It’s damn near 2019. If you’re not using some sort of advanced stat/shot tracking system, you’re doing it wrong. At the very least, you’re doing your game a disservice. You can be sure that PGA Tour Pros and their coaches are heavily leveraging Shotlink data to identify weaknesses in their games. Claude Harmon III asks of all his students to use Arccos because the system, along with the accessory Coaching Portal, allows him (and other instructors) to see what the golfer is doing outside the typical coaching environment.
Even without professional help, Arccos will help average golfers identify weaknesses in their games. Take me, for example. I’ve got 2+ years of Arccos data that all but proves that I couldn’t find a green with Magellan on my bag. At least I know what to work on.
The point is that this is the era of big data, and all that big data can help you shoot lower scores. According to Arccos, in 2017, Arccos users improved their handicap by an average of 3.55 strokes. Context; that’s 46.7x faster than the average golfer with a USGA handicap. This year, improvement increased to an average of 3.79 strokes. Perhaps that’s a statistical anomaly, or perhaps it’s evidence that not only do shot tracking systems work, they’re getting better.
It’s within that spirit of getting better that Arccos has rolled out version 3.2 of its Arccos Caddie (previously known as Arccos 360) platform. The update, which on the surface may not appear all that significant, takes a major step in addressing one of the last remaining weaknesses of the system. That opens the door to even greater accuracy, and with that, the potential for users to have even greater insight into their games.
Dude, Where’s my Flag?
In my opinion, the greatest weakness in the Arccos system is that it doesn’t always know where the flag is. The software has a damn good algorithm that allows it to make a better than well-educated guess, but from time to time, the estimates weren’t exactly spot-on. Consequently, it was on the user to position the flag, often after the fact, and just as often without much precision. That had a trickle-down effect in Arccos’ stats.
Vague flag locations mean imprecise first putt distances. If you don’t know the first putt distance, you don’t really know how good (or bad) your approach shot was. As I said, the algorithms are good, but knowing exactly where the flag is, well that’s just better.
To that end, Arccos has introduced Crowd-sourced hole locations. The new feature allows any golfer using Arccos Caddie to update the hole location before, during, or after the round. A degree of manual intervention is still required, but when one golfer does it, it sets the location for every Arccos user who plays the course that day.
That functionality is, to no small degree, made possible by the newly enhanced flag editing. It perhaps sounds fancier than it is. In practice, it’s a better zoom feature. The larger green view allows for more precise pin setting, provides putt distances, and makes it easier to add and edit putts.
Again, that trickles down. More accurate flag locations make for more accurate putting stats, which make for more accurate approach stats.
For iPhone users, Arccos Caddie now offers a Siri Shortcut feature. Siri can now take some of the manual overhead out of using the Arccos system. As you begin using the updated app and encounter different on-course scenarios, you’ll be prompted to add Siri Shortcuts. Arccos will make suggestions, but the actual phrasing is entirely up to you. So, while Arccos will suggest “add a duff” to cover those instances where you chunk a shot; if you prefer a more direct approach, “Hey Siri, I suck” should work just fine.
Other examples include recommend club (based on Caddie info), add a missed drive, and – here it is again – “Hey Siri, mark a hole location”.
The value of all of this ultimately depends on how smoothly it works on the course, but in theory, what Arccos is giving us is a straightforward method for marking the flag as precisely as GPS allows for. This is definitely a big deal.
More Good Things to Come
By the calendar, Arccos 3.2 is arriving just a few weeks early, but the small but significant improvements are the first in what’s shaping up to be a big 2019 for the platform. At least one other OEM will join Cobra in offering an Arccos option with its club line, more robust Apple watch functionality is in the pipeline, as is an accessory device that will eliminate the need to keep your phone in your pocket, though as I’ve said before, is an overblown problem. It’s the kind of thing you get used to quickly and don’t even notice after a few rounds.
Arccos 3.2 for iPhone is available now (mine auto-updated yesterday), and we anticipate several more noteworthy enhancements to the system in the coming months.