Walk along many practice tees these days and you’ll see golfers of every stripe beating balls or going through their careful practice routines while wearing headphones. Are they cranking Mozart or Led Zeppelin, listening to a podcast or maybe just some ocean sounds to calm the nerves? Good question, but now they can get expert instruction right through those buds thanks to FX Sports, a U.K. company that’s bringing its technology to the U.S. in a big way.
The built-in 8GB premium mp3 player is preloaded with many hours’ worth of psychological coaching, mental preparation, practice drills and workouts, from world class golf psychologists, coaches and trainers. For the practice drills and workouts ranging from 15 to 90 minutes, the user can choose to have their own music between the messages of instruction, or silence. Practice drills are all intended for real time use. Each drill has its own time period and messages play automatically at designated times, as the user performs the drills.
“People travel halfway around the country to see these teachers,” FX representative Duncan Walsh told Golf Tips. “We have Mark Smith, Karen Palacios-Jensen’s cardio golf program. David Mackenzie’s Golf State of Mind. We have practice drills for on the green, around the green, on the driving range — plus how to control your nerves under pressure, four possible outcomes of any shot and how to deal with them, what to do if the ball lands in the rough, if you’re swinging poorly, and on and on.”
If you’ve loaded tunes onto an iPod, you already know how to set up this device your way. “You’ve got your music, or you can choose to have silence, an audio book. It’s USB to the computer, as soon as you attach it you’ll see all the content,” Walsh said. “You can listen to the audio on the computer, choose lessons in advance and put them in the Workout folder so they’re live. On headphones, a single press of that button and it will voice that workout or drill name — David Mackenzie 20-minute clock drill, Dr. Morris Pickens’ one-hour driving practice … scroll to the one you want, press again and it the messages will play at designated times over your music. They are on two channels so you can change the music without losing your place in the lesson.
Though USGA rules don’t allow coaching during official competition, you can still use the headphones on the course during practice or casual rounds. “You can listen to the podcasts and have the drill instructions playing over them. There are pre-round warmups to put you in the right frame of mind — self-talk, etc. these guys are experts, and it’s their words, their insights. They use examples from golfers like Zach Johnson to offer reminders and encouragement on how to train and practice better. It’s structured practice that helps motivate you more. We didn’t want to create a gimmick; it’s genuinely helpful.”
And it’s not just limited to golf instruction only. “We also include workouts that aren’t golf-related — weight training, gym workouts, the other things that golfers work on. When people are stronger, fitter and more flexible, it’s going to show up in their golf game.”
FX Sports is working on more lessons to be available for download, either free or for a nominal charge.
$199 | www.fx-sport.net