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