Use Tech to Improve Your Own Game

We can certainly marvel at the current gizmos and gadgets professional athletes can use to dissect their game. Between proprietary stats, game film, and in-house tools that are at a player’s disposal, they have a lot of opportunities to analyze themselves. But what about us common folk? We still like to play sports. What can we use to help us keep our games on point?

As it happens, two common recreational sports, tennis and golf, are being flooded with tools and apps that can help the weekend warriors get better. Nothing is a substitute for a good lesson with a good teaching pro, but that doesn’t mean we can’t supplement with some self instruction.


Babolat Play Pure Drive Racquet

The Play Pure Drive doesn’t actually transform, but it is certainly more than meets the eye. Inside this innocuous racquet are a group of sensors, programmed to record your every swing. It collects your swing data, categorizes the types (serves, forehands, backhands, etc.), and beams it all to your smartphone or tablet. It can tell you where you on the strings you are hitting your shots, and provide tips for better swings. There is also a social aspect to it, where you can upload and compare your stats to others as well as work on leveling up your skills.

Price: $400

Sony Smart Tennis Sensor

Sony Smart Tennis Sensor

If you are set on hanging on to your own racquet, the Sony Smart Tennis Sensor might be more for you. Rather than a whole new racquet, a simple dongle is attached to the end of your current one. Though the product isn’t available quite yet, it does promise some exciting features for those looking to analyze their game. Like the Babolat, the sensor tracks number of shots and impact spots, but also grabs things like swing speed, ball speed, and spin. You have the option of streaming the data to your smartphone or saving it all in the dongle and uploading it at once. This could come in handy if your phone is almost dead, or you left it in your locker.

Price: $200




Golfshot GPS / Caddio


The players on the tour have the luxury of caddies with detailed score cards to help with club and shot selection. The average golfer, unless they play the same
course regularly, is often coming in blind. There are laser-guided distance finders available, but Golfshot GPS and Caddio look to add something extra. They take different approaches to course management. Golfshot comes loaded with over 40,000 golf courses, shows multiple distances (center of green, back of green, right fairway, etc.), allows you to track your shots and keep a scorecard. Caddio goes a different way, using crowdsourcing to find those pesky hazard areas and false green fronts you might not be able to see from the tee or fairway. They offer the insight of the players that have been around the course before. Caddio also encourages you to be social about your game. After all, the more people use it, the more data gets saved per course.

Price: Free (both)

Game Golf / Arccos



Game Golf and Arccos also take different approaches on the same concept: sensors on the end of your club. While Game Golf requires you to tap your club against a small device on your belt, Arccos encourages you to just swing away and let it do the work. With Game Golf, all the data is kept on the sensor. After a round, you unload the data via USB onto a computer (the horror!). Arccos requires that your smartphone be within Bluetooth range of your clubs (i.e. your pocket), but does not require a computer to unload stats. Both use GPS data to determine your location on the course during every hit, track your distances and number of shots, and give you digestible information about your round and your overall performance throughout the season. Ease and price play a factor, but either should give you more knowledge than you thought you needed about your game.

Price: $199 (Game Golf), $399 (Arccos)



Video analysis is a huge part of golf now, and Swingshot looks to provide that functionality for average golfers on the course. Designed to fit in a golf bag,
Swingshot is basically a camera on a stick. Just jam it in the ground, hit record, and swing. The video is saved and can be viewed later on a computer or mobile device. If you’re working on reducing the cupping of your wrist or avoiding the dreaded “chicken wing”, Swingshot will help you pinpoint exactly when you do it. Plus, if you fall down during a golf swing, it makes for easy uploads to YouTube.

Price: Starting at $199

(Header Photo via Michael Duxbury)

David G. Temple is the Managing Editor of TechGraphs and a contributor to FanGraphs, NotGraphs and The Hardball Times. He hosts the award-eligible podcast Stealing Home. Dayn Perry once called him a "Bible Made of Lasers." Follow him on Twitter @davidgtemple.

Comments are closed.