Taking on-course video for instructional purposes has never been practical — even for TOUR players. While most have an instructor who totes around a camera to catch the occasional swing, there are still plenty of practice rounds where there isn't an instructor or camera in sight.
That was something 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Erik Compton noticed during practice sessions. In search of a device that allowed him to record his swing without having to rely on a cameraman to capture the footage, Compton turned to SwingShot's Cyclops Pro+, a device that's equipped with a high-definition camera that records audio and video at 480p 240fps or 1080p 60fps.
"What really drew me to the device was how easy it was to use," Compton said. "You literally put it in the ground, press a button and you're off. For someone who's a visual guy, I really like seeing everything happen. I don't have to rely on anyone to record the video for me, which is nice if I'm playing a practice round by myself or want to work on the range."
According to Phil Long, who handles TOUR operations for SwingShot, close to 20 players are currently using the device on the PGA TOUR. What makes it unique is the design that allows it to go from the golf bag into the turf in a matter of seconds thanks to a three-foot ABS plastic shaft that houses the camera, and a heavy-duty stainless steel spike in the bottom of the device that goes directly into the ground.
All three SwingShot models have a rechargeable battery that lasts for two rounds of golf or a two-hour lesson in standard mode. The Cyclops Pro+, SwingShot's most expensive model, has an app that allows players to use remote control and playback over the camera's wireless network.
As far as the instruction side is concerned, videos captured with SwingShot can be uploaded to Kinovea or Ubersense for further analysis. A two gigabyte removable MicroSD card makes it possible to take the footage to a teaching pro as well.
Additionally, SwingShot has an onboard GPS system inside the camera that gives accurate yardages to roughly three feet to capture GPS coordinates of each recorded shot during the round.
TrackMan may "take the guessing out of the equation," but for the visual golfer who needs to see more than numbers, SwingShot offers an option that's easy to assemble, set up and use on the fly.
SwingShot comes in three models — Cyclops ($200), Cyclops Pro ($300) and Cyclops Pro+ ($400) and includes a rechargeable battery, two-piece shaft, stainless steel turf spike, AC charger and USB cable.