I’m always interested in looking at affordable swing analyzers for the individual golfer. When you’re trying to learn or fix something in your swing, half the problem is getting real information on whether it’s working. Maybe you’re trying to increase clubhead speed. Wouldn’t it be nice to get some feedback on how you’re doing. This is just what SwingTIP does.
The device is a little one ounce electronic unit that attaches directly to any club. Couple it with an iPhone or Android app and you have your own on the go swing analyzer. The product sells for $129.99 on their website. It consists of a 2 inch by 1 inch processor and an equally small holster for attaching to any iron or wood. Once on the club, you can’t feel it. One note about attachment, make sure you close the hinges all the way until you hear a little ‘snap’. I didn’t get the snap the first time around and almost lost the unit. After I figured that out I had no problems.
The SwingTIP provides it’s data via a free app on your smart phone. Once the device is charged, synch it to your phone using bluetooth and you’re ready to go. After that initial setup, all you do to use the device is launch the app and turn on the unit once it’s mounted to a golf club. The synching happens almost immediately. After that you’re ready to hit shot after shot. It only took about 4 seconds for it to display results on my iPhone. You can also hit a lot of shots in a row and then go back and review them one by one.
If you set the app up it will also synch to a MySwingTip area on their website where there are lots of charts and graphs to track all your swings. Looking at trends is interesting, but I found that the data did not always jibe with what was on my phone. I never recorded an inside swing path, yet the website said I did. I checked some of the other measures and they also didn’t always agree. This makes me wonder how accurate the product is.
What the SwingTIP gives you for every swing is tempo, club face contact point (toe, heel sweet spot), position of clubface at impact (closed, square, open), swing path (outside, inside, square), club head speed and a graphic that displays what your backswing and downswing look like from behind, above and head on. All in all quite a bit of information for a device so small.
I didn’t have access to a high end swing analyzer when I did my tests, so I couldn’t compare results with a known device. Was my 84 mph for an 8 iron really 84 or something plus or minus. As long as the device is consistent I’m not sure it matters to most golfers that it’s exact. In most cases it’s the trend that counts.
The same goes for the read outs on face orientation at impact and where on the face impact was made. Feedback through ball flight and feeling in my hands told me that the machine was generally on target. When I felt that I hit the ball on the toe, the device agreed. If you want really accurate info on where you’re making contact use contact sheets or powder. This device only reports sweet spot, toe and heel.
The swing path diagram and the feedback on angle of attack were harder to evaluate. Sometimes the graphic looked like a reasonable representation of my swing and other times it made no sense. If you want to get into frame by frame analysis of your actual swing, you need the high end analyzers that use real video. The separate club path reporting gives only inside, square, and outside. Most experienced golfers can get this feedback from watching their ball flight.
When I first tried the device I made the mistake of watching the reported results and then trying to adjust my swing before the next shot. After a short while I had myself practically tied in knots. I never could get the unit to report an inside path even when I made some wild exaggerations. At that point I stopped looking at the graphic and paid attention to the other readouts.
The real question is what would you use this device for? You can look at any of the results and tap them to get some standard advice on how to fix your swing, but can you really fix and outside in path with some standardized advice? The same goes for hitting the ball on the heel. There could be lots of reasons for this. Better players can tell from feel and ball flight much of the information reported by SwingTIP, but it could serve as verification.
Is there a useful place for this device in the golfers bag? I think it might best work for someone who’s working on serious swing changes. Once you feel you’ve found something you might turn on the device and check that it agrees and compare results to an earlier swing that you’ve saved. Keeping swings as reference points makes comparisons over time interesting. Let’s say you’re trying to improve clubhead speed by loosening your grip. You might start by capturing a swing that represents your starting point, then use the SwingTIP again when you feel that you’re making progress.
In general I’d say the SwingTIP would be most useful for the beginning to intermediate golfer who can’t afford an instructor all the time and wants some occasional feedback to be sure he’s progressing. The price is reasonable compared to other devices that report as many swing statistics. The big question is how often will you really use it?