve is seen in the angle at which the ball is sent off the club face. More than one factor goes into this result. Many people will simply think that this is the loft of the face. However, shaft flex and swing style also have a significant effect on launch.

We hear about launch on televised events, but this usually is delivered without an explanation. In addition to club head speed, two primary distance factors are launch angle and spin rate. The next consideration is the determination of launch angle relative to swing speed. Relatively slower swing speeds hit the ball further with a relatively higher launch angle and a higher spin rate.

Briefly, here are a few categories. For one with a swing speed of 80 mph, we would like to see a launch angle of 14 degrees and a 3,000 rpm spin rate. At 90 mph, the launch angle goes down to 12 to 13 degrees and a 2,700 rpm spin rate. Up at 100 mph, we can go as low as 10 degrees and our spin rate can be down around 2,300 rpm.

In the past, purchasing the equipment to determine this was not practical and the primary path to the information was through a very expensive swing analysis.

Today, we have many options and, depending on “whistles and bells,” a good deal may be for found for the curious golfer.

Don’t get me wrong, if one wants the whole Disneyland experience, one can play a virtual round of golf in their home. After hitting the ball into a padded canopy or drop-down wall, the launch monitor will determine the result of the shot. This is based on launch angle and spin rate.

All of this can now be yours for under \$10,000.

But, for the average player, who just wants to get the data and be able to track over a period of time, we need to head for a more basic machine.

For our purposes, we’re going to take a look at this more pedestrian approach to improving our game through some critical electronic data.

If you’re going to spend \$500 on a driver, you might want to choose the simple purchase.

The FlightScope Mevo — this is a small unit that uses radar-based 3D Doppler that can be used indoors or outdoors. It comes with a free mobile app that allows users to view real-time information while automatically collecting the results to review later.

This type is a portable machine that has its own eyes and brain.

Yet, another even more affordable unit has its eyes and brain in your pocket. The software uses the camera on your smart phone.

There are several to choose from, like the Garmin Approach R10. With it, you’ll be able to view readings for 16 data parameters, including ball and club head speed, launch angle and direction, club path, angle of attack, and more.

Rather than the \$500 price tag, we can subscribe for just \$10 a month.

So, we’ve got options to improve our game through some entertaining, but practical gadgets. And, as an added bonus this time of the year, as rain enters the forecast you can head for the garage and hit some balls into a net, or that old mattress, with some purpose.

John Renslow is a PGA professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses

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