For avid golfers who struggle to make time for down-and-dirty practice on the range, the Swing Caddie is a fun and easy-to-use godsend and a true bargain when you consider its capabilities. Rather than attach a variety of widgets to your club and depend on a smartphone app to capture and display the numbers we all want and need to measure progress, Swing Caddie uses doppler radar to do its thing — all it takes is turning it on, turning it to “Practice” mode, setting it about a yard directly behind your strike-line, choosing the club you’re hitting and firing away no matter where you are. About the size of a phone, it’s ultra-portable.
There’s plenty of hype when it comes to personal swing monitors’ efficacy, but this gadget works as advertised, or even better. Practice mode is very helpful and informative; toggle between total carry and distance in the air “carry”; measures swing speed, ball speed, smash factor, with adjustable loft angle for driver from 8 to 12 degrees via a handheld remote — fairway metals are from 17 to 24 degrees in two- or three-degree increments; hybrids (“utilities”) go from 20 to 26 degrees in two-degree increments, with irons given standard lofts (26 degrees for 5-iron, for instance, and “SW” adjustable from 52 to 60 degrees in one-degree increments.
“This is the hottest thing we sell these days,” says Neville Hong, CEO of Voice Caddie, the company behind Swing Caddie. “You can pull this out of your golf bag, you don’t have to connect it to anything. It gives you carry distance, swing speed, ball speed, and smash factor. It really helps with distance control for each club. The screen is outdoor visible. You just pull it out and start swinging away. It gives you immediate feedback.”
Interacting with the device is a snap thanks to the included remote. Just press the button for whatever club is in your hand and the device automatically dials in its standard loft Then you just start hitting balls as the pleasant female voice calls out carry or full distances, depending on the setting.
Along with Practice mode, SwingCaddie offers “Target” mode, displaying distances from 40 to 200 yards — a big help in dialing in average distance for each club — and an “Approach” mode for practicing short game shots by randomly producing target yardages from around 40 to 95 yards, then displaying your results.