Stuck in front of a computer for much of the day, a regular trip to the back garden to make golf swings is my go-to exercise. During these air-ball sessions, it seems to me at least I'm grooving my swing to polished perfection and can do no wrong! But for some strange reason this unique ability seems to disappear when I take it to the practice ground - or worse still the golf course.
After 20-odd years of this, I'm finally coming to the conclusion that no matter how much I practice, I really don't really have a clue what I'm doing!
Enter Zepp! "Boost your confidence and fine-tune your game so that you can perform more consistently." That'll do me! Anything that hints at improving my game will always be given house room. So, I gave it a go!
The Zepp Sensor sits snugly on the back of your golf glove like a lime-green marzipan chocolate, the type your wife leaves for you in the Thornton's Continental Collection at Christmas. All you do is charge it up, synch it via Bluetooth to your mobile phone or iPad and you're up and running. Once calibrated (just stand still) it emits a reassuring chirp every time you swing and instantly begins to build a case-study on what you're doing right - or in my case wrong. And I was horrified to discover just how much wrong I was doing.
I won't bore you with the tedium of my iffy efforts. Suffice to say the feedback via Zepp and my mobile phone was most enlightening. Each swing gets an overall score based on club speed, club plane, hand plane, tempo and backswing. I could actually pull some decent numbers on a lot of those parameters but most revealing were my backswing figures - constantly around 240 degrees while the spy-on-the-back-of-my-hand told me my goal was 270. That's quite a difference! Was this the key to my consistently pulled shots...? Apparently I was Scrooge-like on the backswing and haunted with the results?
This was indeed a revelation and one, given the amount of practicing I do, surprising that I hadn't twigged before. As a golf journalist, I work regularly work with teaching pros around the globe who help me produce my Golf Resort Academy feature for Golf Vacations magazine. And I have to say, none of them identified this destructive flaw. The hand is indeed quicker than the eye.
But not the Zepp! It was doing a first-class job of showing me the error of my ways. And it doesn't leave you without a rescue plan either. In fact the cute little lozenge coupled with your mobile and your Zepp online account is a veritable Teaching Academy on the back of your hand. Arriving every Monday through my Zepp account is a deeply insightful Lab Report telling me my overall scores for the week and what could be done to improve them. As an instance, there's the weekly Recommended Focus, the area you most need to work on accompanied by a Recommended Drill - a handy little video with drills on how to improve that parameter. Via the onboard video app, you can also compare your swing with built-in videos from Keegan Bradley, Brendan Steele, Rick Smith etc.
It's all so helpful... but what helped me most was simply making the effort to improve my numbers - either standing in the back garden swinging at fresh air or down at the practice field looking at the results after each swing. And by Jingo, it's working. Just trying to add a few extra degrees to my backswing - from 240 to averaging around 260 - I'm striking the ball far better with much more distance and accuracy. Without Zepp, I'd still be floundering around thinking I was doing the right thing when in fact I was totally blind to it.
The programme goes on. According to Zepp, there's work to be done on Tempo, another area I don't have a clue about. But through focusing on it, I'm beginning to effect a change in a rather otherwise over-anxious downswing. We'll get there yet!
Zepp comes in at around £120. Maybe that seems a bit steep for a Lime Green Lozenge but as long as the kids or grannie don't eat it, I reckon it will get your swing sweet and keep it there for months and years to come. One of the best swing aids we've tried - scoring a solid Eagle for effectiveness. www.zepp.com