December 6, 2023

App Smart: To Improve Your Swing: Bend Your Knees and Find a Good App

I’d be less mystified if I could hold on to all the tips I get while watching golf broadcasts, but that wisdom is long gone by the time I get a club in my hand.

But now I have a smartphone in my hand, and that means I have golf apps.

Golf-related apps were among the early entrants in Apple’s App Store and the Android Market, but the software lineup has improved significantly with time.

Among my golf instruction apps, one is new this season (Tiger Woods: My Swing, $10 on Apple), one features recent upgrades (Golfplan with Paul Azinger, $1 on Apple) and one started out solid and has remained so (iSwing Golf, $3 on Android and Apple).

Unfortunately for Android-loving golfers, the newest is also the best. Tiger Woods: My Swing is the coolest and most refined swing-improvement app I’ve seen.

With My Swing, you use the video camera on the iPhone or iPad 2 to record your swing from two angles, and watch it in high definition. You can slow down the video or freeze it at different points to study your mechanics.

You need a friend (or a specially equipped tripod) to hold the device, but My Swing includes some nice touches to help capture a good swing for viewing. The viewfinder shows the outline of a golfer addressing the ball, so you need only place the video subject within those outlines.

You can also preview a swing to decide whether it’s a fair enough representation to proceed with the swing analysis. Here — in the app’s swing analysis features — is where My Swing justifies its $10 price tag.

Even though I have a good idea of what a legitimate golf swing looks like, I would struggle to break down the mechanics of my swing so that I could make meaningful adjustments.

My Swing places optional colored lines over your swing, representing the planes that Tiger Woods deems most important to a good golf stroke with each club in the bag (excluding a putter). The app also includes videos explaining in clear detail the significance of each line, and what happens when a golfer strays outside those lines.

It’s excellent instruction — insightful, but not so much information that a golfer would struggle to remember everything. You can skip the app’s other videos, which include fluff like a 20-second interview clip about Mr. Woods’s childhood baseball abilities.

Those with deeper knowledge of their own mechanics can also draw their own lines over a swing video.

If, during a swing analysis, users find flaws worth noting, like too much hip movement in the backswing, they can append text or audio notes to the swing video, which is kept in the My Swing library.

That library also exists at, a free Web site maintained by Shotzoom, My Swing’s developer. The Web element brings other benefits few other apps can match.

From Golfshot, you can share your swing with friends, along with the “Tiger Lines,” or whatever lines you’ve chosen to draw on the swing. The site also includes sections where you can record details about each round you’ve played and share that with friends who also use the service.

Shotzoom’s other app for golf instruction, Paul Azinger’s Golfplan, is also quite good, if not quite as elegant as My Swing. But for $1, Golfplan offers an enormous amount of value.

The app features a deep library of instructional videos with Mr. Azinger, a P.G.A. tour veteran. But rather than leave users to browse that library randomly, Golfplan delivers those tips it believes most relevant to those with a certain handicap. (You offer this information to Golfplan when the software starts.)

Since Golfplan is also connected to, it will use any statistics you’ve included on the Web site to help deliver more relevant tips.

The videos are ideal for those who have reached the driving range with no ideas of how to attack their most nagging flaws. If, for instance, you have logged in with an astronomical handicap — as, for instance, I have — the app will offer specific tips on how to avoid slicing the ball.

My one quibble is that Mr. Azinger moves too quickly at times, and without slow-motion replays or diagrams to explain some of his points, the nuances are sometimes lost.

Another flaw: the “play” button is placed remarkably close to the “upgrade to HD” button, which incurs a $5 charge. I’ll let less cynical people than me decide whether this is intentional.

Mr. Azinger recently updated the app with a series of videos for practicing at home. They’re decent, but they have a poorly lit, less polished production quality. But for $1, this shortcoming is easily forgiven.

Android users have nothing even close to this good for $1, but iSwing Golf offers some solid value for $3.

The app is actually closer to My Swing than Golfplan, in that users film themselves swinging a club and analyze the swing with slow-motion replays.

The targeting feature isn’t as good as the one on My Swing, nor can you analyze your swing with tutorials, as you would with My Swing. But you can draw lines on your video and build a library of swings, and iSwing Golf lets you compare videos side by side, in synchronized motion, which is useful for underscoring changes in your stroke.

For an added $4, you can add videos from Adam Scott, a P.G.A. tour veteran and 2011 Masters Tournament runner-up, to help understand a model swing.

Mr. Scott, by the way, finished just ahead of Tiger Woods in that tournament. In the mobile apps realm, however, Mr. Woods wins by at least a couple of strokes.

Quick Calls

Android users with young readers should consider Super Why! ($3), from PBS Kids. The app, which is based on the series of the same name, builds literacy skills through interactive stories. It is available on Amazon’s Appstore. It Happened Here ($3 on Apple and Android) points out events of historical interest, based on the user’s location. It is now available for Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington.

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