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Review: GolfSense Swing Analyzer

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There is no shortage of swing analyzers on the market today. They come in different flavors and styles, some focusing on showing every data point possible and others focusing more on delivering simple visuals. Each one promises to help you play better by delivering the data and 3D animations that enable you to truly understand your swing. GolfSense from Zepp Labs, a wearable sensor that attaches to your glove instead of your club, is a flavor all its own, presenting golfers with a simple, accurate and easy-to-use swing analyzer.

GolfSense is available for $129 from the Zepp Labs website and also retailers such as Golfsmith, Best Buy and the Apple Store. It comes in two colors, white and black, and has a free companion app that works on iOS and Android devices.

If you are looking for a swing analyzer packed with a ton of data, you might be better off checking out a product like Swingbyte 2. But if you are looking for an accurate swing analyzer that believes keeping it simple is the best way to learn and improve, then read on!

Pros

  • Clean and easy to use mobile apps, especially on tablets.
  • Accurate data and 3D path visualizations.
  • Hand path visualization is unique.

Cons

  • Data points are limited.
  • Not as much control over 3D view as some might like.

Hardware

GolfSense

The GolfSense packaging is sturdy and solid and comes with a cradle and micro-USB cable for charging the device. Unlike other swing analyzers that attach to the shaft of the club, GolfSense actually attaches to the strap of your glove. It is extremely light, weighing only 0.6 ounces, but it is still packed with two accelerometers, a gyroscope and a compass to provide accurate information. You can get a half charge on the device in only 30 minutes and a full charge will let you swing continuously for five hours, plenty of time to beat a lot of balls on the range.

It took me a couple of swings to get used to having the device on my glove instead of my club. But after a few solid shots, I didn’t really notice it. If you’re the kind of golfer who doesn’t wear a glove, this might present an issue for you. But for some of us, the ability to switch clubs without having to detach and reattach the device is a welcome change.

Device setup and user profiles

Grip Setting GolfSenseSetting up GolfSense for the first time is simple. GolfSense uses Bluetooth, just like other swing analyzers, so power up your mobile device and pair the GolfSense just like any other Bluetooth-enabled device.

Once you are connected, the GolfSense walks you through creating your profile, which is stored in the cloud on the GolfSense servers. That allows all your swings to be saved and available for view on other devices.

Like other swing analyzers, you need to enter basic details like your height and if you are right or left handed. Where GolfSense deviates from other devices is when it asks about your grip. One question I had prior to unboxing the device is how GolfSense would accurately report data for people who have extremely strong or weak grips. During the setup, I found my answer. In keeping with its goal of presenting a simple, intuitive app, Zepp presents you with a graphic of two hands gripping a club and four arrows surrounding the graphic. All you have to do is tap the arrows to strengthen or weaken your grip and move your grip down the shaft, if you tend to choke up, or up the shaft if you grip it at the end.

The last piece of the setup is your golf bag. To provide accurate data, you need to enter the loft, length and shaft information. You can also choose the make and model of your clubs, which provides a nice visual but doesn’t affect the data.

Once you are set up all that is left is to swing the club. Before each shot, GolfSense recommends calibrating the device while at address. As long as the device doesn’t shift, I found that I could calibrate every few swings without issue. All you need to do is get set, grip your club with your let hand (for right-handed golfers) and double tap the button on the top of the device. Then swing away.

Swing Goals

Swing Goals GolfSense Swing Goals are central to the GolfSense app. You can set swing goals on five key areas: Tempo, Backswing Position, Club Plane Comparison, Hand Plane Comparison and Clubhead Speed. GolfSense made it easy to set your goals by presenting preset options such as Professional, Amateur and Senior or you can set your own. Each of the goals allows you to set a number you want to achieve in the swing.

For example, you can set a tempo goal of 3:1 if you want a buttery smooth tempo like Ernie Els. Or say 4:1, if you have a slower backswing and faster forward swing. Two of the goals I found most interesting were Club and Swing Plane Comparison. Regardless of your opinion on the merits of a one- or two-plane swing, most of us can agree that if your club goes down on the same plane it went up, that is usually a good thing. I know there are extreme cases, but GolfSense agrees and allows you to set a goal of how closely your hands follow the same path. GolfSense states that professionals average 90-to-100 and allows you to set a goal anywhere from 0-to-100.

The goals you set for each of these key areas will define the overall SwingScore each swing receives.

App Design and ease of use

I’m impressed with the Golfsense app on iOS. It is clean, uncluttered, easy to use and very intuitive. The graphics presented are easy to read both indoors and outdoors and the fact that they chose to focus on only a few data points allowed the designers to make the numbers big, bold and easy to see.

Club Path GolfSense

Navigating the app is fairly intuitive. You can quickly access the main navigation, which will provide access to swing history, statistics, goals, clubs and more. All of the data screens present the most important information first, and subtle color choices make it very easy to glance at the app and understand what you’re looking at so you can quickly get back to hitting balls.

When you are on the 3D Swing View, you are presented with a 3D golfer and the animation of either your hand or your club path, which you can easily switch from a menu on the screen. You can watch the swing from four angles including front-on, down-the-line, behind the golfer and from overhead.

However, I wish I could adjust the viewing angles with more precision than just those four angles. Slide your finger left and right to change the viewing angle and pinch the app to zoom in and out. You can even quickly switch to viewing previous swings by sliding your finger up the right side of the app and selecting a swing. These subtle but important interactions make GolfSense a real companion on the range, and not a hinderance.

That said, I am disappointed that the user cannot choose to turn off the 3D graphic and animation of the golfer. Without being hooked up to a system such as K-Vest or other 3D biofeedback suits, there is no way for an app to generate an accurate animation of a person’s golf swing. For that reason, showing a fake animated golfer matched up with a user’s plane lines presents an inaccurate and misleading picture. Most golfers will understand that isn’t the way their swing looks, but for me, I just found it distracting and cluttered an otherwise clean interface.

I can finally see my hands

Hand Path GolfSenseGolfSense focuses on two main path animations: the hand path and the club path. The main differentiator between GolfSense and other swing analyzers is that it attaches to your glove and not your club, which offers the ability to show golfers their actual hand path. I believe is this a huge opportunity for many golfers who suffer from moving their hands incorrectly through the swing.

One of my good friends and golfing buddies has been working hard the past two years to correct an over-the-top move when he starts his transition. He has used other swing analyzers, which have helped, as well as slow-motion video and it is clear he has this move. But with the GolfSense, he can now see the path of his hands going to the top, looping over, coming down and rapidly moving to the inside through the hit. He isn’t guessing about what is hands are doing, he can see them. And as he practices, he can start connecting the feeling he has with what is actually happening.

The other path animation is the club path. GolfSense once again clearly shows the path going to the top and the path coming down and through the ball by using two different colors. The animation starts at address and continues until your hands and roughly hip height, which allows you to see the path all the way through the hit and the partial follow-through.

In both cases, I found the animations to be pretty accurate. My stock swing matched closely to what I was seeing in slow-motion video. When I attempted to manipulate my hands either over the top dramatically or under the plane, the app picked up on it. As with any other swing analyzer at this price point, the data and animations won’t be completely accurate, but again for me and most golfers, the simple visualizations are very powerful.

Stats, Reports & Analysis

Lab Report GolfSenseGolfSense reports on up to eight data points including: SwingScore, Club Speed, Club Plane, Hand Plane, Tempo, Backswing at the Top, Hand Speed, and Hip Rotation. Attaching the device to your hand and not your club automatically limited the amount of data GolfSense could accurately report. I think that is a good thing. Some of the questions golfers have raised in the GolfWRX forums and in comments on other swing analyzer reviews is “Can you have too much data?” It is a valid question.

GolfSense presents just enough data to help golfers transform their swing by focusing on simple numbers such as swing speed, club plane and overall score for each swing. Presenting a score for a swing is an interesting concept as long as there is an understanding that the score is based only on the swing and not on contact or the resulting ball flight. I hit some shots off the heel that I would score a 60, but GolfSense said they were 88s because my plane numbers were pretty good.

After each swing you can see an animation view with just the path and your SwingScore, or you can click to see the data view. On this view they have laid out your SwingScore and club speed at the top. We already know that swing speed will be an approximation, and I found the numbers to be a little high. In most cases, they were 3-to-4 mph higher than my stock swing registers on other swing analyzers or on systems like FlightScope.

Club and hand-plane comparisons are the next data points listed. I found these numbers to be fairly accurate. It is difficult to truly know your numbers without more expensive and accurate equipment, but in my tests, the app proved to accurately report a more significant difference when I attempted to manually reroute my hands and club shaft. Tempo and backswing position also appeared to be accurate numbers for me. For golfers looking to lengthen or shorten their backswing, this number will prove to be very valuable. For me, I have a shorter backswing and when I attempt to lengthen it, everything falls out of sequence and this number makes that easy to see.

The final two numbers are hand speed and hip rotation. For hip rotation to register, you need to have your mobile device in your pocket, preferably on your hip. I use other apps to measure my hip rotation and I didn’t find this number to be particularly accurate and in most cases, even register data.

The My Stats section presents clear, aggregated data such as most used club, best SwingScore, average swings per month, and just in case you need to be reminded how long it has been since you last hit a golf ball, it will tell you how many days since your last swing.

The Labs section presents aggregated data by session. You can see the number of swings you took, as well as average stats for the five key areas. You can also get a graph of each data point to see how consistent your swings were through the session. And of course, you will see your goals right alongside.

Finally, if you want to check out how you stack up against the pros, they do have some pro swing data and animations loaded in the app. You don’t get a lot of details about the “Pro Coach” but you do get to see swing data and path animations for every club in your bag. You can view the animations side-by-side, just like you can do with your own swings, and you can dig into the data to see what their tempo, speeds, and positions look like.

Help and Support

Help GolfSense Staying true to form, the help options in the app are really nice. All of the key data points have an info button that presents a description of what the data point means and how it is used. In some cases, even presenting a drill to perform on the range. There is a Help Section that provides simple step-by-step instructions on how to connect the device and also how to use GolfSense. They have added links to video tutorials, user guides and customer support all available online.

Bottom line

I’m a big fan of wearable technology and this market is only heating up. Golf and the golf swing can benefit greatly from companies like Zepp Labs investing in wearable technology. While GolfSense won’t blow you away with data, and let’s face it — some of that data won’t really be as accurate as it could be anyway — the GolfSense does present golfers with actionable information about their swing including a unique data point, the Hand Path, all wrapped up in an easy-to-use mobile app.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”https://www.zepp.com/golf/why/” oemtext=”Learn more from Zepp” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007TMZI5Y/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B007TMZI5Y&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=NAJQUXORSIU2S7WP”]

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When he is not obsessing about his golf game, Kane heads up an innovation lab responsible for driving innovative digital product development for Fortune 500 companies. He is also the co-founder of RoundShout and creator of Ranger GPS, the free iOS GPS app for the driving range. On a quest to become a scratch golfer, Kane writes about his progress (for better or worse) at kanecochran.com and contributes golf technology-focused articles on GolfWRX.com.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Pingback: How To Use GPS For Golf Effectively? | freewillandscience

  2. Pratik

    Sep 25, 2015 at 11:06 am

    I have used zepp golf and its pretty interesting.
    But its a bit costly. I found a website called getdevice.com which sells it cheapest.

    I would like to share the link http://getdevice.com/products/jawbone-up-onyx

    go and try it guys..

  3. Bob

    Feb 7, 2014 at 12:04 am

    I’ve used this device for a couple years now and the app is better now then when I first purchased it. If they would provide face position at impact and swing path at impact they would have the best product out there. Not knowing what my clubface is doing at impact and if my path is inside out or outside in is the last piece of the puzzle.

  4. Colin

    Nov 17, 2013 at 3:53 am

    Well done Golfsense, I think Golf Buddy could learn a thing or two from that , I dropped my World GPS and they are looking £125 to replace the glass !

  5. Derek

    Nov 16, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    I have owned the golfsense device for year now and have found it very helpful. Recently during a swing my old glove let loose and the sensor went flying over the fence. I searched and searched for the sensor with no success. I sent a quick email to Zepp and they were fantastic. They sent me a new unit free of charge and I got it in the mail that same week. Their customer service was fantastic.

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Accessory Reviews

GolfWRX Spotlight: Crossrope weighted jump rope & app

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An 18-hole round of golf averages out to just under five miles of walking, which on its own is a good workout. Once you throw in some potential uphill trekking you get some serious cardio too, but if you all looking for a quick workout between rounds of golf look no further than Crossrope.

Crossrope – The details

Crossrope is a system of the weighted jump rope that allows you to quickly switch the weight of the ropes you are using to boost your workout—they range from 1/4 lbs all the way up to 2 lbs depending on the kit you start out with. There is an accompanying app that helps you go through multiple workout routines and is available free, or you can upgrade to the entire library of workout routines along with more workout tracking options.

This is NOT your middle school jump rope

The handles are heavy duty and feature precision bearings to allow the rope to move smoothly around as you go through a routine. They are also ergonomic and fit into your hand naturally, which making gripping easy, something that is really nice when you’re swinging a 2 lbs coated steel cable around. The handles also come with a fast clip system to make changing cables depending on your selected workout easier too.

The ropes themselves are made from braided steel and are almost impossible to tangle, allowing them to be easily transported and stored when not in use. All in you are getting a premium piece of workout equipment that is effective and easy to store—hard to same the same thing about a treadmill.

When it comes to a workout, skipping rope is one of the most effective cardio workouts you can do, and with Crossrope, you can get both cardio and low impact weight training when using the heaviest ropes, and follow along with the guided workouts.

As someone that hadn’t used a jump rope in over a decade, starting out lighter was a nice way to ease in before moving up, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy and fun some of the workouts in the app were. If you are looking for a fun way to add something to your workouts, or you just want to try something new to get you into golf course walking shape, this could be right up your alley. To learn more check out crossrope.com

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of

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One of the coolest parts of being in this part of the golfing world is being able to shed light on smaller companies that typically get overshadowed by their bigger corporate brothers.

So, this post is about one of those products that is definitely competitive against top golf shoe companies, and it’s made by a company called Athalonz, which is based out west in Arizona. Typically known for its innovative baseball cleats and insole packages, Athlonz newest addition takes the patented design to the world of golf with the EnVe golf shoe.

These have started appearing on the world long drive circuit due to the amount of traction they get, allowing players to swing harder. So for the last few months, I have gotten to wear them and see if they are as good as the company claims.

Athalonz EnVe: Living up to claims

The main selling points of these shoes are focused on two things

  1. Design that delivers more power and stability
  2. Custom comfort that lasts all day

These are somewhat difficult to combine into one shoe, and though they are on the heavier side, Athlonz are completely worth it for the benefits. It is obvious that they made strides to hit each box on the list for a great shoe. The patented design has been adapted from their baseball cleat and introduces a spikeless golf shoe with a circular design that allows the player to gain traction through the golf swing. This gives a player the chance to swing harder and faster without losing their footing. They also offer insole packages that help with correct bodyweight placement to help add an extra layer of consistency.

Secondly, it’s very noticeable that there was plenty of thought given to comfort with a roomy toe and custom insoles to fit your style. Additionally, ankle padding helps to provide more stability and comfort.

On another note, they have a good sense of style with a more classic, casual take. In addition to the pictured white/brown color, there’s a black/grey colorway as well.

After multiple months of wear in all types of conditions, these shoes have performed great for me with all the traction I need and while feeling great throughout the round.

Verdict

I am a person who tends to support smaller companies when I can if they make good products. Any support for them goes a long way—especially in the golf business. Since these shoes will set you back about $150, I wanted to be sure they are worth it for the money and they absolutely are. Seriously, for anyone looking to boost their shoe game and help alleviate aching feet and ankles, give these a shot.

 

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Accessory Reviews

GolfWRX Spotlight: Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII

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Every golfer should have an accurate, reliable, easy-to-use rangefinder. With the new Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII, you get all of that and more in one of the smallest, lightest packages on the market.

Not only do you get a ton of features, but when you consider these devices start at only $199.99 for the 20 G II and then $229.99 for the 20i GII ( slope adjusted version ), you get one of the best values in a rangefinder from one of the most well-known consumer optics companies in the world.

Review: Nikon CoolShot 20 GII and 20i GII

First Target Priority and 8-Second Continuous Measurement: “First Target Priority” is Nikon’s way of making sure you are picking up the flag and not a tree behind your intended target. There is nothing worse than thinking you have your distance dialed in to then have a shot fly over the green. With how quickly it lets you know the ranger finder is locked, getting that distance and double-checking can happen remarkably fast.

In the eight-second continuous measurement setting, the rangefinder will continuously measure the field of view as you scan the target area for approximately eight seconds. This setting is great when playing unfamiliar courses or trying to figure out the exact spot to a dogleg, tree, or hazard on your intended line.

Bright, 6x Monocular: Nikon is known for its glass and multi-coating technology, from telephoto camera lenses to rifle scopes, if it’s Nikon glass, it’s going to be clear, fog-resistant, and high-contrast for easy viewing. From a viewing experience perspective, the Coolshot 20 GII’s 6x monocular has an adjustable diopter for sharp focusing, along with long eye relief—meaning you can keep your glasses (or sunglasses) on when acquiring your target.

Slope-Adjusting ID Technology: With the 20i GII you have the option to get the slope-adjusted distance for any shot thanks to Nikon’s ID Technology. The mode can be turned on and off by the user to comply with USGA rules to make it legal for tournament rounds. Having tested it out on hilly terrain it’s easy to see why so many golfers mis-club going into greens when elevation changes become a lot more dramatic.

Review

The Nikon Coolshot 20 GII’s size and weight make it ideal for anyone who regularly carries and wants the benefit of knowing distances but without having to worry about weight—it weighs about the same as a sleeve of balls.

The size allows you to hold the units stable. However, I could see for those new to the rangefinder space, it could take some time getting used to when first getting acquainted with it. The best bet for this is to take it to a range or just step outside with it on your next walk and get used to hitting targets before you take it to the course—plus it makes for a fun game to see how good you really are at estimating distances.

Overall, for the price and size, it is one of the best rangefinders on the market. Plus, with a five-year warranty, you can be assured of years of use with the Nikon CoolShot 20 GII rangefinders.

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