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Under the bonnet of our new Tour Truck

24 October 2018 / Golf /

A guest blog by Mike Shrieve, PGA Head Professional at The Grove

We opened our new Tour Truck Experience at the end of July with the help of our golf ambassador and European Tour player, David Howell, who was one of the first to use this unique facility.

David has the luxury of this type of experience on Tour, so no stranger to analysing his game, but we even managed to dial in a lower driver spin for him with a few different shaft options, so multiple Tour winners and Ryder Cup stars can improve on The Tour Truck too!

We can now quantify your practice and make improvements in areas of weakness, which is difficult to do if you are standing on a range and hitting balls from grass.

The vast majority of our initial customers through the summer months have opted for a ‘full-bag’ fitting, which has given them complete reassurance their own clubs have been evaluated using our Trackman system and always overseen, of course, by one of The Grove’s highly-trained PGA Professionals.

Everyone has been very keen to learn how their own clubs are performing and how they might be either perfect for their game or, in many cases, hindering their performance.

A session usually begins with testing a customer’s current set-up, analysing shot data, areas of potential weakness and targeting improvements. We are not using this process to upsell customers new golf clubs, we are there to provide a performance evaluation that helps them get the best from their current ability.

However, we do find customers book a session on the Tour Truck as part of a process of decision-making when they are thinking about purchasing new clubs.

They will arrive with pre-conceived ideas of brand and model but this may alter based on their experience on the truck. Interestingly, every customer that has visited the Tour Truck since it has opened has gone on to upgrade their equipment, so the results speak for themselves, I guess.

Having this level of analysis is a new experience for a lot of customers. I recently welcomed a seven-handicapper onto the Tour Truck, who lived abroad, had never had his game evaluated and had always purchased clubs as ‘standard’.

His experience is a good example of the service we offer, and how it can be transformational.

He was a relatively short gentleman and he could easily have be pigeon-holed into requiring short clubs with flat lie angles, however using Trackman we quickly established he required irons that were 3° upright!

With this analysis, and also trialing him in graphite shafts, he was gaining 15 yards of extra distance with new clubs and hitting a consistently straighter trajectory. The hour spent with us has, quite literally, transformed his game.

Every visitor is also looking for us to help them gain greater consistency but very few have an idea of what consistency actually looks like. Consistency of distance? Consistency of strike off the face? Consistency of shot shape? Consistency comes in many forms and what we have to establish is what part of the game a customer wants us to focus on. That’s the starting point.

Distance is always a big talking point. Most golfers do not hit the ball as far as they think. I hear golfers tell me they carry the ball 250 yards with their driver every day, then Trackman registers 180 yards!

‘The computer must be wrong,’ I am told, but when you are dealing with a piece of technology that costs £25,000, has military-grade dual radar tracking to within millimetres of accuracy, it’s a difficult argument for a customer to win!

However, the biggest distance debates come when we see customers hit their scoring clubs, the irons they use from 150 yards in. I often see up to a 30-yard variance in how far a golfer thinks they hit a pitching wedge, for example, compared to our computer data.

We run what we call ‘gapping sessions’ for customers on the Tour Truck so people can understand exactly how far they hit each club. This is super-important and can, in itself, help people lower their scores out on the course.

Gapping is huge. It is massively important. Top players in a club may have their clubs ‘gapped’ but equally for a beginner, who may not hit it great all the time but when they do, they still need to understand what that looks like in terms of distance.

Of course, having this amount of technology at my fingertips on a daily basis has its advantages to my own game. I often arrive at work early and sneak some structured practice in (don’t tell the boss!). I’ve also learned to love practising again and I’m using the stats from Trackman to hone my swing too.

The great thing about our Tour Truck Experience is its accessibility. It can be booked by anyone – individuals, groups or even corporate groups. We are also using it for group teaching sessions as we have a lounge area, for a classroom session, and the hitting bay for the practical work.

See what sessions might suit you by clicking here

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