Updated: Aug 28, 2018
The game of golf has certainly evolved since the 19th century when it rose into popularity. One of the biggest changes comes with technology: we now have advanced, high-tech clubs. We have modern golf balls with multi-core designs, and now we have various techs from GPS trackers to wearable devices to aid our game.
Today, we will focus our attention on the devices and technology designed to improve your swing. Can these tools really help in improving my game? Or are they just a waste of money? In this article, we will try to find out the answers.
How Technology Can Help You Improve Your Swing
No matter the “unique” features or technology these devices offer, they are all offering one main benefit that is collecting data without you doing any extra work.
The golf swing is actually a pretty complex process involving a lot of different variables. By yourself it is very hard to improve your swing: you’ll need to record the information about your swing, analyze it and then define specific areas of improvement. The equipment you use, including whether or not your driver is forgiving enough, can play a role.
There are at least ten important factors that can affect your swing, namely:
- Face Angle: having a “closed” or “open” face during impact
- Direction: the direction of the club head (left to right) during impact
- Angle of Attack: the direction of the club head (up or down) during impact
- Launch Angle: the angle created by the ball after the take-off
- Smash Factor: ball speed divided by your club speed, the amount of transferred energy from the club to the ball
- Spin Rate: the amount of spin generated by the ball right after the impact
- Ball Speed: pretty self-explanatory, the speed of the ball after impact
- Club Speed: the speed the club is traveling right before the impact
- Ball Carry: the distance the ball traveled
- Loft: the loft angle of the clubface at impact
Now, even when you show your swing to an experienced golf coach or even a professional Tour player, can they correctly measure all these ten factors in a matter of seconds? Obviously not.
This is where having these devices can help you. The better the device (and generally, the more expensive), the more variables they can track, and the faster they can measure them.
So, How Will This Extra Data Benefit Me?
First things first, no matter how advanced the device or how much data is being collected, there is no single magic device to fix your swing instantly. You will still need to practice, and especially practice how to ready the data properly.
For example, if your club speed is already high but the generated ball speed is sub-par, what will this mean? In this case, it’s possible that your face angle or attack angle is incorrect – but you have to know this information in order to draw actionable insights from the data collected.
On the other hand, what if both your club and ball speeds are already sufficient, but you are not getting enough carry? In this case, you probably generate too many spins, among other causes.
In short, these devices can only benefit you if you know how to analyze the data properly (which is, fairly manageable with just a little amount of research). Yet, even after you have analyzed the data, you will still need that willpower to practice and fix your swing issues.
Choosing The Right Device For You
There are several different types of these swing analyzer devices you can consider:
- Trackable Balls: for example, TaylorMade TP5 and TP5x utilized a radar-tracking system so you can analyze launch and trajectory variables.
- GPS Tracker: can come as a dedicated handheld device, a wearable watch, or even a phone app.
- Golf Simulator: for example, Full Swing Golf offers intricate sensors and high-speed cameras to measure spin rates, rotations, and other factors
- Laser rangefinder: if you are only looking to measure distance, this one’s for you
Each has their own benefits, as well as disadvantages, and you should pick one according to your needs.
The next consideration is obviously budget: the more expensive they are, generally the more data they can track and the faster they can process these data. You should aim to find that delicate balance between cost and features.
So, can these devices benefit you? Absolutely! Will they eliminate your needs of practice? Absolutely Not! Will they shorten the amount of required practice? Highly possible.
When used properly, these swing analyzer devices can help improve your swing faster. Of course, by no means these devices are perfect. The help of a professional coach in combination with these technologies will deliver even better results.