Radar Tracking of Hickory Golf Shots

July 2007

Radar Tracking of Hickory Golf Shots

I had the great fortune a couple of months ago to take part in a conference organised by the European Institute of Golf Couse Architects in Dublin.

Professional golf architects came from far and wide and I provided them with sets of antique hickory golf clubs for them to play with on Portmarnock Links.

The best bit for me was having my shots radar tracked by Steve Otto, the chief scientist of the R&A. I had five goes with my trusted hickory Brassie dating from around 1920 and was very pleased to learn that all my shots had a carry between 185 and 190 yards- how's that for consistency! Plus I estimated that they rolled an extra 30 yards at least given the hard and fast ground conditions. Steve tracked all of the other players shots and came to the rough conclusion that for most amateur players modern clubs offer an advantage of about 10% in terms of distance.

Interestingly Steve told me that most amateurs could increase the distance they hit the ball by well over 10% if they worked to obtain an optimised launch angle and ball spin rate. He just didn't quite explain how I should exactly go about that....

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