The primary problem facing golf today is its pace of play. But playing slow is a symptom, not the disease. We are sick with slow play because of an overwhelming inability to make decisions. The simple fact is, we make decisions—smart decisions and fast decisions—when the information required is clearly in front of us, internalized and made actionable. This is the essence of the appeal of golf’s latest game-analyzer technology devices, and none exemplify that game-changing efficacy better than our 2019 Editors’ Choice, Arccos Caddie.
This GPS-based stat-tracking suite of information is made possible by the nearly weightless grip-cap sensors or even full-on grips that communicate with (or without) your phone to produce data and statistics. It’s a virtual cornucopia of performance assessment that is more revealing than a full-length mirror in an exam room. Arccos Caddie not only shows you what you do well and what distances you hit each club in your bag, it shows you trouble spots. Like how your 5- and 6-iron are carrying the same distance or why your relative handicap from the sand is that of a 100-shooter but the rest of your game is trending toward the low 80s. Moreover, its GPS is active during your round so you instantly know how far it is to fly the bunker. (For 2019, its new Arccos Link device, barely bigger than a Zippo lighter, lets you download all that data without carrying your phone in your pocket.)
On top of all that, Arccos Caddie can sync up with your PGA pro so your teacher can zoom in on what your next lesson should focus on before you make your first warm-up swing. Lingering over all these assets, of course, is Arccos Caddie’s greatest feat to end slow play: an A.I.-driven virtual caddie that knows you so well it can recommend a strategy and the smart club choices for not only every tee shot, but every approach shot from the middle of the fairway to the middle of the forest. Let’s hope the USGA leans in to golf’s global slow-play problem and at some day in the near future gives this feature full approval for recreational play. The game is waiting.
Arccos Caddie (Smart Sensors), $250; Smart Grips, $150; Arccos Link, $80
Available at arccosgolf.com
To get better, you have to know where you stand—and the best swing analyzers make capturing data about your game quick and easy. The Zepp Golf 2 attaches to the back of your glove, and its motion sensor provides a 3-D rendering of your swing broadcast to your smartphone or Apple watch. Use the data to work on your game, or plug into Zepp’s network of affiliated coaches to get directed practice. Blast Golf’s sensor attaches to the butt of your club, and it provides a host of data you can compare to your historical performance or to that of players around the world. 18Birdies pulls together GPS data on the course you’re playing and the results of your shots to tailor instruction content for your particular game issues. Unlocking the premium content for $45 per year gives you personalized club recommendations for each shot and advanced metrics like strokes gained.
Social: 18Birdies (free) Available at 18birdies.com