The Ultimate Golf Swing Analyzer’s Buyers Guide
What are they?
Golf swing analyzers are really cool devices that allow you to interpret aspects of your swing, break it down scientifically and then fix your swing based on the data. They can be large, small and some require nothing more than an app. While their accuracy is a little questionable, most players realize that being able to see both your actual swing and your ideal swing side by side is invaluable at correcting errors and fixing accuracy.
While these devices are technically course legal they’re not tournament legal so you can only really use them in practice. Swing analyzers are ideal for the analytical golfer who wants to see every aspect of their swing broken down. They’re perfect for beginners and great for professionals who want to tweak their swing further. You can use them in tandem with other tools like alignment rods and 360 degree mirrors to make sure you’re seeing the whole picture. Many apps also have drills and training videos included so the data from your device can be analyzed and then it will suggest options to help you improve.
Different Types of Swing Analyzers
Swing analyzers come in four different styles. You can find the simplest are nothing more than an app that uses your smart device’s camera. These are by far the least accurate because it only uses your camera and nothing else to gauge speed or give you additional information. These analyzer apps are usually free but so are the ones you get with devices. Usually the app alone can only give you information on your arc and the angles of your swing not tempo or speed.
The second type involves an app and a sensor that attaches to your glove. This is also not the most accurate but it will give you more data than the app alone. This type of analyzer generally lets you do slow motion analysis and will allow you to mark on your own video where your optimum points are or using a computer generated version. This type can sometimes be used with your phone as a second sensor to determine hip rotation.
The third type mounts directly to your club and comes in two varieties. The first is clamped directly onto your club shaft. The problem with this is that with strong vibration shots it can come loose, and over time the grip may wear out so the device no longer fits well. The second variety looks like a small button that pops right into the grip of the club. This type is by far the most accurate and the least invasive of all the sensors since it gives you an incredible amount of data for a very tiny device.
Probably the best name in Golf Analyzers is the Swingbyte. The newer Swingbyte 2 is a very popular device but it’s also not the best out there. The PGA Show of 2016 named a Blast device as the number one analyzer of the year. Zepp is also another popular brand but it’s also the odd device out since it’s a glove mounted sensor and not a club mounted one. The Blast is by far the most accurate and the newest. Other popular brands include 3Bays, SwingTalk, and SKLZ.
Zepp Golf 3D Swing Analyzer
This is the older device and it’s less accurate and more bulky than the Zepp 2, though still tiny in comparison to the shaft mounted sensors. The devices are actually multi-use and can be used for baseball, tennis and softball as well as golf. The newer, more expensive, model also works with smartwatches as well as just the app. The device measures club plane, hand plane, tempo, hip rotation (by using the phone in your pocket as a second sensor), back swing position and 3D video analysis of your swing. The device is easy to use and gives you plenty of data to work with. This is definitely the best of the budget analyzers.
This is by far the most affordable analyzer available and it’s an effective tool. The sensor clips directly onto the shaft which is a little cumbersome but by no means as bad as the SkyGolf. The device works through Bluetooth which can be a bit frustrating as you need to keep it in range. The app doesn’t use video only computer generated graphics so you won’t get real-time data with this either but you can get a video of your actual swing (just not analyze it) through the app. There’s also a remote coaching feature available through the app but it’s very limited.
A club mounted analyzer, this is a simple and functional device. It digitizes your motions and allows you to review after the swing rather than in real-time. The response speed is very fast though and you won’t have to wait after each swing to see your data. This is the only club mounted sensor to actually have a strap to keep it attached to the club. It weighs a mere 0.3 oz so it’s barely noticeable by weight but it is a little bulkier than the SwingTIP.
Bays Pro Swing Analyzer
Another 0.3oz mini device this attaches to your club by popping directly into the grip, meaning it’s much sturdier and more accurate than the shaft mounted variety. This is actually considered to be the world’s lightest analyzer though nowadays there are several almost identical ones so it’s moot. The sensor produces a digitized cg version of your swing that can be compared with other swings or instructor ones. However, there’s no left hand swing to compare to. There is also a convenient carrying case. It connects via Bluetooth and does not need an internet connection.
The SkyGolf is by far the most cumbersome looking device you’re going to find. It looks like a VR capsule shoved onto your shaft! The only benefit to this is that it actually works for more clubs than any other device.You can even analyze wedge shots with this. A 60FPS feedback isn’t bad but it’s also not the best out there. The app is a bit awful looking though, the computer generated graphics are awfully reminiscent of bad 90’s games and there’s not an option to use video instead. The app does have practice drills and gives you alerts to correct yourself within certain parameters.
The biggest problem with the SkyPro – it’s only available for iOS. There has been talk about it being available for android for over 2 years and no such update has appeared. There’s also a nifty “groove” mode where you can decide to focus only on one element of your swing so that you’re not overwhelmed with figures. However, no matter what mode you use there’s no option for face angle or swing path data.
Rated as the best of the 2016 PGA show this device is incredibly accurate, incredibly smart, and gives you more data than you could possibly need. There are twenty different things about your swing and putt that this can capture! This grip mounted analyzer is so small you’ll never even notice it’s at the tip of your grip. It connects using Bluetooth and senses when you’re in motion or in play so it can analyze in real time.
The app offers video and stored metrics so you can compare against your own videos side by side or against the pre-loaded professionals. There’s also this really neat option where you can run videos simultaneously, pause independently and get both videos to swing at the exact same time for comparison. Sharing at the touch of a button as well as coaching videos and insights tailored based on your data statistics. Probably the most fun about this though is that it records even if your device isn’t nearby and will download when back in range so you’ll always have metric data even without video.
Ernest Sports ES14
The android app is actually different from the iOS app and isn’t as good which is poor. It’s a very accurate monitor and it does have some cool options like the live monitor so you can see your shots as you’re making them in front of you even if your phone is behind you.
The unit similarly relies on calculations rather than actual accuracy since it doesn’t attach to anything just sits on the ground. It relies on laser lines to read where you and your club are in motion to create data. There are three different positions so you can use it with drivers, irons, and all wedges. This is probably one of the least helpful analyzers because it only gives you a bunch of numbers, you’ll have to interpret them yourself. It’s also pretty expensive when you start to take into account the “additions” to make it more useful than just a box device.
SwingSmart Golf Analyzer
Another shaft mounted device this has all the standard options like instant feedback, 3D viewing, and a straightforward app. Again the manufacturer lauds its accuracy so for the piece it should be. There’s a lot of options for sharing your swing and it’s very much a no-frills device. The sensor is Bluetooth and there are also instructional videos to help you play.
These aren’t tailored to your stats though so you might find them a bit redundant and unlike some of the others you can’t compare your swing data to your previous swings or even to pro players. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that the company makes such a fuss about the celebrities and smart analysts who worked to put this together (probably why it costs so much) it really doesn’t stand up well against the other products. There’s a lot of problems with inaccurate devices, and with devices failing quickly so there’s also some quality control issues too with this.
Yikes! By far the most expensive of all is the Swingbyte 2 so what exactly makes it so expensive? Not a whole lot actually. This is the newest version and you can pick the previous year’s Swingbyte 2 up for several hundred dollars cheaper. For such an expensive piece of equipment, it’s interesting that this attaches to the shaft. Weighing in at just under an ounce it’s also quite cumbersome compared to the tiny Noitom that is a fraction of the price.
How Do You Choose?
Well, it depends on what you think you need. Many of the extra data you get from the more expensive devices is actually a computer “guess” rather than actual fact. While the app uses the camera to “guess” the club face for things like face angle and swing data they’re not actually 100%, so it’s up to you whether you need that.
If you’re looking for something just to dip your toe in and see if an analyzer is even worth buying then definitely go cheap but opt for a smaller device that won’t upset your play or interact with your movements too much. For the more expensive devices you’re not really getting a lot of difference for your money. Since most of the accuracy is based off of calculations rather than actual data it’s still just extrapolation so it’s up to you if you really feel the “accuracy” of these is any better for the cost.
Which is Best?
Depending on what you’re looking for most of the top priced devices seem like they’re not worth the money. With the 2016 PGA award, the Blast seems like an amazing choice for the price, especially if almost all the devices are essentially “guessing” at some of the numbers anyway. For a budget cost, the older Zepp model is a good choice but if you can swing it get the newer Zepp 2 instead.