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There's an app (and glove) for that: Making sense of the GolfSense golf-swing analyzer

Mike BaileyBy Mike Bailey,
Senior Staff Writer
GolfSense glove
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With GolfSense, a wealth of data comes from a small device on the glove. (Courtesy of GolfSense)

It seems you can do just about anything on a smartphone these days, including analyzing your golf swing.

That is, if you pair your iPhone -- or iPod Touch or iPad -- with a little device called GolfSense, which can detect just about everything in your golf swing. GolfSense is the first portable 3-D sensor system that delivers real-time feedback and analysis of your golf swing to a mobile device. This tiny apparatus has four MEMS sensors that accurately calculate club speed, club position, swing tempo and swing path. And with an iPhone or iPod in your pocket, you can even measure hip turn.

"Our goal is to provide the most helpful product we can to the golfer," said Jason Fass, the CEO of GolfSense's parent company, San Jose, Calif.-based Zepp Technology. "There's a lot that golfers can learn by focusing on their hands because that's where the connection to the golf club is."

The device -- which has two tiny accelerometers, a gyroscope and compass in it -- sits on the hands, but through calculations and input of other parameters by the user, such as club selection, flex and shaft length, it can calculate all sorts of data. After initial calibration, the golfer can see swing plane, clubface position, path, hand speed, clubhead speed, tempo and even hip rotation from the phone, if you put in your pocket. It also calculates your distance and whether or not you're reaching your maximum speed at impact or before or after.

"While it's impossible to replace hands-on instruction from a skilled professional, GolfSense is an excellent diagnostic tool to be used in conjunction with your instructor or when practicing on your own," said Fass, who used to be a senior product manager for Apple Inc. "Our goal was to create something that's easy to use and allows you to see an analysis of your swing like never before."

The GolfSense app

One of the major components of the formula is the free application you download on your mobile device. The company recently launched an extensive update to its app, including more than a dozen new analysis and settings features, and promises that it will only be improved in the coming months and years.

One instructor who was impressed with it is world-renowned instructor Rick Smith. He has selected GolfSense as his primary 3D motion capture swing analyzer to use across his teaching academies, learning centers and one-on-one coaching. Known for working with the likes of Phil Mickelson, Lee Janzen, Rocco Mediate, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman, Smith said it was an ideal fit for his business.

"GolfSense has the ability to empower the average golfer to capture their swing in a meaningful way, on their own, and receive instant feedback from the GolfSense App. I am also excited about the extensive data that the GolfSense App can capture, some of which has never been captured before, such as hand speed during the swing," Smith said. "GolfSense technology is a game-changer for golf instruction."

Smith is also serving as a product adviser to continually provide feedback.

GolfSense: The verdict

First off, GolfSense is remarkable. When you think about the thousands of dollars instructors spend to get this kind of data with video and computer equipment, the $130 price tag is an incredible bargain.

But it isn't for everyone. You don't have to be a tech geek to get value out of GolfSense, but you do need to be the sort who likes to figure things out. In a sense, playing around with the device is almost as much fun as using it, just seeing what it can do and trying it out on your friends.

But there is a real benefit for the golfer who likes to monitor his or her swing or check progress. The measurements are real, and no matter what kind of swing theory you try, this data can be most helpful. Learning, for example, that your tempo is ideal or that you're coming a little over the top can help you make adjustments. It also shows whether or not you're maximizing your clubhead speed or releasing well.

GolfSense can be found at major golf retailers around the country, including Golf Galaxy and GolfSmith, as well as Apple Stores and Verizon. For more information, you can also visit www.golfsense.me.

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GolfSense smartphone

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in the Houston area. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 20 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @Accidentlgolfer.

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