Home » Former NFL kicking star used his knowledge of tempo and mechanics to create golf app – Australian Golf Digest

Former NFL kicking star used his knowledge of tempo and mechanics to create golf app – Australian Golf Digest

It all started in a hardware store. In 2009, NFL kicker John Carney, the league’s fifth all-time leading scorer, had transitioned from playing to coaching for the New Orleans Saints. He’d been the team’s kicker earlier in the season when established starter Garrett Hartley served out a four-game suspension, and with the Saints heading toward the postseason, head coach Sean Payton wanted to keep Carney around for his knowledge and mojo.

What Carney saw in Hartley was his tendency to pick his head up too early on his kicks, and so the newly assigned “kicking consultant” ventured to the hardware store for the materials to build a rudimentary and gadget-y box. The contraption had two Christmas lights on it—one red, one green—attached to a toggle switch. As Hartley practiced kicking, Carney lit up one of the lights, and the only way the kicker could tell him the correct color was to keep his head down.

“It worked like a charm, when the offensive linemen weren’t stealing it and playing around with it,” Carney said.

Hartley, Carney and the Saints went on to win the city’s first major sports championship that season, beating the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl.

John Carney, who played 23 seasons in the NFL, says the mechanics and tempo of kicking and golf are very similar.

Al Messerschmidt

As technology advanced, so did Carney’s device, and he eventually turned it into an app by which a phone or tablet could be placed near the football, and the kicker had to identify various shapes on the screen after his boot. Carney, 60, who played 23 seasons in the NFL, still uses the device in his current work running football specialist camps and competitions in San Diego.

At one point, a thought occurred to the Notre Dame alum. An avid golfer, Carney knew how much kicking and the golf swing were related in technique and tempo, with special awareness to keeping the eyes focused on the ball position through contact. He figured that a proper design of his app could be a big benefit to golfers. “I knew there were more golfers in the world than kickers, and if I could help a few golfers knock a few strokes off their game, I’d be happy.”

So was born the Eyes On Golf app. At $1.99 to download, the app can be placed about six inches away from the ball while chipping and putting, and the program picks up the click of the club contact and flashes various shapes and colors that golfers must recognized before they move their eyes. Carney firmly believes from his athletic career that being too quick looking up can be the death of kicking or golf consistency, because both involve swinging in an arch that has a defined bottom point.

“When I work with kickers who golf, they understand what I’m saying immediately,” Carney said. “Tempo for a kicker or in the golf swing is uber important. I tell kickers all of the time that tempo should be at the top of your list. Everybody has their own tempo because of their height and levers, but whatever that tempo is, they have to stick with it.”

Carney explained that picking your head up is both natural and learned. If you throw ball, you want to see where it’s going. In most other sports that’s fine, but if we look up too early in golf, we’re basically not finishing the swing.

“We’re making sure we go from open to square to close,” he says, “so that we’re not steering the ball.”

All of this is a concise theory and simple approach with the Eyes On Golf app. The only downside for Carney is that he’s so busy with his training business, he rarely gets on the course much anymore.

“I don’t have time to disappear for six hours,” he said with a laugh. “I built this monster that got bigger than I wanted or expected. But seeing people succeed and reach their dreams, I don’t mind not being able to play a lot of golf right now.”

This article was originally published on golfdigest.com