My 3 Months With Mr. Trackman: A Coach’s Prespective

Mr. Trackman

Technology has become a huge part of golf instruction in the last 10 to 15 years. First it was high-speed video and the ability to slow down professional golfers swings and compare them to the average golfer for a comparison. Now it is sophisticated launch monitors for full swing and putting that have taken the analysis to a whole new level for the student and the teacher. Recently on the Golf Channel, Frank Nobilo and Brandel Chamblee were discussing what they called the “New Age” or “The Modern Teacher.” Mr. Nobilo said that these coaches were now using devices such as “Trackman”, “SAMPutt Lab” and “AimpointTrackman Adam style Green Reading“. He brought up names such as Sean Foley, David Orr and my good friend John Graham which was nice of him because these guys need to get credit for bringing these technologies to forefront. I actually had a few of my members email or contact me after they saw this segment to mention to me that they thought that I would fall under this category which was pretty cool. Since I have been using the SAM Putt Lab and teaching AimPoint for almost 2 years, I would have to say that I fall under this “Modern Teacher” category even though I still consider myself old school in many ways as I will explain. Even though I have educated myself on understanding “correct” ball flight, the D Plane and trackman numbers, I have only recently been fortunate enough to actually teach with one. Thanks to Cobra/Puma Golf for allowing us to borrow a Trackman as a promotion for the last couple of months and it has been very educational for sure. I will attempt to put into words some of the things that I have learned while using trackman and give you my thoughts on this old school vs. new school teacher idea that has been thrown around by many of you as well as our friend Mr. Chamblee who has proclaimed that technology such as Trackman is hurting the game.

There has been alot of discussion amongst my fellow teaching professionals on twitter and some facebook forums of the importance of being able to get and ultimately deliver “accurate information” to the golfer. I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment but it still remains that the teacher is still responsible for interpreting the information and ultimately communicating it to the laymen golfer for them to improve. I have many of my students that I work with today that could interpret trackman and SAM Putt Lab numbers but wouldn’t have the first idea about giving a quality golf lesson. Are you with me so far?

Using Trackman (Old School meets New School)

After teaching with Trackman for almost 3 months, I have to remind myself and and my trackman with groupstaff that standing behind the machine and barking out numbers and telling them to move the numbers is not teaching golf! This is where the old school meets the new school in my opinion. Trackman is merely a great device to give us the information on what the club is doing that we may not be able to see with the naked eye. It has allowed me to 1) Bring the D Plane to life for my students with a definitive ball flight explanation 2) Given me a quicker solution to the problem and 3) Given my student some measurement to the change that we are making in the lesson. Trackman is not method biased. It is still up to the teacher to 1) interpret the numbers 2) communicate the important piece to the student that needs to change and 3) GIVE THE STUDENT THE FEEL AND/OR DRILL TO MAKE THE CHANGE. #3 is where I feel that alot of new teachers fall short and don’t know how to help the student move the numbers or make the long lasting change. This is where my old school meets new school (did I say that already?)


For those who have watched me teach or have followed me in the past know that I am very big on manipulating the student. This means getting in there and moving the club and307368_2312140281042_1175444144_32381510_1363374772_n or body in an exaggerated fasion in order to create a feel for the opposite move in order to make a change. This is an acquired skill that has to be practiced.  After you have decided on what you are working on with your student, you can’t rely on them to just do it without you creating a feel through moving them or giving them the appropriate drill. Because if you tell the student that you need the path number to move from -6 guru manipulatingdegrees to plus 2 and can’t make it happen, then you have a very frustrated student on your hands and trackman has done nothing but expose you as a coach who can’t get results, so be careful. Once the student sees the numbers change and the desired results they can use it to create a repeatable pattern. This is the feedback that I have received from my students about their experience on trackman.

Key Things That I Have Learned On Trackman

For those of you who have been using Trackman this will be remedial but I am just giving you my thoughts on using trackman the last few months.

1) Impact Location is crucial – Especially with hitting the driver, unerstanding gear trackman gurueffect is huge. It make the D Plane numbers look silly and you have to explain this to your students. I use Dr. Sholls powder and video replay to figure out the impact location on every shot.

2) Golfer Alignment and Trackman Callibration Is Important – Trackman only knows the target line that you callibrated it to. It doesn’t know where the golfer is aiming or how they are standing relative to the target. Similar to camera angles in video, the target line is important in how the numbers are interpreted.

3) Angle Of Attack – This Is the most difficult dimension to calculate if you don’t have trackman. I am pretty good at guessing path and face numbers (it is a fun game to play during a lesson) but AoA is difficult. Using video is helpful to diagnose why someone hits down too much or up too much depending on the club your are working on. Some pieces that I look at regarding AoA are: 1. handle location 2. the distance from the front shoulder and the ground (Thank you James Ridyard) which is a direct reflection of how bent the knees are at impact and for how long.

Its All About Spin Loft – The Angle between Club Orientation and Club Direction. (Not really just had to put that in there for my boy Ryan Cheney) (@oraclerio) follow him on twitter, you won’t be disappointed.

The main numbers that I use when teaching (not fitting) is: Face, Path, Angle of Attack, Swing Plane, Dynamic Loft, Spin Loft, Axis Tilt. – With Driver I would add: Smash factor (ball speed/clubhead speed), Launch angle and spin rate.

Path vs. Face debate

There has been several threads and conversations over the last several months with teaching pros about what to fix first…..swing path or club face. I will say that in the past (before I fully understood D Plane) I tended to fix the face first with OK results. Now that I understand starting direction and curve, I would say it has evened out and probably work on path more than ever but I don’t neglect the fact that golfers do respond a face change that will change the path. My point is that it a subjective change depending on the characteristics of the students pattern you are working with. A lot of time I will make a grip change (face) and work on path without even mentioning the face but I did change it. The genius still lies upon the expert teacher that will make the appropriate correction to create the desired ball flight of the STUDENTS GOALS! I use video to look at positions and how they relate to the numbers on trackman to get to the quickest solution. If you are only fixing one side of the equation then I think you are short siding the student.

When To Use Technology

Every student will not benefit from Trackman all of the time. You have to be able to read the student and tell whether they need to feedback. I typically keep it running but don’t show them the numbers unless they ask or I want to show them the change, not unlike video analysis. Listening and reading the students learning style is crucial in using it effectively.


Overall I have been very pleased with the results and the feedback from my students about using trackman. The students experience is the ultimate feedback and it has been overwhelmingly positive which improves our chances of getting our own orange box. The thing that I hope you got out of this piece is that Trackman is simply a measuring tool for the teacher and student but it does not take the place of the expert coach that has to guide the learning experience and change for the pupil.

I have alot to learn but now I feel like I have the device to give me the answers……..

Thanks for reading and feel free to share if you deem worthy. As the season winds down, i will start to write again and continue to do what I love……gather, share and mentor other teachers to help us all grow the game.

Follow me on twitter @golfgurutv


2012 PGA Show Recap (A Twitter Experience)

"The Mastermind Crew"

So many of my counterparts have already finished their recap of this years PGA Merchandise show so here is my take on this years haps. In my opinion this years show was the best ever. As I have written in the past, the PGA show is what you make of it. The people you choose to be around, the seminars you attend and the products you are interested in. The PGA of America is starting to get the fact that it is a social media opportunity to connect with the members and the experience is getting better and better. As always, I had a definite plan to get around as many top coaches and to see as much of the show as I can which can be difficult in a very short stretch so I went for it. I can break this post down into 2 parts: 1)The networking and spending time with good friends and  2)the products that I thought were new and innovative and would help your game.

Part 1 (Networking)

I was very excited to hang out with and spend time with my good friends John Graham, Dennis Sales, Jason Helman,  Rob McGill, Andrew Marr, Sara Dickson, Kirk Oguri and Ricky Lee Potts which you have heard me call my mastermind crew. We have all become very close and the side bar conversations are so valuable and I always come away with new information on how to teach better. For those of you who could keep up with our twtter feeds would know that we had a Pre Tweet up on Wednesday where we got together for dinner and then John Graham’s and Richie Hunt’s Big tweet up on Thursday which was awesome. I got to meet so many new people who I had talked to on twitter like Steve Mitchell, Nick Starchuck, Megan Pudua, James Hong, Michel Mennard, Travis Lloyd, John Randle, Zach Baron. I even got to stay with Aaron Olson, one of the bright young stars in the business from Arizona. He works with Megan Pudua, Jeff Rittter and Martin Chuck at the Raven. You will be hearning great things from this young man as he was very impressive for sure. There were so many people who I met I am sure I am leaving someone out. As for the tweetup, it did not disappoint as the swing discussion and demonstration was led by good friend and one of my favorite people, John Dochety as he turned Andrew Marr into a pretzel demonstrating the multiple tilts in the golf swing. Doc, you are the best my friend and I always learn so much when we get together. Thank you to John Graham for putting it together and I know it is going to make a difference in our industry for such a group of coaches to come together from all different philosophies and theories to share and enjoy one another’s company. Trust me, the teaching summit had nothing on what went on this evening. I have included a short montage put together by Nick Chertock (who better be in attendance next year) which was awesome. Thank you my friend. One of my big goals while I was there was to take the opportunity to shoot some video of all the mastermind crew. So I put together our team and how had a round table discussion the next morning that lasted about 40 minutes. I think you can get the feeling of how much we care about one another which for me has been life changing. The only bummer was that Sara Dickson and Switzerland (JG) could not be a part of it but there will be a next time. Big thanks for my friend, Ricky Lee Potts for moderating the discussion and my friend Eric “LaFama Blanca” for the excellent camera work. We will step it up with some wireless mics next time (Nick C). I hope you enjoyed it as much I we did filming it. I could go on and on about all the side bar moments that I had discussing Aimpoint and the importance of ankle mobility with John Graham and Dennis Sales or watching one a teaching legend like Jim Hardy give a lesson in the garage with a broom or how Kirk Oguri has better hair than Robert Rock but I don’t have enough time. You will have to hit me up another time. Now to part 2

Equipment and training aids:

Best Booth : Taylor Made City. You could even get a picture with Dustin Johnson, very cool. It took up the entire end of the show.

Training Aids that I liked :

Guru training system 3D training with no wires or sensors. Very cool. (still looking for my royalties)

Swing byte I bought one of these as it gives you 3d motion of the club from different angles and connects to your ipad or phone so it is portable. It also gives you data from each shot. Looking forward to playing with this for sure.

ES 12 digital golf assistant – great for gap training and tells you how far each shot travels. here is a video I bought one of these too. I will be doing wedge schools and on course training with this guy. – a very good stats tracker that i may use this year.

Trackman 3 – This would be the final piece to my teaching academy as I would love to get one of these. The new one is more portable and now has a short game feature that will track down to 2 yards. I met with the rep and was very impresseed.

True Links Shoes – A low profile golf shoe that was very comfortable and allowed you to feel the ground. Mark Sweeney calls them AimPoint green reading shoes. JG, Dennis and I bought a pair.

I also want to thank Lorin Anderson from GBN for putting together such great education seminars. I attended Brian Manzella, Charlie King and Jeff Ritter which was a great way to start the show. I could say so much more but I will leave you with this:

It was great to spend time with my crew and meet so many top coaches and great people who have influenced my career such as Chuck Evans, Charlie King and Todd Sones which is what the PGA show is all about. As I said before, it is all what you make of it. If you didn’t get anything out of it, It no fault but your own. See you next year.


“The Swinkey” : My newest training aid is becoming my favorite…..find out why?

My student Mike Smith using the swinkey as a putting aid

My boss came by the other day to watch me teach for a bit and noticed this Carolina Blue pole in my bag and was curious. “What is that?” she asked. “It’s my Swinkey I said” I proceeded to show her all of the uses that were possible as I unscrew the top of my training aid. “You are becoming quite the gadget guy,” she said. I never thought of myself as much of a training aid teacher as I try to utilize my hands to manipulate the student into feeling the changes that I want them to make and I still do. For those who know me are aware of how picky I am in what I use as aids for my teaching so it has to be good and it has to be simple for the student to use. I like training aids that are basically hard to screw up and I have found the one that you can use for the rest of your career. “The Swinkey”. The golfers toolbox or the Swiss Army Knife of training aids is many aids in one which makes it convenient and versitile. I was introduced to it by my good friend, National Canadian Teacher of the Year, Jason Helman ( when he appeared on my Guru TV show last year passing through Charlotte. I met Todd Halpen, one of the owners of this fine training tool on twitter (swinkeytodd) and later met the rest of the guys at the PGA show and they are all great guys. They are all accomplished players and have an excellent idea of what golfers need to get better. I posted a question on the golf pro facebook group the other day to see what training aids were being used by some of the best instructors in the game and the Swinkey was on many of their lists which says alot.

The Swinkey Boys, Jason Helman and Me at the PGA show

The  Swinkey is a solid metal tube that holds two alignment rods and two metal stakes that can transform into so many different forms to help you get more out of your practice. I currently use it for :1) warmup swing trainer 2)alignment 3) ball position 4)swing plane 5)putting aid )putting string aim line 7) holding my impact bag in place. I am sure there are many others that I will find as I use it more. I would highly recommend that you order

my student Brian McAlpine using the Swinkey string for alignment

your today and start to get more out of your practice.

visit http://www.swinkey.comto order yours today and use PRO CODE:( Swinkey_26) to get a 10% discount. Just tell them The Guru Sent You and they will say Who is that? Anyway. I suggest you go get one now!

Please visit our website at or call 704-542-7635 to schedule a lesson with the Guru and see the swinkey in action

See you on the lesson tee,


GURU TV – Impact Work

In this video, I show one of the ways that I help to develop a better impact position with my students. Pay attention to the young man who does the demonstration as he is going to be a good one. His name is Aaron Walker. Please share some drills or ways that you help your students with this all important area of the golf swing?

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To schedule a lesson with the Guru, please call 704-542-7635 or visit our website

See you on the lesson tee,


Guru TV – A Putting Lesson w/Federico Celano (mini tour player)

This is an example of a portion of a typical putting lesson. I would watch the student hit some putts on the putting green and then bring them in and put them on video. Then I would finish up on the putting green again for drills and green reading.

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See you on the lesson tee,

Jason 704-542-7635

P.G.A. Merchandise Show Review ’11

As the 2011 PGA Show comes to a close, I wanted to reflect and give my experience from my week in Orlando. For those of you, pros or just avid golfers alike, you must go at least once to see just how massive this things is. I heard on the radio that if you walk all of it, you will have clocked around 10 miles. I walked every bit of it and some of it several times so I definitely got my exercise. I think that this was my best Show that I can remember and I am going to tell you why. As I have posted in some previous blogs, the main reason that I go is to get around people who I find interesting and that I can learn from. The gadgets and products are great and I will get into that but it’s the people you meet and spend time with that make the trip a success. I will break this down diary style since my laptop has currently died and didn’t make the trip or I would have been blogging as I go like my good friend John Graham

Sara Brown, Derek Radley and Me

Thursday (Day 1): Twitter has definitely made the world smaller and has allowed me to meet some great people along the way. The day started out by meeting up with Jason Helman ( my friend and teaching pro from Canada. We walked the show for most of the morning to check out the new gadgets in the world of teaching. We met up with my good friend Derek Radley and his girlfriend Sara Brown (big break star and Rookie LPGA player), We had some lunch with her dad and the commisioner of the Futures tour. It was like walking around with a rock star as everyone recognizes Sara from TV.  After a great meeting with my Callaway rep, Tim Garrett,  to order my new clubs for the year, I ran into Rob LaRosa, Head Professional from Sterling Farms CC. We then made our way over to the Aimpoint booth to meet up with John Graham (@johngrahamgolf). We all walked over to the Swinkey training aid booth to

Swinkey Time

meet the boys and discuss the product and take a few pictures. So day one was just feeling out the location of the stuff we were interested in and meeting a few of the tweeps. After the show is when the good stuff happens if you are there. For those that follow me already know about the TWEETUP. This is a gathering of guys and girls that know each other on twitter. John Graham was nice enough to put it all together so about 30 of us met at Millers Ale house that night. Here is a list of some of the guys that I met:  David Wurzer, Jason Helman, Dan Carraher, Ricky Lee Potts, John Randle, Dennis Sales, Claude Harmon, Joe Hafera, Nick Clearwater, Sean Lalley, Rich Hunt, Todd Halpen, Bobby Siravo, Jamie Donaldson, Mark Sweeney, Bernie Najar, Ralph Perez, Andrew Lewis, Sara Dickson, Kirk Oguri, John Dochety, TJ Yeaton and Mario Bevilacqua. I wish I could have spent more time with everyone but I managed to get an idea of everyone’s teaching philosophies and backgrounds just by observing and listening to their conversations. I apologize for not taking more film as this one would have made a great reality show and surely would have went viral in an hour, but didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. I wish I would have taken pics. I was so busy talking that I forgot to eat.  No one got hurt although Doc (John Dochety) almost hit Ralph (gotham golf blog) with a front side chop as they battled over a #4 accumulator discussion. At the end, they hugged it out and we all made it home safe. I thank all of you for being willing to share all of your brilliant golf info so freely as this is what is going to help our industry grow and make us better coaches. It was great to finally put some of the names with the faces (and twitter handles) together. I also got to spend some time with two of my mentors and top 100 teachers, Chuck Evans and Charlie King which was great. I always learn something after spending time with them. I ran into new top 100 inductees, Charlie Sorrell and Mark Steinbauer and congratulated them on their accomplishment.

Jason Helman and John Graham at the show

Friday: The day started with checking out and getting more info on training aids. I know you all are waiting on my reviews so you can run out and buy or hopefully take a lesson from me. I will be doing video reviews as I get to use them in the coming months but here are my list of aids that I found interesting:

1. Swinkey ( One of the most versatile aids on the market for sure. I saw many swinkeys in the hands of people walking around the show so I think Todd and the boys did well. I highly recommend this product for any serious golfer who wants to improve. I would do a video review on it but unfortunately I don’t have an aid. I think I will check with Jim McLean and borrow his as I heard he got one for free, (just messing with you Todd). It was great to meet Disco Stu as well, he made his way around the show displaying the product with his cool World Cup jacket on. (great idea by @jasonhelmangolf) This company has a bright future for sure. Right On!

2. The Medicus Vision Stick: ( Endorsed by my good friend Chuck Evans and I look forward to using this one for path and low point training

3. Tour Striker: ( Not a new product but I picked one up because I love the idea of helping players with impact and forward shaft lean. You have probably seen the infomercial on the golf channel.

4. Power Lag + Flat Wrist Pro ( This is a devise that fits on your lead wrist and the back of your trail wrist to help feel the correct angle on your downswing. Developed by Sam Shah who invented the pivotpro. I will let you know how this works

5. The Perfect Release: ( An interesting aid that Martin Hall used on his first show on the Golf Channel. It is a bungee cord that connects your trail arm and the club shaft.

Possible candidates:

1. Drain-O Instant Pro Putting Fix -( A putting path aid made up of two tripods and a curved wire. I did shoot some video on this one. Might get one in the future.

2. Putter Master ( A bar that is positioned across the wrists and helps keep your forearms square.

So the day ended with the an excellent putting seminar with my good friend Todd Sones and he was joined by Mike Shannon, the putting instructor from Sea Island. These two guys and who I learned how to teach putting and I always learn something new when spending some time with them.

Saturday: Last day at the show concluded a great week. I caught up with my new running mate from Ontario, Jason Helman and we caught a couple of short seminars on the main stage. I enjoyed the one with Suzy Whaley and her junior golf program with stations and fitness games that got the kids excited. Definitely the wave of the future of junior golf. Creating young athletes and then teaching them to play golf. I hit some of the new Callaway equipment on the trackman which was pretty cool. It got me excited to get back and play some golf when it warms up. Mr. Helman and I met John Graham and a friend for dinner to spend some more time before the week ended which was cool. I got back to the hotel and thought my night was done and then it happened. I get a call from TJ Yeaton, John Dochety and Mark Walder and we realized that we were staying in the same hotel so we met for drinks. For the rest of the night I was schooled in the world of Mac Ogrady’s MORAD system and some great stories about their experiences as only doc can describe it. You will be hearing from these guys as they are some of the brightest golf swing professors that I have ever met. There is so much more that I could tell you but you will have to get that from me on the lesson or a phone conversation. I want to thank Jason Helman for putting up with me all weekend and John Graham for allowing me to meet so many new friends. Let me know if I can do anything for any of you as I am in debt to you all.  What a great way to kick off the season.

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To work with me at the Dana Rader Golf School call 704-542-7635 or visit our website @

See you on the lesson tee,


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