Inside Job

Titleist and Trackman team to solve an irritating problem.

By Tony Dear

It’s definitely one of those issues your non-golfing wife/husband/partner listens to a little bemused as you struggle to explain it. Calling it a ‘First-World problem’ really just scrapes the surface of a dilemma encountered by such a small percentage of the world’s population. For golfers getting fit for new clubs at an indoor facility, though, inaccurate spin data can be bothersome.

Doppler-Radar-based Trackman launch monitors have done an amazing job of capturing accurate shot data outdoors since 2003. Bring it inside to a simulator or net, however, and the tech has frequently had a hard time picking up the spin axis and spin rate which can affect all the other calculations the unit makes (apex, carry, total distance, etc.). That has meant club-fitters having a tough time giving confident recommendations.

To combat the problem, fitters attach small aluminum stickers to the surface of the ball and align it toward the target enabling the Trackman to calculate the rate at which the ball is rotating. But though this method gives better results, the data cannot be said to be pinpoint.

Following a two-year collaboration with Titleist, Trackman says the problem now has a solution. Instead of an aluminum dot stuck to the ball’s surface, the Titleist Pro-V1 RCT – RCT stands for Radar Capture Technology – and Pro V1x RCT have what Titleist calls a ‘radar reflective mark’ between the cover and casing, making it invisible to the golfer but detectable by the launch monitor. The aluminum stickers are now redundant as is the need to align the ball.

The radar reflective mark is so thin and light it doesn’t affect the ball’s performance at all – indeed, though conforming, the RCT does not have its own entry on the USGA’s list of conforming golf balls. And Titleist says the Trackman 4 can capture the ball’s spin rate accurately over 99% of the time.

Trackman has altered its software slightly to accommodate the RCT, so Trackman owners are advised to update their system. Similar partnerships between competing ball-manufacturers and radar launch monitor-makers are likely but, for now, the Trackman 4/Titleist Pro-V1 RCT is the best combination for gathering accurate spin rate data in a limited-flight setting.

Available – 11/3/21 (Next Wednesday)

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