Congratulations to Craig Dixon and Guy Wilson, the first TrackMan Masters in New Zealand.
You just became New Zealand’s first TrackMan Masters. When did you start working with TrackMan and how essential was the TrackMan University for teaching with a TrackMan radar?
The Institute of Golf (IOG) are proud to be New Zealand’s first TrackMan Masters and we consider this step an important education milestone. We pride ourselves on continually evolving our skills and education so that we can help our players achieve their potential.
The IOG have been using radar technology systems for the last 10 years, and we integrated TrackMan into our coaching education and player improvement programmes just over a year ago.
The TrackMan University is an essential resource that enables us to upskill our coaching team and maintain a consistent approach to how we measure improvement. Utilising the TrackMan University tools, we’ve also been able to develop a consistency with our communications around how we collectively talk about improvement measurement.
Honing our skills and optimizing our communication and measurement potential has helped us fast-track our players and grow our business. The TrackMan University had been an essential contributor to our business growth and success.
Did your teaching change with the newly acquired knowledge from TrackMan University? If so, how?
TrackMan has enabled us to more accurately diagnose the most important elements that a player needs to focus on to enable improvement. As a result, we’ve been able to refine our teaching processes and become more efficient.
As the TrackMan data enables us to measure and collate the critical information we need to create fast improvement results, we’ve been able to evolve and refine our teaching processes – improving our accuracy, efficiency and overall success.
The IOG coaching team have also found that knowledge from the TrackMan University has assisted us in our accountability for achieving fast improvement. With an improved methods of measuring success, we’ve been able to increase our improvement capacity and grow our business exponentially over the last 12 months.
What do you think is most misunderstood in golf?
Impact location and its importance to trajectory. Prior to TrackMan technology, measuring impact location was more difficult and players often misunderstand feedback, focusing too much on club face and path. More players need to understand the importance of impact location and its relevance to flight.
Another massive benefit from using TrackMan is we can confidently understand how spin is created with wedges … every golfer wants to be able to spin the ball like the pros do, but a large majority of golfers will do it the wrong way and in fact make their game worse, not better by trying to do it. With the use of TrackMan we can show clients what actually creates spin then pairing up the Launch Angle and Carry tiles, they soon see what really increases spin rate. Soon clients are having fun being able to control the carry distance of the ball and getting a higher spin rate from the lower launch angle.
What would you tell skeptics arguing golf is a game of feels and not numbers?
Feels are important and essential to improvement. However, numbers are needed to be able to quantify the correct feel.
The IOG teaching methodology focuses on knowledge, understanding and then practice.
Our coaches work on knowledge first, using TrackMan to provide the numbers that build the knowledge of what is happening for the individual player.
Using that knowledge, IOG coaches then work with the player to gain an understanding of the correct feel – guiding them to practice achieving the right feels faster and more accurately. TrackMan data helps both coaches and players to stay on track with developing the correct feeling. The data also ensures that players can keep improving over time – as they adapt and their feels change.
You worked with former world number one, Lydia Ko. Was teaching with technology a substantial part of developing her talent?
Working with Lydia, we used a variety of technologies to accurately identify the specific areas she needed to work on. With all of the IOG’s elite players we create a plan – a longer term performance pathway.
By integrating technology and the performance data it provides, we can build the most effective plan for performance improvement. Not only that, as the player develops and progresses, we can use the technology to ensure we stay on track – as performance evolves and parameters change.
What’s special about your teaching program?
Our coaches are what makes the IOG teaching programmes special.
The IOG have built a community of expert coaches who continually strive to improve the effectiveness of our coaching team, collaboratively. All IOG coaches are highly trained, player-focused professionals who adopt a data-driven approach to measuring and achieving golf improvement excellence.
Our coaches, with the resources and processes we provide, are able to inspire and teach whilst continually seeking new and innovative ways to improve their coaching ability. This fosters a culture of development, improvement and innovation – within which our players thrive.
Best advice for elite golfers?
Identify your weaknesses and transform them into strengths.
Elite players inevitably have a great foundation of skills in place, and they’re often focused on trying to achieve perfection, but not necessarily by focusing on their misses. By focusing on a weakness and working hard to transform it into a strength, the player can continually develop their game and create an ecosystem for improvement.
Get to know your numbers.
Whether it is your impact numbers, distance numbers or even knowing what actually causes your ‘miss’. These things go a long way to really being able to rely on your swing under pressure. Then use a TrackMan ‘blind’ and try to guess what the TM will say by watching what the ball is doing. If you’re close, you’re on your way, if you’re way off … you have work to do.
Best advice for amateur golfers?
You need to be consistent to be consistent.
This includes the consistency of when and how the player trains, as well as the consistency of feedback they receive when they train.
Build your game from the green back.
Work your butt off to control the launch of the ball with your wedges and slowly increase your club length. Don’t be navigated by the driver too early, otherwise youll find yourself picking up the pieces around the green. The driver is important don’t get me wrong, however a tidy wedge game can transform your score.
What’s in your facility?
The IOG facilities include:
- Putting lab
- Indoor and outdoor putting greens
- TrackMan studio
- Short game area
- Grass and mat ranges
- Indoor facilities including K-VEST motion analysis
- Undercover facilities
- Access to Championship 18-hole course
How can golfers get in touch with you?
Please get in touch via the IOG website or by email: Craig@instituteofgolf.co.nz