Technology in golf often acts like a measuring stick. Wouldn't you want to build a new house or fix your car knowing exact numbers rather than simply guessing? Of course. Knowing must be better than not knowing, right? In golf, it may not be such a simple answer.
How did the greats such as Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, and Jack Nicklaus set records and win majors without knowing their swing direction, angle of attack, path and face numbers and smash factor? Simple. They didn't need to know. And if they did, it could have ruined them.
Analyzing numbers on Trackman can be either incredibly beneficial or entirely counterproductive depending on how a player uses the data. I often see amateur golfers use technology in a way that only compounds a problem. They perceive positives and negatives as flaws, and work to zero out their numbers (path and face, specifically) in an effort to reach the holy grail of golf - the straight ball. While it is true that path and face numbers closer to zero will lead to a straighter ball flight, the surprising fact is that pursuing the straight ball flight is anything but desirable.
Based on everything we have always believed to be true, it’s fair at this point to question that last statement and ask how this could be the case.
First, a truly straight ball flight is extremely rare. In order to produce it, (provided centered contact) the club face and club path must both be aligned perfectly with the target at impact. Since golf is played as a side-on sport with a round ball and round swing and round club faces, an actual straight shot is practically an accident. This is why I recommend AGAINST players’ using alignment sticks to align perfectly square to their intended target.
Second, assuming the player aligns square to his intended target, any deviation in either path or face away from zero will produce an undesired golf shot. For example, provided centered contact, if the club face at impact is square but the club path is not, the ball will launch towards the target and curve away from it due to spin axis tilt. If the club path is zero but the club face is not, the ball will launch left or right of the target and curve further away from it. Both situations are unpredictable and not advantageous for anyone striving to play his best.
My suggestion is to use Trackman to identify patterns, especially during periods of success. Knowing what you do when playing well is infinitely more valuable than knowing what you do when playing poorly. How often do we hear stories where people shoot their career best rounds while playing a 10-15 yard fade then head to the lesson tee begging to see the ball draw? Knowing the ball will curve in a certain direction is a gift and should be appreciated. Rather than trying to get the ball to curve a different direction, why not learn how to make your curve more functional? This could mean reducing the amount of curvature, improving start line to better accommodate curvature, etc.
Seek predictability and function, not perfection.