There is a lot of cool gear in the golf equipment world that doesn’t always fit neatly into Most Wanted Tests or Buyer’s Guides. You still want to know how it performs. In our We Tried It series, we put gear to the test and let you know if it works as advertised.
What We Tried
Arccos Caddie Link – the add-on device for the Arccos Caddie shot-tracking system that eliminates the need to keep your phone in your pocket while playing golf.
Your Arccos Caddie Link Tester
Tony Covey – MyGolfSpy editor, writer and long-time Arccos user (I once played Mr. Arccos on an internet talk show) who is all too aware that some of you don’t want to keep your phones in your pocket while playing golf. Some others of you don’t even have pockets.
The Arccos Caddie Link Experience
Curious to see if Arccos Caddie Link was worth the 1.5 years it took to take it from vaporware to tangible product, I charged it, tossed it in my bag and headed off to the course.
From an ease-of-use standpoint, Link couldn’t be simpler. I was fully prepared for one of those taxing “will it, won’t it, pair?” Bluetooth battles. I even got to the course early just in case but there was none of that “fighting with settings” crap. Pressing Link’s single button, it effortlessly paired with my phone. Once that was done, the option to use Link Shot Tracking was waiting for me in the Arccos app.
True story: I got so wrapped up in the simplicity of connecting Link, I forgot to start my round. I figured it out before I hit my
fourth second shot and added my drive manually. Frankly, it’s just as well Arccos didn’t see it. The guys whose house I hit saw enough for everyone.
Breakfast ball. Sadly, all of this is true. I digress.
One click in the app and my phone was out of my pocket forever – except when I put it back in by accident. Force of habit and whatnot.
Arccos Caddie Link is designed to clip to your belt or your pocket. It can also be kept in your pocket, which is what I planned to do until I read the part in the manual about getting the best results when Link’s microphone was left unobstructed. Logically, Link in the pocket should work every bit as well as your phone in your pocket. I’m hoping for better so I decided to clip it to my belt.
Some of you kids may not remember this but back before we all had a library of music on our phones, Apple and others (still can’t believe Zune never took off) sold stand-alone MP3 players. Napster bad! Anyway, raise your hand if you owned an iPod shuffle. It’s a good point of reference for the physical size of the Link. The larger point is that having Link clipped to my belt it’s way less obtrusive to me than wearing a watch.
Arccos Caddie Link – Burning Questions
With the ease-of-use and comfort and convenience concerns behind me, there were three pressing questions to answer over the course of a round of golf:
- Does Arccos Caddie Link work?
- Does Arccos Caddie Link work better than the phone?
- What else can Arccos Caddie Link do?
First, yeah, it works. There’s really nothing you need to mess with during your round. If your phone is nearby (I kept mine in the console of my pushcart), you can double-check that things are working or make small edits to your round. In terms of working as well as the phone, Link is flawless.
The answer to the second question boils down to a couple of factors. First, there’s the microphone. Since Arccos relies on your phone’s microphone to detect shots, it follows that removing as many impediments to the success of that microphone (whatever else might be in your pocket, the lining if your pocket and your pants – I’m not suggesting you remove your pants) can only help.
Worn on the belt, Arccos didn’t miss any of the types of shots that had proven problematic in the past. Wedge shots from the rough have been a pain point in the past but Link recorded all of them (and I gave it plenty of chances to fail). That’s not to say Arccos will never miss a shot…I’m sure that’s inevitable…but, anecdotally, Link’s shot detection has improved compared to the phone.
Arccos Link – More to Come?
The other benefit of Link isn’t as obvious. For the first time, Arccos is in complete control of a critical piece of hardware that controls the system. The Link device means Arccos is no longer limited by whatever features Apple and Android bundle into their phones. It’s also not limited by whatever features happen to be offered by your watch. As a result, Arccos Link has the potential to do whatever Arccos wants it to do (within reason, of course).
With the initial release, you can mark the position of the pin with a single-click of Link’s button (powering on and off requires a press and hold). That functionality worked effortlessly and flawlessly. While it’s far from a given, it’s easy to foresee an upgrade that adds double-click to add a putt, triple-click to order a breakfast sandwich (that’s my buddy’s code for three Miller Lites) at the turn or allow users to customize an assortment of click functions. Point being, what Arccos Caddie Link does today doesn’t tap into the full potential of what it might do in the future. Emphasis on might. I’m certainly not making any promises. I mean, the last time Arccos said something was coming, it took 18 months.
Arccos solves both the phone in the pocket and the “my pants/skirt/skort don’t have pockets” problem without requiring you to throw money at an Apple watch. It works simply, flawlessly and as advertised. Of course, you have to throw money ($99) at Link and yeah, that sucks a little. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. At some point, it seems logical we’ll see it bundled with sensors. The bottom line is that Arccos Caddie Link removes the biggest complaint about the Arccos system and it does it simply and without intrusion. That’s a win in my book.
Arccos Caddie Link is available for pre-order now.
It is expected to ship in September.