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Computerized Investing > December 15, 2012

Swingbyte

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by Joe Lan, CFA

$149

A tool to help improve your golf swing.

Swingbyte is one of several new golf training aids that have been popping up in the last few years. I wish I had been able to review this sooner and spend some additional time with it, but, unfortunately, golf season has wound down here in Chicago. As a high handicapper (18.1), but avid golfer, I found this swing aid to be extremely informative. However, since Swingbyte is a tool designed to be a self-aid, only those with at least a moderate level of golf knowledge will benefit from it.

Swingbyte fits on any club, from a driver through a putter. It weighs less than one ounce, so you do not feel much after strapping it to your club. Before you begin swinging, there are a couple things that need to be done.

Download the Swingbyte app from the Google Play store or Apple’s App Store. The device pairs to your smartphone, tablet or iPod touch (fourth generation and newer) via Bluetooth. After Swingbyte is paired on your device, open the app and tap Add Swings. The app will then record your swings, which can be viewed in real time, or saved for later on.

The app provides a 360-degree view of your swing. The best part of the device is that it allows you to see your swing plane, which is the area that most golfers need help with. The view of the swing from above enables users to follow the swing plane of the back swing all the way through the follow-through. The program also shows you whether your swing is coming from outside-in, which promotes a “slice” or “fade,” or inside-out, which leads to “draws” or “hooks.”

In addition to swing-plane measurements, the app allows users to gauge their mechanics. The app shows swing speed, tempo and angle of approach. The swing speed provides an idea of the type of shaft you should be using on your golf clubs and whether the ones you have are a right fit. The tempo measures how long your swing takes. This is an important area to keep track of, as most golfers swing too quickly. Swinging hard does not necessarily generate more club-head speed. Finally, the angle of approach measures whether the club is “open” or “closed” at impact. If you want to work on bending the ball, an open clubface promotes a fade, while a closed clubface promotes a draw. For average golfers, the clubface should be neutral, which promotes a straight shot.

Swingbyte costs $149 to buy, which is reasonable for this type of training aid. Once again, it takes a moderate amount of golf knowledge to understand what the analysis is telling you. However, it’s much cheaper than actual golf lessons, which can be over $100 an hour.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Provides a wealth of swing analysis
  • Links via Bluetooth to both Apple and Android devices

Cons

  • Price (only serious golfers should purchase)

Swingbyte

$149

Joe Lan, CFA is a financial analyst at AAII.