Should you ditch your 4-iron for a hybrid? Or maybe a 7-wood?

Arccos’ latest update – Strokes Gained by Club – looks to give amateur golfers a level of performance detail that exceeds, well, anything else on the market. Tour players included.

Essentially, this feature of the Arccos Caddie app calculates how much each club in your bag is helping or hurting your game.

Strokes Gained – Explained

Conceptually, strokes gained is straightforward. Every shot you hit is either a net gain (or loss) compared to a database average. For example, let’s say an average 5-handicap golfer takes 3.2 strokes to hole out from 150 yards. If you hole out in 3 strokes, you gain 0.2 strokes (expected outcome less actual outcome). If you take 4 strokes to complete the hole, you lose 0.8 strokes. Again, this is compared to the performance of an average 5-handicap golfer. It stands to reason that it would take a typical scratch golfer fewer than 3.2 strokes to hole out from 150 yards, while a 10-handicap golfer would likely need more than 3.2 strokes.

On the PGA Tour, every shot is subject to strokes-gained analysis. As such, the data is based on the performance of the field that week. The Arccos version allows amateur golfers to apply the same metrics to a more robust repository of data.

Arccos Gained By Club –  Applications

Arccos Strokes Gained by Club allows golfers a more granular insight on performance throughout the bag. However, it’s an arduous task for golfers to optimize all 14 clubs. That is, we often view clubs in collections as opposed to individual items.

This makes a great deal of sense. Consider getting custom fitted for a set of irons. While you might order six or seven clubs, you probably only hit a 7-iron during the fitting process. And the ideal combination of loft, lie and set make-up was determined based on how you hit only that club. So, the custom fitting process relies on some reasonable assumptions. Chiefly, you can extrapolate performance for roughly 4-iron through pitching-wedge based on how a golfer hit a 7-iron likely on a driving range or in a hitting bay.

But often, golfers don’t struggle universally. You’ve probably heard or said something to the effect of, “Man, I love my 7-iron, but I always slice my 5-iron….” User error is entirely possible. But precise data could help narrow down potential causes. If the data shows that the 5-iron is the only club with a negative strokes gained value, it might make sense to check the specs on that club before doing anything else.


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The Arccos system allows you to analyze individual club performance and compare it to different handicap ranges. For example, let’s say you’re currently an 18-handicap with a goal to reach single-digits by the end of this year. The Strokes Gained by Club assessment can help you decide which areas of your game are already strong and which portions might need more attention.

Moreover, the Arccos database adds millions of shots every year. And a larger database allows for more precise outputs.

Arccos’ data also lends itself to specific use-case scenarios. Am I better off sticking with my 7-wood, or should I use a 3-iron? Given enough shots with each club, Arccos can generate strokes-gained values for each club. If the 7-wood loses 0.5 strokes/round whereas the 3-iron gains 0.5 strokes/round, the decision is clear. If both clubs perform relatively equally, it might be a situation where the golfer selects one based on course conditions or expected weather. Whatever the case me be, you’re left with a data-driven decision instead of one based upon a hunch or gut feeling.

My $.05

It’s easier and more efficient to update software than hardware. It’s also a hell of a lot cheaper for the consumer. See: iPhone, Connected TVs and Tesla automobiles. The primary benefit to the consumer is that updates are often free and generally improve the user experience. Companies that invest in providing meaningful additions to any platform are more likely to find repeat customers when it comes time to release the next piece of hardware.

As such, this is an important step for Arccos. With that, it provides evidence to golfers that it understands the importance of proving to existing (and potential) customers that it’s invested in the process of continuous improvement. Moreover, this update gives Arccos consumers reason to believe that more frequent software updates are a reasonable and fair expectation.

Let’s assume that the end goal is an experience where a golfer can show up to the course, play a round and go home while Arccos does all the math. Practically speaking, Strokes Gained by Club might not be the same-sized leap as the development of Arccos Link, but it is a small step closer to allowing the Arccos Caddie ecosystem to “just happen.”

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