Gimme a Mulligan with Fred Main
I’ve always been fascinated when someone really good breaks down their sport into minute details.
I’ve always been a ‘see the ball, hit the ball’ kind of player, whether it be baseball or golf. But I loved listening to people talk about their sport, even though I wasn’t always sure how to take that information and use it in my own swing.
In my much younger days, I sat and listened to audio of Pete Rose break down the mechanics of swinging a baseball bat. Watching him do the same on MLB Network a few years ago was even better, because I got the opportunity to see him go through every last detail of his swing and thoughts as he explained them.
In golf, I’ve always read magazines which detail a person’s swing and how to correct something that might be wrong. I still remember, and use, some of the tips I learned while watching the greats on the PGA Tour as a child.
Over the years, I’ve become a little more learned in the mechanics of the golf swing, as I’ve watched and listened to my son and other good junior golfers and their coaches. But, I’m still a long ways away from really understanding the swing.
This week, I got an opportunity to see another professional dissect his swing. This time, with the help of technology, it was even more impressive.
I happened to see T.T. Crouch hitting golf balls near the practice green at Hiawatha Golf Course recently and once again, became amazed at how easily and how detail-oriented the good ones really are.
Under the watchful eye of Kenyon coaches Grant Wallace and Brody Harwell with their Trackman launch monitor, T.T. was hitting ball after ball with several different clubs. After each swing, they would record the information the Trackman was giving them, figuring out how far T.T. was hitting each club.
The idea of having a computer be able to tell you the yardage, launch angle, spin rate of the ball and speed of the clubhead, along with many other things, is incredible. The Trackman is a wonderful usage of technology, giving T.T. and other golfers who use it, an advantage over their competitors.
T.T. was using the Trackman mainly to determine yardage for each club, especially in higher elevation places like the Canadian Rocky Mountains, where he has been playing and will play again later this summer. The Trackman was able to convert the yardages he hit at Hiawatha into real yardages with the elevation and air are much different.
The most amazing thing that day was listening to the three of them discuss T.T.’s swing, especially the things T.T. knew about his own swing. He would tell them what he was going to do — whether it be hit a full shot or take a little off — then call out the yardage after he hit the ball. Most of the time, he was spot on.
To the untrained eye like mine, it was hard to tell he was doing something different each swing. They all looked so fluid and the ball was traveling straight as an arrow. It was impressive to see how well he strikes the ball and how consistent he is with his swing.
It’s no wonder T.T.’s been able to do some great things in the game of golf, like winning the NCAA national title twice and winning on the PGA Canada Tour earlier this year.
The biggest thing I got out of those few minutes was an appreciation for how hard the really good players work every day. For T.T., it’s not enough just to be really good. To be great, you have to continue to put in the time and effort. Now, maybe with a little help from his friends and their computer, he can take another step on the way to greatness.