Recently, Tim and I visited the Titleist Performance Center in Carlsbad California. I consider the Titleist Performance center the “Mecca” of golf. It is a golf performance dream where you can get fitted for Irons, Drivers, Fairway Woods and Wedges. The fitting / practice area extends approximately 50 acres with expansive lush practice fairways and practice greens. Once side of the facility is dedicated to consumer testing while the other part of the facility is for the tour players. Inside the building, you fill find infrared and doppler radar systems to analyze golf swings and ball flight spin rates. Literally, if you are a golfer, you will want to visit the Titleist center at some point.
Tim and I made the visit so that we could get completely outfitted with the latest Titleist technology. In the process, I learned about spin rates, launch angles, smash factors and all of the factors that make the ball fly long and straight. And thanks to Cliff Walzak, I learned what makes a good player. Of course, we spent all day with him and he told stories of various tour players, club head speeds and ball striking exploits. But it wasn’t his stories of famous players that I found the most fascinating but his experiences and research on how he can “predict” who will be a good player.
Cliff sees hundreds of aspiring players who travel from around the world to have their swings tested, analyzed and club fit. To do this, he uses a Trackman Doppler radar system which tracks ball speed, spin and flight to determine and optimize perfect ball flight. What Cliff said amazed me. It wasn’t how far a player hit the ball that really determined whether he could play at a high level. What Cliff said determined “potential” and “high performance” attributes was the consistency of ball speed. Let me explain.
Ball speed is a function of club-head speed and compression of the golf ball. What Cliff has noticed throughout the years, is that great players, when striking all of their clubs, produce consistent ball speeds. For example, when hitting a driver, good players ball speeds will range from 150 to 170 miles per hour. But what makes them great players is that they consistently produce these ball speeds on every swing. In my case, I consistently produced approximately 151 mph ball speed while Tim was approximately 160mph. The key was our consistency.
In other words, average to poor players do not produce consistent ball speeds which causes them to produce inconsistent ball flight distances – thus unpredictable yardages. The bottom line is that great players have learned to get the club to impact consistently – with consistent speeds. It just makes sense when you think of it that way.
I hate to rub salt into the wound, however, this is exactly what the Single Plane Solution is all about. When I produced the SPS video, it was really all about impact and the most efficient way to get there. You must be able to repeat impact – consistently – to be a great player. There really is no other goal if you are working on your swing.
Now to do this, you must (obviously) swing the club on plane. It makes achieving impact much easier and yes, more consistent. This is the purpose of swing plane – to get to impact – and the easiest way to do this is the way Moe did it where he started at the same place he impacted. It’s all starting to come together now – isn’t it?
Needless to say, the Titleist Performance Center was a great experience – it opened my eyes to a new dimension to understanding great golf shots. I saw my golf shots being tracked by a doppler radar. Moe would have loved to see that!