From the Print Edition:
Pierce Brosnan, May/June 2014
The golf world has been inundated in recent years with high-tech gadgets aimed at helping duffers improve their game. The most sophisticated devices find their homes in the teaching bays of top golf professionals, and they track everything from swing plane to spin rates and ball speed, all recorded by high-speed cameras and radar pulses. Few average weekend golfers can afford those devices or, for that matter, the many hours of instruction that go along with access to the digitized information.
But technology is the average golfer’s friend. New devices are being introduced that reproduce some of the same information as the high-priced versions, at a very affordable cost. The Swingbyte 2.0 is one of those products. A simple Bluetooth-enabled clasp attaches to the shaft of your club, and will talk to your smartphone or tablet device. You choose the club you are using on a drop-down menu, make sure the device is secured to the shaft and start swinging.
The Swingbyte records the path of your club from the takeaway through your finish and transmits it to your connected device. It will also provide an approximate clubhead speed—one of those benchmark statistics that translate into distance—and such input as clubface position at address and impact. After you swing, you can immediately turn and see the path on your screen. With the Swingbyte 2.0, you can also compare your swing on a split-screen setup to any previous swing or you can ascertain instantly if a club path error led to that big banana ball soaring onto some adjacent fairway. What it does not do is provide spin rates and ball speed off the club, so it is not a poor man’s version of a device like Trackman.
There also are some glitches. I find the positioning line on the Swingbyte to be difficult to align properly—it is supposed to be adjusted to the same face angle of the club. The position determines clubface angle that is transmitted, and if it is wrong, the result won’t really be an accurate reading. But my teaching professional says you need an expert to adjust it the first time so that you see exactly where it should be aligned. The other issue is that the device sometimes slides on the shaft; the easiest fix is to attach the upper end of the clasp to the rubber grip.
I found the feedback to be quite beneficial, and looking at a swing that felt particularly comfortable and easy showed that it had a perfect inside-to-out path, with a square clubface at impact. Unfortunately, as it is so often in golf, the problem is repeating that swing over and over again.
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