Doppler radar aids golf instruction

By Marty Myers
Published on

CRYSTAL LAKE, Pa. -- The views from behind the teeing areas at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay gave fans a unique look at the flight of the ball of 156 of the top players in the world, the orange ribbon tracing the path onto the our televisions.

Now, that same technology is available locally. But instead of just tracking the flight of the ball, the FlightScope in use at Elkview Country Club gives players a chance to improve their game, as professionals like Corey McAlarney can use the 3-D Doppler technology to take an in-depth look at every aspect of the swing.

"It tracks 27 different parameters between ball and club data," said McAlarney, who is in his first year as assistant pro at Elkview. "It's going to track clubface relative to the angle of attack, vertical swing plane, horizontal swing plane."

Most importantly, it does something else.

"The main goal for the FlightScope and this technology is to get our students better, faster," McAlarney said "It's a big advantage to have a 3-D Doppler radar."

Accurate to 12 inches at 100 yards, FlightScope instantly sends the information to McAlarney's tablet.

With former girls Jackman Tournament champion Katie Zefran there to be fitted for new clubs, he takes that information to make sure she's getting the perfect fit.

"She's a good golfer, a competitive golfer, so it's important at her level to do this," McAlarney said. "We want to make sure she's in the right fit.

"The lie angle, the loft of the golf club, the flex of the club, weight, grip size and weight and the frequency of the golf club, as well as balance from butt end to head end. All of it has an effect on whether it's going to perform right for her."

It's technology that a few years ago would have forced players to make a long trip for such precise and helpful information.

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"I would have expected to go to Pinehurst or a Hank Haney School to get this," Zefran said. "It's a amazing where technology has come and how it can improve the accuracy of your swing and your golf game with just a few slight adjustments, which you would never know, unless you had this technology.

"To have this technology at Elkview, it's amazing."

Besides club fitting, the FlightScope will diagnose problems instantaneously.

"It's good information for me," McAlarney said. "It's my job to take it and put it into basic terms.

"Click of a couple buttons, Katie can have all the data she needs to look at. Again, with all the information this gives, I try not to give out too much to the student because it can be very overwhelming."

Typically, McAlarney will hone in on three numbers.

"If you start looking at all 27," he said, "you can confuse yourself."

That's why McAlarney takes the high-tech info and keeps it simple. And that's why it's such a popular teaching tool.

"We've had very positive feedback," McAlarney said. "Number one, it's something new to the club, new technology. They're intrigued, so they want to come out and see it, and find out the benefits of it.

"Which is nice. You can get them in front of it and get them to improve more quickly."

This article was written by Marty Myers from The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.