I haven’t used the Swingbyte yet and its not even available to pre-order, but I haven’t been this excited about a new product coming to market since the iPhone. Launching in April, the $149 Swingbyte will transform the insight, analytics, and information you can get about your golf swing. Outside, inside, with your instructor, by yourself, even without a ball, this product just might give you the clearest picture you’ve ever had of your golf swing.
For me, this is an awesome use of mobile technology and captures my attention by blending my hobby/obsession for golf with my passion for technical innovation. Without actually using the app (man I’d love to have one in my hands right now) here is why I think this product will be a massive success.
The Swingbyte, a lightweight sensor that sends a 3D rendering of your swing and valuable data to your smartphone, was just announced at this years PGA Merchandise Show. For a $149, which is a little more than the price of a new wedge, you get analytics and insight into your swing that would cost you thousands of dollars with a bigger system or require you to take lessons on a Trackman or simulator. I think the price is perfect and any golfer serious enough to want this data will be able to justify paying this price.
I can only assume the array of sensors inside include at least a gyroscope and accelerometer. The sensors capture a ton of data and then wirelessly sync up via bluetooth to display the data on your iOS or Android device. The simple, compact package and wireless sync means you can use this anywhere without having to carry around a ton of gear.
Check out this video of a demo taken by Par2Pro at the merchandise show.
The data is the primary reason I want this device. You get club speed, club loft, lie angle, and face at impact, attack angle and all your initial angles around loft, lie and face angle. The Swingbyte also delivers club path data including a written explanation such as “out-to-in” and you can see your swing tempo from start to the top and from the top down.
At the end of it all, the Swingbyte even presents the resulting shot shape. No more guessing. You now have proof and you also can start drawing connections between certain data points and their affect on your swing.
This is incredibly cool. The sensors are always on, which allows the Swingbyte to record the path of the swing and render a 3D animation of the swing path. Video can only show you so much and although apps like V1Golf and others allow you to slow the swing down frame by frame, I’ve always wanted to see the actual path of the club. In comparison to the backswing path, am I dropping the club down or coming over the top? From the front on, is my downswing path “inside” the backswing path, which would indicate I’ve made a good shift forward and I’m lagging the club. You can even see the overhead view. This is invaluable for analyzing swing plane to ensure that your swing is on plane and on a good path.
Until now, the average golfer had to make a choice about how they would practice. Either choosing to work inside in a simulator (or in a homemade indoor range like me) or work on the driving range. The driving range obviously has the benefit of seeing how the ball flies and most closely replicates course conditions. Inside, the simulator shows you all the data about your swing and mimics the flight. The problem with the range, is that most people can’t analyze their ball flight effectively. The problem with inside, is that simulators are insanely expensive.
The Swingbyte solves this problem. On the range, you will have detailed stats and analysis about each shot allowing you to really understand ball flight physics by matching the data to the flight. You have the rich data of the simulator and the feel and visual feedback of real golf shots.
But, the real power is that you can use the Swingbyte inside and still have the same focused, detailed, feedback-driven practice as on the range. If you have a mat and net to hit at home, you now have data about your swing instead of relying only on the feel of a good shot. This is something I’m really excited about. You don’t have to guess whether or not the ball would hook, slice or fly straight down the middle of the fairway, you can see it right on your iPad. And you don’t even need a real ball. As you saw in the video, you can simply swing the club anywhere and have 500 pieces of data telling you exactly what happened. There is no such thing as a rained-out practice session.
I’m not working with an instructor right now – part of why I really want this product – but I’m working hard on my swing. When I do work with a pro, I prefer to work outside so I can see the ball fly. That said, I love the data of inside golf simulators. The Swingbyte creates the best of both worlds in a much less expensive package than a Trackman. Every instructor out there should pick up this product and add it to their lessons. In general, students want to spend more time working on fixing their swing than they do showing the pro their current swing. Instead of having to watch 20 or more balls fly and analyze it from every angle, they can see the data in real time on fewer swings, giving them a clear picture of the problem areas and more quickly work out a plan to address the swing faults.
If you’re analytical like me, the data available for every swing will help you make yourself better. Personally, I’m working on plane, more lag, and face angle. I’ve struggled with an over the top move and an early release. The data will help me determine what I’m doing at impact and the 3D animation will show me exactly what’s going on. This makes me my own instructor.
This product brings remote instruction into play. Having the data and 3D swing makes it possible to actually receive remote instruction. The problem with remote instruction in the past was that the instructor could not really see the swing. Even if they had a video, its usually only one swing shot on a smartphone with a max of 30 fps. But with 3D video of the path coupled with all those data points, remote instruction is now a reality. I’ll be interested to see how this plays out.
The company plans to ship the product in April, but an official date or even a pre-order date has not been announced. For $149, you cant find another product with this level of insight. I’ve read that they are including a year of advanced instruction ($49 value) but the details of that piece are limited. To be honest, I’m not as interested in that piece because I’m very analytical. But the idea of remote instruction is very interesting and many people will be very excited about that.
If the Swingbyte produces accurate results and lives up to the promise, this will be the biggest new golf instruction product of 2012 and beyond. Avid golfers, newcomers, and instructors alike will pick this product up and add it to their bags. For me and a few people I’ve talked to about this already, we’ll be pre-ordering the day it becomes a reality and until then, awaiting its release with anxious excitement.
I'm the Vice President of Digital Innovation and Mobile, which is probably the coolest job title out there. You can learn more about my work in emerging technology on the About or Work Pages.
As for this site, it's a place where I can jot ideas down and share some of the stuff I'm working on. The views are my own and some of them might not make much sense, but hey, that's part of the process. I'm also working toward being a single digit handicap golfer, so I post a lot about my golf game.