How do Finns Look at Golf? With NFC and Wearables

Finland isn’t best known for its golfers, but it is, on the other hand, well known for its mobile engineering professionals. This became all the more apparent for me when I learned of CaddieON, the Finnish start-up who could change the way we think about modern golf.

I thought swing force analysis, strategic maps of courses and listing your strong and weak clubs was something that only happened in simulation games or PGA level competitions. This teaches me never to underestimate a group of enthusiastic ex-Nokia engineers who love golf.

The idea is fairly simple I guess, but the math behind it is something I wouldn’t dare to even take a look at. Basically, the CaddieON package will contain a set of club tags, or sensors if you will, that are attached to to the tip of the clubs (above the grip), and a wrist device. Now the reason the sensors are called club “tags” stems from the tagging the player needs to do before each swing. Touching the the sensor with the wrist device sort of connects the club with the calculator, so that there are no mix ups with the clubs information later on.

So the tags separate the clubs from each other and the wrist device collects hard data on your swing based on motion detection and keeps track of your course locations with the help of a GPS. That’s more than a happy golfer could hope for, but where’s the fun if you can only enjoy it by yourself?

This is exactly what made the CaddieON team top their hardware with an application that collects and lists the data into a cloud service. There you can compare yourself with others in world and local ranks and share your scores with friends across the globe. The service will allow you to see your own statistics and helps you improve your skills by indicating the clubs and types of tracks you still need to practice. The app can also be used to observe course maps in order to plan your strategy for the next hole and in the case the course isn’t mapped, CaddieON will greatly appreciate your support if you map it yourself.

I think its hard to deny that the Oulu based start-up has come up with a great idea, but the question is does it actually work like a charm?

Well, for now, we cannot tell. Their first products are expected to reach customers only next May. But regardless of this, they have gathered a good deal of positive attention around them. Last summer they received the Northern Startup fund investment from Butterfly Venture and a retail deal with Solledos guarantees some visibility in the Finnish markets when the product finally launches.

Their latest crowdfunding campaign takes place in Indiegogo, where they are looking to get $50 000 for iOS platform development. The aim is to launch the app both in iOS and Android simultaneously. A contribution of $25 will help in getting more maps for the app and the first to give $229 will get the actual device (compared to the intended $399 in retail).

Tuomo Lalli, CEO of CaddieON, who went to the Orlando golf fair last January came back with a message I can only agree with: the products potential is undeniable, but proof of its efficiency is still required.

So until next May arrives, we’ll have to enjoy ourselves with good old-fashioned and most of all, regular golf.