Arccos vs. GAME GOLF

Game Golf (1)Arccos (3)

Stat Tracking Shootout

Arccos vs. GAME GOLF.  The rivalry between these two shot-tracking pioneers will likely go down in the history of golf alongside Jack vs Arnold, Sarazen vs. Hagen, and Sergio vs. the golf gods.

Ok, that may be a stretch, but it has been fun to watch these two products come to market over the last year.  They have created an entirely new product category and are revolutionizing the ways golfers learn about and improve their games.  The question, of course, is, “Which one is better?”  Having spent some time with each (full review of Arccos HERE and GAME GOLF HERE), I will answer that question in the following paragraphs.

Arccos vs. Game Golf (1)

The “Brains”

The differences between Arccos and GAME GOLF start with the brains of the operation.  Arccos runs entirely through your iPhone (yes, it is exclusively for iPhone at the moment).  GAME GOLF is powered by a small device that you clip to your belt.

Both work well, and opinions will vary as to which one is better.  While it’s nice to not have to remember to bring an additional device to the course, some people hate having their phones with them during the round.  Some may find the GAME GOLF device annoying when it’s clipped to their belt, others may be more bothered by having their phone in their pocket.

The other consideration is whether or not you want real time information.  Arccos provides data on your shots as you hit them.  GAME GOLF needs to be connected to your computer before you can access the data.

Arccos vs. Game Golf (2)

The Club Tags

Let’s first consider the size and weight of the tags.  The GAME GOLF tags are much smaller and lighter – 1/8″ and 1 gram – compared to Arccos – 3/4″ and 10 grams.  Both are small enough and light enough that their impact is negligible, in my opinion.

The more important thing to know about the tags is how they’re used.  The GAME GOLF tags need to be tapped to the GPS device to record a shot.  Arccos does not require any tapping.  This will be the single most important difference for many golfers.  I maintain that the tapping required by GAME GOLF isn’t a big deal, but not having to do it is definitely better.

Arccos (23)IMG_0443

The Apps

There’s a little “apples to oranges” in comparing the apps because they have different purposes: the GAME GOLF app is purely for reviewing your data, whereas the Arccos app does everything.  That said, the Arccos app is clearly better.  It’s better looking and the lay out is cleaner.  When you’re reviewing your data, everything is within two taps and most is within one.  On the course, it runs perfectly without any input from the golfer, but you can easily make changes if you need to.

This isn’t to say that the GAME GOLF app is bad – it’s not.  It gives you access to all the data that you’ve uploaded, it’s just not as intuitive.

Arccos (2)Game Golf - Driver Analysis

The Website

Both websites are essentially mirrors of the apps.  Again, both are good, but the layout of Arccos is cleaner and more intuitive.

Arccos (7)Game Golf

Ease of Use

Both devices are very easy to set up.  Arccos has the additional step of pairing each sensor to your phone, but that takes just a few minutes and only needs to be done once.

When you go to play, GAME GOLF just needs to be turned on and given a minute or two to identify the course.  Arccos requires you to download the course before playing – this takes under a minute.  After that, just open up the app and play.  On the course, GAME GOLF requires you to tap your club tag to the device before each shot.  Arccos does not require you to do anything while playing.

A major difference is that after the round, Arccos has all your data compiled immediately.  GAME GOLF requires you to plug the device into your computer and upload the data.  If your round needs to be edited, it can only be done at this point where Arccos lets you edit during the round.

Statistics

I didn’t quite realize the depth of the statistics in Arccos until I made the list for this piece.  Here’s the list by category: Driving: Average Distance, Longest Drive and standard deviation, Fairway Hit %, and Left and Right Miss %.  Approach: Greens in Regulation %, Distance to Pin on GIR and all approaches, % of shots left, right, short, and long of the green.  Chipping: Up and Down % and Average Distance to Pin.  Sand: Up and Down % and Average Distance to Pin.  Putting: Putts per Hole, Putts per GIR, % of 1, 2, and 3 putts, Average Putts by Approach Distance, and Average Putts by Par.  You also get the driving, approach, chipping, and sand stats for each club, as applicable.  Finally, you get handicaps for each category – Driving, Approach, Chipping, Sand, and Putting – in addition to your overall handicap.  Is that enough stats for you?  Finally, with Arccos you can easily remove a shot – an 8-iron into a 3-club wind, for example – from you distance calculations which makes those numbers much more meaningful.

GAME GOLF is not quite as robust.  You get overall stats on your home screen: Average Score (absolute and relative to par), Average Putts/Hole, Longest Drive, FW %, GIR %, and Scrambling %.  Under the “Analysis” tab you can look at shots Off the Tee, Approach, or Scoring.  Under Tee Shots, you can specify the club, course, and range of rounds and you’ll get a graphic showing each shot, FW %, Left and Right Misses, and Typical Distance.  For Approach, you can select either a distance range or a specific club in addition to course, range of rounds, and lie.  After making those selections, you get a graphic of the shots, a % inside 15 yards, and %’s of misses short, left, right, and long.  Under Scoring, you can look at your breakdown of total scoring (% birdies, pars, bogeys, etc) and your breakdown by Par.  Finally, you can get to a screen that shows longest, shortest, and “typical” shots by club, but it’s not easy.

Arccos wins on stats by a wide margin.  Not only are the stats more plentiful, they’re easier to understand, easier to access, and the ability to “delete” shots is valuable.

Arccos (6)

Battery Life

The GAME GOLF device lasts multiple rounds and the tags are battery-free.  An average round with Arrcos will consume about 60% of your iPhone’s battery.  Additionally, the tags each have a battery which will need to be replaced after 40-50 rounds.

Though I wouldn’t let battery life dictate my decision, this round clearly goes to GAME GOLF.

Miscellaneous

GAME GOLF has a significant social element to it, but Arccos has none.  GAME GOLF allows you to “Follow” other golfers and engage in Challenges with them.

Arrcos has a GPS function, GAME GOLF does not.  The utility is pretty basic – just front, middle, and back of the green – but it’s a nice addition.

GAME GOLF is approved by the USGA, Arccos is not.

GAME GOLF retails for $199.  Arccos retails for $299.

Summary

In favor of Arccos: No tagging, better app and web dashboard, more stats, real time feedback, and GPS

In favor of GAME GOLF: Price, battery life, size of tags, USGA approval, and social capabilities

Arccos (4)

Winner: ARCCOS

Though both these devices are great, Arccos is superior in the most important areas.  The experience is seamless and the volumes of data are both easy to access and easy to understand.

Buy Arccos Golf HERE

Matt Saternus
Latest posts by Matt Saternus (see all)

46 Comments

  1. Some things not covered in the review that I wonder about are durability and replacement cost.

    I have read of some broken tags for users of the Game Golf system and wonder how the durability compares between the two as well as replacement/repair cost. Also how are both systems in damp weather and for grip cleaning? For the Arccos system are the sensors easy to remove for tournament play and is the iPhone even legal to carry if the app is installed?

    • Matt Saternus

      Tom,

      Good questions.
      I have a hard time imagining that durability is a real concern with either system. You’d have to actively work at it to break either tag. The GAME GOLF tags are thin, but you’d really have to slam your club to break one.
      I’m not sure I understand your question about damp weather. I didn’t put either system through much in terms of rain, but neither showed ill effects.
      Both sets of tags are easily removed and replaced for grip cleaning or tournament play.
      Regarding tournament legality, I would guess that it’s up to the local rules, but currently Arccos is not legal for USGA governed events.

      Best,

      Matt

  2. Thank you Matt;

    On the wet question I was just wondering if any special precautions were needed if caught in the rain. (As opposed to being thrown into a pond.) Being in manufacturing for over 30 years I’ve seen water get in all kinds of the wrong places but also not found it in other places I’d have thought more likely. So I don’t assume anything there anymore… Also on the grip cleaning, I just leave my clubs at the pro shop and they clean them so tags/sensors would not normally be removed.

    I hope that explains the thoughts behind that area better. :)

    • Matt Saternus

      Tom,

      Absolutely, and those are great questions. I will reach out to both companies and see if I can get definitive answers.

      Best,

      Matt

    • Matt Saternus

      Tom,

      GAME GOLF told me that their tags are waterproof and virtually indestructible. If they break, they will be replaced free of charge.

      Arccos told me that their tags hold up really well against water and that rain should not cause a performance issue.

      Best,

      Matt

  3. i have been using the Gamegolf device for a year now. This product is excellent and has helped my students who use it. Price of Arccos is crazy as well as it is not legal to use for tournaments. This is where you can see what really happened in a competitive students round. As far as tapping the sensor on the belt before each shot that is similar to complaining about writing down your score. My students have had no problem with this as it has become part of their pre-shot like calculating distance and other factors. I have no complaints with the gamegolf system. However, competition is good

  4. What proximity is required between the player and his iPhone? Carrying the 6+ in my pocket will be a nuisance but if it can be in my golf bag that woukd be fine. Were I required to carry the phone I’d be concerned about the distraction a phone engenders with calls and messages unanswered

    • Matt Saternus

      Approximately 10-15 feet. The important thing to note is that the GPS readings are measured to the phone, so the closer it is, the more accurate the data.

      Best,

      Matt

  5. Matt, how do these tracking systems avoid counting practice swings during a round?

    • Matt Saternus

      Erin,

      Great question.
      With GAME Golf, the only thing that’s tracked is the tag – tapping the sensor to the device on your hip. If you tap it once, it counts one swing whether you take 100 practice swings or 100 real swings.
      With Arccos, the sensor “knows” the difference between a practice swing (even one that hits the ground) and real impact with a golf ball. I don’t know how it works, but I know it does.

      Best,

      Matt

      • So with Golf Game, you can take your practice swings – get in your set up – tap the sensor – and then strike the ball – and the only swing it will measure is the one after the sensor tap?

        • Matt Saternus

          Dan,

          Game Golf does not measure swings at all. The only thing is knows is the location where you tap your sensor and which club you tap to your sensor.

          Best,

          Matt

          • Matt – thanks. I saw your reference in another post on this string to Zepp – a totally different tool – a swing analyzer as opposed to these GPS tools.

            My question is – do you have a feel for when a golfer is ready to move to a club-by-club GPS system? I’m a 15 – so I can post an 86, but I can just as easily post a 92. Sure, some of it is short game, but some is the inconsistency of my swing. interested in your thought…

          • Dan,

            I think shot tracking systems are beneficial to every single golfer who really wants to improve their scoring. I would rate shot tracking as vastly superior to the on-club swing analyzers in terms of scoring improvement. Even the best swing analyzers are only useful insofar as the player understands the data and can find ways to act on it.

            Best,

            Matt

  6. Both units sounds like they could provide some short term benefits. My only concerns for the Arccos would be the $400 price tag, using my phone during a round and killing the batery and simply not finding much use for the data after 6-10 rounds. I do not want to use my $800 device, pay $400 for Arccos just to receive stats that I already have in my head. You know when you had a good round and you know when you had a bad round. I’m sure you have an idea of the stats for both….

    • Matt Saternus

      Clarence,

      I couldn’t disagree with you more. The value of these devices is that they show you what you don’t know or what you only think you know. Yes, there are some instances where your intuition will match the data, but frequently it won’t. Look at driving distance, just as a simple example: the average player thinks they drive it 250+. GAME Golf just released data showing that the average drive among players shooting 75-80 was 235! For the 90-95 shooter it was 196!

      Now, whether any of that is worth $400 or $200 is up to the individual, but it’s impossible to argue that knowing the facts behind your scoring won’t improve your game.

      -Matt

  7. Thank you for the review of both the Arccos and Game Golf! I have been very intrigued by these two products and I am looking to buy one very soon.

    Matt,

    Since Game Golf obviously uses no battery on the club tags, when you take Arccos tags to a range, does battery life decrease? Or is the power to the tags controlled via iPhone?

    I tend do to a lot of range work, so i’m wondering if taking the tags out would be necessary in this case. I would hate to buy batteries, more frequently, by leaving them in.

    Also, how does each product handle lost strokes by penalties and hazards? I’ve read in other places of having to “trick the system” in order to add these extra strokes (??)

    Thank you!

    • Matt Saternus

      Wesley,

      Great questions. I’m actually not 100% sure about the batteries in Arccos. My assumption would be that the units stay in their “low power” state unless the app is on, but I could very well be wrong about that. I will contact Arccos and try to get an answer for you.

      Regarding penalty shots, that is something both systems struggle with. I can’t tell you the exact procedure for either at this moment, but, in short, the systems do need to be “tricked” a bit.

      Best,

      Matt

    • Matt Saternus

      Wesley,

      Just got an answer on the Arccos/range use question. The answer is that there is battery drain, but it’s extremely minimal. They said 10 minutes of hitting the same club will use 0.1% of the battery.

      Best,

      Matt

  8. Matt, great article! I’ve been doing my research trying to choose between gamegolf and arccos. But then came across something else called golf tags: https://www.golfpadgps.com/tags. Looks similar to gamegolf, since you need to tap. But they promise real time results and only charge 99 bucks. Has anyone tried it? I am seriously thinking about ordering one.

  9. Hi Matt,
    No doubt you’ve seen the email regarding the new app for Game Golf which gives real time data.
    With that, which would you be picking of the 2 products. I know most people have said thats Game Golfs main let down.
    Cheers,
    Dave

    • Matt Saternus

      Dave,

      I’ve seen the press release, but I haven’t used the new app. For me, the main gap between the products is not the issue of real time but rather the way the data is displayed. Until GAME Golf closes that gap, I’ll be sticking with Arccos.

      Best,

      Matt

  10. How does mArccos handle chip-ins?

    • Matt Saternus

      Brian,

      Good question. I haven’t had as much experience with this as I would like, but I did hole out a bunker shot the other day only to find that Arccos had assumed a two-putt afterward. I’m not sure if this was based on assumptions about my handicap/sand game/putting or if it’s a default setting. I will add more to this response if I see it behave differently in the future.

      Best,

      Matt

      • Thank you for reaching out to the Arccos Golf Team. We will register the chip in and will automatically switch holes, but if you do happen to hit a putt for practice etc it would be registered in the app.
        This is the answer from arc is help on chip ins

  11. Does this have a driving range mode where you can get averages for all your clubs.

    • Matt Saternus

      No. Both devices are GPS based, so they need to know where you hit it from and where it ended up.

      -Matt

  12. Frank Tillinghast

    Matt, great info above in this thread. I am leaning towards arccos but have some questions I can’t find answers to. First, say you are playing a match play event and you miss the 6 foot putt to win the hole… so of course you make the putt three more times to prove you were right and the course was wrong! how do you tell the system that you had a two putt and not a five putt? same question but the other direction, how do you record gimmies? Last question, has either of them gotten better at identifying the flag location? I can’t see how arccos can say they no putting differences without knowing where the flag is.

    • Matt Saternus

      Frank,

      It’s very easy on Arccos to add putts or delete shots, either during or after the round.
      Neither of them identifies flag location yet. Arccos doesn’t claim to know where the flag is, they just make some very good assumptions about the distance of putts, proximity of approaches, etc, based on your game/ability.

      Best,

      Matt

  13. Hi Matt,

    I’m from Thailand, do excused my grammar. My BF go golfing every week. I’ve plan to buy something about golf gadget for his birthday but I know nothing about golf. Now i’m torn between Game Golf(He use andriond) and Zepp Golf. Could you please advised?

    • Matt Saternus

      Natt,

      Game Golf is a game/shot tracker – it will tell him what he did during his round. Zepp Golf is a swing analyzer – it will tell him what his swing looks like and how to change it. I tested the Zepp Golf device a couple generations ago and wasn’t overly impressed, but it may be improved now. In my opinion, on average, a golfer will get more enjoyment and use out of Game Golf or Arccos than a swing analyzer.

      Best,

      Matt

  14. Thank you so much =) Do you have other gadget to reccommend?

    • Matt Saternus

      Arccos is my favorite recommendation for “gadgets” right now. Beyond that, a laser rangefinder (I prefer Leupold) is always great.

      Best,

      Matt

  15. Hello Matt,
    Thank you for your article, it is very clear. I’m thinking about buying one of them but
    I’m from Spain and is very important to me to know the number of courses tagged on in each device. I suppose that U.S. And UK courses are all tagged, but could you tell me how many Spanish courses are tagged in each device? Or where can I look what courses are tagged?
    And I would also know how easy is to report a new course to ad to the system and if you know how long will take them to include a new course.
    Many thanks indeed for your answer.
    Best
    Alvaro

    I apologize for my English

    • Matt Saternus

      Alvaro,

      I think that the customer service departments for each company would be able to answer these questions better than I can. I don’t have any access to lists of mapped courses.

      Best,

      Matt

  16. Ok,
    Thank you

  17. Have you used the Game Golf live, cause it seems the difference is minimal and with Arccos if you r in a bunker and do not get out it may not read that shot

  18. Amazing review, Matt.

    Just worried about the Arccos system and its weight for each club. Driver shafts are anywhere from 50-70 grams in weight. Adding 10 grams to the club could change swing speed, kick point, ect. Won’t 10g change a persons average distances?

    • Matt Saternus

      Sai,

      Adding the Arccos tracker won’t change the shaft’s kick point. In theory it could affect swing speed, but I doubt it would be a measurable difference.

      If this is a major concern for you, check out the new Arccos 360 with smaller tags.

      -Matt

  19. I have GGL and am intrigued by GG’ s Arccos-like offering but am concerned about the cost of replacement tags. I have lost (and subsequently replaced) 11 of my 18 GG tags at $5 a pop. I am guessing putting a battery in the tag ups the price a bit?

    • Matt Saternus

      Steve,

      I would guess that you’re correct, but I don’t know. Game Golf Pro is still a month (or more) from retail.

      Best,

      Matt

  20. Hi,
    maybe I don’t read it thoroughly but in this comparison I miss or don’t understand few things.
    1. First of all Arccos is paid service and this is the MOST IMPORTANT info. So if you want very small advantage you HAVE to pay 99 dolars or so PER YEAR. I think this is unacceptable a therefore all possible advantages are worthless or overpriced.
    2. Game Golf Live HAS online view on the course (maybe update the review)
    3. Ease of use? I am used to have apps that needs to pick mobile phone, open it, select app, pick club and tap for adding the shot. So:
    a) GGL – I have to slightly move (maybe 10-20cm) end of my club to my hip where is small light device and thats all.
    b) Arccos – I HAVE TO HAVE my big and heavy mobile phone in my FRONT pocket and must not stand too close to other players or there will be misreading of another hit.
    4. I try to use Arccos just for driver and my Samsung S8 phone died (from about 85%) on 16th hole so I need phone with bigger batery or powerbank. This will cost me another hundereds of dolars and adds another weight -> we are back at point 1.
    5. Regarding the statistics. As for each app it is described differently can you mention which “important” stats are not on GGL?

    I am not in love with GGL or selling them but I want to buy some kind of tracking gadget and for me as a beginner I need to save money and have something that is easy to use and have basic statistics.

    P.S. how these systems know where the PIN is located on the green? Do I need to mark it somehow or app just pick center of the green so all approach shots and putts are unusable? Thanks

    • Matt Saternus

      This comparison was published in 2014. Both systems, and Shot Scope, have undergone numerous changes since then. If you’re looking for a recommendation, I think Shot Scope is the best system out right now.

      -Matt

      • I think that as well and probably going to take a shot with Shot Scope V3. In fact SS should be able to track even PIN location unlike the other two. Thanks

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *