Arccos Caddie Review (Improve Your Golf Game with Data)
The Arccos Caddie & Smart Sensors will track every golf shot you hit and give you the data needed to improve your game. In this Arccos Caddie review, I’ll cover how the system works and how I use it to change my golf practice and play strategies.
Table of Contents
Arccos Caddie Overview
The Arccos Caddie system uses sensors placed on each of your golf clubs, emitting a sound when a golf ball is struck. This event is logged into the Arccos app and mapped to a GPS location on the course. By collecting this data over a round of golf, you’ll have an accurate log of all your shots placed on a course map.
The best part is that once you install the sensors and the app is started, this happens automatically.
After playing, the iPhone or Android app will help you analyze this data to find your strengths and weaknesses over a single or multiple rounds of golf.
Arccos Equipment Options
There are several different options to get started with using the Arccos system, which I’ve tested and outlined below.
Smart Sensor Options
You’ll first need a set of Arccos Smart Sensors for your clubs. There are two options:
- Arccos Smart Grips – These are grips with the sensors built directly into them and require regripping clubs or purchasing new clubs.
- Arccos Smart Sensors – These screw into the hole at the end of any existing club grip you use.
If you’re in the market for new clubs, several manufacturers have the option of shipping with Arccos Smart Grips. These include Ping, TaylorMade, and Cobra. I initially started using the Arccos system when I purchased new Ping irons. If you buy these clubs, you’ll be able to request the screw-in sensors for the remainder of your bag (driver, woods, putter, etc.).
You can also purchase these grips and use them when regripping your clubs. They come in Golf Pride MCC Plus4 or Tour Velvet models with a standard or midsize option. I’ve had my irons for several years and have recently regripped them with Tour Velvet Arccos Smart Grips.
If you want to play with existing clubs instead of regripping, you can purchase a set of Arccos Smart Sensors and screw them into the ends of your clubs.
The choice between the two is mostly your preference. I’ve used both, and they work equally well. The grips are streamlined, but the screw-in sensors can quickly move to different clubs. There are also batteries in the sensors that will eventually wear out; however, my clubs needed to be regripped before I had any issues with the battery life.
If you’re changing the clubs in your bag often, you may benefit from having the screw-in sensors (at least for the clubs you’re changing).
Once you’ve got the sensors on your clubs, you’ll open the Arccos app and use the phone’s camera to scan each club and match the club number to the installed sensor.
Arccos Caddie on Phone vs. Watch vs. Link
Once your clubs have sensors, you’ll need a method to store your shot data. Arccos offers an app that works with iPhone (iOS) or Android. It’s subscription-based, but you get a free year when activating a new subscription ($12.99/mo after that). You can also use the app on an Apple Watch or Android Wearable. Finally, you can purchase an Arccos Link to clip to your belt and avoid keeping your device on you while hitting shots.
Arccos Caddie Phone App
I’ve used my iPhone the most of any tracking option to log my golf rounds. It works nearly perfectly with a few exceptions. My typical process with the phone is to play a hole (referring to the map or yardages if desired) and then check the accuracy of my score and possibly move the pin location after finishing the hole. Typically, I only need to adjust the number of putts (as it doesn’t know if you’ve taken a gimmie, or if you’re too quick, it may not register a tap-in).
- I’ve experienced very few, if any, mistakes in tracking shots.
- Access all the app features while playing, including club recommendations, GPS, and maps.
- You must keep your phone in your front pocket, which bothers some people.
- It uses your phone’s mic/speaker to listen for shots, so you cannot play music simultaneously.
Arccos Watch App
I haven’t used the Arccos Apple Watch app much to track my rounds, as I had some issues getting accurate shot recordings.
- Convenient for those who already wear a watch.
- Easy to quickly see yardage to green and suggested club.
- It’s easy to adjust the number of putts taken.
- It can be challenging to start a round and doesn’t always track shots accurately.
- You will need a phone if you want to see the hole map.
- It can be awkward to wear a watch while playing.
- Tracking drains the watch battery quickly.
I’ve been using the Arccos Link to track some of my latest rounds, and it works great as long as it’s not windy. Of course, you’ll also want a phone available in the cart or nearby to check that the data stored is correct. Typically all that needs adjusting is the putts (like mentioned in the phone app).
- You don’t need a device on your wrist or in your pocket, just this lightweight clip-on you won’t even notice.
- Lets you click the button to set the pin location for tracking approach shots and putting.
- It allows you to use the speaker on your phone to play music.
- I’ve had it not pick up some shots when it’s very windy.
- You’ll need a phone nearby to check that your data was recorded correctly, see the map, check the distance, or update putts.
I typically walk most rounds using a push cart, and the Link combined with mounting my phone to the cart gives me the best combination for tracking. If I were riding in a cart, I’d go this same route. If I were carrying my bag, I’d probably opt to keep my phone in my pocket for tracking.
Arccos Caddie Subscription Cost
Arccos Caddie is free for the first year of membership to new members. After that, you can renew the subscription at a yearly rate of $155.88 ($12.99 per month).
Playing a Round of Golf
Playing a round of golf using the Arccos Caddie is simple.
- Start up the app and choose the course you’ll be playing. See the list of over 40,000 courses available (I’ve yet to play one that wasn’t available). You’ll want to start the app a bit before you tee off so it can download the course map, but after that, it’ll save it to your phone.
- Select what device you’ll be using to track the round (phone, watch, or Link).
- Select the tee box that you’ll be playing and start the round.
- Hit your first shot and check to ensure the app says that a shot was detected.
During the Round
While playing a round with Arccos, you can decide how much you want to interact with the app. You could even ignore it entirely and go in after the round to ensure everything is recorded correctly (it’ll be very close, but putts or penalties may need to be adjusted). Here are some useful features you might want to check out:
- Look at the hole map to know where the trouble (like sand traps and water) is and plan out your shots.
- Check the GPS to the green’s front, middle, and back. It also includes a smart distance number for wind, slope, temperature, humidity, and altitude changes.
- Once you’ve played enough rounds for Arccos to know your club distances, you’ll get a suggested club to hit and see the distances for other clubs.
You can edit your round of golf either during the round or after completing the round. I usually make a few quick edits (if needed) after I finish each hole. The interface is easy to use. To make changes, you click an edit button and then can add a penalty, move the position of a shot, add a new shot, move the location of the pin, or edit the number of putts.
In most cases, the only thing I need to change is the number of putts and the pin placement. If you’re hitting two shots from about the same location (like if you didn’t get out of a sand trap on the first try), you may need to add a new shot. And if you hit a ball into a penalty area or need to drop a shot, you simply edit whichever shot went poorly and select a number of strokes to add.
A couple of minor issues with the editor include:
- It can be difficult to add and place shots that are very close to each other
- If you’re using the Link and walking back to the cart, you’ll have to wait a second for the data to sync up before making edits, or you may end up with extra strokes.
Reviewing a Round
Once you’ve completed a round, you can view your entire scorecard, which includes how many fairways you hit, how many putts you took, and how far your first putt was on each hole. You can also edit the round at any point and review your shots hole-by-hole on the map. This is a handy way to see how far you hit different shots or see how you might approach things differently in the future.
You’ll also get detailed statistics on your round that will tell you precisely what you did well and what didn’t go so well. This is broken down by driving, approach, short game, and putting. Even if you know that you weren’t driving the ball well, you might uncover some elements of your game that went unnoticed where you might find more significant wins. Once you have some rounds logged, you’ll also see how you played in each focus area compared to your last five rounds.
How to Use Arccos Caddie Data to Improve Your Golf Game
In this Arccos Caddie review, I’ve covered how the system works, but it’s the data and insights that really shine.
What are Strokes Gained?
Arccos uses a shot scoring system called “strokes gained” to evaluate the impact of any individual shot on the overall score in a round of golf. This system is comparable to the changes in baseball (see the movie Moneyball) and basketball using big data. For example, getting a base hit in baseball may be more valuable than a single home run. And in basketball, the additional risk of a three-point shot may be more valuable than a two-pointer.
Analysis shows that approach shots separate the best and average players in golf. Of course, it’s still essential to have a well-rounded game, but good putting tends to have less impact on the overall score than hitting an iron shot close to the pin.
Traditional statistics like counting putts or greens in regulation can be informative but deceptive. Strokes gained scoring eliminates this issue by taking all shots into account. For example, you might hit 45 putts (less than ideal) and think you’re a bad putter, but using strokes gained, you might see that your approach shots are inaccurate, leading to long, tricky lag putts. In this case, working on your approaches will lower your number of three-putts.
If you want to dig into all the data around how this works, you can check out the book Every Shot Counts by Mark Broadie.
When looking at your stroke gained round data, you can choose to view any single round or an average of how you’ve been playing recently. Scoring is broken down into focus areas of driving, approach, short game, and putting. In addition, the strokes gained score can be based on your current handicap or your target handicap (which helps emphasize where you’ll need to make improvements).
Each focus area has its own data to help you determine why you’re gaining or losing strokes. These will help show which direction you’re missing (right, left, short, or long), the length of putt or approach you have the most trouble with, and your scoring trends over time.
You can leverage this data to determine where you have the most to gain based on what is typical for your handicap. From there, you can choose where to focus your practice time to improve. For example, you might focus on an area where you’re losing strokes or see a correction you could make to boost an area where you’re just average.
Arccos will track all of your shots and determine how far you typically hit each club (while excluding bad shots). This will give you a realistic picture of how far you can expect a shot to fly.
It’s common for amateurs to expect a club to go your maximum distance from a perfect strike without realizing your average is less than this number. This leaves a high percentage short of the green and rarely over or on the backside of the green. By taking the correct club, you’re going to improve the percentage of shots reaching your target.
- Easy to use while on the course
- Provides insights for improvement that are hard to find anywhere else
- Access to shots gained data that is used by the pros
- Editing experience can be a little difficult
- Putting isn’t always accurate and needs to be checked
Arccos Caddie – 4.5/5
The Arccos Caddie has improved immensely over previous shot tracking systems. There is a bit of a learning curve to get started on your first round, but with a bit of patience, all golfers can find opportunities to fine-tune their game and shoot lower scores.