You're standing in the fairway. You have 160 yards to the hole. You know -- you know -- that you hit your 7-iron far enough to get there. You take your swing and -- smack! -- it sounds good. It's flying nice. It comes up short. Ten yards short! How?
It's because you don't hit your 7-iron 160 yards. You hit it 155, but it's not until that moment you realize you've been lying to yourself all this time.
That's why there's Game Golf.
Introduced earlier this year, Game Golf was the first product on the market that allows golfers to use a device and GPS technology to map your round and, in the process, capture key stats about your round and broader playing habits. The product has two parts to it: a device you can attach to your bag or belt and almost-weightless sensors screwed into the hole in the butt end of our club's grip.
You'll then also have to install an app on your computer that will interface with Game Golf when you plug it in via a USB port. That's also how the device charges.
When Game Golf is charged and the sensors are in your clubs, you go to the course. Turn the device on when you get to the first tee, and then it's go time. Before each shot, you tap the sensor on the club you selected to the device clipped on your belt. It'll vibrate. Then you're good to swing away. Hit the shot, find the ball and pull another club. Tap again and go. When you've holed out, you don't have to tap again to end the hole -- Game Golf will figure out you're done when you hit off the next tee.
After the round's over, head on home and plug in Game Golf via your USB port. Transfer the data for analysis. In about a minute, Game Golf is ready for you to show you a recap of your round. First, sign in with a Game Golf account you create, then go over the data. Game Golf shows you scores for each hole, as well if you hit the fairway, green in regulation and how many putts it on each hole. You'll also be able to see a visual representation of each of your shots based on the data Game Golf has captured.
If anything looks amiss, you can make edits in your raw numbers or on the map of your round. Then your round gets posted to your Game Golf account, where you and your friends can see how you've played. The numbers add up over time to give you a true idea of how you play golf and the areas where you struggle.
Right now, Game Golf offers a more advanced view of the kind of game tracking a lot of devoted players did by hand on their scorecard. The hope is that new iterations of the website will dig deeper into the data, slicing and dicing it further.
What's going to make some flimsy about committing to the product is the sheer action of tapping the butt of the golf club to the device on your belt. If you already have an established pre-shot routine that works for you, introducing a new component may not be a compromise you're will to make. If you don't have a pre-shot routine, you may still not like the idea of the tap, although it may help you establish one. You might forget to do it, as I did several times during the round -- it can get pretty intense out there. And sometimes the unit doesn't capture the data right. It's not often, but you do have to make some corrections on the back end that take extra time in e-signing your round.
Game Golf is not perfect, but it's a product that will no doubt evolve. As technology improves, the product will, too. As more players use it, the feedback will sculpt the next iteration. With a recent price drop to $199, Game Golf is the same price as a hybrid or fairway wood. If you want to make a different kind of investment in your game, Game Golf is worth a look and will get you in the ground floor of golf's Big Data revolution.