Arccos Golf Review: Hands on at The Course at Yale
See our review of the most recent release, Arccos 360 right here. Or buy a set of sensors on Amazon or their website.
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 it’s 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.”
For anyone who is ever in this situation, when someone offers to take you out to one of the most historic (and best) courses in the country, and they want to show you a prerelease version of a product that has potential to change golf as we know it – you say yes.
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.
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.
Grab a set of Arccos Sensors or grips on their website.
- Incredibly Deep Stats
- Truly allows you to just play golf
- Ability to edit in round or post round
- Still minor bugs - but it's pre-release
- Great value, but not a cheap product
Benjamin Heller ,my son ,is the chief software developer at Arccos.I had a chance to use Arccos over Father’s Day.I’m quite biased but I thought that your review was fair and accurate.I would like to see Arccos replace the written note pads on the PGA tour.
I too am a GG user and found the tagging process too much to deal with. I am also a ShotbyShot user, the stats package under the hood in Arccos and have asked a simple question of the team, does the system collect distance of first putt? The genius of SbS is the collection and analysis of this one metric. It provides the stats necessary to differeniate itself from a standard stats package (there are MANY of those available on the iPhone). I am an avid golfer and low handicapper and care less about GPS and distances and more with data for game improvement. On first blush Arccos appears to be the ticket!
Thanks for the comment Jim, I was actually not familiar with ShotbyShot.
As of right now, I don’t believe Arccos has first putt distance, that being said, I know it captures the data. While we were on the course, Sal pulled up a development screen in his version of the app showing his putt distances. I believe their plan is to work it into the product, I just dont know if it will happen before or after the initial release.
I pre-ordered last week and absolutely cannot wait to get it on the course. Your review has me even more excited for the release.
Dude, you’ll be glad you did. I was really blown away by how well it works (if you couldnt tell ha)
So how close do you have to have your phone on you for it to pick up your swing?
Ideally you want the phone to be in your pocket, but if you have it close by in your bag, within 4-5 feet you should still be able to use it. I always carry my phone in my pocket anyway, so this wasnt an adjustment for me.
Sal and Ammad give you any indication when they’ll be mapping international courses, specifically Australia? I’d love to get on the preorder price but without the GPS measurements, fairways and GIR stats it’s hard to justify as yet. Thanks for the review.
Im not sure. I know theyve been mapping courses like crazy, so it wouldnt surprise me if they have a lot of major international ones ready for launch.
I am thinking about ordering one. The one question I have is how well the app works as a GPS as compared to Golfshot. I would hate to go have to use two different apps during a round.
From what I can tell it gives you distance to green. Does it also give you distances to front/back/center? How about distances to other hazards?
Last question, does it allow you to see your scorecard during the round or just your current score?
Thanks for the review, your two previews/reviews have been the most informative out there on this product.
Accuracy-wise Arccos seemed to be just as good – although ive only played one round with it so far, so I cant say that definitively.
Right now it gives distances to front, back, and center. Part of my feedback was I would like distances to hazards as well, as thats one of my favorite features of Golfshot – I dont think they were planning to add that right away, but they may have changed their mind.
It will allow you to see a scorecard during the round, that was one of the next features that was getting implemented that week. So I just saw a mockup of what the scorecard will look like – but that should definitely be in there.
I’ve used Golfshot for almost every round for the last 3 years, and this product is good enough that I’ll probably switch – which is saying something 🙂
Just pre-ordered, can’t wait for it to arrive. One thing that could make the product (or software) awesome would be the eventual pairing with the upcoming iWatch. I am hoping the iWatch has a “secondary controlled screen” aspect to it that apps can push their own customized screens to. If that is the case the software could give you info without you needing to take the phone out of your pocket. That would be a killer feature.
Yeah that would definitely be cool. Have they officially annoucned the iWatch though?
Nice review Sean. Personally I enjoy the tagging ritual of the Game Golf device, and I’ve never been one to want to deal with my phone on the course. I’m sure there will be buyers for both of these products. Good luck with your golf goals and let me know if you’re ever in San Francisco.
Disappointing that this is not available for Android users at launch. It’s especially a shame since the introductory $299 seems like the right price point, but if you have to wait for the Android app and get stuck with a $399 retail price, that seems like too much. So while I would have been an early adopter, I may sit on the sidelines for a while…
Sean, Will the device have an app for the android? Hate to buy a new phone and shell out $300-$400 for the device. I have come to realize that chipping does have a direct relationship with putts per round as well…but 42 dude!!!
Thanks for the review. I’ve put in my pre-order. Quick question, did you have black grips on the clubs you were using? I use a GolfPride white/black composite and wondering how conspicuous the black sensors will look on it. I’ve emailed Arccos and they said they are considering different color rubber in the future. That said, wondering your thoughts on how weird the sensors will look on a white grip.
I had black grips, but to be honest even with white grips I don’t think they’ll look bad. Black and white always kind of go together, so I dont think you’ll have any issues with the way it looks.
Sean, thanks for the informative review. I’m interested in knowing about the sensitivity of the sensors in terms of the impact on them when returning clubs to the golf bag. Over the course of time how will the sensors hold up under the stress of banging them on the bottom of the golf bag. Is that a concern?
Can’t speak much about the durability as I’ve only had my sensors a few weeks, however so far so good, with no signs of wear. They’re made of extremely durable rubber, so I really don’t foresee too many issues personally.
If you not have a iphone or phone can you hook it up to your pc after. Your game.
No you need to have the phone with you on the course for it to work.
Do you know whether the device will be legal to use in competitions? I know from GameGolf that one reason they don’t offer any info during the round is that they want it it to be legal for use in competitions.
I had the GameGolf for a few rounds but returned it as I got ‘off-readings’ of 25 yards (like you in your GG review) which destroyed my confidence in the system.
Did you find that the GPS from your iPhone is more reliable than the GPS of the GameGolf? (Still don’t know whether it was a dodgy device or a problem with the system).
I either wait for a second generation GameGolf device or this arccos device but it needs to get cheaper. At $399 they are now twice as expensive as GG. I don’t think they can keep it at that price!
As of right now I don’t believe it is currently usable in competition, but I think they’ve talked about releasing a version of it that is competition legal. Don’t quote me on that though.
Generally speaking the GPS on the iPhone is MUCH better. It’s still consumer level GPS, so if I have a weak signal or something it might be off slightly, but far and away 95% of the time it’s pretty dead on.
Arccos is $399, but totally worth it if you play a lot in my mind. I’ve seen no other system like it, and it works really well.
I’m curious how this device deals with putting. How accurate is it, how does it know when you’ve struck a putt, and can it tell how far your holed putt is? For example, if I hole a 10 footer, can it tell that it was 10 foot as opposed to 30 foot or 2 foot?
Also, in my opinion, any product such as this one should be competition legal to justify its asking price
When will it be available for Droid users? I believe someone else asked this, but I don’t see a reply.
To be honest, I’m not sure when the plans call for it to be released for Droid. I know the Bluetooth technology isn’t quite as consistent across Android phones – so that makes it a bit more difficult to develop for.
I haven’t seen this yet or have overlooked it but how long do the sensors last and what happens when the batteries die? Do they recharge or do you have to buy a whole new set?
The sensors have small batteries in them, dont remember the exact model, but they’re pretty standard and inexpensive. Eventually you’ll have to change out the batteries in each sensor – they say they’re good for about 50 rounds.
If you don’t want to carry your i phone 6plus in your pocket can you pick up a spare i phone 5 and just use that to pair with the sensors and then use it later to download data. Thanks
How accurate is it when you are just off the fairway or green? Did you find yourself having to adjust it a lot because of a few inches?
I understand the app. when paired to the phone and it’s usage, but can you sync the round information to your PC for a better look at home?
Sounds promising. I know you only used them once but how well do you think they will hold getting banged around on the end of the clubs at the bottom of the golf bag. What are the chances will fall off or be damaged?
Sean, I enjoyed reading your post and plan to purchase a few for golfers on my shopping list. My daughter is a junior golfer and I typically use Golflogix to track her rounds which have great graphics. Does the Arccos software include graphics and if not, do you know if they are planned for a future release. Graphs and charts are great feedback tools especially for people who are visual learners.
Vernell, thanks for the comment! You can get all sorts of charts and graphs by logging into the online dashboard.
Great review! Is there an “At the Range” setting to see how well you are doing while practicing?
Not as of now, but it wouldnt surprise me if they add something like that in the future. The hard part is, you cant judge shot distances at the range based on the way the sensors work.
Have used for two rounds. It works like a charm. I’ve sent suggestion to add different scoring methods, I.e., a point system and such.
How about the battery life of the sensors?
Do they need to be charge?
Regarding feed back from the device, if after using the system for a while, my avg for 7 iron is 140 yards, will the app suggest using this club if with in 6 yards of this distance? will the program give this kind of feed back for any club based on average and say wind conditions as a caddie would or am I to make that call based on information it presents?
Great review! I had issues with GameGolf tags falling off my grips. Could you comment on how the screws on the Arccos tags compare to those on the GameGolf tags. Do you think they would be less likely to fall off. While GameGolf will replace their tags for free, I suspect that will not be the case with Arccos since their tags are much more expensive.
Can this product interface with any smartphone or only iPhones? can it be uploaded to a computer? If so does it have to be an apple? Also can more than 1 user use this product (husband, son and myself)?
Yes it can only interface with iphones. However, you can access all of the content (and more) via the web dashboard. Everything is automatically updated there after your round.
And yeah pretty much only one user can use the product, simply because you have to have sensors on every club. I suppose if you wanted to put all 14 sensors on a new set of clubs and repair them every time, potentially a few different people could use them – but that’d be a lot of work…
Hi. I just wanted to say I have an android but after reading about this product I am not only buying it but picking up an iPhone 5s just to use on the course with this.
Ive been using gamegolf for a few months now so i know the potential for this type of product. I wanted to love game golf. But I have to admit as easy as the tapping sounds, it was impossible for me to get used to. After 10+ rounds I still never made it through an entire round without forgetting to tap at least a handful of times. Then fixing the rounds afterwards wasnt so simple.
I finally started enjoying the game golf when they added the “shot detection” technology that detected a shot without tapping. But even then I had to remember the club to enter it after the round!
I finally gave up on using it just a few weeks ago. And I happen to see this commercial….
This basically sounds like it will solve all the problems I had with game golf so I am very excited.
I cannot wait to see my stats!!!!
New purchase but havent used it yet. Was a GG user and hated the tapping and stopped using it in competition because of the distraction which is what drew me to ARCCOS. Two questions: have you done you’re updated review since Yale experience ; what precautions have you found in handling several clubs walking to a ball, “tossing” the unwanted club to the ground’ placing the club back in the bag, and as a walker carrying the bag and setting it on ground? Do any of these things trigger a false hit? Excited about the product and the better stats from GG. BUT the two big negatives are not measuring putt distance ( or approach distance from pin and keeping the proximity to flag stat ) and not having clearance to use in competition. Are they working on these?
What are your thoughts 6 months later. I like you have used golfshot for the last 3 years. I’ve tried to use other gps’s and their scoring app, but I always find my way back to golf shot. Have you switched to arccos full-time?
Yep I’ve switched to Arccos full time, and honestly would have a hard time going back. The amount of information it gives you is incredible, and frankly, it doesn’t take me anymore work than Golfshot did.
Pre-order @ $100 less was a good price. $400.00 is a mid-level set of clubs. Love the system and idea but will wait for a price reduction for now.
True. But this will help your game more than a set of mid level clubs will 🙂
Sean, Great review. My question is…I play in a lot of scrambles, obviously not all my shots will be used but I would still like to track my data as well as use the GPS. Any suggestions on using Arccos in this fashion?
You mentioned in your review that the battery will last 50 rounds. Does that mean that I will have to buy a new one ever year or will they have a return program?
In each sensor there is a standard watch sized battery. When they die, you simply have to replace each of those.
I just went through the process for all of my clubs. Cost just under $20 for the batteries and took probably 20-30 minutes to replace them all. Totally not a big deal for me.
Could you compare the stats provided to other golf apps like golfshot? My biggest issue with gg was that I didn’t get any other stats that I couldn’t already figure out myself. I ended up just going back to my golf apps since it provided more valuable stats then gg and provided gps info.
Arccos pretty much gives you every stat imaginable. Then if you log into your dashboard online you get even more data and graphs.
I am very disappointed with the system. Constantly getting bad data. The systems records strokes I have not taken and reports scores that are way off. Waste of money and Arccos won’t take it back.
@Frank: Maybe you should try asking them for a replacement instead… Maybe you just got a buggy set, shit happens- It doesn’t seem right to bash them online (to be seen forever) because of 1 bad experience. I searched high and low and found a total of 15 bad reviews on the product; among those, 12 of the people I contacted said that Arccos resolved their issues, replaced the product, and they now love the system. If I was a betting man, I would bet that the other 3 people were total assholes to the customer service folks which caused a chain reaction of total assholeness that eventually led to those 3 people continuing to be assholes with unresolved issues. Just sayin’….
Your review is outstanding as usual and you have covered most of my first questions. Having to do something manual to track a swing does not work for me or anyone that I’m golfing with. I have a question for one stat, strike quality. I’ve manually tracked this and it directly correlates to my handicap. Does the Arccos system track the quality of the strike or just the outcome?
Hello Sean. Thank you for the review. I know this thread is pretty old. I just purchased Arccos. They seem to have updated the app greatly since this post. One question I have pertains to penalties. If I hit a driver out of bounds, do I go to my next shot and hit penalty before I tak my next shot from the drop area?
You would play it exactly how you would based on the rules of golf. If its white stake, you’d retee. If it’s red, you can drop where the ball went out.
You would then just select in the app how many strokes it was.