I know it feels like golf season is still just ending, but the Holidays are right around the corner and this year looks to be one where preparation could be key. With expected shipping delays and potentially longer lead times, we’re getting a head start on this year’s Holiday Gift Guide, which promises to be bigger and better than ever!
You may have noticed a new name on the last post (link to the WiscoGolfAddict review of the Blue Tees Series 3 Max Rangefinder), Troy Giljohann. Troy is a great friend of mine and one of our neighbors here in Menomonee Falls. We started playing a lot of golf together this season and I’m really excited to have him onboard as our new Contributing Author!
I’ll be telling you much more about Troy in the near future, but he’s a great guy, has a fun writing style and, as an engineer and former college golfer at MSOE, has a very good technical approach and understanding of the game and equipment that lends itself perfectly to product reviews.
Keep an eye out in the coming weeks from Troy and me for more great recommendations on products that will be perfect gifts for the golf enthusiast in your life!
Product Review: The Arccos Caddie Golf Game Improvement System
Combining two of my favorite things, golf and data, Arccos has been one of my favorite pieces of golf equipment for several years.
And, if you’re looking for the perfect gift for the golf enthusiast in your life, ensure your spot as their favorite person by letting them open up Arccos Caddie (fka Arccos 360) or Arccos Caddie Smart Grips this holiday season.
It’s what my favorite person got me for Christmas in 2017.
In its simplest form, Arccos is an unobtrusive game improvement system that helps golfers improve their skills and enjoyment of the game through artificial intelligence and next-gen data analysis. It puts all the information – historical data, predictive analysis, weather and geographic factors – all at players’ fingertips so they’re well-informed before, during and after rounds.
At $179.99 for the system (including 13 club grips and one for the putter), I can’t imagine a better investment in their golf game.
How it works
So how’s it work? With Arccos Caddie, quarter-sized sensors screw in to the end of each grip (there is a special one for the putter). They’re easily paired using the system’s intuitive smartphone app, and with it opened during play, collect and analyze an endless number of data points.
Through a strategic partnership with Microsoft Azure, Arccos Caddie leverages artificial intelligence using the world’s largest database of golf shots, course knowledge and weather conditions. Sensors are activated when upright (not upside down in a golf bag) to preserve battery power, and all shots are tracked via Bluetooth (GPS location, club used, etc.) either using your cell phone’s microphone, your Apple smartwatch (if you have one) or the Arccos Caddie Link (sold separately – linked below).
The Caddie program makes recommendations based on past behavior and course conditions, using inner (60%) distances that disregard values in the 0-20th and 80-100th percentiles. Yardages are provided to the front, middle and back of each green, along with wind speed and changes in elevation.
Even though some people (including me) think I’m a relatively long hitter, I know I don’t hit the ball like Bryson DeChambeau. You probably don’t, either, so rather than dwell on what you think you should hit the ball, wouldn’t you rather know the distance you actually hit it?
How far do you hit your 7-iron? Most younger, lowish-handicap players will default to saying between 165-180, which is what I figured for myself. With a few seasons of using Arccos under my belt, I can tell you that I consistently hit mine between 144 and 168, and should count on 154. The max (an outlier) was 182. If I’m on a par three over water that needs at least 165 to carry, I’m armed with data most players are not, and I can assure you I’m not hitting a 7-iron!
Arccos Caddie also provides “plays like” shot yardage, factoring in actual yardage along with various weather, wind and elevation elements. If I’m on the par three seventh at North Hills Country Club, and it’s 174 yards to the pin and obviously well uphill, all I knew before was I’d need to hit my tee shot more than 174 yards.
Using Arccos Caddie, I’m provided all the data and even a club selection that takes every factor in to consideration. Some of that specific functionality needs to be turned off during competitive play, of course, but it’s invaluable during practice rounds and competitive preparation.
I also know the holes I need to rethink my strategy on. For example, below is my statistical history at North Hills over my past 20 rounds there:
Don’t laugh, I know I’m a terribly inaccurate driver!
The third, fifth, tenth, 14th and 17th are really tough holes, but why am I having issues on the first? Especially when I hit the green in regulation 61.1% of the time?
Arccos Caddie also allows players to dive in to next gen stats like strokes gained,
The sensors are small and screw in easily to the bottom of each club’s grip. They pair quickly via the camera on your smart phone and work seamlessly throughout the round. You literally don’t have to do anything during the round other than set the course and tees at the beginning, and as long as you have the sensors within earshot of your Bluetooth device it will track every single shot, club and all the stats that go along with it.
Another awesome feature is that Arccos allows players to relive their favorite rounds and golf holes. For example, I had this beauty at Streamsong Blue in February of 2018:
331 down the pipe on a 474-yard par four finishing hole was a great way to end my trip. I can actually go through all the rounds I’ve played while using the system and relive my shots.
I love that.
Even if you’re not a data junkie like me, you can probably appreciate this next fact: Players who started using Arccos Caddie in 2020 improved by an average of 5.02 strokes per 18 holes.
My own handicap has improved from 12.1 to 7.2 since getting Arccos prior to the 2018 season.
No product is perfect, but there are very few negatives about Arccos. Fortunately for you, I’ve had and used it long enough that I can tell you all of them:
- It doesn’t happen often, but I have lost several sensors over the years ($19.99 to replace)
- The Bluetooth app can run down your phone’s battery power, especially if also running music apps, etc.
- Not having the Caddie Link or a smart watch, I have to keep my phone in my pocket while playing
- While the putting sensor is more accurate than I expected, it still needs some checking post-round to make sure the right number of putts are calculated and that hole locations are accurate (if you care about that)
- During rounds that I use my drone, I need to toggle Bluetooth on/off a lot to avoid interfering with the drone connection
None of these are prohibitive to my use of the system, including having my phone in my pocket, and some are even specific to me like the drone thing, or being someone who’s incredibly prone to losing things.
If you have a golfer on your Christmas list, Arccos Caddie or Arccos Smart Grips (Lamkin grips with Arccos sensors integrated in the grips) are a can’t-miss gift idea. Or, if you’re looking for a sure-fire way to help improve your own golf game this season, get it for yourself.
Either way, I cannot say enough how much I enjoy using Arccos Caddie, and how highly I recommend implementing it in to your own golf routine. The more I use it, the more valuable data I get… And the more interesting it is to dig in to all the nuances of golf that make the off-course part of the game so much fun.