Steeped in a rich history of white men in funny pants, hitting a ball with a stick and then chasing it, the game of golf is evolving before our very eyes. Gone are the days of hitting bucket after bucket at the driving range, trying to visualize what your instructor is telling you is wrong with your swing. Bid farewell to costly purchases of clubs that don’t feel quite right in your hands. Usher in TaylorMade Performance Labs. They replace the driving range with an indoor virtual one. Your swing is captured in 3-D and analyzed. Your clubs are custom fit to your swing. And your strokes fall right off the index.
In any competition, it’s natural for competitors to purchase the best and most expensive brand equipment to maximize their effectiveness, but this rule doesn’t wholly apply to golf. While quality brands do matter, the best thing to do is get clubs that are custom tailored to your individual qualities. TaylorMade Performance Labs makes finding out those qualities a simple and enjoyable task.
It’s all thanks to MATT, which stands for Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade and was previously only available to PGA Tour golfers. If you’ve watched a big budget Hollywood movie in the last few years with CGI characters, like Polar Express, King Kong, or Lord of the Rings, you’ve probably seen this technology in action already.
It works like this: TaylorMade captures your swing digitally, analyzes it, and then recommends specific clubs for you. The end result is that you’ll be hitting golf balls farther and straighter than before. Most importantly, this benefits male, female, child, student, and professional golfers. Labeled as “Golf’s Ultimate Fitting Experience,” there’s no reason not to visit TaylorMade.
To start, the golfer visits one of the TaylorMade centers around the world and gets fitted with a special harness studded with reflective markers. These markers will pinpoint specific parts of your body, like your head, waist, hands, and feet. The golfer is also given a blackened, fitting golf club, which is also studded with reflectors. When the golfer swings, nine high-speed video cameras capture the movement of the reflective markers from every angle. In seconds, the information is transmitted to a computer and a three-dimensional CG animation of the golfer displays onscreen.
Graphics are always entertaining, of course, but MATT provides so much more. It analyzes your body lines like your shoulders, hips, knees, toes, and spine. It can display where you center your gravity. It can even tell you at which angle you cock your wrists. This information and more make up your unique swing.
What’s very handy about this technology is the ability to compare two swings at once by either overlaying them or viewing them side by side. Moreover, the animation can be viewed from any angle, even straight down. In doing so, a golfer can see errors in his or her swing or a student can be shown his or her improvements. A golfer could conceivably get their swing analyzed year after year to correct errors or just make sure their form is staying consistent.
Beyond your swing, MATT tells you about how you use your clubs. It analyzes the speed of the club head, speed of your hands, angle of the club face at contact, swing time, ball speed, backspin, and more. It can even tell you the point of contact on the club face. This analysis is done over a period of several swings with a driver, irons, fairway woods, hybrids, wedges, and putter.
The golfer’s information is then fed into TaylorMade’s database, which maintains over 500,000 golf swings from golfers of all abilities. Using complex calculations, a recommendation is made based on the golfer’s individual qualities. The recommendation is just as in depth as the gathered data, including model, loft, shaft type, flex, weight position, swing weight, shaft weight, and more. To validate that recommendation, TaylorMade provides the golfer with a sample club to test at their complimentary practice facility.
Amazingly, this whole process, which used to take days for analysis, now only takes approximately two hours. The first hour is spent getting fitted and analyzed. The remainder of the session is spent at the practice facility so that you can get used to your new clubs. Afterwards, you’ll go home with a printout of your specifications and a CD with all of your captured swings, which you can share with your instructor or show off to your golfing buddies. Best of all, the TaylorMade factory will ship your new, custom clubs to you within 48 hours so you can start shaving off strokes as soon as possible. The fees for these club fitting sessions vary by location—it’s $350 at the San Diego, Calif. location—so make sure to contact TaylorMade directly or visit their website for specific figures.
Looking at the timeline of golf, one can almost see the different epochs of the game. In recent history, Tiger Woods’ explosive introduction to golf heralded an evolution. Sapo King Ramos, the child golf-virtuoso, will herald another. Bridging the two eras is Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade. The future of golf is now and the technology to meet this new standard is here.
TaylorMade Performance Labs
945 Hotel Circle South
San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: 619 297 8700
Fax: 619 297 3180