Look anywhere in sports and you’ll see the infiltration of data collection. For instance, when you watch baseball games on TV, the announcers often declare the exit velocity of a homer and how it compares to the average. On football broadcasts, they tell you a receiver’s running speed downfield and how much ground he can cover in a few seconds. And in golf, data’s helping make golfers more savvy about their games.
Through the use of mobile swing analyzers — portable systems consisting of data sensors screwed into club grips that relay information via Bluetooth to a smartphone — golfers now have instant access to all of their swing particulars, such as clubhead speed, attack angle, smash factor, and plenty more. That can be invaluable in identifying swing faults and weaknesses, so golfers know exactly what to work on. Feedback comes in the form of numbers and three-dimensional animation, in many cases.
Some devices go beyond that, tracking shot distances and locations and then intimating on-course tendencies. To me, this is helpful because you learn so much about your game and where it tends to fall apart. Immediately after my round the first time I used one of these devices, I checked out the stats and charts on my iPhone. The course map struck me, when I realized that all of my missed approach shots traveled long and left of the green. Every one. I’d never noticed that before about my game. So I knew instantly that I was using too much club for most of my approaches, and swinging with excessive use of my right side — which adds overspin and pulls the ball left. When I started taking one less club and focusing on a more-concise swing, I began hitting more greens and shaving two-to-three shots off each round on average. Thank you, technology!