Jan 8th, 2013

One of Android’s earliest examples of app innovation was the good old golf app that would allow golfers to choose a course, input their score for each hole, get a detailed view of each hole, and see where they were currently standing in relation to the pin. In fact, one of the first Android Developer Challenge winners was GolfPlay, an app and company that promised to do just that.

But what about an Android related product that helps you improve your golf game? SwingTIP intends to do just that:

In theory, you simply clip the SwingTIP product to your golf club, sync it with your Android phone or tablet, and head to the driving range or shoot a round of golf. SwingTIP records vital information about each swing including club head speed, swing path, club face angle, impact zone, and tempo. You’re easily able to see what you’re continually doing wrong and right, allowing you to find trouble spots and bad habits on which to improve.

This could certainly be used by the typical golfer who just wants to gather data on their own swing, but I see this being used primarily in two key areas:

  1. The more avid golfer who either wants to challenge themselves to get batter stats, better swing speed, better accuracy, and more consistency. Or perhaps one who is hitting a cold spot.
  2. Golf pros who teach lessons could use SwingTIP to illustrate exactly what the student is doing wrong, with verifiable evidence as to their missteps.

Whether or not SwingTIP works accurately I cannot attest. I play golf a couple times a year but would love to play more often. If there were a “your ball is probably in the woods” feature on SwingTIP, it would be the feature I use most.

But thinking about it, in addition to a few lessons from pros, SwingTIP is something I could definitely use. I’m not sure how many times I’ve hit “hot streaks” followed by “cold streaks” and what do I do every time I hit a cold streak? Try to adjust my swing. But I’m adjusting it foolishly, with no prior knowledge of what I was doing right or wrong in the first place. SwingTIP could assist in this area. It’s not going to (or shouldn’t) replace the instruction of a great golf instructor, but it can certainly assist in improving your score.

I could see SwingTIP’s concept applied to other sports as well. How about bowling with a wristband that tracks delivery, arm speed, and wrist rotation, tying it to your score and pin layout to produce some interesting analytics? How about for other “stick” sports such as baseball or lacrosse? If SwingTIP accomplishes what it sets out to do, you could soon see a lot of athletes getting additional SportsTIPs.

Some initial reviews from customers show the software may be a bit flaky with less than perfect results, but hopefully they’ll continually improve the software and accuracy as time goes on; the success of the product relies on it being incredibly accurate.

SwingTIP is available for free on the Google Play Store alongside the accessory which retails for about $130.

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