TrackMan improving GVSU golf program
Progress is measured in steps, incremental gains that contribute to continuous growth over a period of time. For Grand Valley State’s golf teams, improvement can be a matter of trial and error when practicing during the winter.
However, a new acquisition has dramatically elevated the game for golfers on the men’s and women’s teams. GVSU recently purchased a TrackMan, a small device with a camera and radar, to better evaluate each individual’s swing.
The TrackMan was a must-have for men’s coach Gary Bissell, who used it during his time as a golf instructor before he became the head coach at GVSU. Women’s coach Rebecca Mailloux jumped on board with getting a TrackMan after Bissell suggested holding a fundraiser.
“It has helped us out a ton,” Mailloux said. “Winter season in the turf building can be monotonous and mixing up the practice routine helps.”
Taking their game to the next level, both the men and women’s teams utilize the TrackMan to examine every aspect of their play, from club angle to impact to ball distance.
Bissell said the TrackMan takes the guesswork out for players trying to understand their golf game, and that it only takes one hit to learn about their swing. Each player has their data tracked separately and can access it at any time to study and track their progress.
“I think it helps with how long it takes to see something you need to work on,” said junior Gabrielle Shipley, who has won three tournaments this season. “It tells us what we need to work on instead of just thinking about what we need to improve on.”
With extensive, and accurate, data for each player, GVSU’s golf teams have been able to keep up with other teams able to play year round. While the TrackMan has been used during the winter months, it will be even more valuable as the teams set it up on the course during practice.
“Knowing what you can do in the middle of the round has been immensely beneficial,” Mailloux said. “It’s a huge asset to understand their game better and any time you can add another element into the practice regimen, you get better.”
Players like Shipley have credited improvements in their personal play since the TrackMan was introduced to the program. With the ability to track ball distance and time in flight, the app is able to calculate how far shots will travel based on what club is used. With the same technology used by the military to track missiles, the TrackMan’s feedback has been a factor.
“I think it’s essential,” Shipley said.