Golf and Data
September 29, 2012
After some recent practice sessions, I am immediately drawn to wanting to record data about how I am doing so I can monitor progress. There are so many data points to collect and analyze over time that I am not sure where to begin. That said, it's a bit cumbersome to stop between each swing and make notations. Surely this is a solved problem these days.
Even something as simple as just estimating distances and percentages of solid contact with each club is something I'd like to record but I have trouble gauging distances past my various wedges and short irons and even then I am only about 75% confident that I am accurate. I know a range finder would solve this problem to at least establish where certain landmarks on the range are (not sure the signs are always right or I am hitting in an area not near any signs).
So it's got me thinking naturally about a iPhone app with a very simple interface, ideally with just a single tap or two between each hit. Something like select a club that you are working with and it pre-populates with your previous average distance. with two buttons, "Good" and "Bad". You then take a swing, judge whether it was solid contact or not and hit the appropriate button, optionally typing a different yardage if it was solid/good contact and the distance was different (no sense in recording yardage of bad hits, I am thinking).
One of the recent items the pro has told me to practice is taking my loft wedge and get used to taking swings to hit it 15 yards, 35 yards, and 70 yards, to get used to three different swings while at the same time focusing on accuracy. In thinking about this app idea, I see this as setting up 3 different "drills", one for each distance that I could then give it a binary good or bad.
The goal of this is being something that is very unobtrusive to record and provide an easy way to monitor/judge performance over time. For example, if I record 2,000 swings over the course of the next 2-3 weeks doing these drills, I would hope to get feedback that the % of good contact + accuracy has gone up, rather than just rely on my feeling of improvement, which I believe would be all too fickle.
I haven't found an app like this so far. Has anyone else? If not, maybe it's worth building.