How it Began It all started at a facility with two indoor hitting bays and Todd Moreland’s vision. “In the wintertime, there was nowhere you could golf in Chattanooga, so I thought ‘what a good idea’,” Moreland says. “I told the owner at the time to let me know if he ever thought about selling.” Three years later, Todd got the call. “The place was in really rough shape when we bought it, so we gutted the inside and redid the outside. But I looked around and thought it could be something really special,” Moreland recalls.
Next, he enlisted a longtime friend and lead instructor at The Honors Course, Thomas Smith, to lend his vision and expertise. That’s when the inception of a golf academy, with some of the most high-tech equipment in the game, came to life. Gone are the days of putting around on an nine-hole course. Now, your golfing game can be brought into the 21st century. Read on to find out how.
What They Offer
Described as an MRI of your golf swing, GEARS Golf is designed to give everyone from pro golfers to amateurs insight into their swing. “You put on a jacket, a hat, a belt, kneepads, and footies. All of them have wireless sensors,” explains Smith, who is now the academy’s training professional. He goes on to explain that the 32 sensors, placed at key spots around the body and golf club, result in an accurate – within .2 millimeters – reading of your swing. With rails running down both sides of the room holding high-speed cameras, an in-depth, 3-D image is captured. “It eliminates guessing,” Smith says. “A lot of the trial and error that most instructors and students go through is taken away – this shows us instantly how to improve your swing.”
So how can this help a golfer? “GEARS Golf gets a good baseline for students, and six months down the road they can use it again for comparison,” Smith says. “We can put both swings side by side or on top of each other and instantly know the difference and see the improvement.” This means participants can see subtle nuances like if their toe or heel was too far into the ground. “This is a great way for me to see information as an instructor and for a student to see it with their own eyes,” explains Smith. “It’s right there in front of you with accuracy.”
But it’s not only an MRI of your swing. GEARS Golf also analyzes your club. “With one swing, we can know if the club is correct for your game,” says Smith. “This actually shows us to the millimeter how much deflection is in a shaft. It’s really eye opening,” adds Moreland. “GEARS is solely focused on you and your golf clubs.”
Offering two TrackMan devices – one of which just came out in December 2015 – the academy allows golfers to measure things that couldn’t be seen with the naked eye. TrackMan is the most accurate tool for measuring ball flight and impact.
Exclusivity If you think you’ve never seen anything like the offerings at the Choo Choo Golf Academy, you’re probably right. According to Moreland, there are only four locations on the East Coast that have GEARS Golf, and the academy is the only stand-alone driving range in the world to offer it. “Public access just doesn’t exist for this,” he says. “It’s so cool to have one in Chattanooga.”