With the weather warming up in many parts of the country, golfers are likely to be hitting the links in large numbers.
According to the National Golf Foundation, more than 20 million Americans play golf each year. With advances in technology, playing the game, as well as practicing, can be more fulfilling than ever.
For starters, using a GPS can track your shots, keep score and provide real-time information about the course you’re playing, such as distance from your ball’s location to the hole. Laser rangefinders do the same thing, but the can sometimes take longer to give you a distance measurement because they don’t contain a map of the course among their software features.
Unless you’re a professional or an amateur who plays at least once a week, it’s hard to retain consistency with your swing. Thankfully, there are a number of digital swing analyzers that quantify the biomechanics of your swing and help you make adjustments without the involvement of a pro – or with less involvement from him or her.
One type of sensor is a clip-on device that attaches to your glove, when on the course or the driving range. It measures the speed of your hands, as well as the velocity of your backswing and follow-through. You can then see the data on an app in real time.
The app also allows you to analyze data, review visual charts of your shots and, in some instances, compare them to the swings of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Speith and other professionals. If that weren’t enough, the app can also track you hip movement, which is a vital element of any swing, and is frequently a weakness of golfers who play on a limited basis.
Another type of swing analyzer is fastened to the club shaft instead of your glove. By being placed in a steadier position, it’s a bit more accurate for reading shaft angle, club speed, club plane and more.
As for what type of swing analyzer is best depends on your personal preference for wearing a monitor on your glove versus having it attached to your clubs, as well as whether you’re a DIYer or if you take a lot of lessons or otherwise get advice from a pro or coach.
If you’re a DIYer who wants to fix your swing by hitting some balls at the range, the glove clip option works best.
If you have regular lessons with a pro, the clip-on-club option is best because it gives the coach more data that can help him or her improve your game.
As for shot trackers, there are numerous apps for that purpose. The best shot trackers tell you where you can eliminate shots and also provide you with the average distance the ball travels when you hit it with each of your clubs.
Yet another device that can be useful is a smart caddie that helps you make data-driven decisions on every hole because it tracks every shot and gives you real-time feedback on the course. A wearable sensor mounts on your belt and another set of sensors mounts on the tops of your clubs.
The key to getting data from this system is remembering to activate the club sensor by touching it before taking a shot. If you forget to do so, you’ll end up with an incomplete set of data after the round.
Depending upon how serious you are about golf, and what type of personality you have, using golf wearables can add to, or detract from, your enjoyment of the game.
For us, using a GPS and swing analyzer have been helpful, and we haven’t yet tried a smart caddie.
How has a GPS, swing analyzer or smart caddie helped or hurt your game? If you’re not a golfer, why don’t you play?
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