View the full article on Forbes.com here.
Tour Pros Are Relying On This Game-Improvement Golf App
Dana Finklestein may not be a household name yet, but technology may soon change that. The LPGA Tour player began using the V1 Game app from V1 Sports roughly two months ago, and has already seen improvement in the way she plays and scores.
After hearing about it from another player, Finkelstein checked out the app and thought it looked pretty interesting.
“I started using it and really love how simple it is,” she says. “And I’ve already made an equipment change in part because of the app. Recently, I’ve been really struggling with putting. So I ordered a new putter, just because of how poor my stats are showing me a couple of trends in the way I’m missing putts. Hopefully that new putter will start showing up in the app in a positive direction. My issue was mainly with speed control. I’ve been three-putting a lot. I’ve seen it obviously on the course but V1 Game’s also showing me that I’m really struggling with 40-foot-plus putts. So trying something new is probably not going to be a bad thing. I’m going from a toe-hang mallet to a face-balanced model.”
The app is also confirming to Finkelstein that the iron, wood and shaft changes she made earlier in the year are paying off. “I’ve already started to notice a positive trend in my stat tracking that my driving and approach shots — some of the metrics that the V1 Game shows — have drastically improved even just in the three events I’ve played in with them. So that’s really cool to see. It’s just nice to see like all of the hard work I put in this offseason starting to pay off — seeing my short game improve and some of the things I did with my equipment starting to pay off.”
Although Finkelstein can use V1 Game and its automatic shot tracking during tournament rounds, she prefers not to because she’s afraid she’ll leave her phone ringer on by accident. Thus, she inputs all of her round data afterwards.
And in practice, she has used V1 Game to help improve her wedge play. “There’s a way you can break down seeing what distance of approach shots you may be approximately to holes that are not as good as another,” she says. “So if after a week I see I’m not as good from 80-to-100 as from 100-to-125, I might spend a few extra minutes working on those types of distances.” Finkelstein shares the data with her caddie, who also happens to be her boyfriend, and her swing coach after each tournament. They review the data together in a “deep dive” and dissect what needs working on for the next off week. Finkelstein’s also used the app’s Virtual Caddie and Virtual Coach features in practice rounds. The Virtual Caddie uses current weather and wind conditions, plus your personal history, to make club suggestions for your next shot. Virtual Coach helps by suggesting what parts of your game to practice on.
“Wind can really affect which club you should use — that Virtual Caddie feature alone is really helpful for amateurs,” says Finkelstein. “For someone who doesn’t play a lot and doesn’t really know how far their clubs go, the more data they get in there, the better the app can spit out information. I think it will really help people improve very quickly.”
Finkelstein is just one of several Tour pros who have recently started using the app on their own, without any endorsement incentives. V1 Game is a free download, and at that level it will plot where it senses you hit your shots — as well as provide GPS distances for any course you play. But you will need to manually enter in — live or post-round — which club you used for each shot. There are several in-app upgrade price tiers offered: It’ll cost you $12/month to get advanced stats plus both Virtual Coach and Virtual Caddie. But if Tour pros are gravitating toward it, maybe the rest of us should too.
Download V1 Game in the app store today and start tracking your golf performance like the pros.