This project's funding goal was not reached on December 11, 2013.
About this project
The TI golf training uses sound to teach players repeatable swing rhythm and tempo. Players will gain a heightened awareness for the club head's position and easily identify when and where their swing is out of rhythm.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The TI is a 6 iron with an enclosed head equipped with a sensor and sound emitting electronics. At the end of the grip is a housing for the ProTrack settings, a power switch, and 2 batteries. The club can withstand striking real golf balls and has survived thousands of swings in testing.
The TI provides a standardized swing signature (ProTracks) as a guide for a player to match. By synchronizing what a player feels with what a player hears, they can create stronger more repeatable memories. This helps a player to identify in real time exactly where their swing is too fast, too slow, or not fluid enough.
We’ve measured hundreds of professional golf swings down to 1/100th of a second for backswing, forward motion, and point of impact. We found 10 distinct rhythms and tempos that nearly all golf swings we measured fall into. We call this the TI Standard and this data was used to formulate the 10 ProTracks used in our club. Learn more and listen to all 10 ProTracks here.
Over time players will have formed such a strong mental and physical memory, only swinging the club 1-5 times will be enough to keep their swing in sync and consistent.
Beginners have no idea where to start when learning to play golf. How do you learn a great golf swing and repeat something you've never done? The TI would save new players thousands of buckets of balls and just maybe a few years of searching.
The golfer plays fairly regularly, maybe even seriously, and is constantly working to lower scores and improve their consistency. The TI is just the tool. Learning a professional swing and repeatability will put you in control of your game getting you more fairways, greens, birdies, and the ever important factor; fun.
You've got all the shots, but can you do them with exactly the same rhythm and tempo? It could be why you're frustrated with your high draws and low fades. If Phil Mickelson can struggle with rhythm and tempo sometimes, so can you.
The TI makes teaching rhythm and tempo to your students easier than ever before. You can watch and listen as your student takes a swing and dial in exactly where their timing is off. More importantly, your student can do this too! This allows you more time to focus on mechanics such as stance and positions while the student learns the swing naturally.
PRESS AND MEDIA
“I usually played golf a
couple of times a week and could not understand why pars and birdies were easy
one day and impossible the next. Standardization was a credo of my Electronic /
Electromechanical designs at work but I had no way to standardize the timing of
my own golf swing. Really? No way to standardize a simple 1 to 2 second golf
– Craig DeVarney
Craig literally woke up with the idea in early 2005. Being experienced in electronic design and also a bit with patents, he performed a search and found the idea had not been previously patented or published.
His first step was to test his idea by constructing a home made circuit board from a digital answering machine taped to the outside of the club with wires. The circuit board was home for a sound file and a speaker. Craig then created the sound file that was justified to the real timing of a professional golfer. He found swing analysis software and studied the library of professional golf swings frame by frame. Using a sound editor and the data from the analysis, Craig created the first ProTrack. He built a trigger switch, taped everything to a five iron and gave it a go. It was ugly as sin, but it worked great as a practice club. Craig took videos of himself swinging with and without the device, and then washed the videos through his editor and same analysis. The results convinced him he needed to patent his creation, fast.
Craig wrote the Patent application and prosecuted it himself in 2005. The Patent was granted in 2007 with all of its claims intact. In the mean time, Scott created a non-hittable prototype.
This meant creating a plastic molded club head and circuit boards while Craig analyzed every swing video he could get his hands on to create the ProTrack standard. Craig and Scott produced a couple dozen of these prototypes and provided them to golfers for testing. The club was well received but the frequent complaint was not being able to hit balls. Striking a ball is an extremely violent collision with massive deceleration and vibration.
Overcoming this major step took over 24 months to solve though design practices, component selections and extensive testing. After cleaning up the packaging they created the hittable, working TI Prototype being used in our video above.
TESTING AND TESTIMONY
We were convinced our product had value when we completed our first prototype and took it the range for testing. The earliest model was not designed to withstand the impact of hitting real balls (we know, because we tried it and destroyed dozens of prototypes) but the concept and sound still served its purpose. It worked for us, but we could have just been biased so we set out to see what others thought of it. We approached golfers we knew and offered them free prototypes to take home and play with in exchange for some beta testing and feedback. We've recently reached out and asked for their testimony and thought we'd share it with Kickstarter.
"I would take the prototype outside and swing for 5-10 minutes on setting 5 before heading to the golf course. Since my home course doesn't have a driving range, it was a great way to get the tempo of my swing set for the first tee. Now with the hittableTI, I can't wait to be able to have the added feedback of both the sound and see the ball flight."
- Jeff Grimes
"I'm really excited about the new version of the TI. I have owned and practiced with the original TI for the last four years and it has really helped my swing. I only find time to play around 10 rounds of golf a year. A few days before a scheduled round I start working with the TI (setting 4). The TI really helps the timing of my swing and gives me confidence on the tee. I can honestly say it has knocked 6-8 strokes off my game. Can't wait to try the new version!"
"When Craig introduced me to his proto-type TI, I was very excited. I used to play a lot of golf, then I had kids. Getting back into the game, I quickly realized my swing sucked all of the time. The TI quickly improved my tempo and rhythm. I found my natural swing on the #7 setting, hearing the cues helped me lock in my swing. I only wished I was able to hit the ball with it. Now I can."
- Frank Ammirato
"As the owner of an original TI, I immediately felt and saw the difference in my swing and the repeatability of it. I was equally excited to learn of the newer model that I can use on the range. The positive feedback of actually seeing the ball flight after a well timed swing will be very positive impact to my game. Looking forward to my swing not sucking as often. Can"t wait."
"I used the original TI trainer for a summer to see if it would improve my golf game. I started by going to the driving range with the club, taking a few swings with the TI, then switching over to my normal clubs. By the end of the first day I had settled in on the setting that felt most comfortable, a '7'. From there, I would take a few practice swings with the TI club before every round of golf just to get the feel for the tempo that I had been working on. At the beginning of that summer I was shooting 110+ for 18 holes. By the end of the summer, I was regularly shooting under 100, with a personal best of a 94... that's a 16 stroke improvement. After the initial trips to the driving range learning the tempo, all it took was a few practice swings before my rounds to get the feel. Also interesting to note... this past season I stopped using the TI club to warm up for my rounds, and I've noticed my scores creeping back up. I think I'll be doing some more training with the club next spring!"
HOW KICKSTARTER CAN HELP
The hard part is mostly behind us.
- We've analyzed hundreds of swings and created our ProTracks
- We have a patent
- We have a circuit board manufacturer already in place
- We have speakers and electronics parts sourced
- We've spent over 8 years developing a prototype by hand
- We have a working prototype that withstands 1000's of impacts
- We have price quotes from several manufacturers.
Taking our creation to mass production is expensive. We need your help. We hope to raise funds for buying parts, custom tooling, and manufacturing in order to bring the TI to market. Supporting us early gets you a discounted club AND helps you start training before your friends get their hands on one of these clubs.
Kickstarter will help fund:
- Hard tooling
- Manufacturing setup
- Component orders
Craig has a degree in Electrical Engineering and began a career in Semiconductor Manufacturing in 1979. His work has mainly consisted of designing custom discrete electronic controls for hazardous operations. He was also a key member of a Lean Manufacturing Transformation team. He received his first patent in 1998, second in 2004 and has 4 other successful applications pending. He is the inventor of the patented TI training aid.
Product Engineer, Vendor Orders, Manufacturing Controls (LEAN methodology), Patent, Prototyping, Testing, Logistics.
Scott has worked as a freelance designer, a technical support specialist, and has also worked in the Semiconductor Manufacturing industry as an Operator and Rebuild Technician. He's a self taught car mechanic, often rebuilding his Audi's engine as a hobby. A jack of all trades, Scott has experience in IT work, graphic and web design, as well as many other hidden talents.
Product design, Assembler, Webmaster, Continuous Improvement, Quality Control, Receiving, Boxing, Shipping
Carol is married to Craig DeVarney and mother of 3. She has over 25 years in retail as sales clerk, inventory control, and customer service. She's also largely responsible for not divorcing Craig after more than 8 years of developing this project. (That's a joke.)
Customer Service, Order Tracking, Bookkeeping.
Adam is an exhibiting visual artist living and working out of Chicago, IL. He has experience in graphic design, illustration, project management, creative direction, and consulting. He is the son of Craig and Carol DeVarney and Scott's older brother.
Advisor / Consultant for Design and Project Management
Our manufacturing plan is to assemble, test and ship. Our plan uses OEM vendors to manufacture all the parts so that we may concentrate on the assembly and quality of the TI. This enables us to produce the TI out of a very small footprint. 800 square feet would provide enough assembly room for 6 stations, each capable of producing 10 TI's per day.
We already have quantity prices quotes and delivery lead times. The most complex component (the cast stainless steel club head) has already been designed and quoted by a golf manufacturer.
Vendors, Manufacturers, and Status
Manufacturer: Custom Club head, Shafts, Grips
Status: Designed and quoted for price and delivery, ready to order.
Manufacturer: Circuit Board substrate
Status: Complete and ready for order.
Manufacturer: Main sound IC, pre programmed
Status: Complete and ready for order.
Vendor: Discrete electronic parts
Status: All are stock items and ready for order.
Manufacturer: Vacuum molded cover
Manufacturer: Cutting, drilling, housing
Risks and challenges
As is the case with most new ventures, there will be challenges along the way.
We are already in conversations with manufacturers and discussing molds, tooling, and price points. We have lots of experience working with manufacturering and are confident this will be a non-issue for us.
Testing / Quality Control
Sometimes things just go wrong. It is our commitment to replace any broken or damaged clubs and get golfer's back in the swing of things as soon as possible. We take pride in our work, and we will see to it our end product is the highest quality possible.
Supply Chain and Logistics
Occasionally Kickstarter projects have experienced difficulties with over scaling and compensating for a larger demand than expected. This can create challenges in production and shipping. Our network within the manufacturing industry gives us access to a wide range of experts and we are not intimidated by these challenges. We are confident scaling will not be an issue.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Absolutely not! We haven't forgotten about all you southpaws. The TI is actually the same exact club right handed as it would be for left handed players with the exception of the club head. To create a left handed club head, we would need an additional $2000-3000 for the custom tooling, parts, and manufacturing. Unfortunately, our current goal of $20,000 only covers the cost for bringing a right handed club to manufacturing, but if successful, we'd like to stretch funding in order to produce a left handed club as well.
The TI is extremely easy to use and guides a player through professional swing rhythms and tempos. Players will learn to identify exactly where they are too fast or too slow in their swing. Having a standard to work with makes it easy for players to develop a consistent and repeatable swing. Additionally, because the sound comes from the club head itself, players will improve their awareness of the club head's position throughout their swing plane. With the TI, a player can learn and improve something from every single swing.
Because the ProTracks are derived from a range of professional swings and our analysis data itself is proprietary information, we cannot disclose the specific professionals associated with each track. Interestingly, you could find many golfers that appear to have different swings actually have the same exact rhythm and tempo. For example, ProTrack 0 is the slowest setting characterized by casual and mellow transitions. When used by a golfer with a shorter swing, this setting may appear very long and lazy. In the hands of a longer swinging player though, this setting could actually be quite aggressive.
Many golfers try to maintain tempo in a more metronomic fashion. They go through their backswing, forward motion, and impact in equal measures as if counting "1, 2, 3." In reality, the golf swing is more of a whip-like motion and the backswing, forward motion, and impact are not of equal measure at all. This is where the rhythm comes in. If you were to count out loud it would go more like "1.........23." A proper golf swing accelerates away from the ball through the backswing, briefly transitions into forward motion (also known as the lag), and finally accelerates aggressively through the ball at impact. Tempo is the overall timing of the swing. A swing without rhythm would make you look like a windshield wiper. You don't want that, trust us.
- (30 days)