There’s no doubting that geeks enjoy gadgets. On the odd occasion, geeks enjoy sports as well. Every so often a company comes along and provides the best of both worlds; a gadget for sports. The GolfSense glove-based sensor system is one of those gadgets that brings a bit tech to the world of golf. The question is whether the GolfSense is a necessary tech, and whether both novice and seasoned professionals will use it.
One would often associate golf with a level of complication that most won’t venture into. When it comes to the GolfSense sensor, it’s anything but. The sensor is small enough to fit on your glove (via two rubber straps), and weighing 17g makes it light enough to forget that it’s even there, once attached. The only issue in regards to attaching the sensor to the glove is that the Velcro has less material to grip. To use the sensor it has to be paired with your iOS or Android smartphone via a downloadable app, pair via Bluetooth, calibrate, and swing away. In short, the sensor stores swing data, which is then transmitted to your phone for a 3D view and statistical analysis.
After downloading the software, you will require to register a profile before you can start using the GolfSense. This registering allows you to save data to a server, which is then available on another smartphone. The app itself is well-designed and easy to use, and includes a number of useful statistical features post-swing. The most useful of these is the 3D replay of your swing, from the backswing to the follow-through. The stats provided include the tempo of your swing, club head speed, hand speed, plane comparison, backswing position, hip rotation (by means of gyroscope of the smartphone in your pocket), wrist release and possible distance. All of these stats can be matched to the club of your choosing; sometimes specific to the make and model of your club.
The sensor is meant to be used solely as a training aid during your practice at the range, and never in a match situation (for reasons obvious to golfers). The recorded data allows you to go back and view the progress of your swing, as well as compare your current and previous swings, or even against a pro-golfer, which is pre-stored with the app. Although the sensor itself is not physically noticeable at times, knowing that every swing is monitored makes for an uneasy set of drives during the first few uses of the device.
The GolfSense is quite a useful tool for those just starting off and still finding their feet in the driving range. The issue that instantly arises is its pricing. At a cost of R1,699 it’s very difficult for someone just starting off to justify the cost, especially if they aren’t quite sure how much they will spend on clubs, lessons, kit, or membership at the local range. On the other hand, seasoned golfers would also find it difficult to motivate the purchase, as they would have been golfing for years and have little, or no intention to change their swing they’ve become accustomed to. For the pros, it’s an easy way to track swings during light training, but when you consider the higher-end tools they would no doubt have at their disposal, it may not be something to consider either.
The unit is most useful to users that have decided to take their golfing more seriously, while still not being a seasoned campaigner. The features available on the app adds useful information to your training, and possibly at a significantly reduced rate of a tutor over a few lessons.