App-connected wearable sensor tells you everything you need to know about your golf swing or tennis arm - as well as how to improve
There’s a lot more to wearable technology than smartwatches or Google Glass-type headsets; some of the most exciting uses for the tech are as performance trackers aimed at helping you get better at sports. One of the latest is Zepp, a small sensor designed to help golfers and tennis players improve their game, which goes on sale in the UK for the first time today.
Already available in the US, where golfers, tennis players and softball/baseball players have been using it for over a year, Zepp is a small, lightweight sensor that clips onto a glove and provides all manner of performance metrics and analytics to help you work out which parts of your game need improvement. Developed in partnership with PGA Tour professionals, it pairs with a smartphone or tablet to display information captured 1,000 times per second, right after you take a swing. It weighs just 6.3g, so won’t impair performance, and should last for eight hours on a single charge – more than enough for a round of golf or day at the driving range.
The Zepp Golf sensor and app measure swing tempo, club speed and angle, hip rotation and gives a personalised Swing Score, designed to help you improve over time. It can also replay swings in 360-degrees to compare the shape of a backswing to a downswing. Even without the sensor, the free Zepp app (available for iOS and Android) can show you how the pros swing; Zepp Golf includes videos of PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley, PGA Tour professional Brendan Steele and long drive champion Ryan Winther.
Zepp Tennis works in a similar fashion, but clips onto the bottom of a tennis racket rather than a glove. It tracks the amount of forehands, backhants, serves and smashes hit, shows how much power you generate with each swing and tracks topspin, slices and flat shots. Both apps can store an unlimited number of swings in the cloud, then compare them to other Zepp users. It also includes a training center, which is filled with video tutorials and advice from the pros on how to improve.
We admit to never having hit a golf ball in our lives, but after a few hours with the app and sensor we managed to hit a 130 yard drive – not bad at all considering our previous experience was literally zero. Other journalists we spoke to at the launch event that do play golf all said they noticed improvements in their swing when taking the performance results into account.
“We have seen huge success in our native US with Zepp and are very excited to properly introduce it into the UK,” Zepp CEO Jason Fass said of the launch. “We’ve built a platform that delivers impactful data and instant feedback to athletes and coaches allowing them to analyse and improve their game like never before.”
Zepp sensors are available to buy in the UK from today onwards. Zepp Golf and Zep Tennis will cost £129.99 each, and will be available from Apple stores, Currys PC World, Argos and John Lewis. We’ll be putting it to the test over the coming weeks to see if it can help absolute novices (like us) improve their game, as well as experienced golfers and tennis players.