By any measure, Roy Clarke has had an interesting few years working in golf. Working for Trackman, the leading shot analysis system is a pretty cool job but it’s not even the most interesting job he’s had. Roy spent several years caddying on the LPGA tour, helping some of the biggest stars in the top ladies tour in the world. He’s now working with Trackman, the leading analysis tool used by professionals worldwide. Working off-course in the golf industry is limited to a small number of people and Roy covers all of Ireland and northern England in his current role. Like many golfers, it all started for Roy when he was young and he got his first taste for the game. “I started playing at 12, the folks bought me a full set of clubs from lifestyle sports worth €100 and a membership to Mahon Golf Club as a surprise one Christmas” said Roy. I couldn’t just look at them so I begged my mother to bring me down after the dinner. I was the only one out on the course. I’m sure it was closed, it was lashing, and I didn’t even know the rules. I played 36 holes a day once the summer hit, and I was golfing at a very good level by 18, playing off scratch.” It was clear that he was almost obsessive about the sport. A summer trip to the US would lead to the first stage of his golfing career. “I just had a love affair with golf and always knew it would be the industry I would work in” he continued. “The jigs and the reels would lead me to Bighorn Golf Club, Palm Springs for a summer in 2010 with friends. I met Sherri Steinhauer (a three-time British open winner) through her brother Gary who I caddied for a few times each week. She was just coming back from injury and was without a caddy the day I helped her brother beat her. She left me read a few putts for her on the back nine the same day and in short that’s how I ended up on tour. After Sherri retired I was lucky enough to end up on the bag of Germany’s newest young gun Sandra Gal. I was on the bag for Sandra’s first win and also lucky enough to caddy for her when Europe won the Solheim Cup in Ireland, held in Killeen Castle. It was a very proud moment for a boy from Cork.” The popular Cork man was equally popular on Tour, winning several awards from his peers including the friendliest caddy in 2012 and funniest caddy in 2014. That’s not to say Roy didn’t take the role seriously, he was pretty good at the job working with some of the elite tour stars and clocking up a number of wins. “Over the years I’ve worked with some wonderful golfers like IK Kim who won the British Open last year. My last win on the bag with Jenny Shin in Dallas in 2016, we still laugh at the stories of my mates watching it unfold from Goldberg’s on the night, everyone wondering about the sudden interest in ladies’ golf!”
Although he was always on a good bag, the by 2015 travel was taking it’s toll on Roy, 100+ flights per year and over 250 nights in hotels all adds up. Roy used the travel to experience life outside the golf course and has a long list of stories from his experiences across over 25 countries. “I made sure to find some time every week to see the local attractions, eat local cuisine and chat with locals and listen to their stories” explained Roy. “It created many fun opportunities like, walking the Great Wall of China for three days and sleeping in stations along the way, surfing waves in Hawaii, going to American football and baseball games to scuba diving with sharks in Malaysia.” While many people in their twenties and thirties start planning for their future, Roy did it a slightly different way. Instead of coming back to Cork, he took his girlfriend on tour. “I met my now wife from cork on a visit home one a Christmas one year, she packed up her job and thought Yoga on tour to many of the golfers a few times per week.” They included top tour stars Michelle Wie, Karrie Webb, Suzanne Peterson and more. Despite a year on tour with Niamh, the couple eventually gave up tour life and a now back in Cork with a two month old baby girl.
Roy’s golf adventure didn’t stop there. An opportunity to work with Trackman came up and as a low handicapper with tour experience, Roy was ideally placed. “When the opportunity came to work with Trackman as the head of sales in Ireland and Northern England I was fortunate enough to get the job. Deep down I’m a golf nerd and I love seeing how the game has evolved since I’ve started playing. It’s so much fun. I get to hang out with other golfers in the form of trainings, demos, support, workshops and attending Tour Events.” Roy works mainly with PGA Professionals to help them with coaching their clients, using new technology to improve how they coach. Trackman is having a huge impact on the sport, and the new technology is being likened to the industry move from balata or persimmon.
Roy knows Trackman Tech
Anyone watching the PGA Tour on TV may have seen the red line which shows the path of the ball, that’s a shot tracking system based on one of the Trackman tools. In the full versions model, not only will Trackman show you the path of the ball, it also fills in the blanks in terms of swing speed, ball speed, spin and many more metrics that are all important in looking at the swing. With over 850 tour professionals and coaches using Trackman, it’s the clear leader in its field. Although it’s a world leader, the Danish company is only 15 years old Fredrik Tuxen and Dr Klaus Eldrup. Tuxen worked for the Danish Military designing software for fighter jets tracking missiles, until Klaus the co-founder an avid golfer and sports enthusiast asked him to track a golf ball. Roy Clarke had seen the emergence of the new technology in his time on tour. “In the last two years of caddying I noticed technology becoming more prevalent on tour. Every week you saw someone turning up with a new tech piece of some sort to try and help them find the edge. Before, skill, dedication and talent were core to success, but now it seems like you need tech in the form of clubs or a Trackman in order to stay ahead. I was lucky enough that the players I worked with realised this, and they were some of the early adopters on the ladies tour.” As well as being a leader on Tour, Trackman has also taken the leading position in amateur golf, with hundreds of club professionals in Ireland and England using the system. As a golfer, Roy enjoys engaging with the club pro’s. “We have some of the best teachers here in Ireland and obviously the world when you look at how we’re doing on a global level. I really enjoy, seeing their delivery methods, coaching styles, swing beliefs. The vast majority of them are already tech savvy and are really embracing the new level of analytics and prescription they can provide to their students as a result of TrackMan.” The company continues to lead the way, driving improvements like a dual radar system, along with new features which expand the things it can do. “TrackMan is now revolutionising the golfing world again with the latest TrackMan 4. It’s new features such as Impact location can see to 4mm where the ball hit on the clubface. You’re going to see TrackMan on several ranges worldwide in the coming months and years making it accessible to everyone and anyone. You simply connect to a TrackMan located discreetly in the range through Wi-Fi and get all your data just like the Pro’s.