golf650.jpgThanks to reader Tuco for the heads up on Damon Hack's New York Times story about an interesting new tempo device. There's also a video segment on the story narrated by Hack, who clearly missed his calling as an NPR reporter.
Grober has created an instrument that gives a player an immediate response to the golf swing. A smooth, rhythmic swing with Grober’s sensor emits a pleasing tone. A herky-jerky motion lets out a wail.

To create the sound of a golf swing, Grober used Musical Instrument Digital Interface technology that combined instruments like the piccolo, the oboe and the French horn. The music — an audio interpretation of the swing itself — is transmitted wirelessly to the golfer through a headset.

“This dimension that they can access while they’re hitting the golf club opens up a whole world of information that they hadn’t otherwise had,” he said. “Getting it in this format, in a real-time basis, helps people to change on time scales which are much shorter than traditionally. It used to be if you wanted to make a mechanical change in your golf swing, it could take months to do that. But if you can hear what’s going on, you can change the sound space almost instantly.”

Grober said by having players focus on tempo instead of swing mechanics, the mechanics often followed anyway. “Really quickly they understand it’s about tempo and they forget all these complicated thoughts about position,” he said. “When the motion becomes dynamic and smooth, there are some good physics behind that.”

Grober, whose product is scheduled for release in January, said he has worked with 200 golfers and teachers on his invention. While the technology is new, the idea of using physics to teach a golf swing has been around for decades.

Ben Doyle, who wrote the foreword to Homer Kelley’s popular instruction book, “The Golfing Machine,” said he could see benefits in a golfer being able to listen to the sound of the golf swing.

“You hear the thrust of centrifugal force,” said Doyle, the golf instructor at the Golf Club at Quail Lodge in Carmel, Calif. “If a student can hear that sound, it’s very important feedback.”