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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Get Lessons from David Leadbetter on Your Wii!!

Leadbetter give you personal lessons for less than $1000 per session!
Bag DropEver wanted to be able to say that your personal golf trainer is David Leadbetter? Now you can without having to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Coming this October, we will all have the chance to get some of Leadbetter's best tips and drills, along with his swing analysis, from the comfort of our own living rooms.
This year at the annual E3 gaming convention, Data Design Interactive unveiled their latest development, targeted towards golfers and their never-ending quest to get better. For players looking for alternative ways to better their game, Data Design Interactive enlisted world renowned coach David Leadbetter in producing an exciting new game titled "My Personal Golf Trainer." This new game makes use of the Nintendo Wii's motion capturing controllers (known as the Wii MotionPlus and Wii Balance Board) to help guide your way to a better swing. Hit the jump to find out more about this upcoming release!

Cover ArtLet me preface this entire column by first saying this is not a substitution for proper lessons from your local PGA teaching pro. Nothing comes close to proper lessons from a living, breathing pro, regardless of how good the technology is. This game does, however, have the potential to be a great way to reinforce the teachings of your pro.
Game Overview
"My Personal Golf Trainer" takes advantage of the Wii Balance Board and the Wii MotionPlus controller in order to provide analysis of all the facets of your swing, including swing speed, weight transfer, swing path, and more. The game incorporates David Ledbetter's 7 Steps to a Better Golf Swing and gives personalized feedback according to Ledbetter's 7 steps. It also provides drills and videos to enforce the changes recommended by the game. The player's swing gradually improves as each of the basics are addressed. The game can then progress to the driving range, and then later to a full 18-hole round. During the round, Ledbetter can be summoned to provide feedback and suggestions. Your entire swing will be tracked and recorded in 3D using the balance board and Motion Plus controller.
Swing Path Analysis
Once a swing is recorded, you have the ability to analyze your swing and see the faults, just as if someone were there videoing you. Wanna see where you're at during impact? Now you can. Shanked a shot into the pond on the right? Ledbetter can help identify why, and then suggest ways to eliminate the faulty movement. When you consider that parts of the swing such as tempo, balance, and weight transfer can be practiced without an actual club, you can see how this game could really help your game.
Swing Overview
You could spend thousands of dollars on other devices that will give you some of the same information My Personal Golf Trainer does, but they're not going to give you feedback from one of the most highly regarded instructors in the world. Game content such as the instructional videos and the drills are most likely worth the cost of the equivalent Leadbetter DVDs.
Leadbetter's Feedback
Pricing & Availability
The game itself will be available for right around $50, but there is more to it than just the game. The Wii Fit bundle, which includes the Balance Board, is going to run around $90 at most major retailers. The MotionPlus controller can be had for $20-$25. As you can see, if you're a newcomer to the Wii's motion-sensitive controllers, you'll have to spend a little bit before you can take advantage of "My Personal Golf Trainer." If you already own a Wii, and the previously listed hardware, you're ready to go! Look for the actual game to make its way to stores this coming October.
Final Thoughts
I believe this is an amazing use of technology, and can be a great help, especially for those that live in areas where the weather prohibits golf during the quickly approaching winter season. The concept is great, but as I said before, this is not a substitution for formal lessons. It could, however, serve as a tool to give the golfer a lot of positive reinforcement.
The only issue I see is the controller itself. Without the full weight and length of a club in your hands, it's going to feel a bit different, and may lead you to swing differently than you would normally. Still, I see this as a great way to practice good tempo, weight transfer, and other components of the swing. With alternative methods of controls, such as the Nintendo Wii's MotionPlus, and the recently announced Project Natal from Microsoft, an entirely new form of training is possible. I personally believe we are just seeing the beginning of something great!

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