Golfers love gadgets.
From kludgey gizmos that promise to fix your hook (or slice) off the tee, or your chipping, or your putting, to devices that help you practice more efficiently or learn more from your practice/playing time, there are plenty of clever devices out there that just might be your ticket to a lower handicap.
Remember that scene in "Tin Cup" when Dr. Molly Griswold (Rene Russo) shows up at the driving range owned by Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy (Kevin Costner) for her first golf lesson with a bag full of goofy golf training aids? “I ordered all this from The Golf Channel," she said.
Well, it isn’t like that anymore (well, not necessarily…), and the modern-day golf gadgeteer is more likely to get real help from the devices that are on the market nowadays.
High-tech golf gadgets
As advanced technology catches up with the ancient game of golf there are many high-tech electronic gadgets that do everything from help you aim your putts to analyzing your swing in real-time 3D. Here are a few:
Laser Putt: The Laser Putt training device uses two lasers – a green one to display the line and a red one to show distance – to help you hone your skills on the putting green. The green laser for alignment is a simple enough concept, but the really clever part is the red laser for distance. Adjusting its position allows you to practice a consistent length of backswing as a means of controlling distance. Laser Putt retails for $170.
Zepp Golf Swing Analysis: The Zepp Golf swing analyzer is an example of the amazing kind of high-tech devices that are out there for golfers these days. A lightweight (6.25 grams) electronic sensor that clips to the back of your glove, the Zepp Golf’s combination of 3-axis accelerometers and sophisticated analysis app (available for iPhone and Android) allow you to evaluate your swing through measurement of club speed, club plane, hand plane, backswing position, tempo and hip rotation. Your swing is then rendered back to you through the apps.
It’s the sort of sophisticated motion measurement and analysis that was only available in full-featured (and expensive) golf training centers just a few years ago, and now you can own it and it fits in your golf bag. The Zepp Golf Kit, which includes the Zepp 2 sensor, golf mount and USB charger, retails for $150.
Low-tech golf gadgets
Golf gadgets don’t have to be full of high-tech electronics to be useful, as the following “no batteries required” gadgets demonstrate.
ClockWorx Slope Indicator: Training your eye to read slopes is a vital skill for good putting, and the ClockWorx Hole Slope Indicator is designed to help you do just that. The device fits into the cup on the putting green, and a circular bubble level in the center indicates the slope at the cup. Aligning the bubble with one of the crosshairs marked on the device sets the fall line at the hole, allowing you to place markers indicating slope positions in order to practice reading and accounting for the break around the hole on mid-length putts. At $20, the ClockWorx HSI will set you back less than the cost of a dozen premium golf balls.
The Swing Jacket: The analysis and development behind the Swing Jacket was anything but low-tech. This sophisticated training aid is the result of biometric analysis of the motions experienced by the arms and torso during a “correct” golf swing, and strapping it on allows you to practice the correct “feels” and, with repetition, build that repeatable, on-plane swing that will allow you to hit consistently good golf shots. The SwingJacket Bundle, which includes the SwingJacket and carrying case, two training DVDs, and the TourStop Technology enhancement feature for the SwingJacket can be purchased through their website for $148.
DrivePoint Teeing System: Golf gadgets don’t have to be learning devices; in fact, one of the cleverest gadgets on the market right now is just designed to make your practice session a little easier and more enjoyable. One of the less pleasant parts of practicing on the driving range is bending over and teeing up a ball over and over and over. The DrivePoint XRis a simple but well-designed device that allows you to tee up your next shot on the range without bending over. Pegged to the turf on a grass range with ordinary wooden tees and using a brush tee for the ball, or installed on a piece of mat that you bring with you to a mat range, the DrivePoint device allows you to pull a ball into the scoop, which pivots over as you pull it toward you, depositing the ball on the waiting tee. No more bending over again and again to work on your long ball, just set up the DrivePoint device and scoop practice balls into position, saving your energy for your golf swing. The DrivePoint system can be purchased through Amazon for $20.
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