Golfer Charley Hoffman Seeks Edge With Halo Neurostimulation

Charley Hoffman plays his shot from the ninth tee during the third round of the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on June 16, 2018 in Southampton, New York. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Pro golfer Charley Hoffman announced a partnership with Halo Neuroscience on Tuesday. The neurostimulation company makes the Halo Sport wearable, which is designed to directly stimulate an athlete’s motor cortex with an electrical current and promises to aid in learning movements, and even to increase strength.

Halo Sport looks like a pair of noise cancelling headphones, but has three sets of foam spikes beneath the headband. When pre-soaked with a saline solution, the spikes help transmit an electrical current from the device to the motor cortex part of a user’s brain. Used during the first 20 minutes of a workout, the transcranial direct current stimulation is intended to induce a hyperplastic state in the brain. This allows the brain to create and strengthen pathways between the neurons in the motor cortex and the muscles that they control. Those connections can improve muscle control and even boost the recruitment of muscle fibers, effectively increasing strength.

The Halo Sport headset (Courtesy of Halo Neuroscience)

“I heard about Halo Sport when it first came out, and started using the device on my own to improve my golf game,” said Hoffman in a statement. “I noticed an immediate improvement in my ball speed when practicing. I was really excited that the company approached me about teaming up officially, as I believe we can work together to ensure golfers know how their brain can help them learn skills faster and better.”

Hoffman first joined the PGA Tour in 2006. He is currently ranked No. 35, and has four Tour victories on his resumé, most recently the 2016 Valero Texas Open. In 2017, he was a member of the U.S. Presidents Cup Team. He began using Halo Sport in 2016.

“Because golf is based on repetitive, precise movements, it was an obvious fit for Halo Sport,” said Mark Mastalir, chief marketing officer of Halo Neuroscience, in a statement. “The advantage that both professional and amateur golfers can get from incorporating Halo Sport into their daily practice is highly measurable. We’ve seen great success with Charley as well as a number of other golfers and coaches.”

SportTechie Takeaway

Brain training for sports is big business, but Halo Neuroscience offers a unique, and relatively invasive approach. Instead of monitoring a person’s brain and providing feedback, Halo Sport attempts to trigger changes in pathways in the brain through electrical stimulation. As well as by golfers golfers like Hoffman, it has been used by NFL players and Olympic athletes.