This Wearable Will Improve Your Golf Game

Image: Zepp

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The Zepp golf sensor was made to analyze and improve your golf game. Since my swing leaves a lot to be desired, I consider myself the perfect candidate to give the connected golf tool a shot.

My golf habit began in high school, when I joined the school's team as a substitute for the required physical education class. Thanks to golf lessons one summer, an instructor convinced me to actually watch my ball land and roll to a stop at the driving range, rather than immediately teeing up the next shot out of pure humiliation. Regular feedback from a professional was the one thing that got me comfortably hitting shots I was proud of, but by the end of my senior season, my golfing had deteriorated to the point where I scored dead last at the league's final tournament.

Lucky for me, golf instruction now comes in a smaller, more affordable box. The golf sensor made by Zepp clips onto your golf glove and syncs with the Zepp golf app via Bluetooth. It costs $150, and the sensor also works with Zepp's tennis and baseball apps. With the app open, it will continually track every swing and assign a score for each one — it can even differentiate between a practice swing and an actual shot.

The score comes from the seven components the sensor tracks: club speed, club plane, hand plane, tempo, degrees of backswing rotation, hand speed and hip rotation.

driving range

I'm aiming for any/all of those markers.

Image: @danifankhauser on Instagram

I tested Zepp with two clubs at the driving range and propped up my phone in the ball tray so I could watch the screen for instant feedback after each shot. The app has voice commands, so it's possible you could wear headphones and put your phone in your pocket, but I think I'd find that more distracting — although I wasn't crazy about leaving my phone so close to the ground, either.

When you first create an account, you can set swing goals — I chose the amateur setting, which gave me more leeway with swing speed (the goal was 70 mph for an iron and I averaged 72 mph). The preset goals are also impacted by whether you designate yourself as male or female, but you can change the goals at any time and it's possible to make multiple accounts in the app. You also set your grip and your handicap.

Once you're ready to start hitting, you'll add clubs to the app, and specify the loft, length, shaft, flex model and make of each one.

The amount of data Zepp is tracking is overwhelming — and for a sport in which players are already plagued by overthinking, I worried the extra information would just make things worse.

After an hour of hitting, I logged 94 swings with a nine iron and a seven iron, with my swings scoring between 62 and 94 points. The ability to get immediate feedback was a nice change. Of course, you always see where your shot goes, but what went wrong with your swing is usually a blind guess, unless you have someone else watching you.

In my testing, a good score from Zepp didn't correspond with a good shot — at all, actually — but I think that's OK.


Here's why: First, the seven components tracked by Zepp are hardly all the variables a golfer is paying attention to. Where the ball was hit on the club face and the angle of the club face at the moment of impact was not accounted for at all, but those two things can really screw up a shot, in my experience. The problem with golf is that sometimes you overcompensate for a bad habit in your swing with another bad habit — and end up going down the rabbit hole I went during my senior year of playing, when my swing just got worse and worse.

So when Zepp revealed I wasn't rotating my hips — something my dad has told me for years — I began trying to fix it to get the score to go up. With that tweak I actually began rotating further on the backswing for nearly the full 270 degrees Zepp set as a goal. I actually hit a few shots that went straight, rather than fading to the right, something I hadn't been able to fix on my own.

The joke is actually on me, though — it turns out that you need to put your phone in your pocket so Zepp can track hip rotation. For other women, I might recommend wearing a waistband or belt you can attach your phone to as my golfing attire doesn't always include large pockets.

In retrospect, you can look back on your averages over a day or look at your score for each individual swing. Unfortunately, it would be impossible to remember which swings also resulted in a great shot (was it the third to last one before I switched to the seven iron?). You are able to favorite, or "star" shots in the app, which could help.

My best score on Zepp was actually a mis-hit that only rolled a few yards in front of me to the left. I don't disagree that it was a good swing, per the components measured by the app, but those alone do not guarantee a good hit. I do think that spending the day with Zepp improved my swing, and a good swing will set the foundation for good hitting in the long run.

Zepp Golf Sensor

The Good

Instant feedback Allows multiple user accounts Easy to use

The Bad

Pricey Need to keep phone in pocket

The Bottom Line

The Zepp Golf sensor provides detailed feedback and will maximize the time you spend practicing.

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