Swingbyte vs TrackMan

swingbytevstrackman I was recently contacted by Swingbyte and asked to test their device to see how the data it generated held up against data generated by TrackMan. Please remember this is not a contest and I am not saying that TrackMan is perfect (I'm not sure there is such a thing), but I do believe TrackMan is the benchmark when it comes to reporting club and ball data in golf and I was interested to see how a $150 swing aid held up.

Swingbyte is a swing analyzing device that attaches to your club just below the grip and sends data to a mobile phone or tablet via Bluetooth. With a price point of $150 it provides a tremendous amount of data and sifting through the information on the App might be a little confusing at first, but with patience you will eventually find what you're looking for.

Having used TrackMan for a long time one of the notable things I've found with passionate golfers is that the direction the clubhead is travelling through impact (attack angle and club path) is generally quite consistent. When testing/comparing other devices to TrackMan, whenever I see a dramatic change from one swing to the next in either attack angle or club path numbers a red flag goes up. With the Swingbyte I hit pitching wedges, 7 irons and drivers and I primarily keyed in on club speed, attack angle, club path and face angle. Here are my ratings out of a possible 5 stars:


Club Speed:

If you purchased the device to simply know your club speed you are ahead of the game. It is important to enter detailed specs from each club into the App, but once you've got that done the feedback is surprisingly accurate. All the numbers I saw were within 4 mph of where TrackMan reported. (4.5 out of 5)

Attack Angle:

It is important to know that TrackMan and Swingbyte report attack angle from slightly different portions of the swing and thus differences should be expected, however I thought the device did a fairly accurate job most of the time. With the irons I felt the numbers indicated were close enough to "actual" in order to be actionable. It did seem that attack angles with the driver were a little too ascending. Their were also a few crazy numbers reported, but as you use the device more you'll easily be able to recognize any outliers. (3.5 out of 5)

Club Path:

These numbers were a long way from what TrackMan was reporting and I would not put too much into this particular parameter.  For example with the driver TrackMan reported my average club path on multiple shots was 0.2 degrees out to in, while Swingbyte indicated that every swing I made was from in to out with a range of 1.7 degrees to 13.6 degrees from in to out. (1 out of 5)

Face Angle:

Even with TrackMan I seldom give much credence to the reported face angle as it is too easily influenced by off center hits and I most often use the reported number to determine where the ball was struck on the face. The original Swingbyte reports face angle at impact relative to where it was aligned at address. Assuming you have aligned the device on the club correctly, start with a square clubface and no twisting occurs, you might get an actionable reading - otherwise, I'd move on. (1 out of 5)

The problem Swingbyte has faced is that it could not latch onto a target - it only registered where the device was aligned at address. This means that any data regarding club path and face angle is based around where the device was aimed at address. The Swingbyte 2 addresses this issue. Founder and CEO, Alex Pedenko had the following to say:

You can now point your iPad and it will know what your target is and figure out all the numbers based on that. So now you have true, accurate numbers about what you did, not just in general but relative to the target line, relative to where you want it to go.

I am hoping that these upgrades will make this already useful device even better. While the device is not perfect (what is?) and should not replace quality coaching I feel that with a few practice sessions any golfer can start to gain a better understanding of what they need to do in order to make progress.

2012 PGA Show

I have just returned from the annual PGA Show in Orlando, Florida and I am pleased to share that the economic side of the game appears to be in fine shape. In previous years I have left the show feeling somewhat dejected, yet after this year's experience I am really excited for what 2012 holds.

Every year I look around for ideas that might be game changers - something fresh, new and different. I also keep an eye out for what I call "headscratchers" - something so far out it makes me wonder how it could ever help a golfer get better. Here are a few things that piqued my interest:


This tiny, lightweight device attaches to the shaft of your club from where it captures your swing and transmits it to your smartphone (Apple or Android) or tablet. It offers relatively accurate data on swing path, speed and launch angle amongst others, but the developer did stress to me that once swing speeds exceeded 90mph the accuracy got a little "sloppy". It also allows you to share the information with your coach or golf buddies. This product comes highly recommended for the vast majority of golfers out there ($149; swingbyte.com).

Snag Golf

Face it - kids absolutely love to hit balls at a moving target and they love it even more if that moving target happens to be you. If you're looking to give your kids or grandkids a reason to play golf and have a ball while doing it - all you have to do is suit up in the sticky suit and let the fun begin. It's a velcro suit that, when used with Snag's sticky balls and plastic golf clubs, turns you into a moving target thats far more appealing than even the guy in the range picker. Big time fun factor ($230, snaggolf.com).

SuperFlex Bands

SuperFlex offers a great Golf Kit that includes five exercise bands made specifically for golfers Each kit includes an exercise program that's designed to help with mobility, stability, flexibility, core strength and more. Anyone here need that? ($99; superflexbands.com)

Iliac Leather Head Covers

These leather headcovers have been around for a while, but there is nothing that makes a statement quite like a customized set of these protecting your big sticks.  I have some (that I paid for!) and every round I play somebody asks about them. I love old school and these have old school written all over them. For the golfer who has almost everything (from $58 ea; iliacgolf.com)

How about these two items? I have a hard enough time making putts with a flat face - how does anybody suppose I'm going to make more putts with a putter that has a curved face?

This second "headscratcher" I simply called the Putting Guillotine! Is this device really going to help me on a downhill left to right slider on the final green for the win....? I rest my case. While I selected these two items to show you, there were many more instances where ideas, products and teaching aids caused me to simply turn and walk away.

The best booth at the show had to go to TaylorMade - again. Here's an interesting stat for you: TaylorMade currently controls a 55% share of the metalwood market. If you compare to when Titleist golf balls where at their peak - they only controlled a 48% share of the ball market! And remember - golf clubs cost a lot more than golf balls.

Best Clothing Booth - Travis Mathew - the old convertible was a great touch.

Best Hosiery (socks!) - Kentwool - they claim to be the world's best golf sock and I have no reason to dispute that. These socks rock!

Best Teaching Technology - Swing Catalyst - I may be biased here, as I own one, but this technology is ahead of it's time.

As per usual there were many golf personalities there and I happened to see Scotty Cameron, Michael Breed, Lee Trevino, Paula Creamer, Wally Uihlein, Gary Gilchrist and Erik Barzeski amongst others, but I'm still trying to figure out what Flava Flav was doing there? If that's not a "headscratcher" then I don't know what is?

If you have not had an opportunity to visit the PGA Show then this video might give you an idea of what the experience is like. Thanks for reading and enjoy!