I have been playing golf for about a year now, but even before the golf bug bit me, I knew there was no shortage of crazy self-help gadgets out there for frustrated golfers. That is perhaps why the series of golf apps in the New York Times article “To Improve Your Swing: Bend Your Knees and Find a Good App”, seemed quite tame in comparison. Using a smartphone’s camera and processing power to record and analyse a golf swing is perhaps the best self-help tool I have seen available to golfers. It certain seems less awkward and embarrassing then most of the ones I have seen.
Ever since the first time I saw myself on video playing sports I have firmly held to the belief that you cannot claim mastery of an activity until you have seen yourself doing it on video. I thought I was the world’s best at every sport I played, or at least I deserved to be on the starting line, or maybe second string. But certainly not third string, no way, my moves were way to slick for third line. Then I had an opportunity to watch game film of myself. The only thing I can compare it to was the first and last time I heard a recording of myself playing the guitar. It can be truly heartbreaking, but then again, brutal honesty often is. However I did learn a lot from the experience. Most importantly I realized that if I ever wanted to go to college I would have to start doing better in school. There would be no sports scholarships for me. The benefit of playing team sports is that usually at least one person’s parent on the team has nothing better to do or likes their kid enough to film the games and cut up a few dozen oranges for half time. The same cannot be said about individual sports like golf. Typically ff you have film footage of yourself playing golf, you are either already a pro, or don’t mind looking like a prick and making some one follow you around the golf course with a video camera. Like many poor weekend golfers, I fall into neither category.
While acts of police brutality such as the Rodney King beating have shown the benefits of citizens armed with video recorders at all time, there have not been many usages of this technology that have gone much further. Ok. I am sure UFO buffs love it too. I know plenty of people will argue with me on that, but I am just one of those people that have never liked a photo of myself. I blame the cameras because I know I look way more like Robert Redford then that. I am not going to publicly go out of my way to be photographed or videotaped.
These apps show the true potential of smartphone, and validate the incorporation of cameras into cellphones; something that I thought was a bit excessive for some time. I never got overly excited that my phone could take a low quality flash less picture. But now with the stepped up horsepower of iPhones and Androids, this generation of phones has gone beyond merely being able to capture an image and posting it on Facebook. The ability to analyze and play back the analysis allows these devices to do what no camera ever could, and that merits notice.