Carl’s Place has partnered with Mike Sullivan to bring you golf coaching tips to use in your indoor golf simulator. Mike is the Director of Instruction at the Mike Sullivan Golf School in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has more than 20 years of golf teaching experience, was the director of the Golf Advantage School in Houston, is a Titleist Certified Clubfitter and a graduate of The Golf Academy of the South.
WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 DATA POINTS IN A GOLF SIMULATOR EVERYONE SHOULD WORRY ABOUT?
What data should you prioritize in a golf simulator? Looking at all the numbers can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what numbers to worry about to start.
Many golfers will default to checking carry and total distance, ball and club head speed, and spin rates. Yes, those are important stats, but the director of the Mike Sullivan Golf School has a few other ideas.
“All these data points are good to have, but in order to do something about distance, spin and club head speed, there are some other things we probably want to look at first,” Mike Sullivan said.
Why does a golf ball fly the way it does? There are five contributing factors, or the five ball flight laws:
Club Head Speed
Centeredness of Contact
Club Face to Path
Angle of Attack
The latter three are the most important data points to pay attention to in a golf simulator, Mike says. He added that those three are the most commonly checked and monitored in his golf lessons because if one of them is amiss, it affects the rest and the final product of your swing and ball flight will be off.
All three need to be in top shape to become a high-level golfer.
We will help you understand the data you should be focusing on, how it affects your game and where those numbers should be. If you’re more of a visual and audio learner, watch the video below.
Club path is the direction the club head is moving as it contacts the ball. Typically, for a right-handed golfer, if the path is moving to the right, or inside-out, that means it’s more prone to a closed face and hitting a draw/hook base on the spin it will put on the ball.
If the path is moving to the left, or outside in, the club head is likely to be open and the golf ball will fade or slice more based on the spin.
Ideally, good golfers will have a club path within 2 degrees either way of their target, Mike said.
CLUB FACE TO PATH
Club face to path is defined as the angle of the club head based on the club path as it strikes the ball.
Examples using both club path and face to path for right-handed golfers:
If your club path and face to path number are exactly 0 degrees, your ball should go perfectly straight.
If your club path is 0 degrees but your face to path is a little open (positive number), the ball will land to the right. If the face to path is closed (negative number), the ball would land to the left.
If your face to path is exactly 0 degrees, the club head will determine the path: a club path to the right (inside-out) will push the ball to the right, but a club path to the left (outside-in) will pull the ball to the left.
Again, being within 2 degrees either way of 0 is a good goal to shoot for with your face to path numbers, Sullivan said. He added that face to path would be his priority out of these three data points, but it can also change from shot to shot.
ANGLE OF ATTACK
Angle of attack is defined as which way the club is moving vertically when the ball is struck.
If your angle of attack is negative, that means you struck the ball as the club head was still moving down. This is what can lead to making a divot after you hit the ball, which is ideal.
When your angle of attack is positive, that means that the club head was moving upward as it contacted the ball.
Mike said that your angle of attack can affect club path, which in turn can affect your club face compared to the club path. All three of these data points work together.
“When you start chasing trying to fix one of these things, you can end up messing up another,” Mike said.
Ideally, angle of attack for a wedge shot should be down around 4-5 degrees, and as you work your way out to longer clubs, that number will get closer to 0. That’s because the longer distanced clubs have longer shafts and cause the swing to be shallower.
PRACTICE LIKE YOU PLAY
Now, if the numbers are a bit overwhelming at times, many golf simulator softwares have the option to take the data completely off the screen so you’re solely focused on the shot in front of you. Carl’s next indoor golf tip to practice golf at home in your simulator is to literally simulate how you would play on the course.
“Don’t just hit and drag a ball over like you might do at a driving range,” Sullivan said. “Go through your routine.”
Or if you don’t have a routine, start by creating one.
A pre-shot routine Sullivan suggested included the following steps:
Start by standing behind the ball.
Pick out a spot in front of your ball, but near your ball, as an aiming point. On a golf course, that might be a leaf, broken tee, or some other object that is in line with your target. For this exercise, Sullivan actually places a tee in front of his ball.
As you start approaching your ball, start picturing what you’re expecting the ball to do as it flies towards your target. “When I go to hit my shot, my swing thought is going to be envisioning the ball flying to the hole,” Sullivan said.
When you go to address your ball, make sure that your club face is squared up with the object/aiming point you picked out earlier.
After your first shot, try to feel and/or see what you can improve (try Carl’s Swing Cameras if you need a visual). For Sullivan, he hit the ball long and left and knew his club face was closed.
Go through your routine again, but this time, add in a practice swing that tries to correct any issues in the first swing. For Sullivan, he made sure he could feel his club face coming through a little open to help correct his common mistake.
“The nice thing about the simulator is you get this immersive, fairly realistic golf experience, and you have the opportunity to make the most of it,” Sullivan said. “I’m not going to freak out over a bad shot or act like I won The Masters over a good shot.”
Just keep working on repeating good golf swing mechanics to become a more consistent golfer.
If you live in the Raleigh, N.C., area, check out Mike’s in-person private lesson offerings, adult and junior golf school or ladies beginner golf series. If you’re not in the Raleigh area, Mike offers online lessons.
Mike’s golf simulator setup includes a Carl’s DIY Enclosure with Premium Impact Screen, Optoma ZH406ST projector, FlightScope X3 launch monitor with GSPro software.
Want your own custom golf simulator setup? Customize it here!