GameGolf: ShotLink for Everyman
Game Golf's digital tracking system is the next best thing to having a team of volunteers following me around to register the distance and location of every shot. In the past, I tried to keep track of statistics on my scorecard but I'd either lose the cards or didn't have the wherewithal or energy to take the statistics and compile them. With GameGolf, you simply attach the small unit to a belt, tap the tagged club and swing. After using it for a few rounds, I had stats on fairways hit, scrambling, greens-in-regulation, etc... . The most important stat of all; the distance each club actually travels. In my altered reality, I thought my 7-iron went 172. It turns out its more like 162. I've moved through denial into acceptance and found that I'm now pulling the right club for the right distance. The result for me; over 5 rounds I've realized a 15% increase in greens in regulation and 3 less strokes per round. In golf, a little information goes a long way.
Swingbyte: On-the-Go Swing Analyzer
I love analyzing swing mechanics while at the driving range but I've always had to rely on reviewing videos of my own swing without any hard data, essentially flying blind. With the Swingbyte, I finally have sight, bordering on bionic. The unit easily attaches to any club and for each swing it collects and displays a mountain of information on Swingybyte's mobile app including club head speed, loft, lie angle, face-to-path impact, attack angle, shaft lean, tempo. And this is not even an exhaustive list. During my first session at the range, by analyzing the data from ten swings, I discovered that I wasn't fully releasing the club face through impact. A quick correction and my swing speed jumped 4-5mph. To be sure the unit was providing accurate stats, I compared it side-by-side with Trackman, a stationary swing analyzer, and found Swinbyte's numbers to be about 99% accurate. For instance, with respect to club head speed, my driver registered 103mph on Trackman and 102mph on Swingbyte. In my mind, immediate feedback in golf is one of the best ways to improve and this is exactly what Swingbyte provides.
Bushnell Tour Z6 with Jolt: Fast and Accurate My old rangefinder would take a few seconds and a few attempts before giving me a yardage and even then, I wasn't quite sure if it was registering the target or something in the background. When I picked up Bushnell's Tour Z6, its top of the line rangefinder, I hoped for better results. I wasn't disappointed. On the first tee, I targeted a tree and bunker on the right side of the fairway and in each case, the laser locked immediately and calculated a yardage. From the first fairway, I targeted a blowing flag, behind which were a stand of oak trees and I was impressed once again with how quickly it identified the flag. Apparently, Bushnell has developed a technology that enables it to differentiate between an item in the foreground and background so that instead of giving you the distance to the tree behind the pin, it selects the pin. The other thing that struck me were the quality of the optics. When targeting pins, I could clearly see the contours of the putting surface. In a number of cases, it helped me decide whether to stay short or hit beyond the flag.
If you want to guarantee a smile on your dad's face, then consider buying him TaylorMade's new SLDR Driver. I've been playing TaylorMade drivers for years and when I read the glowing reviews of the SLDR, I decided to test it out. I have been playing an R1 for the past two years purely because it outperformed other drivers but there were a number of characteristics that bugged me, namely the look and the sound. Apparently I wasn't alone in my critique. Thankfully the jarring bright white finish has been replaced with a polished steely grey look and the sound of the ball off the club is more thwack than thud. When you hit the ball it sounds as if you've just hit a golf ball and not a pumpkin. Most importantly, on average, I gained approximately 5-10 yards as compared to my R1. For that reason alone, this is now my driver of choice. In my opinion, to date, it's the best driver Taylor Made has ever made.