App Showdown: Golf Swing Analyzers

swing analyzers
You’ll pay hundreds, even thousands, of dollars for lessons with a golf pro, all to perfect your drive and shave a few strokes off your game.  You’ll head out to a driving range and plug bucket after bucket of balls, all in order to train yourself to repeat perfectly what your lessons taught you.

Or will you?

Tiger Woods: My Swing ($9.99)

Sure, Tiger’s got a colorful love life, but no one ever argued that it hurt his game any. And while Shotzoom Software’s Tiger Woods: My Swing won’t help your play in that regards, this tutorial app is packed full of golf advice from a living legend.
screen after screen
Too Much Set Up; Let’s Get to the Swing

Every time you fire the app up, you have to go through a short Tiger Woods video of him swinging his club. To actually use the app, you first have to register for a Golfshot account, pick a nickname, and enter a few details. The account, which is accessible online and keeps track of your swing library, has a peculiar set up, each field you tap on opening a new screen, requiring tapping a back button. These are minor quibbles, because once you get past all that, then you get to the magic.

how to do it
Tiger Shows You How It’s Done

The 136 MB app is packed full of videos. You get Tiger explaining his swing methodology for different clubs from the driver through the woods and irons, all the way up to the pitching wedge. There are actually two videos per swing, one showing Tiger’s approved stance face on, and one showing his stance from the side (or down the line for those in the know). There are also videos on putting and from when Tiger’s on tour. And each video is narrated by Tiger showing the lines he uses as a body position guideline for shoulders, spine, head, legs, hips, and more. We recommend watching Tiger’s videos to get an idea of how you should look before moving on to the video camera part.

My Lines
The Author Gets in a Little Backyard Practice
Because anyone can find clips of Tiger online. Tap the My Swings section and now we’re talking interactive. If your iOS device has a camera and is capable of shooting video, set your iPhone on a tripod or get a friend to record as you take a swing. There’s only five seconds in the countdown timer, so you’ll have to be quick about setting yourself.  Then watch the playback. How was your form? How was your stance?

When watching video of yourself, tap the lowercase i in the right hand bottom and you can trim the excess bits off either end of your video or take notes or slow down the playback so you can watch for the exact moment when you bag the shot.  Tap the line option and you can draw lines over your videos to your heart’s content. Tap the straight or curved line button, then tap the bezels at the ends to change the length or drag and drop to position. Are your shoulders as straight as Tiger’s? Do you keep your head level? Are your hips straight? Save the swings you like and you can run a side by side comparison of yourself and Tiger (then go cry in the corner).

Me and Tiger
One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

Now we’re not going to make any great claims that buying and using this app will improve your game, but for ten dollars it’s a steal in lessons. Navigation is simple and save having to watch the opening video every single time, there’s little to complain about and much to praise.

SwingReader Golf – Swing Analysis and Coaching ($1.99)

Currently on sale, 11 Under LLC’s SwingReader Golf – Swing Analysis and Coaching normally retails for $2.99, and while it lacks a big budget name like Tiger Woods, it also clearly lacks the major price tag and is less than 1/10th the size.
cut to the chase
No Wasting Time Here
What you get in terms of functionality is very much the same. The app fires up immediately and presents you with two buttons in the center screen. One activates the record your shot video camera, the other goes to your library of iPhone videos to import (note that these could be anything, not necessarily your swings). There’s also a ten second countdown timer for when you’re alone, more than the measly five seconds Tiger gives you to get ready.
youtube, seriously
Seriously? Paid for Free Content?
Across the bottom are four more buttons. Record takes you back to the home page, My Swings is your swing library, and Help is help. The fourth button takes you to an in-app YouTube page of instructional videos for using the app and for improving your swing. We’re none too keen on paying for access to free content, but there are some exclusives elsewhere in the app.
Those Exclusives We Were Talking About
But the My Swings button is where you get access to improving your swing. Your videos appear as a list that you can sort by date, club, player, or download some exclusive video of Pro swings from Harry Rose. Tap the scissors icon in the upper right hand and you can trim off excess at the beginning and end. There’s a button to watch in slow motion, a scrubber for moving through your swing, and a share button in case your beautiful shot is too good not to upload to YouTube or Picasa.
me and a pro
The Author Seriously Needs Help with His Game

Tap the pencil icon in the lower left corner and just like Tiger’s app, you can draw lines on your video. Head too high? Draw a line and remember to keep it down until the follow-through. Ditto for not keeping your hips straight and every other part of your stance. As you watch your video, tap the bookmark in the lower right and you can bookmark and take notes on various points in your swing, such as raising your head too soon. You can also superimpose your video and the pro’s to see how you compare. Or you can superimpose yourself to see if you improve. It’s not as elegant as Tiger’s side by side and details easily get lost in the muddy comparison.


The Handicap:

While SwingReader Golf feels a lot less like a vanity exercise, there’s really no comparison with Tiger Woods: My Swing. Much of the app trades in on Tiger’s skill, true, but it’s his personality and his easy demeanor makes him come across like the ideal coach. Tons of exclusive content and a chance to match your swing against a legend all for less than the lowest price dozen Titleists? That’s a no brainer.

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