Arccos Caddie Review: Game Changing Smart Grips and Sensors
I’m not exaggerating when I say I was one of the very first Arccos users.
The day after Arccos was publicly announced as a company, I got on the phone with their CEO Sal and three weeks later I was playing the Course at Yale with him and testing out the new product.
So I’ve seen the entire transformation from pre-launch startup to now one of the most game changing companies in not only the golf world, but the tech world as well.
With that intro, I run the risk of you thinking I’m biased or on the payroll.
Everything in this review is my own opinion, and I’ll be just as forthright about the things I don’t like as the things I do.
What is Arccos Caddie?
To cut to the chase, I think Arccos is the single greatest piece of golf tech a golfer can own.
Because it hits everything I want to be able to do and review as a golfer.
Arccos Caddie is essentially a game tracker.
It utilizes sensors on each of your clubs, along with a smartphone app, to track and record every single shot that you hit.
This allows you to gain tour level statistics and analytics that have never been available to the average consumer before.
On top of that, they’ve refined their on course features to not only give you GPS distances to greens and hazards, but to essentially become the caddie you never knew you needed (more on that later).
It allows me to see how far I really hit each of my clubs.
It gamifies the game of golf and allows me to more easily compete against myself to improve everything from my driving accuracy to my putts per round.
And in the ultimate gift for someone who travels around playing golf, it gives me the ability to re-live every round by going through each hole shot by shot – serving as a reminder to those amazing moments, and horrific meltdowns.
That’s a lot of value from one product.
Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors and Smart Grips
In my last Arccos review from a couple years back, I reviewed their 360 Sensors. Well the team out in Stamford has been busy, and now they’ve moved on to introduce two all new products and some serious updates to the app as well.
As a whole, the brand is now called Arccos Caddie, and they have two flagship products which essentially do the same thing: track every single element of your game.
In this review I’m going to talk about all of the different components that make up the Arccos ecosystem and your your user experience with the product:
- Arccos Smart Sensors
- Arccos Smart Grips
- Arccos Caddie on course
- Arccos Caddie off course
- Arccos performance and thoughts from dozens of rounds played
In doing this I’m going to help you figure out if Arccos is a good fit for you and your golf goals, and if so, which of their products is going to be the best fit.
I’ve been excited about writing this review for a long time. I truly believe in the product and I use it with nearly every round I play. So with that in mind, lets not waste any more time, and jump right into it.
What are Arccos Smart Sensors?
Arccos Smart Sensors are the latest evolution of the product that’s essentially been around since 2014.
What you’re getting with Arccos Smart Sensors are 14 sensors that each screw into the top of your club’s grip. After the pairing process, you can then seamlessly track every shot you hit during a round of golf, and get an unbelievable amount of data in the process.
Arccos has mapped nearly every golf course in the world (I have yet to play one that isn’t mapped), and by choosing the course and starting your round, you now have the world’s smartest A.I. caddie and game tracker in your pocket.
We’ll talk more about the A.I. features when I get into the specifics of the app below.
The sensors themselves are about 3/4 of an inch tall and screw flush into your grip.
Personally, I’ve never found them to get in the way, add unwanted weight to my club, or inconvenience me at all.
Occasionally after dozens of rounds played, I found that the rubber hole it screws into starts to loosen a bit, which would cause me to have to occasionally tighten the sensors – but this was a pretty rare occurrence and didn’t effect my experience much.
The way it works is say when you hit a drive, through a combination of both motion and sound sensing through the microphone on your phone, Arccos registers you hit a shot.
It records the exact spot you hit it in the app.
Then when you hit your next shot, say a 7 iron, it then knows exactly what the distance is between the two shots – giving you the precise distance of your drive.
But because the courses are mapped, it also knows if you’re in the fairway, rough, or in the sand.
It then does this for every shot you hit. So imagine the data it’s gathering about your golf game.
What are Arccos Smart Grips?
Arccos Smart Grips are the newest product Arccos is offering. It essentially does the exact same thing as the Smart Sensors, except the sensors are built into Lamkin Crossline grips.
I’ve just recently put these grips on my clubs, and I’ve gotta say, I love them.
I haven’t noticed any major differences in accuracy compared to the Smart Sensors – they both are incredibly accurate. They’ve really made a big improvement in this over the last couple of years, and with each new iteration of the app itself.
Personally, I prefer having the sensors built into the grips. While I generally didn’t notice the sensors themselves much, as I mentioned above, after dozens of rounds, they have loosened up a little bit, and would occasionally require me to screw them in.
The Smart Grips are primarily targeted at the better player, and there’s no doubt that having them built in just makes for a much more streamlined and aesthetically pleasing look and experience.
The grips themselves are great, as to be expected from Lamkin which always makes high quality products.
The Pairing Process
The pairing process for both the sensors and grips only takes about 10 minutes, and it worked really well for me with both types of sensors.
You simply tell it what clubs you have, and then when it prompts you for each club you point the camera on your phone at the sensors – and voila! Paired.
The Arccos Caddie App
The Smart Sensors and Smart Grips are really just the vehicles to get you to the app, which is where all of the magic happens.
The Arccos Caddie app is truly a golfer’s new best friend.
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve shown it to, who are completely blown away by what it allows you to do. Usually they run right out and buy a set that day.
In the app, there are four main tabs across the bottom:
1) Player Tab
This is the tab that will give you all of the statistics about your game as a whole. There’s another slider letting you choose between driving, approach, chipping, sand, and putting. There’s a ton of information here, and even more displayed if you login to dashboard on a desktop computer.
2) Clubs Tab
On the Clubs tab you can each of your clubs listed out and the “smart distance” for each.
Smart Distance is:
“Arccos’ estimation of your expected distance on a well-struck shot. Based on your historical data, it excludes mishits, and abnormally long shots giving you a much better picture of your true club distances.”
So on this tab you get a sense for how far you really hit each Club, and you can then go down and get more statistics on each club, and see every shot hit with each one.
3) Activity Tab
This where you can get information on every round you’ve played with Arccos. You can see your score, and then there are links for personal best from the round, statistics from the round, and the hole by hole breakdown of the round.
You can also swipe right to see rounds from your “friends” in the app, and then people you follow.
4) Start Round
Exactly what it sounds like, here is where you search for your course (it will automatically show the ones closest to you), and start your round.
Arccos Caddie AI Recommendations
One of the most unique features of Arccos is the fact that you can get real time recommendations on what club to hit, based on Arccos partnership with Microsoft on some of their artificial intelligence technology.
It’s pretty remarkable, actually.
When you’re standing on the tee, it will take into account all of your statistics, the tee box you’re playing, and even current weather conditions to make a recommendation on which club to hit that will give you the best chance of success.
You can even see that by hitting say driver you’re expected score is a 4.3, a 3 wood is 4.6, but a 4 iron is 4.2.
It’s pretty cool stuff, that’s actually useful.
Arccos Caddie App Experience
One of the things I like about the Arccos Caddie app is the fact that you can use it as much or as little as you want.
On the course you can use it for GPS distances, you can use the AI Caddie features, you can dig back in to all of your Club distances, and you can look at the satellite imagery to get a sense of what a hole looks like.
Or you know, you can do none of those things and leave the phone in your pocket and review it all after the round.
I personally tend to trend towards doing the latter. I check it every couple holes to make sure things track properly, and to add on the occasional penalty stroke.
But once you’ve played a round or two with it, the app is very easy to use. I’ve found it hardly ever gets in the way on the course, and it’s clear a lot of time has been invested in making sure every aspect of the product is buttoned up.
I also recently picked up an Apple Watch, which I’ve been told works with Arccos really well, as you can see all of the green distances just by checking your wrist. I’ll update this once I’ve been able to test in person.
What Don’t I Like About Arccos Caddie?
As far as the on course user experience, and the app experience, there’s honestly very little I don’t like about Arccos.
The technology is at the point where it almost always works as expected, and you can use it as much or as little on the course or after the round based on your personal needs (stat tracking vs. using GPS distances for instance).
There are a couple things I’m not crazy about though.
The first has to do with the Smart Grips.
You might have noticed this is the first time I’ve ever reviewed grips on this site. It’s not for a lack of opportunity, I’ve had probably a dozen offers to have grips sent to me – but it’s the process of putting them on your clubs.
I don’t have any interest in doing it myself, so my Arccos grips sat in the box staring at me longingly for a week and a half until I had the chance to head to a local course and have them put it on.
Once I did that it was done in less than two hours for the reasonable price of $3 per club, but it is a bit of a process to put the grips on.
Now it’s done, and I don’t have to worry about it, so I love the grips, but it was a little inconvenient for me personally.
The second has to do with your phone
In order for Arccos to work properly, your phone has to be in close proximity.
And by close proximity, I mean in your right front pocket.
With the old bluetooth sensors I could keep it in my back pocket which is what I prefer, but with the newer sensor types it needs to be in a front pocket.
This isn’t the end of the world, and I got over it quickly. However, there’s been a time or two where I’d take it out and either put it in the wrong pocket or leave it in a cart, and a shot doesn’t get tracked.
Those are few and far between and you learn to adjust your habits after just a couple rounds.
And considering those are my two biggest complaints? Arccos has a pretty good thing going.
UPDATE: Arccos has just released Arccos Link, which solves this problem. It’s a small device that clips on to your belt, and allows you to put the phone away and still track all of your shots. It also enables you to both use Arccos Caddie and a bluetooth speaker at the same time. Here’s my Arccos Link Review.
Arccos Caddie + Apple Watch
As Arccos Caddie has progressed over the years, certain features get better and better.
But for me the biggest advancement since building the sensors into the clubs, may be it’s functionality with an Apple Watch.
It’s game changing.
Not only does it make the Apple Watch, but I consider to be the best golf GPS watch out there – but it fixes one of the biggest complaints many people have about the device: your phone.
A lot of people complain about the fact that for it to work properly, you have to have your phone in your pocket.
With the Shot Tracker feature on the Apple Watch, you can leave your phone in your bag and your watch does all the work.
It works just as well as advertised, and has made me enjoy my rounds even more.
Here are some more thoughts on Arccos Caddie + Apple Watch.
Should You Get Arccos Smart Grips or Smart Sensors?
Whether you get the Smart Grips or Smart Sensors is more a matter of personal preference. The grips definitely have a more sleek feel, since you can’t even tell that there are sensors built in.
If you’re someone who plays competitively, these are probably the way to go.
The nice thing about the Smart Sensors is that you can easily transfer them from one club to another, if you’re someone who changes things up a lot, and it just gives you a little more flexibility overall (not to mention, you don’t have to go through the process of installing them on your clubs).
If you haven’t been able to tell already, I love where Arccos has taken their technology and their products.
In fact, this is the first ever 10/10 product I’ve ever reviewed on the site. Does it mean it’s perfect? No, no product (especially a tech product ever will be). But in thinking about how it fits each category compared to other reviews, it truly stands out across the board in terms of performance, price, presentation, and certainly, personal affinity.
I think the Smart Sensors and Smart Grips are the single best golf tech products on the market, and if you’re serious about getting better, like to compete against yourself, and play more than once a month – this will be the best (and most enjoyable) investment you make in your golf game this year.
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- Everything about the brand is cool, and well done
- Tracks incredibly well
- Give you an unbelievable amount of detail
- Not crazy about annual pricing for Smart Grips
- Would be nice to not have to keep phone in front pocket