It is helpful, obviously, for the golfer to know how far he hits each club in his bag. For those who don't know or aren't sure and want to find out, Ernest Sports has introduced the ES12 Digital Golf Assistant.
It employs Doppler radar to measure ball speed, then based on what club you're hitting calculates the distance that then is relayed via Bluetooth instantly to a smart phone or audibly to a hands-free device. The mobile app will log practice sessions (up to 2,000 shots, in fact) for later analysis.
The question, of course, is accuracy, given that it does not consider ball spin, angle of attack or the variations in loft that might occur between equipment manufacturers' respective irons. "It's proven pretty accurate," said Will Moore, the engineer who designed the device. "There are shots like a thin shot or a 30-yard slice that would be off, but it's pretty accurate on better strikes."
The company provides a spreadsheet comparing distances recorded by the ES12, a laser rangefinder, and a launch monitor.
The app comes with a few other features, including a digital scorecard and stat keeper. It also is capable of showing frame-by-frame video of your swing taken by a smart phone for the purpose of swing analysis.
The ES12 retails for $249.
-- John Strege