2016 Shot Tracker Shoot-Out

SHOT TRACKER SHOOT OUT

From football and basketball to such seemingly-pure pursuits as running, data is taking over sports.  You don’t need to listen to many press conferences on the PGA Tour before you’ll hear players talking about their stat guy or how they’re working on something because the numbers showed it to be a weakness.  The revolution isn’t coming, it’s already here, so it’s time to get on board.

The question is, which of the shot tracking technologies is right for you?  In this 2016 Shot Tracker Shootout, I intend to answer that question and crown the best shot tracker in golf.

How We Judged

This shootout features all of the shot trackers currently at retail – Arccos Golf, GAME Golf, GAME Golf Live, and Izzo Swami GT.  Arccos Driver was not included because it only tracks one club.  If you want more details on each unit, you can click the links above for the full reviews.

For this comparison, I evaluated each unit in the following categories: Set Up, Ease of Use, Data Presentation, and Extras.  The rankings were weighted by category and added together to produce an overall winner.

The categories were weighted because some things matter more than others.  Ease of Use and Data Presentation are most important and received the most weight.  Extras is significantly less important than those two but a little more important than Set Up.

Shot Tracker Shootout

GAME Golf is by far the easiest of these units to set up.  The clubs tags are marked, so you don’t need to tell the device which tag goes with which club.

GAME Golf Live is a close second.  It has the same marked tags as GAME Golf but falls behind the original because it requires you to set up the app on your smart phone.  It’s not a big difference, but it’s a difference nonetheless.

Arccos Golf comes in third.  You do need to pair each tag with the club that it’s on, but the excellent smart phone app makes this process quick (it took me under seven minutes).

Swami GT also requires you to pair your tags with your clubs, but the interface with the device isn’t as good as Arccos’s.  It’s not much more time consuming, but the process isn’t as smooth.

Shot Tracker Shootout 2

Arccos Golf wins this in a walk for one simple reason: no tagging.  Additionally, you don’t have to bring any extra hardware to the course, though you do need your phone.

The other three units, GAME Golf, GAME Golf Live, and Swami GT are all essentially the same on the course because they require you to tag each shot.

It is possible to split hairs among the tagging group.  I give a slight edge to Swami GT because having the on-device screen allows you to see whether or not you’ve tagged a shot.  GAME Golf beats out its younger brother because GAME Golf Live requires your phone and the device, and the app can be glitchy.

Shot Tracker Shootout 3

The goal of shot tracking is to learn more about your game and improve, so data presentation is critical.  Simply put, Arccos does it better than anyone else.  It starts with the way that it displays the average distance for each club on one screen.  The real highlight, however, is the five handicap system.  Arccos Golf doesn’t make you dig through all your numbers if you don’t want to; it simply tells you your overall handicap and your handicap in Driving, Approach, Chipping, Sand, and Putting.  With this information, you can easily spot your weakness and fix it.

GAME Golf and GAME Golf Live give you the ability to look at your data in countless ways, but it can be information overload.  They have incorporated Strokes Gained statistics which are amazing, but, strangely, they’re not available on the app.

Swami GT has work to do in this category.  This device lacks the simple analytics of the other two, and the composite stats can only be viewed on a desktop.

Shot Tracker Shootout 4

Extras fall into two categories: fun (social elements) and practical (GPS).

It’s easiest to start at the bottom.  GAME Golf has no GPS and the social element is only available through the desktop.  It finishes in a distant fourth.

Swami GT has a standard GPS (front, middle, and back distances) and an E-Caddie that recommends a club based on how far you hit each club.  These are solid features, and the on-device display is a plus, but there’s no social element.

GAME Golf Live and Arccos Golf are very similar.  Both have a quality GPS through the phone and both have social elements.  GAME Golf Live has a deeper social piece with challenges and live scoring, but Arccos edges it out because of superior execution.

Shot Tracker Shootout 5

The winner in the two most important categories, and the overall best shot tracker of 2016, is Arccos GolfGAME Golf Live is a substantial improvement over the original GAME Golf, but it still falls short of Arccos in critical ways.

Buy Arccos Golf HERE

Scoring Breakdown

Shot Tracker Shootout 6

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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3 Comments

  1. Great shoot out review!
    I have used Arccos since the beginning of 2015 and it has been an irreplaceable asset to my game. I’ve been able to see true stats, club distances and weaknesses in my game so that I could better allocate practice time. I’ve dropped my handicap from 14 to 8 since using Arccos. It’s not a magic fix, as it took the time and effort to analyze and build practice plans. But Arccos absolutely gave me the data I needed to start making honest and meaningful changes.
    Highest recommendations!

  2. Nice write up.
    I have used both GG (original) and Arccos. While both systems do the job, I switched to Arccos full time after my first round with it. No tagging, more accurate from where shots where taken from, editing (if needed) was MUCH simpler, and you didn’t need a computer to edit or upload rounds. Updates have brought it a long way since inception too. And lastly, customer service is second to none. If I have emailed with question, problem or update need to a course, I was answered if not the same day, the day after at the latest. My unit is over a year and half old now and the other day I noticed a rubber sensor cover was split and possible another starting to crack. Asked about ordering some replacements, they shipped out 3, not 2, the next day…. NO CHARGE!! They stand behind their product.

  3. been using arccos for a year or two- really awesome and they have continued to refine the software. its pretty accurate at putts too now, but thats the one area you have to check every hole. I go back at the end of the round and always have a shot or two missing or extra, but its pretty close. then the analysis is amazing, you suddenly see your one putts go up and you find the approaches are hitting. will definitely drop your scores – find out what you do wrong. I spend less time on the course keeping score than people using a pencil.

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