Heading off to the golf course to practice your swing is a great way to unwind. For some, the sport offers them a chance to temporarily remove themselves from the digital world. But with wearable technology breaking into so many facets of our lives, it was only a matter of time before technology found its way into golf.
Essential reading: Best golf GPS watches to hone your skills
Everyone wants to learn how to play better golf. The challenge is in knowing what to do to improve.
Here is our roundup of the best golf swing analyzers and shot trackers. While compiling this list, we’ve examined functions and features carefully and thoroughly. We try to test every device personally, but where not possible we took user reviews into consideration and dismissed devices with bad customer reviews and low ratings. This left us with the following selection.
TruSwing is Garmin’s first golf club sensor accessory. The small, lightweight and easy-to-use sensor measures a mere 2.40 inches and weighs only 28 grams, making it portable enough to take to every golf session – especially since it hooks onto any club.
TruSwing churns out a variety of metrics including swing tempo, speed, club-path measurements, critical club angles and more. Swing metrics can be checked on your smartphone or wrist using one of the compatible Approach watches such as the S4, S5, S6 and S20 as well as the Approach G7 and G8.
Additionally, TruSwing collects data to produce 3D swing animations through the Garmin Connect mobile app on a smartphone or tablet. With these animated diagrams your technique can be dissected, and two swings can be overlaid on top of each other to compare and contrast.
Analysis on Garmin Connect allows you to identify exactly where to focus on making changes. For example, just by altering the combination of clubface angle and clubhead-path angle, you can make significant improvements to the ball’s flight pattern. Each session is organised by date, so you can go back to see each individual swing, and how you’ve improved over time.
Blast Motion Golf is a tiny device that attaches to putters and drivers. The removable sensor, which houses a combination of accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers, records a variety of metrics including swing speed for driving, loft and lie for putting, and more. The data can be viewed in real-time or stored for later use.
The app integrates with video captured from your phone or tablet and will overlay data so you can visually analyse your game. It is worth noting, when compared to some other sensor devices on the market, Blast lacks the three-dimensional rendering of the swing. Instead, the Blast system revolves around video.
The technology also allows you to identify trends through stats and graphs. These performance metrics can than be immediately uploaded to share with a coach or posted on a social network to compare with others.
What distinguishes Blast Golf from other devices on the market is its accuracy and consistency. Identical swings produce identical sensor readings which apparently made a big difference to the professional athletes the company collaborated with.
This is a golf tracker that is billed as one of smallest and lightest on the market. A three in one device, PIQ includes a range finder, a swing analyzer, and a shot-tracker.
The sensor fits on your glove and communicates with your smartphone to display your distance to the green in real time. What you essentially get is a a bright LED display on your glove that tells you at a glance just how far you have to go to a particular hole.
It doesn’t end here, though, as the device uses NFC tags attached to your clubs to track shots. This creates an interesting ritual. Each time you take a shot, you tap the end of the club to your PIQ device to register which club you’re using.
For swing analysis, PIQ takes data from a 13-axis motion sensor. The gizmo automatically tracks your tempo, swing path and club head speed for every shot. At the same time, it’s recording the distance and location for analysis later.
Once you’re back home or at the club house, you’ll get to re-live each shot and observe your game strategy directly on your smartphone screen. Each shot – along with the club you’ve used and the yardage you’ve covered – is stored in the app and is displayed on the satellite imagery of the hole.
The Rapsodo R-Motion provides a plethora of data on all aspects of your game. Simply attach the tracker onto your club, address your ball, pause to allow the tracker to sync and swing away.
You’ll get immediate analysis of club speed, ball speed, smash factor, swing path, distance and launch angle. Pretty much everything you need to teach yourself how to improve your game. The system provides realistic ball flight trajectory where hooks, slices, pushes, pulls, fades and draws are all taken into account.
R-Motion Golf has two ways to play. The first is a phone app to use at the range. The second is a golf simulator which you can run from your PC in the comfort of home. This means you’ll have no more excuses to not work on improving your game.
Zepp is a motion-sensor training system that has been helping people analyze and improve their technique for a a number of years now. Attach it to your glove in a mount, download the companion app, pair up, and a bunch of fascinating swing data is sent to your smartphone via Bluetooth. The array of sensors notes everything in real-time, from the speed of your hands to the tempo of your forward and backswing.
The key change in the second generation product is in design, going from a square to a slightly smaller and more rounded shape. The gizmo packs a bigger eight-hour-lasting battery, two gyroscopes instead of one, two accelerometers, and upgraded Bluetooth Low Energy for better connectivity and battery life. The addition of new sensors means that Zepp 2 is more accurate than its predecessor.
Another big change is the Smart Coach feature. Essentially, Zepp now provides actionable advice to help you improve your game. After a few swings the app will pinpoint specific areas of your game that you should focus on.
As before, you can review data, look at visual charts of your shots, and compare them to professional’s swings to see where you’re going wrong. Everything is presented as easy-to-understand visualizations. With the 3D view, you can watch and replay your swing from any angle.
A popular and relatively inexpensive product on Amazon, SwingTip is a real-time golf swing analyzer. Inside is a Bluetooth motion sensor that uses advanced pattern recognition to capture and analyze the full trajectory of your golf swing. All of this is communicated as you play to a smartphone or tablet.
Your swing is analyzed across five swing checkpoints: address, takeaway, top of swing, halfway through downswing and impact. The app displays everything from three angles (target, front, top) and spits out strengths and flaws analysis.
Those that want some extra help can tap into the live, remote coaching feature. This will have experts looking at your technique and stats and providing advice from anywhere in the world on how to improve.
Finally, there’s also hands-free video recording. Slot your phone or tablet on a tripod and SwingTip will auto-trigger a video recording just before and after impact.
Game Golf Digital Live is a tracking system that keeps tabs on your whole round of golf from tee to the green. Shot by shot, it records all your stats so you can visualize your game, whether you’re on your way to break 80 or just actively working on improving your score. The little device puts real stats at your fingertips, including fairway accuracy, GIR, putts per hole and more.
Originally funded through Indiegogo, the system consists of two parts – the Game Golf GPS tracking device you wear on your belt, and the tags you attach on the end of the clubs. During the round, you tap your club against the device before each shot and it does the rest, detecting what club you’re using then translating your next shot into a bunch of useful stats.
With over 30,000 courses to choose from, the tracker allows you to: review your rounds and game stats quickly on your personal dashboard; benchmark your game stats against others in various scoring ranges to see strengths and weaknesses; see club performance data to know how far you really hit your clubs and eliminate distance gaps between clubs; see shot dispersion and tendencies, by club and by distance, off the tee and on approach; share posted rounds with friends, family and your instructor, coach or PGA Professional by email or social media tools; and compete in virtual challenges.
The second generation device also adds real-time shot tracking which makes it even more useful when you are on the course. All your performance data is instantaneously captured and visible on your phone.
Game Golf is brimming with professional endorsements with Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and even Barack Obama all using it. Its also less expensive than many other devices on this list.
Developed in partnership with Microsoft, the Arccos Caddie is another great golf accessory that can take your game to a whole new level. With fourteen virtually weightless sensors attached to the end of each of your clubs, pair with your smartphone and you are good to go.
The gizmo requires no tagging, tapping or other annoying disruptions to your routine. Each shot is recorded live and instantly saved to the cloud.
The information is brought to life by bird’s-eye visuals overlaid on GPS hole imagery. The stats are available instantly on your iPhone or after your round on a computer.
Information tracked includes: GPS Distances to Front, Center and Back of Green, Club Distances and Averages, Fairways Hit or Missed, Greens in Regulations, Putting Statistics and more. Armed with detailed data, you can then uncover your strengths and trends and make better decisions on the course. There’s also a GPS Rangefinder with ‘Plays Like’ distances to any point on the course.
The Approach CT10 consists of sensors that pair with compatible Garmin golf watches to track every aspect of your game. Similar to other products we’ve seen on the market, the sensors screw to the end of each club grip. From there, they monitor every shot (including locations, distances and club type) and keep score. The sensors are lightweight so completely unobtrusive to your play.
The main novelty for this type of device is that historical stats for each club automatically appear on a Garmin golf watch as soon as you take a club out of the bag. You are able to see how far you typically hit with each club which will allow you to make club selection based on real-world performance.
Back at the clubhouse, you can dissect your game further via the accompanying Garmin Golf app. This provides golfers with more detailed information and helps them know what parts of their game need more focus.
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