The Arccos Caddie system is my favorite golf gadget. I love all of the data it provides, on and off the course. The Caddie app is user-friendly, fluid, and intuitive. Let’s take a deep dive into this product.
The Arccos Caddie system is an AI-powered caddie app and sensor system that allows you to track and monitor a myriad of statistics to help you lower your handicap and shave strokes off of every round. It utilizes GPS positioning and a database of over 40,000 mapped golf courses to provide real-time, accurate distances and club recommendations when playing a round of golf. The sensors screw into the butt of each golf club and are able to track the distance of each shot on the golf course using the phone’s GPS. It’s easy to set up and use, and the stats that it tracks are extremely important for the improving golfer.
Receiving the Product
The Arccos Caddie sensors can be purchased on Amazon, or at www.arccosgolf.com
The box opens up to reveal each sensor screwed into the cardboard. The first thing you’ll notice is that they’re all green except for one that’s black – that’s the putter sensor. It’s important that you don’t put that one on any other club. According to Arccos, that sensor is designed differently to pick up very faint putting strokes. There’s a ‘Quick Start Guide’ included in the box to get you started.
Setting Up and Pairing Sensors
Setting up and pairing your sensors couldn’t be easier. After downloading the Arccos Caddie app and screwing each sensor into each club grip, you’ll be prompted to start pairing the sensors. Pairing the sensors is as simple as tapping ‘start’ on the app, and holding your phone’s camera over each individual sensor. An audible ‘beep’ is made when the sensor is paired. You can then choose what type of club it is, from a massive list of clubs. If the specific club you’re trying to pair isn’t named or listed in the database, you can manually enter the name of it at a later date. You can also name each club if you prefer to have it named something other than what Arccos gives you.
How it Works
This really is a neat piece of tech and it keeps getting better as new features continue to be developed, but here’s the gist: every course is mapped. We haven’t played a course that isn’t mapped, yet. Your phone stays in your front pocket throughout the round. When you swing a club and hit the ball, the sensor on that club acknowledges that as a swing, Arccos ‘hears’ the shot, and your position is marked in the app. As you stop at your ball, the app tells you how far you are from the front, center, and back of the green. When you make your second shot, Arccos marks that location and which club you hit that shot with. Move on to your third shot, so on and so forth, until you reach the green. If you’re in the sand, it knows based on the course mapping. Same thing for the rough. These stats come in handy when looking at the accuracy with each club and determining your handicap by facet.
It’s extremely simple to use and the interface is very user-friendly. After 5 rounds of use and data-gathering, the ‘Caddie’ feature is unlocked, which will then recommend which club you should hit on a given shot after factoring in distance, wind, and elevation. The Caddie feature also lets you preview a hole with the optimal club-selection strategy.
- We haven’t encountered a course that wasn’t mapped, yet. Even courses that offer 3-9’s are mapped with every option of front nine/back nine that you could play. Sometimes a course download is recommended if cell service is poor. Normally I can start that download as I walk to the first tee box and when it’s my time to tee, it’s finished.
- The Arccos interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate. There are some hidden features but getting started is very easy.
- TONS of data – we’ll talk about this later in the post, but Arccos can help you track almost every stat imaginable.
- Very helpful for course strategy – allows you to plot your way on each hole and helps you become a more strategic golfer (if you listen to it)
- Apple Watch functionality. I always golf with my apple watch on my wrist. So being able to pull up the distances to the green with a quick tap on the wrist is VERY helpful. People in the Team Arccos Facebook group talk about using only the watch and leaving the phone in the cart, but I have yet to try that and still play with my phone in my pocket.
- Your phone must stay in your pocket during use. We’re hesitant to even list this as a con, as I have become very accustomed to playing with my phone in my front pocket, regardless of which pants/shorts I’m wearing.
- It takes some time to provide accurate details of club usage, especially if you’re not very consistent with that club or don’t use it a lot. An example of this is my 5 iron (shown later in this article). For a while as I was becoming more comfortable with that club, the distance was very short – Arccos recommended that as my club selection for 140-yard shots. That’s since corrected itself with more use and more consistent shots, but it can be tough if your swing is still coming together and you’re figuring out club distances, or you’re going through a period of swing improvement and your distances are changing.
- Every now and again it will miss some shots or add an extra shot. I’d say it happens once every 2-3 rounds, so not a huge deal, but it does happen from time to time.
To get the round started, pull up the Arccos Caddie app. Normally, the course you’re playing is the first one that’s suggested, but sometimes (especially if a property has 3-9’s), you may have to search for it.
During play, the user interface is very clean and easy to navigate. If you’re on the tee box, a zoomed-out satellite image of the hole is there along with wind and elevation notes.
I always tap on the screen and use the ‘rangefinder’ function to check the distance to any hazards from the tee, and also to plot the optimal strategy for the hole. This is a moving bullseye that tells you the distance to where you’re pointed and the distance from there to the green. Very handy for planning the best play on that hole. You can also tap ‘ask caddie’ and Arccos will give you a recommendation, based on data, for what the best club selection is for that hole. Note: The below screenshot was taken off the course, which is why the distance to the pin is showing 2881 yds.
Once you’re at your second shot (or tee shot on a par 3), pulling up the app yields 3 big numbers denoting the distance to the front, center, and back of the green, along with which club Arccos recommends you hit for that shot. The white number is the actual distance and the green number represents a ‘plays like’ distance that factors elements like wind and elevation. I’ve found the ‘plays like’ distances to be fairly accurate, except in windy conditions, because the wind is so unpredictable and changes so quickly. You can tap the screen to toggle between that view and the satellite view of the hole.
There is also a feature that allows you to set the pin placement when you’re on the green or in the fairway. Even if you’re not exactly sure where the pin is, moving it to the general quadrant of the green can yield higher accuracy than just shooting for the middle of the green. However, I mostly still shoot for the middle of the green most of the time, regardless of the pin position. Note: the following screenshot was taken off the golf course – hence why the distance is showing over 1000 yards.
Other Cool Features
- If someone has played a course before you that day and marked all the pin positions, that’s uploaded to the Arccos database (maybe in realtime, but very quickly nonetheless) and then displays those pin positions to all others that play the same course that day.
- Smart range – this is helpful to identify gaps in your golf bag and to understand when to hit certain shots. This changes frequently and is very useful to understand each club in your bag. The only thing I found to be lacking is the carry distance of each club. There’s really no way of knowing that with Arccos, but if we had the ability to enter a carry distance and a total distance, that would be a great addition. The more you hit each club consistently, the smaller and more accurate the smart range gets.
- GIR percentage by club is another fun one to view. Available in the app, you can easily see what your GIR % by club is.
For the total data nerd, like me, the Arccos Web Dashboard is the place for you. The dashboard allows you to drill down into each of your handicap facets, each of your clubs, and dissect the info presented. I have a list of stats that I update on a monthly basis to better understand where the bottom 20% of my game is.
I track and update the following stats, month by month:
- Percentage of holes at or over double bogey
- Putts per round
- 3-putt percentage
- GIR percentage
- Average chipping distance from <50 to pin
- Average strokes per par 3
- Average strokes per par 4
- Average strokes for par 5
Arccos has partnered with a few big golf brands to continue their line of smart accessories. Golf clubs are now being sold with Arccos-enabled smart grips (Cobra Connect), and aftermarket grips with Arccos sensors in them can also now be purchased. Most of the smart-grip options require a subscription to the Arccos Caddie service, whereas purchasing the Arccos Caddie Sensors does not require a yearly subscription to Arccos Caddie. However, sometime in early 2020, they will move all Arccos products to a subscritpion-based service. I hope those of us who bought the sensors will be grandfathered into the non-subscription service!
The next big product for Arccos is the ‘Link’. This small device resembles an old pager or beeper, and clips to the golfer’s belt. It has GPS built-in and negates the need for the phone to stay in the front pocket while golfing. According to Arccos’ statements earlier this year, getting an accurate GPS into such a small device is proving to be challenging. They’ve delayed the Link’s release twice now. It was originally slated for the Summer of 2019, then pushed back to September 2019, and is now slated for release in early 2020. This device will also provide an easier way to mark the pin position on the greens. Currently, you have the option from the app to ‘mark flag at current location’ when you’re on the green. However, that takes time and relies on the phone’s GPS to be accurate, which can prove challenging. The Link will have a button that can be pressed to instantly mark the location of the pin.
Arccos has been a tremendous asset to me and my golf improvement. Having confidence in each club distance, knowing exactly how far away from hazards and the green you are, and having an optimal course strategy provided to you by the ‘Caddie” have all impacted my game in a positive manner. Of all the gadgets, clubs, and tools available to golfers, the Arccos Caddie has proved to be a phenomenal investment and together with lots of deliberate practice, has dramatically improved my game over the last year. Instead of getting a new golf club, consider getting this system first. You’ll be enlightened and enthralled with how much data is available and how it helps you improve! At the time of publishing this article, the Arccos Caddie system is on-sale for under $200, but the price is normally around $250 for the sensors. Smart grips start at $15.