Park video game and part Willy Wonka, TrackMan shows you exactly how the pros shots stack up.
Friday, August 19, 2011

Where: The Golf Channel

What it is:
Graphic that illustrates the precise trajectory of a shot, including launch angle, spin and speed.

How it works:
Three Doppler radar devices (one set up behind the player and one on each side of the fairway, in front of the tee) measure every crucial component of a shot. The ball's trajectory is then superimposed over a computer-generated image of the hole. CBS uses a similar technology that shows the ball flight on an image of the actual hole.

Wow factor:
It's enlightening when they show two players' shots at once. And your kids will love the Xbox-caliber graphics.

Where: CBS

What it is:
Super slow-motion imaging of a player's swing from start to finish, and of the club and ball at impact.

How it works:
A high-definition digital camera captures a player's swing at 40,000 frames per second. A second camera, with a shutter speed of 1/50,000th of a second, provides a vivid, close-up image of the club at impact. Both are used during live broadcasts, and are complemented by swing analysis from the CBS announcers.

Wow factor:
Reveals even the tiniest swing flaws in vivid detail. It's like seeing a supermodel without makeup.

Putting Line
Where: The Golf Channel

What it is:
Graphic that illustrates the line on which a player should hit his putt. Accurate to within a millimeter.

How it works:
Before the tournament starts, techies shoot 3-D laser images of a green, capturing the surface's subtleties. The Putting Line adjusts for wind, speed, moisture, break (everything the pros take into account) then shows the proper line, assuming the putt is struck at preferred Tour speed, or with enough pace to stop 18 inches past the cup.

Wow factor:
Its precision is remarkable, though it kind of spoils the fun when you know a putt's destiny from impact.

The Watch List
What would make golf coverage even better?

1. Players on demand - 53.9%
During the 2006 Ryder Cup, British viewers could toggle between different matches on BBC1 and BBC2. It's time American networks diversified, too.
2. Mike 'em up - 26.1%
Player-caddie banter is part of golf's appeal. But we're only privy to it during the silly season. Let's mike up caddies during big events, just like FOX does with baseball managers during the playoffs.
3. Choke-o-Meter - 10.8%
Announcers talk ad nauseum about pressure. Why not complement the blather with a digital display? Hook the players up to unobtrusive monitors sponsored by... Molson Ice!
4. The Daly Cam - 9.1%
Attach a camera atop JD, and let the good times roll. See Big John blast a drive! See Big John make a 12! See Big John at Hooters! (Parental guidance suggested.)

Based on 1,818 reponses at

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