How new golf technologies can extend and improve your golf game

Nov 9, 2011, 3:48 p.m.

When it comes to playing golf, everyone seems to have a competitive streak because as we all know, the only opponent that counts is yourself. In theory, if you can quiet your mind enough to concentrate on your form and your swing, you can ace a hole every time. However, doing this is much more difficult than it sounds.

For years, sports psychologists have been using visualization techniques to teach professional players to visualize themselves making a perfect move over and over and over again, until on the day of the big game, their bodies work in unison with their minds to make that perfect shot. Visual aids, such as video footage, helps players see how they move and compare their movements to other players who have better technique. And the latest inventions to aid sportsmen and women are motion capture systems that allow them to not only observe their technique, but also analyze it frame by frame to see exactly what they're doing wrong, what they're doing right, and where they can make improvements.

Like many things that are first used in professional sports, many of these new technologies gradually trickle into the amateur playing field. For golfers, this means that not only can they practice their swing at the driving range and take lessons with a pro to improve their technique; they can also get a complete, in-depth breakdown of every move they make. From shoulder balance and foot placement to how precisely the club hits the ball, they can see exactly what they're doing and receive feedback on how to do it better.

It stands to reason that with better technique and the best possible equipment, players will hit the ball harder, further and more accurately--and with less effort. This results in a more relaxed and successful game--and more stamina to play longer. And though many of these devices, gadgets and computer programs cost a few thousand dollars or more, the good news is that you don't have to buy them yourself unless you can afford to. Instead, find a golf instructor who uses the latest technology to help his clients, or join a club that allows members to use its equipment for a small fee.

Knowing all of this, what are the latest technologies the golf world is talking about? Well, there's the K-VEST, for one. This is a 3D motion capture system in the form of a vest with special motion sensors that give you immediate bio-feedback on a number of things, including your posture and your swing. Or there's the Trackman, a highly accurate radar-powered launch monitor that records and tracks every one of your shots from the second your golf club hits the ball. You can access all of your recorded statistics, such as launch angle, angle of contact, swing path, ball speed and more thanks to the Trackman's software. At $28,000, it's probably beyond most budgets, but there's sure to be a golf instructor in your area who uses it.

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