It is often said that feel and reality don’t always agree. People also say pictures are worth a thousand words. By that logic, video, especially as it relates to something as complicated as a golf swing, must be worth its weight in gold. Many of us GolfWRX members already use video apps in our everyday practice and improvement plans. Some of us use them on our own and some with our instructors. I’m currently working to improve my game without direct instruction and video has proven to be a vital piece of equipment. There are many good video apps out there, such V1 Golf, which I’ve used for a couple years. However, with additional funding raised late last year, Ubersense has stepped up its game and the latest version of SwingReader has emerged as my go-to video app.
The speedy video processing and easy-to-use interface are the features that give SwingReader an edge over other video apps. If you’ve used the app in the past and haven’t recently, I’d recommend giving it a try again. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can download the free universal app from the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running 6.0 and higher. And if you already use it everyday, that’s great, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section.
Fast video processing.
Simple and intuitive user interface.
Ability to record a video review.
Lots of support on its website.
It’s free — for now.
It’s only available for iOS at this time (but Android is in the works).
The lineup of pro golfers isn’t very robust at this time.
Yeah, that is pretty much it.
Video Recording and Ease of Use
I believe the best apps are created by people who are trying to solve a problem in their own life. They have a passion that comes out in the products they build. SwingReader was developed by golfers for golfers and it shows in every aspect of this app, starting with video recording. A big red button is waiting for you on the main screen, tap it and you’re almost instantly ready to record. You have easy access to recording options such as a countdown timer, trim options, the ability to switch cameras and import videos from your camera roll. As I said above, the real power is in the video processing. Once you tap the record button to stop recording video, it’s processed, saved and ready to go. Even importing videos is lighting fast. Unlike other apps that seem to take a long time to process the video, SwingReader does it in an instant. When I’m on the range and working on something, I want the instant feedback video provides, but I don’t want to get out of a rhythm. Speed is one of the main reasons I’ve switched to SwingReader.
But speed isn’t the only reason SwingReader is a great app. The entire interface is well thought out starting with the timeline view. Borrowing from other popular social apps, the latest update of SwingReader categorizes your swings by club and golfer, but once you dig into a specific club, your swings are laid out in a simple timeline view. This relatively simple concept is a huge time saver allowing you to instantly see your progress as you scan through your timeline in reverse chronological order.
Drawing Tools and Side-By-Side Comparison
Analyzing our swings (or your student’s swings if you’re an instructor) is one of the main reasons we download video apps and SwingReader has all our favorite tools laid out and ready for us. When it designed the tools, SwingReader paid close attention to things like the “fat finger rule” which means it made the buttons large enough to actually accommodate fingers. This is great when you’re on the range with a club in one hand and a phone in the other. You can scan through the video quickly and easily by swiping the right side of the screen or play the video at full speed or slowed all the way down to one-eighth speed.
When it comes to annotating and analyzing your swing, the drawing tools are easily accessible and organized at the top of the screen. All your favorite tools are included allowing you to draw free form, straight lines, circles and even angles. You can clear all the annotations with the click of a button or delete them individually. The lines even come in three different colors.
At first, all side-by-side comparison features appear the same as in other apps. But once you start using this feature, you’ll quickly see it’s very different than some of the other popular apps. This feature works best on the larger screen of the iPad but is still handy on the iPhone. As you expect, you can select other videos of yourself or someone else and they stack side-by-side. You can still use the drawing tools and overlay the videos, but the big difference with SwingReader is you can hit play and both videos will play simultaneously. This is helpful for a number of reasons and works really well when you overlay the videos.
We’ve all seen the slow-motion analysis of professional swings on TV. Unlike some of the other apps that require you to pay a premium for this feature, SwingReader includes the ability to record your own slow-motion video analysis of any swing. Once you hit the microphone icon at the top of the video screen, you can record your interactions with the video. You can play the swing, back it up, add and remove annotations and at the same time, have anything you say picked up by the microphone and added to the review. If you are using SwingReader on your own, you can use the video review feature to keep notes about your swing, what you are working on, where you need to improve, and include key details about the swing such as ball flight and contact.
As an instructor, you know how important video analysis is to helping your students improve and are probably using a variety of apps already. Without requiring a large monthly or yearly fee, SwingReader gives you the ability for your students to hear and see your instruction, tips and advice for their swings all within the same video. This turns static comments into dynamic content that will help your students learn and improve faster.
As with other features, it is relatively simple to share your swings with yourself, your instructor or anyone else. You can share via Facebook, YouTube, email, SMS and online at swingreader.com. You can also place your swings on Dropbox or Google Drive and save them to your camera roll. In another smart feature, you can easily open any acceptable video format directly into SwingReader from messages. No more saving videos to your Camera Roll first and then going into the app to import the swing, it’s automatic.
Tips and Drills
SwingReader is lacking in this area right now – within the app. It does provide tips and drills on its blog (see below). I expect they will likely continue to build out their library of professional swings in addition to tips and drills. Given that every golfer’s swing is different, I mostly rely on an instructor’s recommendation for tips and drills or my own research specific to what I’m working on, so this weakness isn’t a big factor for me personally.
Blog and Support
You can find a lot of great content on the Ubersense blog. The site contains everything from drills and analysis of professional swings, to instructional blog posts describing how to use key features of SwingReader. One thing I look for from companies is whether or not they keep their blog content fresh and SwingReader is doing a good job here. The team posted an analysis of Brandt Snedeker’s swing the day after his win at Pebble (check out his WITB here).
I’ve used and recommended other video apps in the past, but I’ve almost exclusively switched to SwingReader. All the major video applications have side-by-side comparisons, tips & drills and swings of professional golfers. What truly sets SwingReader apart, is the the fast video processing and smooth user experience that gives you the freedom to spend more time making and reviewing swings and less time waiting around. If you haven’t already, I would recommend downloading and giving it a try while it’s still free.
GolfWRX Spotlight: Motocaddy M7 Remote and M5 GPS DHC electric cart review
I have been thinking about electric golf push carts, or trollies, ever since I started playing in my league seven years ago.
Motocaddy has been making high-quality electric, and non-electric, carts since 2004 and has a couple of great options for the golfer who loves to walk. Motocaddy was nice enough to get their M7 Remote and M5 GPS DHC in my hands to try out on the course for a few weeks.
I have had a lot of people stop me to ask about the carts, and the one thing I keep telling them is that these carts are just flat out fun to use on the course.
Motocaddy M7 Remote
The M7 Remote was very easy to get set up right out of the box. All you have to do is charge the battery, install the wheels, and you are pretty much ready to go. The M7 folds up pretty small, just a little larger than the 3-wheel pushcart that I had been using for years. Getting it to the course should be no problem with just about any trunk space. Now, the one downside to an electric cart is the weight when moving it around, and both carts come in at around 35 pounds each. Even with that extra weight, I didn’t have much trouble lifting them in and out of the back of a pickup.
The M7 unfolds quickly with the flick of two levers and extends the front wheels automatically. Once unfolded, you drop in the battery, plug it in, and secure your bag. If you own a Motocaddy bag, they have developed a really nice system called EasiLock that involves two metal studs that fit into the bottom of the cart. This system also includes a molded base that prevents the bag from rotating at all, even on the roughest terrain. You can still use the M7 with almost any other golf bag as it includes elastic straps that wrap around the top and bottom of the bag.
As soon as you plug in the battery the LCD screen comes to life and you are ready to go. You can use the M7 without the remote by using the dial on the handle to control the starting, stopping, and speed. But the M7 has a remote that is activated by a simple press of the power button to get going. The remote is very simple with just five buttons to control where the M7 goes.
Getting a feel for the M7 takes no time at all and by the time you drive it from your car to the 1st tee you will be in complete, and confident, control of the cart. You simply press the “+” button to start moving forward and the cart takes off gently without any rattling of your clubs, and you can press that same button again to increase the speed. The cart will go from a slow crawl, for bumpy or tight areas, too, as fast as I could run with just a few presses of the button. The big red “stop” button in the center stops the cart immediately, and when stopped it is locked in place, even on steep hills. You don’t have to worry about remembering to set the brakes or anything because it is done automatically.
Steering is just as easy: simply press the right or left button to turn the cart. Small, quick presses will just slightly adjust the cart as it moves down the fairway while a long hold of the button can make it turn on a dime to the right or left.
Almost everyone asked me how stable the cart was and if it would tip over. I can proudly say that it has stayed upright even on some unseen bumps at maximum speed. Side hills, ruts, and even curbs are handled with ease with the help of the small rear wheel.
I really enjoy strolling down the fairway with nothing but the M7’s remote in my hand — it just makes golfing more fun!
Motocaddy M5 GPS DHC
After using the M7 and its fancy remote, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t like not having it. But to be honest the M5 was just as fun to use, but for a different reason.
As the name suggests, the M5 has a built-in GPS with 40,000 courses preloaded into it. The screen is a good size, pretty responsive to the touch, and easy to read in direct sunlight. Having the GPS directly on the cart is great, you drive up to your ball and immediately have yardage to the front, back, and center of the green as well as bunkers and hazards. You can easily toggle between screens on the GPS and it offers a couple of different views to help navigate the hole. The M5 can also keep score and let you know shot distances right on the screen. Motocaddy even includes nice little touches like a screen protecter kit to ensure durability.
Driving the M5 is just as easy as the M7 with using the dial on the handle. And speaking of the handle, the grips have a great tacky rubber that grips well even in hot and humid conditions. To start the M5 you just press the dial down and the cart will gently start down the fairway. You can turn the dial to increase or decrease the speed — I found between 5-6 to be the most comfortable for me. But the speed can go up to a very fast pace if you are looking to set a record for fastest round of the day.
As you walk down the fairway, or rough, stopping the cart is as simple as pressing he dial again. When stopped the M5 engages a parking brake automatically so you don’t have to worry about it running down a hill without your approval. The M5 has tons of power to go up just about any hill and the Down Hill Control (DHC) keeps the speed consistent even when going down a steep decent.
Since the M5 has so much power, and it is a little heavy, I thought steering would be a little bit of a challenge. It wasn’t, at all. Guiding the M5 took very little effort and slight adjustments going down the fairway were very easy. Really tight turns took a slight bit more effort as the torque can want to go forward a little more than turn. Again, once you get the M5 from the car to the first tee, you will be a master at driving it.
Overall, Motocaddy has created two great carts that provide additional enjoyment to walking your favorite 9 or 18. Having the ability to walk without carrying or pushing your bag, clubs, and whatever else goes with you. I like them so much that it is going to be hard to get the M7’s remote out of my hands when I go play!
GolfWRX Spotlight: Crossrope weighted jump rope & app
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
WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of
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
- Design that delivers more power and stability
- 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.
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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