I, and every one of my friends that plays golf is an expert. You wouldn’t know it to look at us, or our score cards, but we were all born with the ability to know instantly, and verbalize endlessly, what is wrong with everyone else’s golf swing. Based on 15 years of friend/expert analysis my golf swing suffers from the following problems:
- Shoulder angle
- Turning my hips
- Not turning my hips enough
If you have friends and you golf, I’m sure you’ve heard a similar list. I’ve even participated in ‘helping’ other golfers ‘fix’ their swing. Why? Because it’s what we do. Is it any different from bowling? or baseball? We asked ourselves, can it be different? If you wonder that as well, the let me give you some hope, because it can be different.
Back in 2014 we took the Zepp Golf Swing Analyzer to the range. Recently our golfing buddies over at Zepp took pity on our game and sent over the Zepp Golf 2, a swing analyzer that attaches to your glove, and provides analysis and support through your smart phone. Here’s what we discovered…
What’s in the box:
- Zepp Golf 2 Sensor (1.1″ x 1.1″ x .48″, .22 oz)
- Clip for glove
- USB Charging cord
- Quickstart guide
- Warranty book (that is thicker than the quickstart guide)
- Dual Accelerators
- Dual 3-axis gyroscopes (Zepp 1 had only one 3-axis gyroscope)
- Lithium ion battery, 1.5 hour charge time, 8 hour use time (Faster charging and double the use time of Zepp 1)
- Bluetooth LE, works with android or iDevices
The quick start guide is has less text than a business card.
- Charge the device
- turn it on
- find it with your phone.
The only hitch-in-the-get-along I had was trying to connect to the device from my android phone’s Bluetooth menu. That’s a mistake. You turn on your Bluetooth, then go to the Zepp Golf App to find and connect the sensor. Once you know that, you calibrate it by holding reallllllllly still, then you’re off to record and analyze swings. It’s that easy. The longest part of setup is setting up an account with Zepp. While you can do this from your phone, it’s easier to do it from your computer, so while your Zepp is charging, go setup your account, download the app, and sync the two.
The app (or account online depending on where you set it up) asks for personal information like height, age, male/female AND clubs. That’s right, you can select the clubs you are using. I selected generic clubs because more than one person was going to use the sensor and because I wanted a fast easy setup. Not all clubs are in their database, but those that aren’t you can put in yourself. It can be time consuming to put in all that detail, but I found the generic settings got me close enough to get me going. If your swing is good already and you are fine tuning, take the time to put in your clubs. If your swing is embarrassing, go with generic clubs and hit the driving range.
Small, compact, lightweight. You forget it’s there once it is on. The sensor mounts into a clip that attaches to the Velcro closure on your glove. We didn’t feel that the size or placement was ever obtrusive, and the Quarter ounce of weight wasn’t even noticeable. There is one button that does everything, it turns it on, and turns it off. The rest is done from the app. Charging is done through a special USB cord, but it doesn’t plug into the device, it magnetically attaches to it and touches two metallic points for charging. It’s nice not having to fumble with or lose rubber plugs for charging ports. When connected to the App, it shows the battery state so you know you have enough to get through your practice. There is no room for improvement that we could see on the design of the device itself.
After you log in you have options:
3d swing analysis, This is going to be your go to setting. It provides instant feedback on each swing either by showing you a generic golfer swinging, or in number form highlighting club head speed, back swing angle, club and hand planes, and tempo. It wraps it up in a final ‘score’ that tells you how you did.
Video swing analysis, This requires a friend to hold the camera and tell you when to hit, this can be done with or without the sensor. With the sensor it will provide all the information listed for the 3d swing analysis.
Instant evaluation, which isn’t instant at all. It’s a 3 or 10 swing analysis, which is super cool, but not instant. I would have called it Swing Evaluation. It’s the same as the 3d setting, but it bases it’s findings off of either 3 or 10 swings. Is your swing dead on consistent? go with the 3 swing program. Is your swing all over the place? go with the 10 swing program. It averages your swings, then recommends a training program. So it’s like your friend telling you everything wrong with your swing, but with the difference of being right and suggesting what to do about it. Usually there are 1 or 2 video clips to watch after an evaluation that show you what you are doing, and an exercise to fix the problem you are experiencing. This is the most valueable part of the app. Without this, the sensor is useless other than as a novelty.
Ease of use:
Once you get it hooked up to your phone, the actual use of the device is as easy or as hard, depending on your swing, as hitting a golf ball. It does the rest. We’ve already described the programs. The sensor updates the app after every hit. I didn’t experience any lag. When this showed up in our mail slot we wondered how easy it would be to monitor an app while swinging golf clubs. We found however, it just takes getting used to. Generally placing the phone on the ground behind our trailing foot worked well. After each hit, you could look down and see the readout. Get a feel for how it went and try again. We used the Zepp with a Moto G 3rd gen. android phone, it has trouble streaming 1080p youtube videos sometimes but it did fine, syncing and analyzing our golf swing. It didn’t lag as we expected. Animated playback of swings was smooth and clear.
Have multiple players in the family? You can make a profile for multiple people and switch who’s golfing on the app easier than switching who’s wearing the sensor. You aren’t going to want to switch each swing, but between buckets or every 20-30 balls wouldn’t be hard. The app records the date, time, and what number the swing was. You can go back and review any swing at any later date. You can see how an entire practice session went.
Switching clubs is easy enough, top left corner displays what club it is analyzing, simply touch the icon, then change the club. At the driving range I focus on 1 club at a time, so there wasn’t a lot of changing back and forth, but you could do it every swing if you wanted to, although then it would be cumbersome. This would be about the only improvement to the app we found, the way it is set now, this app is for the driving range, but it would be neat to be able to use it during a game to record play conditions and actual distance between shots, after all, your phone has a GPS in it right? But you’d have to make club selection easier, and I’d suggest doing it by creating a 4th option along side the evaluation methods that was tailored to a round of golf.
What value does the Zepp 2 have? A lot, but it isn’t what you think. This is a tool, it analyses your swing, and gives you feedback, but you still have to do the work of making the change yourself. I’d rate it way better than a friend telling you what you did wrong, but not as good as a real pro standing next to you for every shot working you through issues. Friends are free, golf pros are not, and the Zepp 2 falls somewhere in the middle. For example: In a comparison between two golfers using the Zepp 2, Golfer A had slow club head speed, bad tempo, and bad swing plane. Golfer B had bad tempo and great swing plane and slightly slower club head speed. Golfer A hit straight, consistent, with appropriate loft. Golfer B miss-hit constantly, topping the ball, or sending it off of the toe of the club and slicing if they managed to get loft. The Zepp 2 can tell if the club was turned flat by the time you hit the ball, but can’t tell if you hit the ball dead center, topped it, cut under it, or hit it off the toe. Those are things you’ll have to figure out for yourself. From the Zepp’s perspective, Golfer A and B were about the same score wise, but standing there, it was a stark difference.
But what does that mean? It means that this isn’t an end-all device. Don’t expect that you’ll swing 10 times, it’ll show you what you did wrong and just like that you’ll be on the PGA tour. I admit, I was a little more hopeful about my ability to change my swing, but much to my surprise it is an ingrained part of me. I really need to spend more time on the exercises they suggest, and not just look at the 3d swing evaluation which is the fun part. Expect that this is going to take time, and effort and many many trips to the golf range, but at least you’ll have reliable metrics to look at, not just a friends opinion, or a golf pro’s bill.
- Well designed sensor
- Well designed app
- Provides feedback and improvement suggestions
- I'm not driving 300 yards...yet.
- I'm not on the PGA.
- I'm going to still have to practice.