TrackMan has changed everything. In some ways, it reminds me of the Apple iPhone. There are times when I think, “How did I ever live without this thing?” It’s the same way with TrackMan. I hit balls on the launch monitor at the Golf Academy at least once a week. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m still learning what all the numbers mean, but it’s game-changing technology.
I can hit a shot on TrackMan, and then based on the instant feedback I get from the 26 different data parameters produced, I can adjust my swing accordingly. It’s incredible! I imagine this is how the Tour pros do it. The blessing of TrackMan is that it can show you exactly what you’re doing at impact. The curse of TrackMan is that it can show you exactly what you’re doing at impact. It can be paralysis by analysis if you let it. That’s probably one of the reasons Tour pros seem so robotic. No one plays by feel anymore because the real-time feedback is out there, and the numbers don’t lie.
That leads me to the subject of D-Plane. The topic came up during one of my lessons with PGA Professional Jay Friedman recently, and so I did a little research on my own. The term was popularized by Theodore Jorgenson in 1999. Jorgenson used the words D-Plane to describe the collision of the golf club and the golf ball. Here’s where it gets complicated, so bear with me. D-Plane is actually the wedge-shaped plane between two three-dimensional directions: the direction of the clubhead, which is a combination of the path and the angle of attack AND the club face orientation, which is a combination of dynamic loft and club face angle.
PGA Master Professional Dennis Clark describes it best when he says:
“Because we all swing on an inclined plane (somewhere between 45 and 65 degrees), when the club is traveling down, it’s not swinging at our target… (but) to the right of the target. When the club is swinging up, it’s actually swinging to the left of the target. The only point in the entire arc of the swing where the club is swinging at our aim point is at the very bottom of the swing arc. The true path of the golf swing is not simply directional. It’s a combination of the the up and down in conjunction with the left and right. That’s why video can never show the true path. Video is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional motion!”
Knowledge of the D-Plane has revolutionized the golf instruction industry and has rendered video analysis virtually useless. James Leitz offers a great visual explanation of D-Plane on YouTube: