By John Strege
A move is afoot to provide recreational golfers with some of the same tools available to professional golfers in their efforts to improve their games. For instance, those who want to record video of their swing can now do so by themselves, courtesy of the CamCaddy.
Several companies have devloped devices that measure aspects of one's swing. The latest is NewSpin Golf, which has launched SwingSmart (now available through its website, and soon through retailers).
The SwingSmart is a Bluetooth-enabled sensor that attaches to the shaft and, with the use of an app, wirelessly relays swing information to iPad, iPhone or iPod devices (and soon to Android users). Among the information available is swing speed, face angle, angle of attack and a 3-D swing view that shows the route of the clubhead from any angle.
It also has a training mode, "great for people in the winter months so that they can stay sharp," NewSpin CEO Angelo Papadourakis said. "With training mode, you do not have to hit a golf ball to get your data. You just set up in your regular stance and make a swing. Peter Kostis initiated the training mode. It's a great way to teach people the swing motion without having the pressure of hitting a golf ball."
The user can email the information to anyone who has the free app, including their teaching pro. "We want to make sure people maintain their relationships with their local pro," Papadourakis said.
Kostis, a prominent teaching pro and CBS golf analyst, was involved in the entire development process of the SwingSmart, by providing insight into the data that would be most beneficial to the golfer. He, too, provides tips on the app and will be featured in an infomercial expected to begin airing soon on Golf Channel.
The question on any of these type devices is whether they're accurate. How, for instance, can a sensor on the shaft detect whether the clubface is open, square or closed through the impact area? "Our face angle is relative to where you started," Papadourakis said. "That's one reason why we included an aiming triangle that allows you to set up square to the target."
Papadourakis said he has tested the SwingSmart against information provided by TrackMan, Vector Pro and FlightScope launch monitors. "The results are pretty amazing as to how accurate they are," he said. "The plus or minus is probably about the same as there's, three percent."
The cost of the SwingSmart is $249.99.