I spent the morning going through TaylorMade’s new motion analysis technology, or MATT, a remarkable piece of equipment unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere in the golf business.
Essentially, the system works not unlike the motion tracking equipment used to create sports video games. The player is set up with a series of velcro straps with little plastic balls that are picked up by a group of motion sensors in the room. The golfer answers a group of questions and then is fitted with the velcro. After some practice swings, away you go. Everything seems to be analyzed — from launch angle, to whether the face of the club is square, to ball and swing speed, including hand speed. The level of detail is mindblowing and in my case suggested a few equipment changes (X-stiff shaft, new putter) that would apparently make my more consistent.
The entire process takes two hours, including a review and computerized recommendation process. The system will even analyze your putting and make suggestions on the type and fit of putter you should have based on the results of a handful of putts.
Now I’ve yet to determine whether the process will improve my game, but my swing issues are consistent and Peter Chandler, the CPGA pro who runs the system in Vaughn, Ont. for TM, said he felt a few little tweaks would results in some big gains. While my swing speed is 111 miles per hour, about two miles per hour less than the average PGA Tour pro, and my ball speed averaged 157.2 mph, the truth is that the test club I used wasn’t quite set for me, resulting in shots nearer the heel and lost distance. I had a carry of 260 yards, according to the machine, and apparently also need a new driver. Not shocking, really.
So what? Well, according Chandler, the next advances in equipment may largely be driven by better fitting. The TM system is far and away the most impressive I’ve seen to date. The damage for a fitting of two hours? $250 — but that includes a dozen of TM’s new balls, and a hat. If you are serious about your game, it isn’t that big an investment — especially if you are going to drop $500 on a new driver.
In fact, as I have too many hats anyway, I’d like to give away the TaylorMade MATT hat to the G4G reader who can tell me the names of both PGA Tour pros who demonstrated TM’s new ball in Georgia in April. I’ll wait a week and randomly pick a winner. You can enter by emailing your response to with the subject, TaylorMade Hat, and I’ll announce a winner on the 31st.
- Yesterday I played in the Ironman Golf Challenge for Big Brothers and Sisters at Angus Glen. I finished a total of 91 holes (the North Course got hit by rain on Monday, limiting cart traffic in the morning and slowing things down). Over five rounds, I had a boatload of birdies, a couple of truly awful drives, and a handful of eagles chances. Worst round: The first, at 84. The best: The fifth at 71, with a 33 on the back — and that came in my 11th hour of golfing. I raised almost $1,700 and had an amazing time. This is a very worthwhile event and one that I intend to participate in again next year, assuming my body has recovered by that point. I shout out to Angus Glen pro Dennis Firth, who played spendidly in the 18 holes in which he joined me and Stuart, my partner for the event.
- I received plenty of notes on my Score blog. Just to be clear, the list was the courses that came out in my top 10. I have no idea what the magazine’s list will look like. I’m sure it will contain some strange courses in strange places — it always does. Interestingly, the ranking system is big on categories called “fun” and “beauty.” That means courses like Banff and Jasper will likely come out ahead of courses with homes on them, like St. George’s or the National. And let’s hope to god that Silver Tip isn’t on the list at all.