Regardless of who else is on the green, golfers are always competing with one player in particular: Themselves. And in recent years, wearable technology and devices have helped golfers improve on their last best game.
Devices for golfers interested in “the quantifiable self” have come a long way since they first debuted more than five years ago. Zepp Golf, for example, is a pioneer in helping golfers analyze their swings. Its products have evolved to include on-course performance and provide resources for coaches.
Golden State Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala has been using wearables including Zepp Golf to improve his swing, but as he told SportsTechie last summer, we’re merely scratching the surface of what’s to come in terms of devices that track athlete performance. The 2015 NBA Finals MVP is also a tech investor and avidly watching the wearables market. He sees a lot of opportunity for devices geared toward amateurs.
Companies including Samsung and Garmin are putting their own golf tees in the ground. Garmin, which is known for its GPS devices and fitness trackers, recently unveiled its Approach X10, a wearable for rookie golfers. The company’s new golfing buddy is compatible with its existing golf app, and tells golfers how far they are from the pin on more than 41,000 pre-loaded courses worldwide. Its built-in GPS knows when a golfer has moved to the next hole, and it provides distances to the front, back, and middle of the green, as well as any hazards.
Samsung’s most recent foray into golf metrics is via a partnership with myRoundPro, which tracks performance through the strokes-gained statistical analysis metric that the PGA Tour made popular. The collaboration includes an exclusive myRoundPro app developed with Samsung that provides front, middle, and back yardages to each green. The app records scores and provides a statistical breakdown after each round. Golfers can also assign a club to each shot for more detailed analysis.
Wearables and apps are the primary ways golfers – amateur or professional – currently better understand and improve performance either at the range or over 18 holes, but competition is coming in the form of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). This future may include a wearable that covers your whole body.
An India-based startup is developing what is categorized as a mixed-reality wearable. Kaaya Tech’s full-body HoloSuit tracks the body as it goes through a variety of motions using pants, a jacket, and gloves. The product can create meaningful and accurate simulations by collecting data about how people move.
The HoloSuit tracks and visualizes the movements of the golfer’s swing, and then provides insights into how the golfer can correct inconsistencies and swing problems developed over the years with automated suggestions that are stored in the cloud.
The HoloSuit computer currently learns what to look for and encourages the golfer to meet certain standards. Future simulations will tap the knowledge of a specific trainer that provides more personalized feedback.
Kaaya Tech’s HoloSuit is a sign of what’s to come for sports trackers in general, golf swing analysis in particular, and future PGA competitors.