Golfers have an endless need to evaluate, manipulate, and resolve their swing every time they get their hands on a golf club. We have all been at home, in the living room, garage, basement, and grab that club sitting in the corner, taking the club away and diagnose. Fortunately for us, technology is opening the door to better self instruction, both at home and at the driving range. One particular company, Live View Golf, has introduced the LiveView +Plus Digital Swing Mirror. A big name with an extremely simple concept; real time swing support for every golfer.
The first glance is fairly unremarkable in a neutral sort of way. The LiveView product is packaged well in a protective soft shell case, and has a few additional add on features that improve the experience like a sunshade for an iPad, or a LivePod adapter that helps set the unit properly behind or to the side of the golfer. The unit itself is red, with a simple power button with lights that represent overall battery life. In total, it made me want to quickly dive into the software to see where the real power comes from with this particular product, and I did not have to go far to find it.
The first session at the course was very exploratory. With a collection of friends present to play the role of guinea pig, the Live View DSM was set up first using the LivePod adapter on the ground, and shortly thereafter attached to the top of a club holder (a bag would work just as well, if not better in this case). For the product to be effective, there needs to be a fair bit of room between the golfer and the Live View unit, which could prove a bit problematic in more compact range locations, however for my situation, it was actually quite easy. We got it into a position where the full swing would be captured, and then I went to work manipulating the software. Connectivity with my iPad was an absolute breeze.
For clarity, this unit can be enjoyed on an individual basis, with the software being fully capable of either continuous recording up to 10 minutes in length, or what they are calling “automatic swing detect” which records the swing and two seconds on each side of impact to show the full swing sequence. For the purpose of this review, I found the most efficient way to maximize the potential of the unit was to use it with others, where lines could be drawn and replays were at the ready after manual start/stop occurred.
Getting the hang of the software was really easy. There are quick tutorials to follow, and then the user is free to go about their process, which for me meant a lot of lines, and then forced conversation with fellow golfers about their flaws. I was able to easily draw lines and circles on the screen both before and after the swing was complete, bringing the golfer back to me after completing their swing to show them what was occurring with their movement. As a block style education, this gives me a great chance to use extra lines after pausing the video, then proceeding at a much slower rate so I can specifically show them what was happening.
For other golfers, specifically the more stubborn ones, I actually took the iPad and presented the screen to them (with the view still coming from behind their swing) while they were taking their practice swings. One particular golfer struggles with hitting the ball fat sometimes, and thin sometimes. We talked about his move away from the ball, how he drives his head down as his swing starts to generate power, and then clears as he descends into the ball. I was able to clearly show him using lines and slow motion that the lack of movement he felt was happening was actually quite different. I held the iPad out while he took a series of practice swings, being able to easily see all elements of his swing down the line as the iPad did not hinder him in any way. This instant feedback was without a doubt my favorite part of the product, and has since altered the way he is approaching his swing.
The overall visual quality of the camera could be a bit better by today’s standards, but it certainly serves its purpose well. The images included in this review will adequately represent the quality perceived by all golfers during this testing period, with the colors being a bit strange in the central location of the lens (the range was actually very green despite what you see). We talked about what it would take to pump video through WiFi, how much battery it would burn, and how big the unit would have to be for ultra high quality video. I am not sure if they are actively working towards new and improved optics in the future, but that would likely be my first pursuit. While the visual did not deter me, the 60 frames struggled to capture the full depth of the swing, especially during the downswing. I have samples where the image flashes from the top of the shoulders almost into contact from one frame to the next, which would do well to improve.
Outside of the overall frames, nothing about the experience proved less than stellar from a teaching, learning, or exploration aspect. Each golfer that went through the Live View experience left the conversation with a greater knowledge about their swing, something to work on using drawn in lines to represent body variance during the backswing or downswing, and intrigue for how the unit could continue to improve their efficiencies. We had a majority of players come over the top, a couple with bad alignment to target (they did not agree with the alignment aid variance), and a pretty diverse group for raising or lowering their head during the swing. It gave me the takeaway that while the best solution would be to use this unit with a coach or knowledgeable instructor, the Live View Golf product is absolutely valuable for every golfer with access to YouTube (to learn the right way to do things) and those who are unwilling to drop dollars on lessons every week. For those who are going through swing changes with a coach, the unit will let you save video and images to send to instructors for further input, or provide that feedback visually to make sure what they are working on is what the goal of their last lesson had intended. For more information on the LiveView+Plus, visit https://www.liveviewgolf.com/.