Q & A – Fredrik Tuxen, TrackMan

Brendan Mcdaid ,

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A few weeks ago, TrackMan asked Social Media followers what they would like to know if they could ask Fredrik Tuxen the CTO of TrackMan one question. See the selected list of questions here.

Q: Will you measure putting one day?
A: We already measure on puts in a simulator environment, so we now offer a complete simulator experience with the TM4. Going further down this road is something we are exploring!

Q: Where do you see golf ball and club tracking in 5 years time? 10 years time?
A: There will be smaller, more accurate devices that measures even more parameters than today. I think relevant feedback device will be used more and more widely and be a natural part of any training session.

I also see the technology being used more for entertainment in future, and we will probably see a different kind of golf being played on driving ranges that offers some of the same competitive and entertainment values as playing a real golf course but through the use of technology.

Q: Which feature are you most proud of within TrackMan and has that helped with your success?
A: There are many features of TrackMan I am proud of, but there one thing that sticks out: measuring the club delivery and get the numbers wirelessly to your iPhone/iPad.

This combined with the accuracy of the data has been the primary reason for our success. But along the same lines, I am super proud that TrackMan have impacted the way golf is understood and taught today – 10 years ago no one knew the difference between club path and swing direction and what role attack angle had in this!

Q: How many TM have been sold?
A: Confidential sorry!

Q: How does TrackMan measure face angle at impact when TrackMan can only see the back of the club face? Is it a calculated guess based on parameters that are actually tracked or is it actually measured?
A: TrackMan measures the 3 dimensional direction and speed of the clubhead at impact, in addition the 3 dimensional ball launch direction, speed and spinrate are measured by TrackMan.

By measuring these parameters and applying the law of physics this provides the orientation of the clubface at the point of impact on the clubface. This orientation of the clubface is 3 dimensional and are reflected in the data parameters “face angle” and “dynamic loft”. Even though that “face angle” and “dynamic loft” are derived numbers from direct measurements and a collision model, numerous robotic test has proven that this is indeed a very accurate calculation of “face angle” and “dynamic loft”.

Q: What’s your next project (golf related)
A: Confidential again sorry!

A: Impact location is an important measurement, so even though you today can backwards derive impact location from the TrackMan data, we do have a desire to be able to measure impact location directly. So yes, this will happen.

Q: How does TrackMan measure ball spin, and can it detect spin axis?
A: TrackMan has a patent on how to measure the spin rate of a sports ball (incl. a golf ball) and also a patent on determining the spin axis. For in-depth knowledge about the methods used, I refer to the patent (search for “determination of spin parameters of a sports ball” on patents.google.com).

But the fundamental idea behind the spin rate measurement technique, is that a rotating ball will generate multiple speeds relative to a radar: the bottom of the ball will move away from the radar while the top of the ball will move towards the radar for back spin type of shot. The key of the invention is to realize that this creates a modulation of the radar signal that produces multiple harmonic sidebands in frequency spectrum.

By determining the equal spacing between these sidebands, the spin rate can be directly measured without knowing anything about ball size, spin axis orientation etc. This is why TrackMan has become the gold standard for measuring the spin rate of the golf ball.

Q: When selecting the iron what loft is TrackMan expecting?
A: There are no assumptions of static club loft when selecting irons. The selection is purely used for tagging of the data. The only place where loft is used, is in the TrackMan Optimizer. In the TrackMan Optimizer we are using the “average” static club loft across the manufactures.

Courtesy TrackMan 

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