Game Golf Review
Every since I first heard about the Game Golf system nearly a year ago, I was so excited to try it out.
During their IndieGoGo campaign they had a demo that made this thing look like the average golfers new best friend.
Simply put on the device, play your round, and get world class stats in the process – that was the promise.
Nearly 6 months later, I finally received my copy of the Game Golf in December, and I had the pleasure of getting to test it out as a beta member for the past couple of months.
This is a fully hands on review. I’ve played close to a dozen rounds with it, have spent at least a few hours working through the system reviewing rounds or looking at stats, and know it well enough that I think I my conclusions are pretty accurate of where the product sits today.
Disclaimer: Because I was a beta tester, I’ve been through multiple software updates. That being said, everything stated here is representative of my experience with where the product sits today, after the initial launch.
Build Quality and Unpacking
When I first pulled the Game Golf out of the box, I have to admit, I was impressed. They did an excellent job with the packing and presentation, and it really made me feel that I’d made a good choice in purchasing what is really a pretty high end device, at around $250.
Here’s what came inside:
- Game Golf Device
- Mini USB Cord
- Game Golf Carry Pouch
- 18 Tabs for Tracking
The pouch was a nice touch, although I must admit, I really haven’t used it a whole lot.
Everything on this bad boy feels high end, while it’s all plastic, you don’t ever feel like you’re going to break it. The device fits on your belt very comfortably and is much less obtrusive than I’d expected it to be.
Setting up your clubs correctly is also pretty easy as well. Simply screw the tag into the little hole on the top of each club, and then tell Game Golf what club it is via their useful online app. Took me maybe 20 minutes from start to finish to get the whole thing setup – most of which was just screwing the tags into my clubs.
I headed out to my home course on a cold December morning to play my first round. Had the whole course to myself, so I figured it’d give me a chance to see what this thing was all about.
I put it on, powered it up, and stepped up to the first tee.
Push button again and again.
Hmmm, alright well guess I should have read the instructions.
Hit my ball, walk down the fairway, pull a club, and try and tab again.
Ah, that’s more like it.
When using the Game Golf, you need to remember that it takes a few minutes for the GPS to locate the satellite. It blinks red and white together while this is happening, once it goes solid white, you’re good to go.
It’s actually pretty impressive that it can automatically detect what course you’re on. However, it doesn’t break it down to tee boxes, so if you decide to step back to the blues one day, and play the best round of your life, your Game Golf system won’t recognize that.
I made my way around 9 holes and was excited to get back and plug it in.
Overall for that first round, the system worked great. It didn’t get in the way, I was relaxed and remembered to tag on most of my shots, and I could definitely see the potential in the device.
Transferring the Information
I got back to the clubhouse, grabbed a beer and plugged the Game in to get my info. It took a little bit longer than expected to download the information, and then brought up a screen that said “review”.
I selected it and it took me to an aerial view of my course with all of my shots along the way – pretty cool.
I then spent the next 20 minutes editing my round.
Sure there was a little first time learning curve there, but I was pretty surprised by just how much work this took.
Well first off, I wanted everything to be exactly right.
I had to go back and compare my tracked round to my scorecard.
For instance on 6 where I had to punch it out from the trees, and then recover from the sand – I was frustrated and didn’t tag the shots.
So I had to walk through all the holes to figure out why my score wasn’t what it said it was on the scorecard.
Then I had to add the shots, guess distances, and wait for it to refresh after every new shot.
To say that the round review process is cumbersome would be giving it a lot of credit.
As the rounds went on, you get better at it, but if you don’t do it immediately after, good luck remembering every single shot you hit.
Bonus point for the fact that this thing attracts a lot of attention. Whether it’s while I’m reviewing my round or when I’m on the course, I’ve had no less than a dozen people ask me what the thing is all about. So if you like being the one with the new cool gadget, definitely get this now.
This is one of the things I was most excited to see. I’ve been waiting for a product to not only do basic stat tracking really well, but also do the gamification really well.
So far, I’ve found the stats to be a bit lacking.
You see the GPS isn’t always 100% accurate. Often it will have you in the rough when you’re in the fairway and vice versa. I’ve seen it off by as much as 25 yards – which completely defeats the purpose of using the device in the first place.
Now, when it’s right, it’s awesome, but I don’t know that I’ve had a round that nails it on every shot.
The most useful stat I’ve found has been driving distance – and when I say useful, I mostly just mean from an ego perspective. Because how cool is it to see this:
Which, I must add according to the system is farther than both Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell’s farthest drives 🙂
Because of the automatic nature of the stats, it’s a bit difficult to track. I can’t just select a box or enter in a number for sand shots, GIRs, Fairways etc. I’d like to be able to more easily override what it gives me. And I can, but then I have to change the tag for that shot, which again, turns into a guessing game.
The stats also aren’t displayed in the most user friendly way. This is where I’d really like to see them kill it with the gamification.
Show me a page that has something like this:
- Best Round
- Longest Drive
- Most Birdies
- Most Pars
- Most Double Bogey +
- Favorite Club
- Favorite Course
- Average compared to friends
- Most GIRS
- Most Fairways
- Average GIR
- Average Fairway
I should make it clear that they do seem to recognize this. When I review my round activity it will tell me if I beat a record. For instance in this one “Sean beat his ‘Highest Fairway’ accuracy record with a 62% round at Bali Hai Golf Club”. It wouldn’t be hard to give me an easy way to access all of those records – so I cam compare with friends.
I’ve also found myself not wanting to spend 10-15 minutes after every round combing through every single shot to get an accurate representation of my day – so I get the score right, and then ignore things like fairways, greens etc.
It also appears to be calculating GIRs based on every time I use my putter. For anyone who has played a course like Pacific Dunes, or any other links course, you know that you might be putting from 30 yards out on every hole – I’d love to see a way to manually edit this.
Game Golf Moving Forward
I want to love the Game Golf system. I think it’s a great idea, and I’m huge on stat tracking and comparing to my friends.
But at this point, it feels like it still has a little bit of growing to do.
The post game review takes too long, and even though the whole goal of the device is to not get in the way of your round, I’ve found it to be much more intrusive than using the Golfshot App – which can more or less give me most of the same information.
The difference is with Golfshot, I take 7 seconds after every hole to enter in my info. With Game Golf, I have to remember to tag before every single shot. No one is going to do this, especially, I’ve found, if your game starts to go downhill.
I then find myself questioning, “did I already tag this?” Hmm. I don’t remember. And regardless of whether I double tag, or don’t tag it at all, I’ll have some work to do after the round.
I had a few friends ask me about iPhone and Android compatibility. In my mind, this is kind of a non-issue. I know they have iPhone support, and they either currently have, or will have Android support soon. However to be honest, the only time I’ve used the phone app is when I took that screenshot above.
Considering you have to download it to your computer after every round, I don’t see a huge reason to use the app. (If I’m missing something, someone please tell me).
I think if they can really play up the “game” part of the system, it will make up for sometimes inaccurate GPS readings and a long post-round review period. I’m talking badges, bets, head to head competitions, and more. If a friend has one of these, I want to make it as fun an competitive as I can.
However as it sits right now, Game Golf doesn’t give me much new information compared to Golfshot, and it’s much more obtrusive and time consuming during and after my round.
Have a Game Golf? What do you think? Also, my username is “Sean” so I’d love to find a few more friends on there to compare scores with.
- Sleek, Unobtrusive Design
- Easy to Tag Shots
- Lots of Potential for Future Growth
- Incredible Selection of Courses
- GPS not always accurate
- Round Review Process Tedious
- UX Needs Work
- Hard to Manually Edit Stats