A couple months ago the people at Sonic Golf sent me one of their System-1 Golf Training Systems. I had heard about the acoustic golf learning system through the grapevine. It had created a lot of buzz at the PGA Merchandise Show and even made an appearance on The Haney Project. So, I was pretty anxious to get my hands on the device and see what it could do for my game.
As always, let us start with some information with the Sonic Golf. This review includes a couple great videos which are worth watching, they are embedded in the story below. Enjoy!
“System-1 has helped me tremendously. I always had a good rhythm, but I never had a consistent rhythm. It’s making my swing a lot more consistent, not just with the driver but the whole game. It’s one rhythm for the whole game instead of having a quicker rhythm for irons or slower rhythm for the driver.” â€“ Vijay Singh, after winning the 2008 Deutsche Bank Championship
- Sonic Golf System-1 technology is inserted inside the shaft of your club fitted with our custom Golf Pride grip.
- The swing motion is transmitted wirelessly to a belt-worn receiver that converts your swing motion to continuous musical tones you hear on the headset unit.
- Slow swings are low pitch, quiet tones.
- Swing faster and the pitch and volume gets higher.
- With each swing you hear your rhythm and tempo, backswing/downswing transition, and the timing and speed of your clubhead release.
- Tune in to each swing and immediately improve the next!
With Sonic Golf System-1, for the first time, you can literally hear the rhythm, tempo and timing of your swing in real-time, as you swing, and tune in to the most fundamental success factors of the golf swing.
System-1 is simple, straightforward, and amazingly effective. Hear â€œcasting from the topâ€. Hear jerky transitions from backswing to downswing. Hear the release of the clubhead before, at or after the ball, and hear the sweet sound of a smooth, fluid, rhythmic golf swing – in real-time, every time.
No matter your playing level or understanding of the mechanics of the golf swing, System-1 will help you make immediate and lasting improvements in your golf swing.
Setup and Usage
Once you have gotten past the initial setup phase, the System-1 is extremely easy to use and work with on the practice range. That little setup phase is a little involved, in that you must re-grip a club (or clubs) of your choice with a special Sonic Golf grip made by Golf Pride. The grip is actually the common Tour Velvet model by Golf Pride, however it has a little end cap and o-ring mechanism to lock the System-1 transmitter in place in the butt of your club. I received three of the Golf Pride grips and set them up on a Driver, Hybrid and 7 iron. Should you decide you would like to fit more clubs, you can purchase these specialty grips direct from Sonic Golf for around $5. So, this just means that you cannot run out the door and start swinging to the sounds of Sonic Golf as soon as the UPS truck arrives…blasted desire for instant gratification!
Click that transmitter into the butt of the club, plug your headphones into the receiver, turn both units on, ensure they are on the same channel and you are good to go. Start swinging away. The first thing I did was try to take some smooth swings with a gradual increase in pitch, with the height being just at or slightly past the ball. Of course, the first few swings were a little herky jerky and I could tell almost immediately this would be a great learning tool. But we will get more into that in the Performance section of the review.
Really, the only usage issue I had with the System-1 was when it came down to the ‘tape’ used to wrap around the transmitter that slides into the club shaft. Depending on the diameter of the shaft of your club, you may need to add or remove some tape from the transmitter to make sure it fits in there nice and snug. This makes switching up clubs at the range a little bit of a hassle. I am not sure if one could come up with some other way of doing this, maybe some rubber gasket on the device or a foam contraption of some sort. Aside from this nitpick detail, the System-1 performed flawlessly for me over the past couple of months.
First of all, I would highly suggest watching the video embedded earlier in this article. Understanding what is going on with this device and what it is telling you about your swing is paramount to using this piece of equipment successfully. You might think you can pick up the club and instantly say, wow, I am doing this…change this…and now my swing is perfect. The golf swing is never that simple. But, have some faith in the System-1, spend a couple sessions at the range with it, and you will find it to be an invaluable tool for you.
If you have been a reader of The Deep Rough for a while, you might remember that we had done reviews of the Tour Tempo and Tempo Timer devices. Both of these devices attempt to get you to swing to a smooth, consistent rhythm. Personally, I really enjoy using the Tour Tempo and do go back to it every now and then to try and see where my swing is at and do a little tempo tweaking. One problem I had with it, however, was the transition. Basically, the Tour Tempo plays some beeps, and you try and swing to the beeps. Well, if you’re a little slow, the beep comes a little quick, and you start jerking the club back down to the ball real quick…not a good thing. Well, here I am listening to the soundscape of the System-1, thinking, ok, nice and smooth, accelerate the pitch, make the pitch highest at the ball, little pause at the top…and it struck me, what if I combined this with the Tour Tempo device? Try and combine the soundscape of my swing along with the Tour Tempo beats. Well, it was pretty interesting, if not a little bit of information overload. It really helped me find a smooth, rhythmic golf swing that included some effortless acceleration through the golf ball. That is not to say you need to own a Tour Tempo to make the System-1 useful. Far from it. It was just something I had thought would work well together, and for me it did. Maybe the two companies will collaborate on some new training aid?
If you are someone who learns by feel, and cannot grasp the idea of trying to be in specific positions in your swing, I think a tool like the Sonic Golf System-1 is perfect for you. I am not much for ‘must have toe up at this spot in back swing…then this..then that’. I just get lost in thought and try to think about way too much when I am standing over the ball. When you practice with the System-1, you are not thinking so much about mechanical thoughts as your are trying to make your swing sound smooth, accelerating and just plain nice. That is a bit of an over simplification, but that is at least how I have looked at it.
For some more info on the System-1, below is a great video from the PGA Merchandise Show, where the guys from Sandbox8 interviewed the founder of Sonic Golf, Dr. Grober. He gives a real nice overview of the equipment and you can ‘hear’ what you will hear when you get one of these in your hands.
Unfortunately for me, I will now be boxing up the System-1 and sending it back to Sonic Golf. I really found this piece of equipment to be extremely valuable when it came to practice on my own. When you are trying to figure something out in your swing on your own, like say your transition, it is so difficult to get instant feedback without having a pro there with you. With the System-1, you simply put in the headphones, plug the transmitter into the butt of the club, and you’ll have all the instant feedback you could desire. I really enjoy these ‘feel’ type training aids and this one was no exception.
At $399 for the Solo (one receiver) System-1, the price may be out of reach for some golfers. However, I would suggest you call your local PGA Professionals, or check out the Instructor Finder on Sonic Golf’s website and have a practice session with one of these devices, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Sonic Golf also sells a Pro version of the System-1 for $499 (on sale at the moment, down from $599). The Pro version includes an addition receiver so that the instructor can ‘listen in’ to the student’s swing.