Season 4, Swing

The Essentials of Launch Monitors

In this episode we’re looking at launch monitors; how they’re used, how the technology works, and what they’re role is in golf at the moment with our guest Liam Mucklow.

How to Best Use Launch Monitors

First and foremost, no launch monitor is going to tell you what to do. It only tells you what happens.

Secondly you have to make sure that you train patterns, not incidents. Too many times, coaches and golfers react to a single shot instead of basing an intervention on a pattern. You should never base an intervention on a single shot.

The last thing is to always determine a key performance indicator before an intervention. Drill it down to the lowest common denominator, what is the one thing that I want to change and focus on that piece of data. If you’re constantly using tons of data points and start hitting shots you are going to be distracted by a whole bunch of figures that have little correlation to performance.


#1 – Always displaying and working on too many data points.

#2 – Trying to zero golfers out.

To often people see all the data points from a launch monitor and try to make a whole much of zeroes flash up on the board. Basically no players on the PGA tour have zeroes across the board and it’s not something to necessarily be working toward.

Types of Launch Monitors

One launch monitor measurement method is doppler radar which evolved from missile tracking technology. The unique advantage of radar is that it can typically measure the full flight of the golf ball or if you want certain devices have a function called normalize so you can measure the launch conditions of the golf ball and extrapolate full flight to essentially eliminate things like wind conditions and environment.

Camera based technology measures the golf ball after the strike as it passes through the first 12 to 24 inches of flight depending on the system. High speed cameras take multiple images of the ball during that launch and use software in order to calculate the spin rates, launch trajectory, launch direction and velocity of which the ball is traveling. From there, it uses an algorithm to extrapolate what the full ball flight would be.

Launch Monitor Companies:

Trackman Golf: Radar based technology, Trackman was one of the first companies in the market place and arguable one of the most well known and widely used throughout the industry.

Flightscope: Another radar based launch monitor, Flightscope has been around for years, initially working in the defense industry before moving to golf and other sports. Great technology used by lot’s of instructors and club fitters all over the world.

Check out the image below of how a Flightscope collects data to get a better understanding.

Foresight Sports: One of the hottest launch monitors over the past few years Foresight creates camera based launch monitors starting with the GC2 and now the GCQuad

Ernest Sports: With the ES12 and ES14 Ernest Sports focused on the personal launch monitor category, providing a product and price point any golfer could afford. They’ve recently released the ES16 which captures more data and makes them a contender beyond just personal launch monitors.

Review: Ernest Sports ES14 Personal Launch Monitor by GolfWRX

Skytrak: SkyTrak is a Photometric, or camera-based system, similar to commercial systems of this type that take high-speed pictures of the golf ball right after impact.


Voice Caddie:Very affordable personal launch monitor, the SC200 and SC100 from Voice Caddie have gotten some pretty good reviews over the years and a good option if you’re looking for

[$350] SWING CADDIE 2 (VS) TRACKMAN [$25,000] from My Golf Spy

About Our Guest

Liam Mucklow

liam mucklowLiam joined the PGA of Canada in 2001, one year prior to graduating from the University of Alberta in 2002 with a Bachelor’s of Physical Education. At University Liam was on the varsity golf team, an All Star volleyball player and a medalist in badminton.

After spending nearly a decade with the World Long Drive Tour, California Mini Tours and various Professional Tours in Asia Liam dedicated his full focus to coaching. His innovative programming that combines student accountability and deliver quantifiable results have remain unique in the industry.

More recently Liam has refocused his energy on Education and Research. He has been working with the PGA of Canada to provide the highest level Golf Coaches in Canada with support on analyzing performance with technology. Liam also helped the Titleist Performance Institute launch its worldwide Power Coach Certification program in May of 2013. In 2014 Liam presented at the World Scientific Congress of Golf in Australia, and the World Golf Fitness Summit in California. This year he has been confirmed for to host a 3 hour workshop at the WSCG in St Andrews, Scotland. Liam will be demonstrating his Speed Set Driver Fitting protocol. This process has been consistently delivering golfers of all levels and addition 4-7% total distance through equipment optimization.

Rick Cuellar – Foresight Sports

Joined Callaway Golf in Carlsbad CA in 1996 as a wax and shell operations manager in Callaway Golf’s Prototype foundry. Managed state of the art investment casting shell and wax operations for metalwood, Iron and putter prototypes and production. Then as a product analyst researched COR for the characterization of prototypes, competitor and production metalwoods. Continued responsibilities included being in charge of all competitive club analysis to include the performance measurement and characterization of mass and physical properties, metallurgy, construction and materials, player and robot analysis and durability. In 2005 joined TaylorMade Adidas Golf as an engineering technician measuring all aspects of mass and physical properties for club materials and equipment. Then as a product analyst, conducted performance prototype, competitor and production player club comparative analysis to include DOE for robot and player club research.

In 2010 joined Foresight Sports prior to the launch of the GC2, responsibilities included GC2 product technology specialist and sales rep. Current title – Director of sales, responsibilities include management of all major corporate accounts, global distribution and the creation and founding of the PEAK program and Advisory Board.

Located in San Diego, California, Foresight Sports develops the most advanced—and most trusted—performance analysis solutions in the golf industry. Since its start in 2010, the company has experienced meteoric growth to become a global leader in launch monitors, golf simulators, gaming and professional software, and custom solution development.

Recognizing the advantages of camera-based launch monitors, Foresight Sports began as a collaborative effort between top industry engineers and a business-savvy executive team with a deep passion for the game. The result was the company’s first product, the GC2 “Game Changer” Smart Camera System.

In its six short years on the market, the GC2 has lived up to its name—leveraging its unmatched accuracy and indoor/outdoor ease of use to become the best-selling professional grade launch monitor ever created. Two years later, Foresight Sports released an advanced clubhead tracking solution called HMT—Head Measurement Tracking. Paired with the GC2, the combination proved to deliver the most comprehensive ball and club data ever seen in the industry and quickly became preferred technology of top fitters, instructors, club makers and Tour Pros alike.

The company quickly expanded its golf simulation and software solution offerings, including its own true-to-life gaming software, FSX, along with advanced fitting and instruction apps—all powered by its game-changing line of launch monitors.

Today, Foresight Sports is a total technology provider, with more than 10,000 GC launch monitors and golf simulation solutions in use in retail stores, driving ranges, commercial facilities, and homes worldwide. With engineering, manufacturing, and quality-assurance teams all located under one roof, Foresight Sports offers complete, vertically integrated solutions for players, professionals, and industry leaders.

This Episode’s Sponsor

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Music Includes

Something Elated by Broke for Free

Let’s start at the beginning by Lee Rosevere

Only Instrumental by Broke for Free

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Founder and chief curator of the Golf Science Lab. Documenting what's going on in the world of research and beyond that can help you play your best golf on the golf course (when it counts). Join the movement of researched based coaching over trusting beliefs and what worked for one person a few decades ago. Follow on Twitter