By The Numbers: Shot-tracking gear becomes more prevalent, less pricey

One example is the TaylorMade Spider Interactive putter. It is the same putter that Jon Rohm, Jason Day and several other pros use, but TaylorMade teamed with Blast Motion to create a version of the Spider that collects data on your putting. Using its smartphone app, it can display things like tempo, impact stroke speed and face rotation. Golfers will be able to store their data and track changes over time and even use their phone's camera feature to shoot video of their stroke to review and analyze. TaylorMade

By The Numbers: Shot-tracking gear becomes more prevalent, less pricey

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By The Numbers: Shot-tracking gear becomes more prevalent, less pricey

ORLANDO — Typically, when golfers think about the recent PGA Merchandise Show, it’s the shiny new clubs, latest golf balls and row-upon-row of apparel and footwear that come to mind. This year, another category of products showed itself to be a permanent part of the largest gathering of teaching pros, shop buyers and industry insiders.

Consumer shot-tracking systems and devices designed to gather information about a player’s swing did not exist a few years ago, but there were numerous booths at the Orange County Convention Center filled with electronic devices that aim to gather data and help players.

These tools are moving out of the novelty stage as more brands enter the space and the technologies that power them improve. Club players and their instructors have access to tools that make lessons more productive, practice more efficient and players smarter about what is happening on the course. Here are a few examples:

The TaylorMade Spider Interactive

This putter includes the same head design used by Jon Rahm, Jason Day and several other pros, but TaylorMade teamed with Blast Motion to create a version that collects data about a player’s putting. The system’s smartphone app can display things such as tempo, impact stroke speed and face rotation. Golfers will be able to store their data to track changes over time and use their phone’s camera to shoot video of their stroke to review and analyze.

The GEN i1 golf ball

This ball has Bluetooth capability that allows it to connect to a sensor affixed to the top of a player’s putter. Using its free smartphone app, the GEN i1 can display things such as ball speed and roll distance, so golfers can hone their sense of feel on the greens.

Taking things a step further, OnCore plans to release The Genius ball sometime in 2018 and displayed a prototype of the ball at the PGA Show. A sleeve may cost $50-$75, but according to the company, but the plan is for the GPS-enabled microchip embedded inside the ball to provide players with data like distance, ball speed, carry distance and roll.

The Genius ball will have a  GPS-enabled microchip embedded inside the ball to provide players with data like distance, ball speed, carry distance and roll.

OnCore Genius ball

Taking things a step further, OnCore plans to release the Genius ball in 2018 and displayed a prototype at the PGA Show. A sleeve may cost $50-$75, but the company said the plan is for the GPS-enabled microchip embedded inside the ball to provide players with data such as distance, ball speed, carry distance and roll. The balls are most likely to be used in practice and not necessarily on holes with water or out of bounds.

the Voice Caddie's Swing Caddie costs $349 (less than some of today's drivers) and can provide swing speed, ball speed and distance.

The Voice Caddie’s Swing Caddie costs $349 (less than some of today’s drivers) and can provide swing speed, ball speed and distance.

Voice Caddie’s SC200 Swing Caddie

Launch monitors, which have become as common as tees on PGA Tour ranges, historically have cost $15,000 to $25,000, well beyond the reach of most recreational players. However, Voice Caddie’s SC200 Swing Caddie costs $349 (less than some of today’s drivers) and can provide swing speed, ball speed, distance and smash factor. For $499, FlightScope’s Mevo can do that too, plus show launch angle and spin rate. An investment of $1,995 provides a SkyTrak, which uses its built-in WiFi to connect to a mobile device and show all kinds of distance and speed-related data visualized graphically using the same type of arcs and parabolas seen on the most expensive machines.

Game Golf Pro

Shot-tracking systems such as the new Game Golf Pro, which no longer requires players to tap the top of their club against a belt-worn GPS sensor, and Arccos 360 allow players to track every shot they hit during a round, see how far they hit each club and learn their tendencies. Both companies also have developed dashboards and virtual environments in which instructors and coaches can access data and keep tabs on how golfers are progressing. Arccos’ system also is a standard feature on Cobra’s newest woods and hybrids – called Cobra Connect, the system can be used to fine-tune loft and weight settings as well as track a player’s tee shots during a round.

These products keep getting better at achieving their goals, and the cost of the technologies that drive them are coming down. It’s encouraging to see and should give hope to every golfer who wants to learn about his swing and game. And how to play it better. Gwk

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