If there’s one thing struggling golfers can almost always benefit from, it’s a reality check.
Even for a mildly accomplished player like me – I hover around zero – I often find myself looking for eureka moments to help get me back on track.
Enter a new offering of Rapsodo mobile launch monitors that help you identify where your game is weakest and what you need to work on. (If you’re unfamiliar with Rapsodo’s mobile units, you can check out our review here).
The new feature, called “Performance Combines,” is available to premium Rapsodo subscribers and offers users a series of 24 shots to determine their strengths and flaws while, as the company describes it, offering “advanced insight of what needs to be adjusted in order to advance his skills.”
Advanced preview! I had to try this app for myself.
But first a bit more about how it works:
The 24 shots are divided into three challenges: you hit eight balls each at two different target distances and also eight tee shots.
You can choose the two target distances yourself or let the device select them according to your handicap. The app intentionally selects distances that it doesn’t expect you to practice so often. In my case, I was assigned 50 yards and 209 yards (gulp).
When the test is complete, you receive a combined report, which gives a score from 0 to 100. The score formula was created by Rapsodo biomechanist and advisor, Dr. Sasho MacKenzie, with advice from Professor GOLF Top 100 Mark Blackburn. . To create this feature, MacKenzie relied on 100,000 shots of PGA Tour data and over 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels.
The test takes about 15-20 minutes, and there are tips you should follow to ensure you get the best experience. The session offers you a few warm-up shots to find your targets and ensure that the device is well aligned. I would suggest taking a few practice shots using the “Practice” mode first to dial in your positioning to the aircraft and its alignment.
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Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor
The only launch monitor that uses your mobile device to provide instant feedback on your swing. The Rapsodo MLM analyzes everything from launch data, club and ball speed, to club recognition and shot-trace visualization, all with instant video playback capability. It uses satellite range mapping technology for precise distance accuracy. MLM gives you the ability to train like the pros, with insightful data that helps you develop your game with every shot. This device will not be able to give accurate information if you are hitting into a net, only when the ball is able to make a full flight.
The other key is to try to sight a target on the range at your assigned ranges. This can be tricky, given that some ranges don’t have straight-line targets you can align the launch monitor to. My suggestion is to find a line that has two distinct points at your selected footage targets. Unfortunately, I only came to this realization halfway through my test!
Now, to my humble results:
I started with the long ball, and it wasn’t pretty. I felt like I was snagging every shot left on the toe, perhaps swinging too hard in an attempt to impress my throwing monitor.
But my driving score, presumably partly due to my length, averaging 295 yards per pop, was actually a respectable 69.2, or the skill level equivalent of a 3.9 handicap. It was a few ticks over my handicap, but a lot closer than I thought, especially considering how weak my swing was.
209 yard shots
My score of 209 yards was more troubling.
I scored a 55.3 and all but one 4-iron swing was awfully short. The only bullet I caught solid from a distance was a dead shot.
Maybe I was working too fast or maybe, as was the case with my pilot, I was swinging too hard. It’s laughable that I’m debating hitting a 5 iron for this distance (you choose which clubs you want to use for each distance before the combine).
50 yard shots
What really shocked, however, was my performance on shots from 50 yards. Where I was on my driving range and had the unit lined up, I didn’t have a specific 50 yard target to aim for – and the results showed that. My score: a dismal 45.8, or what a 19.1 handicap should score. Ouch!
I trust my short game inside 30 yards, but for a long time I had a gap in my confidence between 40 and 80 yards. The app backed it up with cold, hard data; my average closeness to the hole was 15 feet while the average for someone with my handicap is 6.3 feet. Obviously, I struggle with the half and three-quarter corners, where I’m too far to spin the ball, but too close to hit a chip shot or base throw. There was a silver lining – three of my closest four shots were my last three shots – but there’s no doubt now that I need to focus my practice.
My overall score (drumroll, please) was a humble 59.9, which suggests that my skill level is about on par with a 10 handicap. I know my game can be inconsistent from tee to green, but yuck!
But, really, the big takeaway is how much I can focus on parts of my game that don’t require as much practice, like the long irons and short-range wedges. For the record, I tried another combine with custom yardages, choosing 70 yards and 180 yards (aka a stock 7 iron for me), and despite not feeling like I having served every shot I scored a 65.8 or the approximate score of a 6.1 handicap – still not great, but just moving to more comfortable distances made a huge difference.
The Performance Combine feature is available to Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor users with a premium subscription, which costs $99.99 per year and can be purchased within the app. You can get an MLM device for $499.99 from the GOLF.com Pro store.
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