I spent all day today out at Cog Hill for the first round of the BMW Championship and it was quite a day. I got to see a lot of great players as well as some things I didn’t expect to see at all. I started my day off sitting at the driving range watching guys warm up which I would recommend to any golf fan. A quick side note, Charley Hoffman was the first guy out on the putting green this morning and I watched him miss four putts in a row from three feet. I guess that is why he was out there practicing.
Here is a list of the top 5 things I saw this afternoon:
#1 Sean Foley & Butch Harmon talking on the driving range. Sean and Butch seemed to be pretty friendly on the range this morning as they chatted it up on the range. Butch spent a lot of time working with Dustin Johnson this morning and they primarily worked on his wedge shots from about 75 to 100 yards. It obviously didn’t work since DJ shot a +5 76.
#2 Dustin Johnson hitting a 340 yard drive. I was standing on the side of the fairway on the Par 4 13th when Dustin’s group teed off. Webb Simpson hit his ball in the middle of the fairway and Dustin Johnson flew his ball a good 40 yards past Webb’s ball right in the middle of the fairway. Dustin went on to hit his wedge shot to about three feet and then three putt for a bogey. It was bizarre, shocking and amazing all at once.
#3 Watching Webb Simpson on the driving range. This kid is the real deal. He was like a machine the way he was hitting shot after shot just dead straight no matter what club he had in his hand. I got a chance to watch him play out on the course as well and it was equally impressive.
#4 Seeing Phil & Bubba birdie the par 5 9th hole. First off, watching the group of Phil, Bubba and Gary Woodland tee off was incredible. All three of them absolutely crush the ball and even though they weren’t playing that great they were drawing the biggest crowds by far. Phil crushed his drive right down the middle on the 9th and Bubba annihilated his shot 40 yards to the left and next to the tee box on the 2nd hole. They both went for the green in two and came up short. After their chip shots they both knocked in their putts for birdie and the crowds responded accordingly. Very cool to see in person.
#5 An up close look at the Trackman system. The good people over at Club Champion arranged for me to meet up with a member of the Trackman team before the tournament started to get a look at how they operate at PGA Tour events. I met up with the Trackman guy around 11am before any of the groups had made it to the 18th tee box and he showed me how they use the Trackman software and radars to track the player’s stats. It was very impressive how they are able to capture the real-time data of the players right from the tee box, but the thing that impressed me the most about Trackman was how accurate it is and how usefully it can be to the everyday player and not just the tour pros. When I first heard about it I thought it was just something for really good golfers and tour pros, but after I got fitted for my clubs at Club Champion and actually hit balls on the Trackman I understood how beneficial it can be. The biggest surprise for me was to see how consistently my club head speed, angle of attack, swing path etc actually were even though I don’t consider myself to be anything other than an average golfer. It was through this data that I was able to get clubs in my hands that work the best with my swing. I think the Trackman system has a lot of benefit for the average golfer and I am excited to see them apply their system to other areas of the golf world and make them more accessible to the every day golfer. Who knows what exactly they will come out with, but I hope it is something the average joe can take to the range and learn from.