My Personal Golf Trainer - with David Leadbetter

Features unique functionality offered by golf simulators costing thousands of pounds. As the player uses the Wii Balance Board and Motion Plus TM Controller, software delivers advice, analysis and personalised feedback from top golf coach David Leadbetter suggesting drills for each of the seven basic components of a golf swing - grip, posture, alignment, ball position, coil, swing shape, and tempo in step-by-step easy stages, following on-screen instructions.

Andrew Forster
Thu, 7 Oct 2010

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PRICE: £99.00 YEAR: from 2010

David Leadbetter doesn't do home visits but if he did, the experience would be very similar to the instruction a golfer can get from the Personal Golf Trainer - the interactive computer simulation that bears his name.

Of course you don't get the Leadbetter pose - legs astride, arms folded, eyes glaring through sinister shades under that trademark panama hat - as he 'watches' your action and suggests how to correct them.

But you do get his distinctive, clipped Southern African tones delivering detailed analysis of your golf swing, using the latest technology to pin-points your faults, as if you were right there with him on the range at his Championsgate Academy in Orlando, Florida.

Anxious to clarify that this is a swing analyzer not a game we usually associate with the Wii, the makers (Data Interactive Design) claim the software removes the intimidation factor that some beginners experience with golf lessons.

"Players using their Wii for a few minutes each day will perfect their virtual swing while improving the chances of their actual handicap tumbling, also suggesting drills for each of the seven basic components of a golf swing."
 
The publicity for the software also states: "Golfers can improve their grip, posture, alignment, ball position, coil, swing shape, and tempo in step-by-step easy stages, following on-screen instructions.

"They can then graduate from training mode to the practice range, and finally onto a full 18-hole golf course where they can choose to receive feedback from Leadbetter after each shot played."

It all sounds superbly uncomplicated but what is the reality?

For a start don't even consider the £99 purchase price without shelling out an extra £100 or so on a Wii Balance Board and a Motion plus TM controller, ideally with a golf clubhead attachment, to pump up the reality.

And be prepared to spend a lot of time hanging on to various positions in the golf swing to enable the 'trainer' to simulate your virtual position on screen. It can be a tiring and tiresome process but a fascinating interaction if you have the patience.

Golfmagic put the PGT in the hands of dedicated gamer and single-figure golfer, civil servant Andrew (Foz) Forster (40) who particularly admired the graphics.


" I thought the graphics were pretty good and the explanations relatively easy to understand. But it felt somewhat unnatural, in so much as there was no way I could swing a golf club like that.

"Also it seemed to take forever to line the club up with the on screen commentary and description and frankly I got bored with trying to do it

So could the could to PGT perhaps turn a virtual golfer into a real golfer?

"I don't think so. I couldn't imagine anyone with a handicap higher than 10 managing to work it at all, to be honest," said Foz. "I guess wacking it (virtually) down the range was a bit of fun but not to actually learn how to play.

"It offered a few useful tips to improve your golf game but you need to be on a real range with real clubs and real balls!"

But surely there were some real positives"

"Gripping the controller in the correct way, as you would the handle on a real club was  helpful.  You have to press various buttons in a certain combination on the Wii controller, both on top and underneath, in order to replicate Leadbetter's grip. It's well thought out and does seem to produce a pretty natural and technically correct grip albeit on a square and very light 'golf club' handle! The swing training sequence won't let you progress unless you get this fundamental correct."

Verdict

As the makers suggest, this is not a game it is a swing analyzer so that has to be taken into consideration. What you get from 'My Personal Golf Trainer' is feedback from one of the world's top golf coaches in the comfort of your living room. It offers the instant opportunity to repeat a movement? consistently that hopefully the user will be able to take on to the golf course. But as with golf itself, even in the virtual world you have to have a lot of time and patience.

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