Golfers and instructors coming together using the V1 Sports golf app
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Golfers and instructors coming together using the V1 golf app


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It's not hard to draw a parallel between a therapist and a golf instructor.

Scores of golfers find themselves needing someone to talk about their lives -- their golf lives, that is -- and wanting to get the kind of positive, forward-moving feedback they can only get from a professional golf instructor. Golfers tell their instructors their problem areas, where they have doubts. The golfer seeks validation for when things go right, and they hope the bad outcomes are more bad luck than some puritanical curse.

Many golfers are impulsive. They have a bad round and they need a lesson. They don't trust the process. They need to hit restart on the process over and over.



Sometimes, things just don't feel right to a golfer. After all, making change is difficult, feels uncomfortable and rarely shows positive results right out the gate.

That's why have a one-hour lesson with a golf instructor each week sometimes seems like not enough. During those 60 minutes on the lesson tee, a lot of kinks can be worked out, and a golfer can leave feeling really good about where they are. Then they go on the course, or they go to the range by themselves, and it all falls apart. It's confidence-shattering inertia, and golfers are quick to reach out to their instructor for a tourniquet. But their lives are also so busy with other stuff than making an extra stop to the driving range or the golf club can be difficult or impractical.

Fortunately, in this case at least, most of us are also surgically attached to our mobile phones, and those mobile phones have tremendous power to keep us connected. With the V1 Sports app, students and instructors can interact in real time, getting a golfer as close to a hotline-style connection to their teacher when they want it.

Jim Estes played on the PGA Tour, and he was the low club professional at the 2017 Senior PGA Championship at Trump National in northern Virginia. He teaches out of Olney Golf Park, not too far from my house, and he has students of all kinds. He uses the V1 app to keep connected with his students, even when they're not physically with him on the lesson tee.

Estes is able to take video footage of his players using the V1 app for instructors and then work with the video to teach his students better. He can provide an easy voiceover as he analyzes a student's action, slow it down, draw lines to indicate ideal positions and send the total package to a student in a very short period of time.  The student then gets the finished product delivered to them how they wish: in their version of the V1 app, which has a locker of all their videos, or on social media, including their Facebook page. He can send a link over email. V1 makes it super easy for an instructor to connect with their student.

Instructors have their own V1 app, complete with quick and easy-to-use analysis tools

Ultimately, the instructor also can use the V1 app as a way of marketing more on-demand connection with their students. Estes is among many pros who offer a special package students can buy allowing them to send him a video to analyze through V1. The student can film themselves on the range or the golf course, send it to Estes (or another pro who uses this functionality) for analysis and get it back in a quick-turnaround timeframe.

Estes told me many students are reluctant to take him up on the offer -- not because it's not a great value (it is) but because they're more comfortable working with him in person. That's certainly a testament to Estes and his teaching style, but it's not hard to imagine the future of golf instruction heavily leaning on a digital feedback loop with fewer physical touchpoints.

From the student's standpoint -- in this case, me -- having easy access to a library of analyzed, annotated swings is great. I can turn to them on the range, or even in a casual round, to trigger a swing thought or a reminder just in case I forget something along the way. The V1 app saves the potential annoyance of having to play through several holes of a round trying to figure out which Band-Aid will solve a swing problem that's cropped up that day. Instead of running through several holes' worth of experimental fixes, they're all available from my phone.

The V1 can be as simple as a quick-and-messy way to get feedback from an instructor or as complicated as a library of a lifetime of swing evolution. As more students and instructors become comfortable talking golf swing through the app instead of waiting for the affirmed time and location each week or so, golfers will continue to feel more connected to the game and improve faster.

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About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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