Looks like a lot of you are just skipping to the list, so I moved it above the guide. Scroll down a bit for the full breakdown.
After considering every shot tracker on the market, the best golf stat tracker list is:
- Arccos On-Course Golf Stats Tracking System – Best Overall Stat Tracker
- Game Golf Digital Shot Tracking System – Runner Up Stat Tracker
Best Golf Stat Tracker
The Arccos system is a really well-designed tracking system used to analyze your game to find weaknesses you may not have known of. It uses tags attached to the grip end of your club to collect data on your shots without interfering with your game. The tags have a sleek design to fit flush on your club grips which shows they pay attention to detail.
When you swing, the tag sends your shot data to your phone which analyzes it and presents detailed analytics about your game.
The app interface is really intuitive and you can easily use it to find areas to work on your game. Our favorite feature is the shot-type handicaps. It really showed how weak my approach game was compared to the rest of my game. I knew right away how to spend my time at the range.
Unlike the Game Golf system (our runner up), you don’t have to wear a device on your belt because Arccos tags sense your shots automatically. This means you don’t have to change your pre-shot routine at all. The scoring is very accurate and you won’t need to use a separate scorecard or app to keep score.
- Automatic scoring and shot tracking using impact detection (no tapping)
- Live shot editing via phone app
- Bluetooth connection to iPhone or Android
- Fairways hit %, plus % missed left and right
- Club distances – average, standard deviation & longest
- Handicap index
- Club-specific handicaps (e.g. driving, approach, chipping, sand, putting)
- Phone needs to be in your pocket or very close by when you play. The Game Golf system has a device you wear on your belt which may work better for you if you prefer empty pockets.
- Occasionally misses a shot recorded (punch shots from thick rough for me). Live round editing lets you add it manually.
- Tags can get loose and are expensive to replace. Check them every few rounds to make sure they’re secure.
- Only 14 tags included vs 18 tags in the Game Golf system
Arccos comes in a nice box with the tags ready to go.
The tags easily unscrew from the box and you can immediately start putting them on your clubs. They fit snugly and flush on your grip so you don’t really notice that they’re there. Remove the protective stickers, of course. The tags are marked for the intended club (e.g. 60 wedge, Driver).
Next, you’ll download the app on your smartphone to start pairing the sensors with your clubs. You use your camera to link the clubs to the app, one at a time.
The Arccos system is pretty intuitive. When you arrive at the course, you use the app to select the course and tees you’ll be playing from. The app uses satellite images of the course for you to see the layout of each hole and your shots overlaid on it.
You can also use it to plan your shots by tapping potential target areas. It will show you the estimated distance from your location to the selected target. It’s not quite as accurate as a laser rangefinder, but helpful when you don’t have a clear line of sight to your target, such as sharp dogleg turns.
The sensors are inactive when stored upside down in your bag in order to save battery, so when you take the club out of your bag, it turns on and talks with the mobile app. Since the sensor effectively extends the length of your grip, you’ll have a feeling of choking down on the club. It took me 2 range sessions with the sensors to get used to it.
I was initially worried that Arccos would disrupt my preshot routine that inludes 2-3 practice swings. With the competitor, Game Golf, you have to tap the sensor to the separate tracking device. Arccos captures data on all your swings but only counts the last one from your GPS location. This allows the system to work without an extra device, which is nice. You may have to manually change a shot or two per round if you flub a chip shot or have trouble getting out of the sand.
In between shots, the app by default show you your current distance to front, middle, and back of the green. I like this because it’s usually the information I’m looking for when I open the app, so it’s a nice touch to have smart defaults.
Once you’re on the green, the system will pick up data using the putter sensor which seems to be calibrated pretty well considering how hard it must be to sense some short putts. I rarely go through a round where I don’t need to edit my putts, however. I’m sure this will improve over time but my guess it’s just really hard to sense tap-ins.
- Averages and personal bests
- Frequency of birdie, par, bogeys, etc.
- Driving Distance –
- “Smart Distance” – the Arccos version of an average distance which you can plan around
- “Smart Range” – A typical range of distances which excludes a few of your longest and shortest
- Longest Drive
- % Hit
- % Right and Left
- Greens in Regulation
- GIR %
- First putt distance on greens hit in regulation (**this is my favorite metric for approach game**)
- Distance to Pin on All Approaches
- Chip & Down
- Avg distance to pin
- Sand & Down
- Avg distance to pin
- Avg Putts
- Avg Putts per GIR
- One Putts / Two Putts / Three Putts
The Arccos app will also give you stats by club which can help you decide between clubs in certain situations. You’ll really find out which is your 175yd club which might surprise you!
Overall the Arccos system is worth a buy. The system works very well, has very few drawbacks and the app is really useful to help you make decisions on the course. After trying both Arccos and Game Golf, I decided to keep the Arccos system in my bag. Keeping stats on scorecards simply feels like a caveman thing now.
Runner Up Golf Stat Tracker
Game Golf is an easy-to-use shot tracking system with a clip-on GPS device to store your shot information and a set of tags that attach to each of your clubs. Before you take your shot, you tap the tag to the device clipped to your belt which records that you used the club.
The Game Golf Live tracking system comes with a set of “Smart Tags” and a small computer to collect loads of data on each of your shots. You install a small tag to the butt end of each of your clubs and wear the small computer on your belt. To use it, you tap the tag to the computer right before your shot, which tells the device to track your shot.
The tag sends GPS and shot data to the computer throughout your round which allows you to keep score, track key stats like distances, Greens in Regulation, Fairways Hit, putts and many more.
- Fairways hit
- Greens in Regulation
- Scrambling %
- Distances for each club (avg and range)
There’s also a load of social features where you can play games with others, including challenges such as number of pars. The Game Golf team has been adding features since its initial release, including games you can play against your friends who play different courses. This was huge for Kyle and I since we live in different states.
The Game Golf system also comes with a free mobile app which give you the ability to edit your shots if its not recorded correctly, check your stats on the fly and update your scores. It shows your round overlaid on a map of the course with each shot illustrated just like on TV. You can also use the software play with your friends.
Golf game tracking devices are a brand new category of golf gadgets and the Live version is the second generation which adds some cool new features and fixes some flaws from the original.
I’m a sucker for good packaging, and this product delivers on it.
-18 Smart Tags
-Game Your Golf computer
-Mini USB cord for charging and uploads
The Game Golf system comes with 18 tags to attach to your clubs. This leaves you with a few extras that you can use in case one breaks or if you rotate clubs often.
They’re constructed with a hard rubber so that they’re durable when putting your club back into your bag. I found it very easy to install on each of my clubs. The endcap of the tags are pretty thin, especially compared to the tags from Game Golf’s competitor, Arccos. This thinness keeps your club from feeling like it’s longer in your hands (Arccos tags make your club seem 1/2″ longer). Each tag is labeled for an intended club, so you can keep tabs on which tag should go on each club.
The tracking device is smaller than I expected and fits in the palm of my hand. I pictured it being around the size of an older iphone, so it was nice to see it being even smaller.
Setting it Up
The device does not come charged, so I plugged it in to charge while I set up my tags. Meanwhile, I installed each tag to my clubs. They have a screw-shaped end which fits snugly into the hole at the end of your club grip. It’s a very smart design to capitalize on the existing hole in grips (used to let air through when installing). Without this hole, you’d have to glue or have some sort of clasp that would probably interfere with your swing.
While it’s charging, head to the website to register and follow the steps to get started. You can enter details on each of your clubs like manufacturer if you want, otherwise you can leave blank.
Next up, you can add a profile photo for playing with your buddies. Follow the prompts to finish installing the software. Open it up to log in and let the drivers update.
Once you get to the course, turn it on while you’re warming up so it can prepare the course data. It vibrates and blinks when ready. At the tee, you’ll just grab your driver and tap the tag to the device on your belt and it will let you know that it’s ready. You then have 60 seconds to complete your swing.
Now, in the old version of Game Golf, you couldn’t really track your progress live. Now you can review your typical club distances, shot dispersion, and get rangefinder-like distances from the app while you’re playing. This is critical for picking the right club based on your actual habits. We all tend to take our best shots and say “it’s my 185 yard club” even though only 15-20% of shots actually go that distance. It’s really a gut-check to keep you making good decisions.
You can also edit your round while you’re playing in case the system misses a shot (it can happen once in a while). You can use a phone, tablet or smart watch to manage your round.
If you’ve watched a golf tournament in the past few years, you’ve definitely heard the term “strokes gained”. What this means is whether your game it better or worse than the rest of golfers. If you have 1 stroke gained putting, it means that you’re putting 1 stroke better than other golfers on the same courses. This metric was developed by Mark Broadie, who released a really interesting book on it. You can use it to identify what parts of your game are weak compared to scratch golfers so that you can focus your training. The categories tracked are Tee, Approach, Short Game, and Putting.
The app includes a rangefinder feature which shows you your distances to the front, middle and back of the green. Many people either use a precise, laser rangefinder, while others use an app. The Game Golf system effectively replaces the scorekeeping and GPS apps you might normally use. It’s nice to not have to switch back and forth throughout your round so you can keep pace.
Stats and Insights
What I like most about the Game Golf system is how it tells me my habits. Typical driver of 224 and 28% to the right tells me I need to correct accuracy and then focus on adding distance. It shows a shot distribution that you can use in your shot alignment to try and give yourself a good chance at hitting your target.
Another cool aspect of the Game Golf system is the ability to play against your friends. You don’t even have to be in the same state or play at the same time to compare your game to friends. You could probably use it to manage some small golf outings, too, although I haven’t tried.
So what are the flaws in the 2nd generation Game Golf? Not many.
1) I’d love for them to figure out how to use radar to detect he shots, rather than using the starting spot of your next shot as the endpoint of your previous shot. This would help improve the shot shapes that it shows.
2) It would be great if they added more swing details to the tracking system with a toggle to hide them during a round or while practicing. Swing analyzers show you path, face angle, tempo and other data that you can use to fix your swing. It would be helpful to have that data collected during a live round instead of just at the range so you can figure out what’s really causing mishits. It can be dangerous to start diagnosing faults on the course but that doesn’t mean we should avoid it completely. I’d rather be able to look at what happened on a specific shot so I can use one of my swing feels to correct the problem.
3) The main competitor to Game Golf is Arccos which has a system that doesn’t have the mini computer to collect the data – it uses your smartphone. You may forget to register a few shots since you need to build your preshot routine around tapping your club to Game Golf, so Arccos has an advantage in automatically sensing your swing. Game Golf tries to achieve this but I think Arcccos does a better job.
Overall the Game GOlf system is a really fun, helpful and affordable stat tracking system that any golfer would be happy with.
History of Trackers
Technology is amazing.
Not too long ago, golfers who wanted an in-depth analysis of their golf swing had to travel far and wide to find an instructor with access to the technology with the capability to measure all of the elements of the swing. These machines cost tens of thousands of dollars and the early versions were barely functional enough to be useful.
In the past decade, we’ve shrunk supercomputers to the size of a fingenail and cut costs almost as dramatically. Now we can wear devices to montitor our physical activity, heart rate, call for help and remind us when it’s time to walk around.
These same advances finally made their way into the golf world, finally priced within reach of the average golfer. It’s now really cheap to manufacture small devices that can attach to a club and take measurements of what happens during the golf swing. The first generation of these gadgets had some kinks and fortunately, many manufacturers have responded by making them more accurate, durable and useful than ever before.
We rounded up all the swing analyzers in the market in 2016 and put them through our own rigorous tests to determine the best golf swing analyzers of 2016
These analyzers are used on the course to help identify areas of your game that you’re weak in. Are you strong from 180 yards but less accurate from 150 and in? These gadgets will tell you.
- Multiple tags which plug into the butt of each your club grip
- A device that collects the data sent by each tag
- An app for your phone or tablet which visualizes your data
- Handicap calculators
- Recommendations for improvement based on your habits
- Your shot shape animations overlaid on satellite images
- Social features – compeitions, profiles, interactivity
Trackers vs Apps
Stat Trackers are designed to replace scorekeeping apps on smartphones and provide more details about the clubs and shots you take. While an app can track shots with each of your club, they can’t measure your swing directly, leaving you in the dark. Trackers are designed to be less obtrusive than apps by allowing you to play a normal round without doing much different (since the dongles are already attached). Apps need you to manually enter shot-by-shot details which can interrupt the flow of your game and potentially cause you to think too much on the course.
The latest stat tracking models can replace using a paper scorecard to not only keep your score but shot details.
If you’ve ever tried to keep track of your in-round stats, such as putts, penalty strokes, fairways hit or greens in regulation, only to leave your scorecard crumpled in your bag – a swing analyzer is exactly what you need.
By keeping track of your habits across all your rounds in a season can help you find the best ways to shave the most strokes off your game.
How you’ll improve
Let’s use an example: You may think your short game is in good shape with high percentage of greens in regulation and also think your putting is terrible with 30 putts per round. But if the average distance of your first putt is over 30 feet, you’re statistically more likely to 3-putt regardless of how good your putting game is. The answer is not to spend hallf your summer working on lag putts – it’s your short game is where you need to improve. Getting your first putt down to around 10 feet [get stat from Broadie book and cite] is the biggest bang for your practice buck. From a time-saved standpoint, this is where a swing anlayzer really shines and if you consider your practice time valuable it pays for itself.