For the first time, golfers are now in a position to benefit from Big Data. The sport and mobile technology have intersected, with the result being products that can provide players with real, actionable data on how they play golf: their tendencies, true distances and all those details you might well be scared to learn.
Arccos Golf is a new entrant into this player/data capture product category, and their vision for how golfers' playing data should be collected hits the market in October, fulfilling a sold-out wave of pre-orders.
You've probably at least heard of how the concept works. You put a small, almost weightless sensor on the butt end (through the hole at the top of your grips) of each club. As you swing the club on the course, the sensor detects a swing has been made, then records and maps that data to where you're playing. It'll do that for every shot in the round, leaving you with a whole lot to think about when you're done.
Arccos co-founder Sal Syed, an avid player himself, positions his product differently than competitor Game Golf.
Arccos pairs each club with your iPhone's bluetooth connection, eliminating the need for a belt-clipped sensor and touching it before each shot. That means no change to your pre-shot routine -- which you should have -- to use the product.
The complementary phone app also does something different than Game Golf: It provides real-time data about your round, updating as you go. On one hand, that's excellent for your on-course practice rounds. As the round unfolds, your practice can become more focused and refined, getting the most out of your green fees. Players can make substantive changes to their mechanics, equipment or on-course approach and get real-time results to see if something is clicking. It's also great news for players who hate to practice on the driving range and prefer to focus on course management instead of the kind of numbers they can get on Trackman.
There is a noted downside to live data: It can't be used in competition, meaning a tournament player has to avert their eyes from their phone in the heat of battle.
Data collected during the round is then uploaded in real-time to Arccos servers, processing and analyzing data not only on the app, but on their player portal. Ultimately, users will not get what might seem like an overwhelming amount of data. You'll know how far you really hit your clubs, how often you hit the fairway, where you tend to spray the ball, how well you two-putt from 40 feet. But you'll also learn how you play golf courses, giving you strategic keys that will lower your score.
Arccos breaks down your score and handicap index into five keys, one for each major aspect of the game. It then analyzes future play against those aspects, showing you where you thrived in a round and where you left strokes out on the course.
This technology is great for almost any kind of player. For the die-hard, Arccos opens up a door to a world of game-changing data that could be the edge in a tournament or weekly fourball. For the casual golfer, it's an opportunity to make the most out of the limited time they might have to play. For a golfer taking lessons, they can see if what they're learning on the range is coming with them to the course, or working at all compared to what they changed.
Purchasing Arccos is making an investment in your game. At almost $400, it's like buying a new driver. However, the insights you'll glean from the product are well worth the price point. At this time, Arccos is only compatible with the iPhone, version 4 and above. That means Android users will have to wait for their turn with Arccos. Or, it gives you an excuse to go get that iPhone 6.
Companies like Arccos and Game Golf have started what we truly feel is a revolution in the sport, making accessible for the first time data about a player's game that is truly actionable and substantial. However, this is just the first step. As more data is collected, processed and analyzed, we'll learn more about how we all take on this challenging game. And as technology changes -- and you know it will -- this product category will get even stronger.