Chilliwack Golf and Country Club will soon be home to some high-tech golfing goodies as the University of Fraser Valley relocates a cutting edge ‘golf lab’ from the campus to the course. Construction has begun on a modest-sized structure, with two hitting bays, that will be located beside the driving range tees.
Once completed, in approximately eight weeks, UFV golf coach and kinesiology department head Chris Bertram will fill it with the latest in analytical devices, including a flight scope.
“It is a launch monitor, which tracks the flight of the ball out to about 400 yards or so, and tells you all kinds of things about the quality of your impact,” Bertram explained. “It calculates club head speed and the spin of ball, and gives you quantifiable data.”
The SAM puttLab does the same thing with the short game, breaking down every component off the short game.
“It is sort of like a launch monitor for putting,” Bertram said. “It measures acceleration and deceleration and angle of impact, and gives you lots of data.”
Data is something Bertram is very interested in.
His research lab is dedicated to the science of golf, and he can go on at length about body and swing mechanics.
“And what this does is it allows us to expand our research capacity,” Bertram elaborated. “This gives us access to a research facility with people hitting balls in a more realistic setting.”
The UFV golf team already called CG&CC home base, and they stand to benefit greatly.
The reigning PACWest champions have become a powerhouse, with Bertram referring to them as a dynasty.
With Chilliwack’s Aaron Pauls and company getting access to the high-tech toys, they may become even better.
“They’ve had access to the research lab, but it’s a better learning experience for them when the ball is not hit into a net, stopping 10 feet from the club,” Bertram said. “The majority of their practice time is at CG&CC, so they’ll spend lots of time in the new facility. It just makes so much sense.”
CG&CC’s director of instruction, Jennifer Greggain, is happy, knowing the equipment will be available to other groups, including her Chilliwack golf academy.
“They have a piece of equipment that scans the eye and shows where a student is looking when they’re hitting the ball,” Greggain said. “Are they looking at the ball? At the target? This is not something you would find in 99 per cent of the other golf academies in the world, and it will be fun to work with the resources he has.”
The building will have heat and electricity, and the option to open or close the hitting bays depending on weather.
Greggain herself will be able to use the facility to work on her own game, as will CG&CC assistant pro Brad Clapp.
“Chilliwack was always one step behind whatever was going on in the city, and as a high level player, I used to drive an hour each way, sometimes across the border, to find anything like this,” she said. “So this brings us up quite a few rungs on the ladder. I don’t want to be the facility that’s chasing everyone else. I want it the other way around, and this brings us one step closer.”
As a coach, Greggain feels Bertram’s gear can only give her a broader understanding of the sport she loves.
“A lot of time some really good golf instructors understand what a good golf swing is, but we don’t necessarily understand why the body does what it does,” she said. “Working with Chris and his kinesiology background will take us to a different level. We can see what’s going on, and now we’ll know why.”
For the golf academy, Greggain hopes to use the golf lab as often as possible.
The academy operates five days a week, and Greggain sees Bertram’s gear being a huge boost to what they already do.
“It’s not just about how to swing a golf club, though that’s an important part of the picture,” she said. “I think of it like a pie, where the swing is a big piece, but not the only piece. We’ll still be doing fitness and nutrition and the mental side as well.”