A couple weeks ago I first wrote about Arccos Golf, a new stat-tracking device similar to the Game Golf which I’ve written about in the past.
I had a great call with the company’s founders Sal and Ammad, and to be honest, it all felt a little too good to be true.
When I picked up Game Golf during their Indiegogo, I was excited for months about its potential, but found the stats to be a bit lacking and the bigger issue being that I almost always forgot to tag multiple shots during a round.
So when the Arccos team was promising more in-depth stats, an in round interface with distances, and the fact it would do it all automatically – you can imagine my skepticism.
When I told them I’d be out in NYC this month to cross off a few more Top 100 courses, they said “We’d love to take you out to Yale and get you hands on with the product.”
As I mentioned, I had a lot of concerns about the device early on. Some of the biggest ones were:
- How is it going to handle impact detection and practice swings?
- What is battery life going to be like?
- How easy will it be to use on the course, and will it actually work?
- How do they account for penalty strokes?
- Are the stats really going to be as revolutionary as they are making them out to be?
The good news is that all of these questions (and many more) were answered during the course of my day with the Arccos team.
When we arrived at Yale we put the sensors on my clubs, and I’ve gotta say they were quite a bit bigger than I was expecting, much taller than the Game Golf tabs I was used to.
They’re also more technologically advanced. Each one has essentially a mini computer inside of it, but I’ll save the details of that for another time.
I was a little concerned that the larger sensors would prove annoying or interfere with my play, but I literally never thought about them again – so, as with GG that’s not a concern at all.
They set me up on one of their development iPhone 5s, we headed to the first tee, and we were good to go.
I put the device in my pocket, stepped up to the tee and proceeded to slice my ball way out to the right.
Now here’s where Arccos starts to differentiate itself from any product on the market.
I could pull out my phone at the ball and get distances to the front, back and center of the green from where I was.
Or I could leave it in my pocket for the rest of the round and it would track everything.
Note: If you did this, there would be a few edits you’d have to make post round, but I’ll talk more about my experience with that later.
The point is, for someone who wants help, it gives it. For someone who just wants to play golf and have all of the statistics later on, they can do that too.
Back to my second shot. I pulled out a wedge and just got it out of the fescue and back onto the fairway.
When I got to the ball, I pulled out my phone again, and on the screen I could now see that I had a drive of 253 yards. After every shot you hit, it gives you a distance.
On course this can be hugely valuable. If you know that normally you hit your 7 iron 150, but it’s a little bit windy and all of your shots have been 140 – you can adjust for that.
I got to the green, two putted, and we moved to the next hole.
The most amazing part about it?
Everything worked seamlessly. Considering this was an early pre-release version of the device and software I was expecting bugs at every hole. While sure there was the occasional bug, overall throughout our round Arccos blew me away with how well it worked.
ADDRESSING MY BIGGEST CONCERNS
Since I’ve started talking to people about Arccos there’s one question that almost everyone has asked me:
“How does it handle swing detection and practice swings?”
This was my biggest question as well, and one I couldn’t wait to get an answer for.
Sal told me this was one of the most difficult parts to get right, and the way they’ve done it is pretty remarkable.
They have impact sensors on each club that are all of varying sensitivities. For instance a putter has to be more sensitive than a driver.
It’s smart enough to be able to decipher from a practice swing and an actual hit, and in the background if it recognizes multiple hits, it’s constantly calculating to figure out which one was the correct one. I don’t necessarily understand all the tech behind it, but I will say it worked amazingly well. I think I only had one swing during the whole round that it double counted, and even then it was just a quick “delete” that took 5 seconds.
What is Battery Life Like?
I used one of their iPhone 5s that had the app installed, and it used about 50% of the battery during our round. Didn’t seem to be any worse than my Golfshot app, although once I get a little bit more hands on with it in less controlled conditions, we’ll see if it performs just as well on my personal phone.
How Easy Will It Be to Use on the Course, and Will It Actually Work?
I was shocked with how easy it was to use. It wasn’t any more difficult than my Golfshot app, didn’t take any more time on my end, and provided massive amounts of more data.
My post round review took about 30 seconds to double check everything, and unlike Game Golf, if it missed or recognized the wrong shot, it has the information.
If I click “add shot” it is smart enough to be able to say “did you hit a 9 iron?” And then it takes the data it already has and adds the shot for me. Pretty cool.
How Do Penalty Strokes Work?
If you hit a second ball, it will give you an automatic mulligan, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with multiple shots in your system. If you had to take a penalty in 10 seconds you can pull out your phone and simply hit add penalty – or you can make a note, and do it after the round if you’re just trying to collect data.
Are the Stats Really that Good?
Short answer, yes.
On the plane ride out to NYC I was reading Every Shot Counts, which is basically one big advertisement for the “strokes gained” method of recording stats. I remember thinking, ok this is cool, but as an amateur I’d never be able to get all of the information these pros have.
In the back of my mind I was hoping Arccos might be able to help with this, but after working with the app, and meeting the team behind it, I’m pretty amazed with how much data you actually get.
They were still tweaking exactly how it’s going to work, but one of the coolest features of Arccos is taking all of your data and translating it into something that’s easy for you to digest and improve upon.
They are taking the typical strokes gained methodology and converting that to a handicap number. This means you’ll essentially be able to see what your handicap is for any given round in the following categories:
As an example during my round, I thought my putting was average at best, and my driving was similar.
What we found was that during my round at Yale I had both a 23 handicap for putting and a 23 for driving – but a 32 for approaches (what can I say, it wasn’t my best round!).
So while I might normally look at my 42 putts and think it was a terrible putting performance, it’s in part due to poor approach play. As you play more and get more data points, it makes it much easier to pinpoint the areas you need to work on.
Another cool stats feature is the ability to delete outlying shots. I can pull up all of my 7 irons, and let’s say I punched out with one of them from deep rough – normally that would skew my data. I can easily take that one out of the calculations, to get true averages for well struck shots.
The stats are extremely deep, but this should give you a sense of the type of information you’re able to get with the app.
A FEW BUGS
As I’ve mentioned this is a pre-release version, so there are bound to be a few issues. The only problems I had with it were on one hole, it thought I was on a different hole than I was. Was pretty easy to fix, but left me confused for a second.
Also you have to learn to change some of your club habits a bit. For instance if someone hits a putt to gimme range, and you would normally hit the ball back to them with your putter – it might register a stroke. Again easy to delete, but something to be aware of.
It also didn’t register one of my putts on one hole.
That’s it. The GPS seemed accurate, edits were easy, and I was expecting much worse considering they’re still a few months out from their first pre-order shipments.
One of the most important aspects of this site in my mind is that I’m unbiased. If a product sucks, I’ll say it. Regardless of whether a PR company sends me a copy to test.
Sal and Ammad took me out for a round of golf and let me use the device, so it could be easy to think that my opinion might be swayed because of this.
The reality, is the product just really is that good. I’ve already texted all of my golf buddies and told them to get in on the pre-sale, because more than any club or ball, I think this is going to change the game of golf for the amateur.
As I use the product more I’ll be very open about its faults – but so far so good.
CONCLUSIONS AND MOVING FORWARD
If you haven’t been able to tell, I’m unbelievably excited about Arccos. Based on one round it really does look like it will make good on the lofty promises Arccos has made for the device.
I’ve convinced them to let me do more testing from them, so I’ll update periodically as I get to go deeper into the app and they continue pushing out features.
You can pick it up on presale here for another couple weeks for $299, $100 off retail.
What questions do you have? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them. I’ll also do an updated review when the product goes to market.