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August 1, 2015

Building Better Swings and Better Business With Video Technology

The V1 Golf Academy provides video platform, effective way to communicate with students

Video has long been an important tool for golf swing analysis. V1 entered the market nearly 25 years ago with a system that by today’s standards would be considered bulky, cumbersome and expensive. Over the last two decades the platform underwent great evolution, coinciding with technologies that made cameras smaller, more affordable and easier to use. Today, golf instructors can offer professional-grade video analysis to their students using a smartphone or tablet and the inexpensive V1 Pro app in conjunction with the V1 Golf Academy. (in addition to small monthly dues)

With a plethora of functions such as slow motion replay, swing comparisons and frame-by-frame analysis, the V1 app makes in-depth video lessons a cinch. Students can upload a video from anywhere in the world, and when the instructor is ready they view the video, offer analysis and return a complete video lesson to the student. Instructors can also record lessons on the range and send the video to students as a reminder of the day’s teachings.

As V1 has grown, so have their offerings. Currently there are more than 800 V1 Branded Academies, which serve approximately 3,100 teaching professionals across the globe. Branded Academies, the company’s premium platform, are hosted and powered by V1 but built specifically for individual instructors or facilities. Students go directly to their instructor’s website to get their video lessons, simultaneously removing the third party while upping the instructors profile.

ON THE LESSON TEE WITH V1

Having the V1 app on your smart phone or tablet makes it easy to record and share the important parts of every lesson – particularly during on-course lessons. “I have it on my iPad and iPhone for when I’m on the golf course with my students,” says Cheryl Anderson, a PGA teaching professional at the Mike Bender Golf Academy in Lake Mary, Florida. “As an instructor, I find it helpful to keep a log of my students’ swings. I can show them their swing from a year ago and compare it to their current swing, which allows them to see how far they have come. They cannot believe the difference when I put the two videos side by side. It’s helpful for me to be able to use the tools to draw lines or circles on anyone that I’m interested in studying, and to show students how much they’ve changed.”

INSTRUCTION ON THE FLY

Video lessons help you stay connected with students even when you’re far away. Recently, Tom Patri, the PGA director of instruction at Friar’s Head in Long Island, New York, was on a flight from Central America to Miami that offered free Wi-Fi. He decided to take advantage of the Internet access and completed two V1 video lessons before he touched down. “Two people took a golf lesson from me while I was on a flight, at 35,000 feet somewhere over Cuba. I think I’m the first person to do that,” chuckles Patri. “But that’s one of the great advantages of V1, you can conduct lessons from anywhere.” For Anderson, who’s recently worked with several elite juniors, the V1 app has allowed her to continue coaching them now that they’ve moved on to college.

LEARNING FROM VISUAL CUES

With the amount of golf-swing information available from launch monitors and swing analysis devices, golf instruction has almost become a science. “Some of us still embrace video as a primary, where other instructors focus on some of the other stuff,” says Patri. “I don’t take anything away from those sciences, but I think the average golfer is getting too much information these days. Video is a medium they can see in real time and they can understand the feedback immediately.” That’s also true for Ralph Landrum, the 2014 PGA Player Development Award winner and PGA general manager at the World of Golf in Florence, Kentucky. “I had a doctor who came to see me for the first time. His swing was too long for him to be successful. Once he saw it on video, he was surprised at just how long his swing was. He bought into what I was telling him because he could see it right there in front of him,” says Landrum. “He continues to return for lessons and to improve. Once students can see what is going on, and not what they think is going on, they are able to make the necessary adjustments much quicker.”

BUILD A FOLLOWING

Using the V1 Branded Academy, Patri is currently teaching 150 people that he has never met. But it’s not a “If you build it, they will come” situation. He’s worked very hard to build up his digital presence using his website, Facebook and Twitter. He has nearly 15k Twitter followers, many of whom have taken video lessons from him. “They’ve found me through these different mediums, sent me some video, paid me using PayPal and we have an online relationship. I’ve basically created a cyber lesson book,” he describes. But it wasn’t easy. Patri hired two of his friends to operate his social media accounts and website, helping to generate followers and keeping him active in the digital space. “The initial investment in the V1 Branded Academy isn’t very much at all, but you have to create a reach,” says Patri. “I’ve invested a fair amount in the SEO (search engine optimizer) of my website, a Facebook business page and Twitter. Because I’m teaching 12 hours a day, I don’t have the time to do Facebook posts and intensive online marketing, so I hired two people to handle my social media and website on a day-to-day basis. Even with that said, it’s well worth the investment. I’ve generated more than enough income to justify what I’ve done.”