For anyone in the golf business, especially an instructor, it is imperative to keep up with the latest golf technology. Sometimes it concerns golf clubs, but more often than not, it is the technology related to improving the golfer’s game that is constantly improving. To illustrate my point, if we wrote a book on technology related to teaching the game just five years ago, the book would already be very obsolete. Some of the best products to hit the market heavily this year are the instant golf swing feedback devices. Most of these devices hook onto your golf club. There are even products that are placed in your golf glove. Products like this fall into the same category as video or training aids – they need a professional to interpret the data correctly for the student. That is why I think any serious instructor should invest in one of these devices. In some ways, technology can hurt the teaching business, but in many ways it can help. A student can now instantly see their path or speed, etc. But, they need the instructor to teach them how to improve it. The other benefit is the ability to have verification of what is actually happening in the swing. This is very similar to swing video analysis, except, instead of pictures, you are getting raw data and numbers. So, how do these devices work? The first of these devices came out from Germany and Japan several years ago. The engineering principal is based on measuring what the club is doing as it moves. Originally, string gauges built into the device and then placed on the club would send signals to a computer through Bluetooth technology. The technology behind it and the size has evolved, and the price has come down dramatically. How fast was the club moving? What direction? How much rotation? That is the basis of the feedback the device records. With the advent of smartphones and increased competition, there are more devices to choose from, and they are Apple- or Android-based, or both. No need for the bulky desktop or laptop computer. The specific feedback can vary, but typically it will instantly and accurately record clubhead speed, plane, path, shaft angles, and face position during the entire swing. The feedback shows up directly on your phone or tablet. If you use your imagination as an instructor, you could use this during the lesson to verify changes or improvements. There are so many ways to use this information to improve the swing that it would take several articles like this to cover it all. You could use it easily for someone looking for the keys in their swing to increase their clubhead speed, for example. Another easy example would be swing plane. One of the great things about these devices are the many 3D views you can see of the swing. You could instantly see if a new swing thought produced a different plane or path. A little experimentation by the professional is the best way to learn. Before buying, read the reviews, make sure you can return it if necessary, and pay close attention to how well it stays attached to the club. As I have preached to instructors for years, be open-minded when it comes to things that might help your students. Technology can be scary, but you have to jump in there and experiment. If you are instructor older than 50, it is imperative to keep up. Trust me, the young teachers will be using technology to help their students!
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