Guest Post: Peter LaGregor from Under Par Goals
Pete is the owner of Underpargoals.com, a golf website that provides its readers with tips and gear reviews to help them enjoy the sport of golf. We sent him Arccos Caddie to try and asked for his honest feedback. He wasn’t compensated for writing this and no changes to his opinions were made by Arccos.
I’m not a golf pro but try to keep my handicap in the single digits (it’s not now) and share my experiences with readers of Under Par Goals to help them improve and enjoy the game more.
With that in mind, I was interested to try out the Arccos Caddie because the prospect of having shot by shot data like a PGA Tour pro sounded too good to pass up.
I’ve been using Arccos Caddie for about 6 months now. Before that, I was tracking my shots manually with a combination of written scorecard notes and phone apps.
Related: Here is another recent Customer Testimonial
The scorecard method makes it impossible to track shot location with much accuracy and whenever I tried doing it manually with an app, I never finished a whole round without forgetting to tag at least a few shots.
Here’s what I’ve learned and how I’ve been using the Arccos so far...
The Sensors Had No Effect On My Swing
I was concerned that having something attached to the butt end of my club was going to mess with my swing. So, the first thing I did when I got the system was put the sensors on a few clubs and try it out on the range.
I put the sensors on every other club and worked my way through the set, grabbing clubs at random. I was pleasantly surprised that I couldn’t notice any difference in feel between the clubs with sensors and the ones without.
The System (Mostly) Disappears Into The Background
How much the device distracted me from actually playing golf was the most important factor in deciding whether I planned to continue using Arccos Caddie or not. If the tech takes over your focus during a round then it does more harm than good even if it's useful.
I was happy to discover that this can be mostly a “set it and forget it” system.
During the first couple rounds I played, I was checking after every shot to make sure it was tracked accordingly...and it was.
At that point, I started leaving the phone in my pocket and just played golf.
I occasionally use the GPS functionality of the Arccos App to get my yardages. Most of the time I use a laser rangefinder for distance to the pin, but there are times when having yardage to the front and back of the green or to fairway hazards was useful.
It’s Not 100% Hands Off
You could play an entire round and leave the phone in your pocket (or in your bag if you have the Arccos Caddie Link), but there are some times that I needed to do some editing.
As you probably could have guessed, the Arccos doesn’t know when you incur a penalty shot, take a mulligan, duff a shot, or basically do anything that is different than a club on ball strike.
Since most of those aren’t great situations, it means you need to remember to go in and edit your shots at a time when you’re already a little frustrated and preoccupied with the on course situation.
The good thing is that as long as you remember it or write it on the scorecard then you can go back and edit it after the round or at the end of a hole (I’ll talk more about that next).
Putting With The Arccos Is More Hands On
My putting routine has changed slightly since I started using the Arccos.
I found myself opening the app and setting the pin location after every hole.
I don’t think this is necessary, but it does give you more accurate putting data. The Arccos doesn’t always track tap-ins and it definitely doesn’t know when you have a gimmie or knock it in with your wedge after a Mickelson-like chip to 3 inches.
So grabbing my phone after finishing the hole to make sure it recorded all my putts and to set the location of the pin has become part of my routine.
Pro Tip: Arccos Caddie Link users can easily set the pin position by briefly pressing the button on the face of the wearable (no need to pull out your phone to adjust)
Once I got used to it, it hasn’t added any time and I usually do it while waiting for my playing partners to hole out.
Doing this ensures my putting stats are accurate and is also a good way to look back at the hole and maybe see how I am hitting the ball so far that round. If you’re like me, you have days when you’re just a little off and these quick glances after every hole tell me if I might want to club up to compensate going forward.
This is also when I make sure I recorded any penalty shots, mis-hits, etc. that may not have been recorded.
Related: How do I add a penalty stroke?
I Still Use A Scorecard
It’s entirely possible to use only the Arccos Caddie app to track your score, but I might be a little old fashioned because I still use a scorecard as well.
I’ve used a “system” for over a decade now of tracking fairways, greens, up and downs, and putts on my scorecard and I haven’t abandoned that quite yet.
For me it's both a good backup and a way to see my entire round at a glance.
I do think it would be interesting to give up the scorecard and only use the Arccos so I can avoid focusing on the score. It might actually help. If I try that this year I’ll be sure to document it on my YouTube Channel to share the results.
The Insights From Arccos Were Surprising
The main thing I use Arccos for is learning about my game. To me, this is far more valuable than just keeping score.
My 2021 goal is to get down to a 5 handicap so I am eligible to enter some state tournaments and learning more about my game is a big part of my improvement strategy.
The insights as to my strengths and weaknesses were eye opening.
For example, I learned that putting was the strongest part of my game (despite the fact that I felt frustrated by putting results at times). Knowing this actually gave me more confidence on the greens which resulted in my putting stats improving even more. In fact, my Shots Gained Putting is currently +0.4 compared to a scratch golfer.
(don’t be too harsh about the other numbers, these were all winter rounds in New Jersey!)
I also learned that my approach shots were hurting me the most. So, I started taking a more conservative strategy on approach shots, aiming for the big parts of the green rather than attacking pins. In the last 3 rounds I’ve improved from a -8.7 to a -6.8 in shots gained on approach.
You can change the baseline of your “shots gained” statistic to whatever handicap you want, but I like keeping the baseline at 0 (scratch) so I can see the improvement over time.
The other helpful data was seeing my shot distances tracked over time. I had a good idea of my average distances, but I wasn’t expecting how wide the distances varied.
Of course this was due to my own ball striking inconsistency.
The Arccos app does a good job of removing wildly mis-hit shots with their “Smart Range” function. So it gave me a good idea of what I could expect from shot-to-shot.
Knowing how far my “less than perfect” hits would carry was particularly useful when I needed to carry a hazard or make sure I covered the distance to get onto the green when the pin was up front.
Taking these two things together and modifying my strategy accordingly has produced almost instant results. over the last couple rounds I’ve had an increase in greens hit in regulation and lower scores. I am looking forward to taking this new approach into the Spring this year but lower scores in the middle of Winter here in the Northeast are a promising indicator.
I think having a reality check on club distances is something that a lot of amateur players would benefit from tremendously (even if they don’t want to know the truth!).
The Sensors Are More Rugged Than You May Think
Just a few weeks ago, I left my pitching wedge (with the Arccos sensor attached) sitting in the fairway after an approach shot (as golfers have been known to do, I took two clubs over to the ball and only brought one back to my bag).
It was a wet January day here in New Jersey and the temperatures dropped to freezing overnight. Luckily the grounds crew found it later the next day and I had accidentally conducted a test of the sensor’s weatherproofing!
After a night out in rain and freezing temperatures, the sensor on that club worked flawlessly the next round and has had no issues since. [Arccos does NOT recommend purposeful weather testing of your products. We understand that accidents happen.]
Some Helpful Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Arccos
Tracking putts can be tricky especially if you have any “gimmes” in a round. After all, the sensor can’t track a putt you never actually hit.
There’s two ways to deal with this. You could just get in the habit of opening the app after finishing each hole and setting the correct number of putts (how I do it) or you can simply write down the number of putts for each hole on your scorecard and make the appropriate changes in the app later.
One helpful tip I learned is that if you use the putter from off the green, you can edit your first putt to be a “chip” instead of a putt to reflect that. This makes for more accurate short game stats.
Take the time to learn how the app works. There are a number of extremely useful features including a GPS that makes adjustments for slope and weather conditions and suggests clubs based on your past performance.
Unlike some other devices, the software isn’t an afterthought. It can hold its own against any other golf GPS app or device on the market.
I try out and review a lot of golf products. I end up using very few of them. In general, I am a golf minimalist.
For a piece of tech to make it into my bag full time it needs to do its job well and not get in the way of playing golf.
Arccos Caddie passed both tests.
In fact, it took something I ordinarily do during a round (stat tracking) and made it better and easier. It has added even more data points that have been invaluable to helping my score. I have to say this has given me more confidence on the course and more confidence that I am working on the right things to improve instead of just wasting time and money on range balls.
I am looking forward to logging more rounds because the more data I have, the more I can see accurate averages and trends over time.
You can check out Pete’s full review of Arccos Caddie on UnderParGoals.