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Problem with your golf game? Get a coach on the line stat

Philip Michaels | Feb. 18, 2014
I have a horrifying golf swing. I bend my arm when I shouldn't. I have the follow-through of a lovelorn-but-unconfident teenager. My head bops up at the exact moment that years of golf instruction have taught me to keep it down. And while I may not know the precise direction the ball will fly when my club makes contact with it--if my club makes contact with it--I can predict fairly comfortably that it's not going to be the direction I think I'm aiming.

Lots of apps record data and analyze it, though. For example, a pair of mobile offerings from Shotzoom, Golfshot GPS and Golfplan with Paul Azinger, take the stats you record during a round of golf and use those numbers to formulate customized lesson plans that include video tips. Another iOS and Android offering, V1 Golf also has a video-capture feature and lets you compare your swings with how the pros do it.

MobiCoach's SwingTip pacakage differs from those apps by bringing the remote instruction aspect into the mix. Via the SwingTip app, you can connect with coaches — Mobiplex has lined up Nicklaus Academies, Troon Golf Academy, and Jeff Ritter Golf as partners. When it's time for your scheduled appointment — you book a time through the MobiCoach website — you can talk to your golf coach through a Voice over IP call in the app. Instructors can capture video of your swing remotely and play it back in real-time, using whiteboarding tools to pinpoint areas to work on. In my practice session, an instructor on the other end of our call watched a video of me swinging and — after a remarkable effort to choke down any laughter — was able to illustrate on my mobile device just where things had gone wrong. You're starting to bend your arm here. Make sure you follow through on your backswing. Hey, maybe it's not too late to take up tennis.

I probably imagined that last one.

The VoIP connection comes through loud and clear from the SwingTip app, though Nadkarni points out that you can use a Bluetooth headset if you prefer. Still, we were practicing outside with the noises of a busy San Francisco street wafting up around us, and I was able to hear every word the golf instructor had to tell me about my swing. In fact, the biggest challenge isn't sound but sight — on particularly bright days, it can be hard to see the screen of your iOS devices, so you may find yourself straining to watch the playback of your swing under the sun's unforgiving glare.

People who make a living at athletic training and coaching seem intrigued by the possibilities of incorporating mobile into their business, and MobiCoach's take on remote instruction feels like the next step in that. Other training services have tapped into distance learning, where a trainer in a far-flung locale connects with students — take Wello, which features live streaming workouts for yoga, Pilates, aerobics, and other exercises classes. MobiCoach is taking it a step further by making the sessions more one-on-one and focusing exclusively on mobile handheld devices.

 

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