MySwing can turn pros into contenders and amateurs into boardroom legends.

Albert Einstein was once asked if he played golf. “No, no,” said the man who devised the theory of relativity. “Too complicated.” The story has served as a humbling reminder that even geniuses can find golf to be, as Bobby Jones, a co-founder of the Masters Tournament, described it, “a mystifying game.”

But in the past year, golf instructors have begun using an unassuming piece of technology that aims to take the guesswork out of your stroke. MySwing, introduced in late 2016, is a small box with 17 motion-capture sensors that attach to various parts of the body—the shin, the top of the feet, around the arms and chest and forehead. A separate one attaches to the club.

Once the sensors are calibrated on a Windows-based device, a skeletal avatar appears on screen and begins to move with you in real time. Take a few swings, and the feeling is similar to a science-fiction fantasy. (Everyone from Game of Thrones to NASA creates characters using mapping tech from MySwing’s Beijing-based parent company, Noitom Ltd.—“motion” spelled backward.) The system re-creates the angles, tilt, and rotations of your swing and plays it back from overhead, behind, and the side.


The MySwing system in action. Source: MySwing

The key, though, is the software, which produces line graphs and bar charts that tell you whether you need to be more patient with your arms and get your lower body to do a better job of initiating the downswing. It can observe, with sometimes excruciating detail, that the bum shoulder you got from playing college football is costing you 20 degrees on your turn, or that your right leg is overcompensating for a weak left one.

Swing-analyzing technology isn’t new, says golf instructor Ben Shear, who advises top pros such as Luke Donald and hosts the Golfers Edge show on SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Radio channel. But the old systems took an hour to set up, whereas MySwing takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. The sensors attach wirelessly, another first, and can be used indoors or outside. Most important, it’s only US$6,000, a relatively affordable piece of equipment for a country club that wants a competitive advantage. (TrackMan Golf, the shot-monitoring technology familiar from television tournament broadcasts, runs closer to US$25,000.)

“It’s like any technology,” Shear says at the offices of his eponymous performance-training boutique in Scotch Plains, N.J. “It just keeps getting better, cheaper, faster, cooler.” He’s been using MySwing since it was introduced and is now one of hundreds of instructors who teach with it around the world, from Australia to Sweden.

The system is primarily meant for instructors, but Peter Gauthier, MySwing Golf Inc.’s chief executive officer, says a few motivated amateurs have bought the system for themselves. Golfers as a group are generally educated professionals who are equipped to understand the volume of data if they’re so inclined.


Seventeen motion-capture sensors work together to create an avatar. Source: MySwing

Pros typically use it in conjunction with a coach, finding it most helpful at locating that extra tweak in their game that will get them over the hump for their Tour card. But Shear thinks it’s even better for amateurs, especially when combined with a physical evaluation that might quash the tendency to make unrealistic comparisons to the players they see on TV.

“A lot of golfers are guys who sit behind a desk working 60 hours a week, they’ve got three kids who are all in sports, and they’re driving them everywhere,” Shear says. “They’re not going to get to the gym four times a week. But they still want to know what their physical capabilities are. And then I can build a golf swing around what they can actually do.”

Some limitations may not be physical. “If you can’t chip and putt, then this isn’t going to help you all that much,” Shear says with a laugh. “If you’ve got a 4-footer and you just rolled it by 10 feet, then that’s why you’re not good at golf.”