What is measured and what is calculated?

When it comes to launch monitors, one of the primary questions is always “what is measured and what is calculated?”. One thing to keep in mind is that the terms “measured” and “calculated” are not as straight forward as they may at first appear.

For instance, when radar technology is “measuring” the speed of an object, what it is doing is interpreting how radar waves bounce off an object. In turn, a radar device does not provide an exact speed but rather collects a large amount of data frequencies which are analyzed to record a speed. Similarly, when cameras are “measuring” spin or direction, there are actually computer algorithms locating the ball, finding the object’s center and then calculating the distance it moved in three-dimensional space.

Just as measurements should not necessarily be accepted without some level of scrutiny, calculations should not be disregarded simply because they are given the label “calculation”. Smash factor is a great example of this. The data point is simply the ratio between club speed and ball speed – literally club speed divided by ball speed. By definition, smash factor is a calculation, but if a golfer feels confident in the club speed and ball speed that the launch monitor is using to calculate smash factor, the golfer should accept the smash factor calculation as accurate. These examples show that the terms “measured” and “calculated” should not be taken at face value but should be viewed with the same level of scrutiny.

With the ES16 Tour, we use Doppler radars to measure club speed and ball speed. This technology is widely used by the military, police, airports, etc. Since the technology is very widely used and accepted, it is generally considered a measurement.

The ES16 Tour measures spin, spin axis, launch direction, launch angle and angle of attack with cameras. The cameras take multiple images which are then interpreted using trigonometry to provide these data point measurements. Once again, trigonometry is a widely-accepted school of math used in architecture, art, astronomy, optics, navigation, etc., so it is considered a measurement.

When the ES16 Tour provides dynamic loft, spin loft, face angle, club path and face to path, they are calculations. These statistics are derived from measured data points (angle of attack, spin, spin axis, launch angle and launch direction), so we can rely on the accuracy of these calculated values.

Other companies claim to “measure” things that are, by definition, calculations; however, at Ernest Sports we believe in calling a calculation a calculation and reminding all golfers to be equally critical of measurements and calculations.  We have built our company around the belief that golfers deserve accurate data at an affordable price, and that is our continued commitment with the ES16 Tour.