V1 Golf
Pocket Guides
These smartphone coaching apps have the potential to redefine practice regimens and improve golf swings. Easily access video-based (and sometimes live virtual) lessons with remote instructors and training programs rooted in skills-based challenges.
by Shaun Tolson
On-Call Coaching
Amateur golfers of all ability levels benefit from regular lessons, but most never pursue them. Instead, they struggle to improve on their own, never realizing their full potential. This is where PerfectMotion can help. Through the use of the camera in a golfer’s phone, the app analyzes the movement of key body areas during the player’s swing and traces their core body motion—from the address position all the way through impact. Users can then connect with one of many instructors who will review the documented body motion and offer pre-recorded guidance, along with video-based drills, to help players tidy up the weak points of their swings.

Not only does the app isolate a golfer’s swing flaws and take corrective measures one mistake at a time, but it also identifies imperfections, like players being too far forward at the point of impact, which can be hard to detect with the naked eye. “It’s real artificial intelligence because the computer does a lot of analysis and diagnoses it for you,” explains Chip Beck, a former PGA Tour player who was one of the app’s founding instructors. “When I have faults in my golf swing, my eye can’t pick it up, but the app can because it’s such a precise diagnostic tool.” perfectmotion.io
Swing Analysis
Golfers may never benefit from one-on-one instruction because they can’t find a qualified instructor that they like—or their proximity to a preferred coach is too great. Enter the V1 Golf app, which serves as a virtual matchmaker, pairing golfers with instructors and providing a platform for interactive, remote lessons. The free app (supported by advertising) allows golfers to film and share their swings with a teaching pro of their choice, who provides video lessons with voiceover instruction and visual feedback via telestration.

When in-person relationships between golfers and coaches already exist, the V1 app can still play a pivotal role in player development. Simply put, it can quicken the pace of a golfer’s improvement. “What we can accomplish with remote lessons is helping golfers graduate to the next step,” says Chandler Rusk, a master instructor who utilizes the app. “Our in-person instruction teaches them what to do and how to do it, but remote lessons enable us to help our students ingrain the proper practice habits. The V1 app makes it easy to engage personally and make progress with our clients when hands-on instruction isn’t convenient. Before and after videos can also keep students motivated to improve.” v1sports.com
Driving Range Drills
Avid golfers who love to play also typically love to spend an hour or two at the range, but most of them likely are not practicing in a manner that actually fosters improvement. They’ll either aimlessly hit ball after ball without focusing on a specific target, or they’ll hit shots under little or no stress, knowing that if they mishit the ball at their feet, they still have a bucket full of balls nearby. Out on the course, however, those golfers can’t replicate the same level of relaxation that they felt on the range. They haven’t trained to stay loose, nor have they learned how to hit good shots while feeling tense.

Fortunately, Core Golf can rectify bad driving range habits by steadily increasing its prescribed number of drills that fall into six categories—putting, chipping, pitching, bunker play, irons, and woods/hybrids. Many of those drills require players to focus on specific targets or to hit shots to imaginary fairways 15 or 20 yards wide. After inputting an official (or estimated) handicap, which determines how many successful shots a player must hit during each drill to earn a passing grade, players can then get to work evaluating their skills and uncovering their weaknesses. As long as golfers are honest while using the app, Core Golf will make them better—both on the course and on the range—as it teaches them how they can (and should) hit shots during a practice session. coregolf.app
Mental Fitness Platform
It takes just a single round of golf for any player, even a newcomer, to recognize that the game is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one—maybe even more so. For years, that mental aspect of the sport was passively acknowledged though never actively addressed. Some PGA Tour pros began working with sports psychologists during the mid-1980s, but decades passed before mental coaching was a customary component of most players’ training regimens. Now, mental coaches are as prominent on tour as swing coaches. As you might expect, an app also exists that focuses on mental training for golfers of all ability levels.

Created by Richard Zokol, a former winner on the PGA Tour, MindTRAK Golf is an app that aims to mentally retrain golfers, replacing their results-oriented mindsets with a perspective that’s focused more on staying in the moment as they play a round of golf. It does so by requiring players to grade two key performance markers for every shot that they hit: assessment and execution. “There’s an inherent relationship with assessing and executing each golf shot in any given situation,” Zokol explains. “You have to choose to make your score on each hole less relevant. Your thought process is then strictly about picking the correct club; then assessing the lie, wind, and other conditions and deciding what type of shot to hit; and then executing that shot. This allows you to optimize your performance.” mindtrakgolf.com