By Gavin Menu
Rob Corcoran invested in Trackman, a state-of-the-art golf radar, mostly to help his students improve their games. The 37 year-old pro from Florida, who spends summers teaching at the Poxabogue Golf Club in Sagaponack, had no idea what the technology would do for his own swing.
“My ball striking has been head and shoulders above anything I’ve ever done,” Corcoran said this week.
After buying Trackman for $25,000 in April, Corcoran was able to tweak his own swing in the months that followed. Then just last week, on July 16, he shot a score of 61 in the second round of the Metropolitan PGA Professional Championship at the Rockland Country Club in Rockland County, setting a new course record in the process.
The remarkable round, which included 10 birdies and just one bogie, earned Corcoran a second-place finish and a spot in next year’s PGA Professional National Tournament at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The top 20 players from that tournament will advance from a field of 312 golfers to play in the 2014 PGA Championship a the Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.
“There were only five guys that broke 70 on the second day, and fortunately I just had a terrific day,” Corcoran said of his round at Rockland. “I was just playing the game as it was meant to be—just hitting it up there and knocking in putts.”
Corcoran shot a 73 on the first day of the tournament before coming back with the 61. His two-round total of 134 was two shots shy of the winner, Rob Labritz from the Glen Arbor Golf Club in Bedford, New York.
This summer at Poxabogue, Corcoran is teaching golfers of various skill sets to improve their swings using the Trackman technology, which was developed in Denmark and tracks golf balls before correlating the results into 25 different variables. Corcoran believes The Bridge and Atlantic Golf Clubs have a Trackman as well, but said that his is the only one being used locally that is available to the general public.
“The club head speed, angle of attack, club face angles –it basically tells you why you’re hitting certain shots,” said Corcoran, who teaches full time during the winter months in Melbourne, Florida. “This machine is able to give you the data that tells you exactly what you need to improve in your golf swing. It takes the learning curve down from a couple of months to a couple of weeks.”
Corcoran played college golf at Division I Campbell University in North Carolina and toured professionally in 15 different countries, including on what used to be the Nationwide Tour in the states, before reaching an individual rank of 1,000 in the world. His previous best round before last week was a 63.
Corcoran eventually turned to teaching full time, but still competes in as many tournaments as possible. In 2009 he finished just three strokes out of the top-20 at the PGA National club pro tournament, which would have put him in that year’s PGA, the season’s fourth major championship.
And that was all before Trackman came into his life.
“It’s where all golf instruction is going,” Corcoran said. “Justin Rose thanked Trackman in his speech after he won the U.S. Open. Tiger Wood’s coach uses it. It was a huge investment, but with what I wanted to do with my instruction, I really needed this.”
Whether or not the technology leads Corcoran to the biggest stage of his golfing career and a berth in next year’s PGA Championship remains to be seen. But with a game that can result in a score of 61, anything is possible.
“We’ll just have to see what happens,” he said with a laugh.