As technology continues to advance, it is carrying over into the world of sports, especially in golf.
TrackMan, a company established in 2003, has continued to develop the technology to track a golfer’s swing, ball flight and help provide statistics golfer’s have never had before.
Kingwood High School has joined the technology push.
Through donations from Insperity and money raised by the booster club and additional funding from the Humble ISD athletic department, the Kingwood golf program was able to invest in the Trackman technology.
“I think it can really help,” Kingwood boys golf coach Jeff Bellnap said. “Knowing how far you hit your clubs, you never have to guess. This tells you how far you’re actually hitting the ball.
“This is brand new to me, but it is amazing how realistic it is. It’s not just making it up, it’s reading exactly what you’re doing and telling you exactly what happens. It’s not fake at all. It’s giving you the numbers.”
Down the steps from the cafeteria inside Kingwood High School sits a room, which at this time last year was being used for storage. Bellnap and players cleaned it out and were preparing to put up just a net on one end to hit golf balls into.
After Hurricane Harvey, everything in the room had to be replaced. With the donations, Bellnap decided to have the TrackMan system installed.
With the program, players can play multiple golf courses around the world, including St. Andrews. Players can have Par 3 contests, closest-to-the-pin challenges and different hitting tests that can be programmed in. Also, golfers can gather data on their swings.
Information recorded includes club speed, ball speed, carry, spin rate, club path, face angle and curve.
“I’ve actually noticed that it has made me focus more on that stuff,” Kingwood senior golfer Holden Hamilton said about having the data. “I’ve been more of a feel player. I’ve always just focused on getting the ball in the hole, not necessarily the technical aspect of it.”
In the short time that Kingwood has had the system, Hamilton said he has already noticed different parts of his swing he can adjust.
“I could get a lot better with my driver. I’ve noticed that I’ll put a lot of spin on my driver,” he said. “I’ve never noticed that before.”
The main question though is how does this transfer to the actual golf course?
Kingwood girls head golf coach Susan Willis said it helps players know what hitting a 75-yard shot compared to a 93-yard shot feels like.
“When you’re out on the golf course some players play by feel,” she said. “This helps them with that.”
The other benefit is when Mother Nature decides not to cooperate and doesn’t allow them to actually practice on the course.
“It allows us to practice on days when the weather’s not cooperating,” Willis said. “In the winter, it can be quite often. It gives us a way to allow them to work on specific things when otherwise we’d be out of luck.”
Teenagers love technology, and Bellnap said having this could help the program in the long run grow and get more students involved.
“If it grows our program, it’s good,” he said. “We’ve got 67 boys and girls this year. What we do in high school is to get kids to play golf. It’s nice to have good teams and win tournaments obviously, but the kids that play four years of high school golf and never reach the elite level get as much out of high school golf as those kids who do.”
This article appears in the October Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations soon!