How valid and accurate are measurements of golf impact parameters obtained using commercially available radar and stereoscopic optical launch monitors?

© 2017 The application of measurement technology in golf is increasing. In particular, measures of golf performance are valuable to coaches, golfers, club-fitters and equipment manufacturers. Commercially available launch monitors, such as the TrackMan Pro IIIe and Foresight GC2 + HMT, offer bespoke instantaneous methods to measure such parameters. Uncertainty in the outputs, however, is not well established nor independently verified. This study aimed to determine the degree of agreement between parameters from two launch monitors with measurements taken using a benchmark system. A total of 240 shots were collected with a driver, 7-iron and utility wedge. Shots were simultaneously tracked by each system and outputs compared using Limits of Agreement analysis. In addition, two reference grades were defined based on different levels of agreement; research and coaching grade. Agreement between the launch monitors and the benchmark system was noticeably stronger for ball parameters with greater variability in clubhead parameters. Furthermore, for both launch monitors, the strength of agreement for several parameters varied between clubs. The majority of ball parameters from both launch monitors fell within the research reference grade, but caution is needed for the use of clubhead parameters within a research environment. For coaches and clubfitters, the results suggest the launch monitor parameters are largely of sufficient quality.