50 Words or Less
GAME GOLF is an accurate, fun, easy to use shot tracking system that may be the best game improvement tool I’ve ever used.
I recently wrote about shot tracking as the next major trend in golf, and I’m pleased to bring you this review of the first product that lets average golfers track their rounds the way PGA Tour players do – GAME GOLF. This product has been immensely hyped since it first showed up on Kickstarter, so I was very eager to see if it had the steak to go with its sizzle.
Set Up & Ease of Use
You might assume that a GPS-based shot tracking system would be difficult to set up and use, but you’d be wrong. Set up involves just three steps. 1) Take the device and plug it into your USB port to charge it. 2) Set up an account on GAMEGOLF.com. 3) Twist the tags into your golf clubs. Done. You’re now ready to go.
On the course, simply clip the device on your belt or your pocket and push the GAME GOLF logo. It will blink red and white for about a minute until it finds the course. You’ll know you’re ready to play when the red light disappears. Now, before each shot, simply touch the tag to the device. There’s a small vibration and noise to let you know the tag worked.
After the round, connect the device to your computer and transfer the data. You can view your round, and edit if necessary, before you “sign” your round and make it official. Adding or changing shots is extremely intuitive on both the desktop or on the mobile app.
Why It Will Make You Better
One of my favorite expressions is, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and I would use it to explain why you need GAME GOLF.
When we think about our own game, our internal biases blot out the truth. Some of us think, “Man, I hit it great today” when we shoot 110. Others can shoot 68 and feel like they didn’t hit a single quality shot. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, you simply aren’t seeing the facts of your performance. That’s where GAME GOLF comes in.
GAME GOLF records where each shot was hit from, where it ended up, and what club you used. With that data, it can show you the (real) distances you hit your clubs and your dispersion patterns. This is the kind of data you need to improve your game. You can learn your tendencies with each club and work to improve them. You can effectively allocate your practice time to shore up weaknesses in your game. Most importantly, you’ll know what actually goes wrong (or right) on the course as opposed to judging your game by how well you beat range balls.
You can also use GAME GOLF to relive your rounds and improve your course management. For example, I recently made a very ugly double bogey. On a scorecard, it would be just a 7. With GAME GOLF, however, it’s a crystal clear picture of bad decision making that I can learn from and, hopefully, not repeat.
The other major benefit that I noticed during my very first round was that I was more focused on the game. Because I didn’t have to keep a scorecard, I wasn’t thinking about my score as I played, and I wasn’t taking breaks to write things down. I expect some of you are saying, “I keep stats on my card and it takes me virtually no time at all.” That’s fine, but with GAME GOLF I have ten times more data and it requires literally no time. Whether you’re using that extra time to focus on your shot or simply take in the scenery, GAME GOLF puts more time into your round.
Why It’s Fun
As I said, if you’re serious about improving your game, GAME GOLF is a must-buy, but it also has the potential to enhance your enjoyment of the game.
When you create your GAME GOLF account, you’ll notice that you have the option to “Follow” other golfers (by default, you’ll follow GAME GOLF’s ambassadors Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell, and Lee Westwood). When you follow someone, you can see all their rounds…and they can see yours. You also get the option to compare your stats to theirs, which is a great way to stay competitive with your golf buddies whom you don’t get to see regularly.
GAME GOLF also has the potential to help you expand your golfing network through Challenges. Anyone can create a Challenge on GAME GOLF about anything golf related: longest drive, lowest score, most birdies, etc. Challenges can be invite-only or they can be global. Through the Challenges, you might meet other golfers who live near you or who play the same courses that you do. As someone who’s always short on playing partners, this is a very exciting possibility.
Finally, I find GAME GOLF fun because I’m excited to see what I did after a round. I like to see if the drive I hit on #8 was as long as I thought it was. I like to see how my stats compare to my best rounds. And I like the ability to go back through the round and remember the good shots I hit. I’ve started to view GAME GOLF as a souvenir of each round, but one with the potential to make me better.
Room for Improvement
Please don’t take my effusive praise to mean that GAME GOLF is perfect. It’s not…yet. As with any tech product, GAME GOLF is quickly and constantly evolving. Here is the one major thing I’d like to see addressed and some other concerns worth discussing.
My only major complaint is that GAME GOLF doesn’t know where the hole is. This really hurts the ability to do meaningful statistics with putting, short game, and approach shots. Right now, all you know is how many putts per green you take. That’s a fine stat, but I’m much more interested in the percentage of putts I make from different distances and how close to the hole I get with my approach and short game shots.
Let’s also address the tagging process since that seems to be a hang up for a lot of people. It is, unquestionably, one more thing you have to remember to do. GAME GOLF likes to portray it as a positive, a “performance trigger,” to use the the Vision 54 term. I think it absolutely can be that, but that will take time and commitment to making it a part of your routine. I can’t claim that I’ve made it a part of my pre-shot routine, and I’m honestly not sure that I will. I may become the guy who tags his shot immediately upon arrival at the ball and then does his normal routine. The beauty of GAME GOLF is that it doesn’t matter, you can use it either way.
The tagging issue also leads to the question of missed tags. As I mentioned earlier, editing your round is really easy and intuitive. The only caveat is that you have to remember, at least approximately, what you did on each hole. This makes it somewhat important that you load your rounds in shortly after you play, unless you have a really good golf memory.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll need to get a number of rounds in before the Analysis feature is very useful. I have 36 holes with GAME GOLF so far, and some of my clubs haven’t hit a single approach shot yet. Other clubs have one or two shots on the grid. Obviously this isn’t the fault of GAME GOLF, but I wanted to mention it to help readers set appropriate expectations about the device.
If you made me choose between playing with GAME GOLF and my beloved Leupold rangefinder, I would strongly lean towards GAME GOLF – that’s how good it is (for those that don’t know me, I haven’t played without my Leupold in years).
GAME GOLF has got me more excited about playing golf than I have been in a long time. I know that when I get home I’ll be able to relive the best shots and learn from the data. Every time I play and add shots to my records, the data becomes more useful.
Unlike normal training aids, GAME GOLF only gets better with time. Add to that the social elements and you have a device that will be glued to your hip every time you play.
If you click HERE you can buy GAME GOLF for around $150. Yes, this is more than a normal training aid, but I think we’ve established by now that this is not your normal training aid. Not only is this a tremendous game improvement tool, it also enhances your enjoyment of the game. This is one of the few devices that I would immediately replace at full retail if I ever lost mine which is the highest endorsement I can give.
It’s rare that something lives up to its own hype, particularly when the hype was as big as this, but GAME GOLF not only met my expectations, it exceeded them. It’s easy to use, and the potential for game improvement exceeds anything else I’ve seen. Moreover, it’s fun to see your shots, your stats, and, hopefully, your improvement over time.