Posted May 27, 2012
We at PocketPro are thrilled to finally announce our partnership with SkyGolf, maker of SkyCaddie®, the #1 rangefinder in golf. They have an incredibly knowledgeable team, with a vision of PocketPro that aligns perfectly with ours. Since partnering with SkyGolf, we have rebranded the product SkyPro, and it looks even better! More information can be found at our new product website http://www.golfskypro.com
As we approach product launch, I wanted to try and shed some light on our product development alongside SkyGolf.
In our mind, our software is what sets us apart from anything else in the market right now. Our focus is different. We feel that to break into the mass market, our device must not only be accurate and report what golfers did in their swing, it must also provide them with useful direction on how to improve. While I think other products have a good start, we go much further.
The parameters we report are different. For years, the closest product type to ours in the golf industry were launch monitors like Foresight or Trackman. These watch your ball flight; they are limited to reporting what your club does at impact: its lie, loft, angle of attack, club path, etc. When we first started to develop our product, we asked experts in the field what parameters we should report. Of course, they advised us on what they were used to: launch monitor parameters. This appears to be the origin of most of the competing parameters which are (mostly) focused on impact and address.
However, we soon encountered two problems. First, our sensors (and all other IMU sensing products) are intrinsically bad at measuring these parameters! We must guess the exact time of impact which is utterly crucial. As you know, the difference between a hook or slice is only a few degrees, and being off the impact time by a millisecond can cause an error of 2° or more. We sample at twice the rate of other devices, meaning we have twice the resolution at impact, and even at that accuracy level we did not comfortable reporting such numbers. There are additional reasons as well: shaft deflection for one.
We also found that launch monitor parameters are not what the general public asked us for. My favorite example is actually a conversation with my friend. After a long day of work, I called him to tell him about our progress. We'd made considerable progress with some algorithms for angle of attack. They showed promise in the lab, but we were concerned about releasing them into the wild. He said: "That's great! What would I do with angle of attack"? We were somewhat taken aback by this; we hadn't thought about that before! We had just trusted what our advisors had told us to report. We said that I thought steeper was better for irons. He said: "Oh... well can it tell me how far I take my club back?" I replied, "Oh yeah, that's easy".
We were then stopped by a thought. Why were we spending all this time on difficult parameters, when the general public is asking for ones that are easy? It seems so obvious now, this caused us to totally shift our focus. Our parameters now consider the swing as a whole. We do look at address and impact, but we also report how far back you take your club, whether the backswing is inside or outside, whether you cross the line at the top, whether you stay between the swing planes, whether you cast, etc. This is what our sensors are naturally good at.
This holistic focus allows us to break the whole swing down into it's constituent parts, and makes identifying swing faults much easier. For example, if you take your club considerably inside during the takeaway, or if you take it back past parallel, our device will show a red flag. It does this a lot for my swing!
It also allows you to easily see what changed between subsequent swings. For example, it's one thing to know your loft increased at impact, but what caused it? Our app directly shows you, with 3D annotations, that you opened the club face during the backswing, or that you released your wrists early on the downswing and flipped the club outside. It automatically highlights the key differences between swings.
Our app has a ton of depth: our team's background is iPhone app development. This has paid off in terms of application quality, especially with the 3D. With the expertise from SkyGolf we are looking to manufacturer one of the most advanced pieces of hardware ever seen in the market.
We will be transitioning away from PocketPro, towards SkyPro in the coming weeks. For the interim we have set up a page to welcome you to the product at http://www.golfskypro.com . Here you will be able to find more developing updates as we get closer to launch and continue to update with details.
SkyPro will be featured at the 2013 PGA Golf Show in Orlando this upcoming January at the SkyGolf Booth (booth 765). Be sure to come check us out!
As always, any feedback/comments you have would be much appreciated.
The PocketPro Team