Lawyers love golf. Depending on your hierarchy on the “I can afford to play often” chain, you’re either really good or really mediocre, or less.
I am really, really, really mediocre. Or probably closer to less.
Thankfully, the folks at AT&T loaned me a Swingbyte 2 swing analyzer for testing and review.
What does the Swingbyte 2 do?
Swingbyte 2 is one of many devices in the ever-growing golf assistance devices.
FYI: the nastiness on my hand is because of this.
The idea is that the device will attach to your golf club shaft, track your swing, and give you a dynamic readout of the club’s trajectory to help train you into a better swing.
How does the Swingbyte 2 and Swingbyte app work?
The Swingbyte 2 is very easy to set up. Remove the device from the box, slide back the release clasp — this is where I had a hard time trying one handed — and slip the Swingbyte 2 over your club shaft.
I was afraid the Swingbyte 2 would slip off my club handle, but there’s a very tight locking mechanism and rubber groves to help grip it tight. I doubt it’s going to slip or come unlatched. In fact, you actually have to work moderately hard to unlock the latch.
The device pairs with your phone or tablet via Bluetooth, and records swing information through the Swingbyte app (free).
The analyzer tracks a number of data points — realistically probably too many for the novice — to give you accurate and comprehensive information about your golf swing.
This is where I got totally lost. Even though the Swingbyte 2 is supposed to help you fix your golf swing, it’s difficult to know what elements actually need fixing.
For example, Swingbyte tells me that I sliced my 21st shot. Here’s how the Swingbyte app displays the swing information.
In the middle of the screen you see a display of your swing.
The varying gradients of colors represent the varying speeds of your club head during the back swing and forward push.
I’m not exactly sure how the colors work — i.e. what color’s fast, and which is slow — but you can see that I’m not following the same forward trajectory as my back swing.
Along the bottom you’ll see the replay timeline.
This recorder allows you to replay your swing to see the flow.
The app features several different views, including a semi-helpful (if you understand how to fix the issue), overhead look.
Here you can see the addition of the solid red lines. These are “laser lines.” This is how Swingbyte describes the lines:
In the Overhead view, you will see solid red lines being drawn on the ground as the swing progresses. We call these your Swingbyte Laser Lines™. Imagine you have laser pointers on both ends of the club shaft during the swing. Many instructors give students this image or drill to illustrate the golfer’s plane and path. The red lines in the Overhead view represent the pattern of light being drawn on the ground by laser pointers extending out of both ends of your club. In Swingbyte’s observations of the best players in the world, their Laser Lines™ closely follow the dotted target line extended, especially in the downswing.
These lines are very cool, and I’m sure they’re helpful, but if you’re trying to analyze and correct your swing on your own, they’re horribly useless. Note too, I’m not speaking on from my own bias. The Droid Lawyer twin came into town and we smacked some balls. He echoes my feelings.
And that’s really my biggest issue with the Swingbyte 2 and app. I find it’s very difficult to “self-correct” my errors with the Swingbyte app. I’m seeing everything I’m doing wrong, but I lack the understanding to actually fix the problem.
For instance, Swingbyte tells me that my club head should follow the black dotted line in the middle.
That’s a monumental feat to bring my slew of red slashes in line with the true plane.
Of course, I’m sure I could seek out some expert advice, perhaps even show my golf pro the data, or even ask Google for assistance. But ultimately, I don’t think Swingbyte is designed (or intended) for novice users, so I think you’ll be disappointed if you fall in that category. You should have some understanding, or at least be willing to seek help, of what you need to do to correct your swing issues.
The Swingbyte app does give you some suggestions to correct your problem — no picture because there’s an Android L issue and you wouldn’t be able to read it — but even Swingbyte’s tips are so vague they’re not helpful.
If you can get past this issue (or you want to get help), then Swingbyte is probably a good option. Pricing however, might discourage some users. The Swingbyte 2 accessory is $169 from Swingbyte.com or Amazon. That’s a hefty price tag.
Saving your swing history
Swingbyte’s online history storage is one of my favorite features about the whole setup. Simply visit my.swingbyte.com to access your Swingbyte account.
This web portal allows you to track and view your swing history, see swing analytics, and even view “pro” data for reference.
Overall thoughts and opinions
Ultimately, if you’re a frequent golfer and you want to improve your game, Swingbyte 2 is a great way to help you elevate. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not for the novice (i.e. mediocre) golfer who doesn’t have any idea how to improve. I would love to take this device out on the course to get a better feel for my playing.
I’m somewhat disappointed with the Swingbyte app for Android since it lacks some of the features — video and comparison to name two — of it’s iOS counterpart. In fairness, Swingbyte warns that the iOS and Android apps are different, including the lack of video, so that wasn’t too much of a let down. I do wish I could compare my swings though, that might come in handy for understanding why every shot is bad. In this instance, the iOS app rocks, while the Android app is ho-hum.
Here’s where I should also mention that Swingbyte has a Google Glass app, if you’re looking for something cool.
Aside from the cost and functionality issues, Swingbyte is a pretty good buy. I’m giving the device 4 of 5 stars. As for the app, it’s getting a solid 3.5 stars. However, regardless of your skill set, this is still a great gift for dad.