Editor Emma Ballard speaks to LET Director of Operations Diane Barnard about the importance of data and how the launch of the LET Performance Institute has been received

Welcome to our new 12-part series Inside the LET. Each month we'll be hearing from someone within the Ladies European Tour, to gain a better insight into the tour, the large number of stakeholders and partners involved and what it really takes to run a global professional women's golf tour.

With a Dad who was a keen golfer, Diane Barnard was introduced to golf at around 11-year-old. Although she enjoyed playing a number of different sport, golf was a different kind of challenge and she loved it.

Diane would go on to make golf her career, playing on the Ladies European Tour and briefly on the LPGA where she served on the LPGA's Player Executive Committee as an international representative before joining the LET Board in 2003.

In 2010, she took on the role of LET Access Series Tour Director before moving over to the LET at the beginning of 2020 to take on her current role of Director of Operations.

We find out more about the latest innovations at the LET which are helping to improve the support, provide insightful data and ultimately impact positively the performance of the players on the tour.

Can you give me a little insight into what the Director of Operations role entails at the LET?

I work across the Membership and Tournament departments ensuring all procedures, planning and communication are aligned, so that we can provide a good consistent service to the Membership, consistent delivery of the LET events and I also oversee the strategy, development and delivery of the LET Access Series.

Having been a professional golfer yourself, how important was it to get a data analysis tool like Upgame working with LET players?

Data collection is such an important element in most sports today. It’s used to identify areas where improvements can be made, to measure yourself against other players and see where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

The LET data collection has been a little on the light side historically and to be able to provide access to the Upgame data analytics, was both a tremendous benefit for the players and also for the LET in providing our fans with further insights.

Can you explain a little more about what Upgame is?

Upgame is a leading golf data analytics app, which provides data insights and statistical analysis. Golf is a game of very fine margins, so statistics and data insights have become a key element of performance at the highest level.

Post round, players input their shot data into the app and both players and fans can access enhanced data points like shot patterns, benchmarks, and strokes gained analytics, all helping to enhance performance while providing interesting data for fan engagement and media.

It was also important to provide golf data analytics across both the LET and LET Access Series.

LET Performance Institute
LET Performance Institute launch at the AIG Women's Open - image credit Tristan Jones/LET

The LET Performance Institute was launched last August to empower athletes with the knowledge to achieve optimal health, allowing them to perform at their best in all aspects of life. Can you explain why this was such an important milestone for the LET and its players?

As a tour, we really want to support our athletes with the best possible player services, in line with the leading men’s golf tours. We want to bring skilled practitioners on board and hope to make available to the players some useful tools which will help to elevate their performance and keep them in peak physical condition throughout their careers.

The LET Performance Institute will also provide a platform to support women working in health and performance roles, helping to foster gender equality, empowering women professionals and enabling them to excel and make an impact in the elite sports industry.

There is very little research data not just in women’s golf but women’s sport in general. The LET is supportive of several PhD studies in the areas of nutrition, strength and conditioning and mental health and well-being. This research will help inform and support our current and future players.  

How has the LET Performance Institute been embraced and used by the players?

Players have had access to more medical services at events from physiotherapy, massage therapy, strength and conditioning and nutritional advice, which have been well received by the players.

As the LETPI develops, we would like to introduce additional medical and screening services. An important recent addition is skin screening, which provides players with an opportunity to check for any skin concerns as they are spending so much time in the sun during the season.

Are there any other innovations or partnerships from the LET that we should know about?

LET recently partnered with adidas and also Nikon, who provide rangefinders for the players to use in the LET tournaments.

What’s the biggest innovation to come into (women’s) professional golf over the last 10 years?

It’s similar across both women’s and men’s golf with improvements in equipment, the use of technology such as Trackman, better indoor facilities with swing analysis capabilities, and wearable technology such as Whoop, which helps provide data on performance and recovery. Golf data analytics and data collection have moved on enormously in the last 10 years.

Did you miss part three of our 12-part series? Inside the LET: Fiona Harold, Commercial Director - read the full interview here.