Golf can be regarded as one of the hardest sports to play never mind master. Golfers are continually looking for tools which can help improve various aspects of the game so as to enhanced play and enjoyment. Putt Potential is a revolutionary, app-based product, designed to educate, analyse and improve a player’s performance. This is achieved through a wearable device which measures a players putting stroke. In recent years I have been working as part of a team on a start-up company which aims to assist caddying in the golf industry. With a keen passion for golf I have developed a working understanding of what could have the potential of benefiting players of all capabilities, this is why I choose to base my major project around golf.
To improve performance golfers often focus heavily on their golf swing with the aim of hitting the ball as far as possible consistently. Often neglecting the club that makes the final score at each hole, the putter. Putting is probably the most important part of the game and equates to around 43% of strokes taken in a single round of golf. So why don't golfers focus solely on their putting to improve? Many find putting a tricky aspect of the game to master as there is more to it than hitting a ball towards a target. Finer details need to be considered, for example: the shape of the green, pace at which the putt need hit and how the ball rolls off the face of the putter. A slight change in any of these factors can be the difference between making the hole and missing. Repeatedly missing short-range or makeable putts can drastically have a negative effect on players' confidence – resulting in reduced confidence in other parts of their game. A device like Putt Potential can help to improve this factor and allow golfers to improve as a whole.
After brainstorming and discussing with fellow golfers came up with concept surrounding Putt Potential.
Currently on the market there are launch monitors which examine putting. However, these devices are expensive and can only be operated to full capacity by a specialist. The information is precise and detailed but can be confusing to interpret the information. My product aims to change that. When developing the concept, I made an assumption that the problems with putting stemmed from poor technique and lack of understanding. When golfers have a poor putting performance, some of the following to combat the issue:
Before taking my concept further I wanted to better understand what golfers think of their putting habits and reaffirm my initial thoughts. I created an online survey that would help me to pinpoint the problems that golfers face when they are putting. From conducting this survey I received over 80 responses from players of all abilities. This exercise was insightful and raised ideas I had not considered:
This showed me that I needed to create something that not only analyses the technique of the stroke but also educates and trains golfers to improve their putting skills. From this, I decided to design drills that could be completed whilst using the app. By adding a challenging element to the app I was able to help backup teachings that make practising more fun for users. .
From research and my own experience I have found golfers are looking for a reliable source of information. It needs to be dependable and provide the good and bad data based on performance in a format that can be understood. Launch monitors have become increasingly popular and more affordable in the last 10 years. They can provide accurate data relating to ball flight and track every shot hit, making it a valuable asset. Putt Potential combines the scientific analysis of a launch monitor with a wearable smartwatch that can connect to your phone. I found inspiration from a novel product in the market called DeWiz combined with a VR golf game. DeWiz works as a wearable device which collects data as the players take their shots. The device gives adaptive feedback to the player via vibrations when the golf club follows the incorrect path during the swing.
I immediately identified the benefits such a device could give golfers when putting. With constant repetition, gofers could train themselves to create an effective putting stroke, with a device instantly determining the effectiveness of the putt. A mobile app subsequently will display the information for the player so as to better understand areas where improvements can be made.
Once I had all my research in hand, it was time to put pen to paper and begin designing Putt Potential. In order to better understand how a user would use the product, I created user journey maps and user flows. On paper, I created a site map for my app, documenting all the features I needed to develop for it to work. These drawings helped me develop detailed wireframes for my app concept, which I translated into a high-resolution prototype. By following this process, I can eliminate any potential problems I may encounter, as well as think about how the app will operate without contributing long hours to something that may not work exactly as designed
The technologies used to create Putt Potential focused on different areas in the design. I used three design tools; paper prototyping, Adobe XD and Adobe Illustrator. Starting on paper is the perfect method for generating ideas and creating the overall flow of the app before developing the concept on Adobe XD. All the graphics displayed in the app were created with Adobe Illustrator, which offers more features than other design tools. When creating concepts to display my final prototype I used a combination of Figma and Photoshop. I also tracked my progress and discoveries on Notion. I selected these tools based on previous experience I have with them on other projects.
Overall, I have enjoyed working on Putt Potential. Working on this project was challenging yet rewarding, allowing for the opportunity to showcase the user-centric processes and skills I have picked up throughout my time in university, I am very passionate about this sport and believe that this concept could create a lasting impact on someone's performance.
Although Putt Potential is currently only a concept, I have received positive user feedback saying that they would like this to be a real-world product.