Pros: All of the capabilities of a fitness-centric wearable, combined with on-course GPS functionality and full statistical analysis of your golf game, which includes comprehensive strokes-gained stats.

Cons: Practice swings often get detected as strokes, while gimmies don’t get detected, which makes for mid- and post-round editing.

Who’s it for? Health-conscious golfers who are looking to improve themselves and their golf game. Also, golfers interested in strokes-gained stats will be smitten.

The Review

  • Price: $199.99
  • Sizes: Small, Medium, Large (Find your size here)
  • Compatible with: Windows phone 8.1 or later, iOS 7.1 or later (iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, 5s, 6 and 6 plus) and many Android 4.3-5.0 phones with Bluetooth

The next time you see someone running or training, look down at their wrist. Chances are they’re wearing a smart band that’s tracking steps, speed, heart rate and calories burned, among other things. There’s no denying that advances in wearable technology can provide users with the feedback and motivation to reach certain goals.

MicrosoftBand

The question is, why isn’t there a way to use that same fitness-centric technology, but add in GPS and stat-tracking capabilities specific to golfers? TaylorMade’s myRoundPro and Microsoft’s Band — Microsoft’s version of a Fitbit — have teamed up and answered that question.

Last month, TaylorMade and Microsoft announced a partnership that allows Microsoft’s Band to optimize TaylorMade’s standalone myRoundPro, its new fully comprehensive statistical analysis program.

By wearing the band on your wrist during a round of golf, you’ll be able to count steps, calories and heart rate while also keeping score, getting GPS yardages and gathering stats.

How it works

Before each round:

  1. Download the course from the 18,000+ course-database currently available on the Microsoft Band app, including courses in the U.S. and Canada.
  2. Choose your tee box.
  3. Take a full-speed practice swing on the first tee to calibrate.
  4. Play golf and let the rest happen.

 

Microsoft-Band-630x472
These three “tiles” give you access to fitness stats (left), golf (middle) and emails

Inside Microsoft’s golf tile, which is a setting that’s available on all Microsoft Bands, GPS-tracking provides yardages to the front, back and middle of each green. Also, the Band uses its GPS trackers along with sensors and an algorithm to tell the difference between a practice swing and a golf shot. That means all you have to do is play golf and it keeps your score.

 

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It won’t provide exact yardage to the pin, but it does give front, middle and back

The Band also knows where you take each stroke, which is how it helps gather stats for TaylorMade’s myRoundPro program. The sensors obviously can’t detect gimmies that your playing partners give you, and sometimes fail to detect tap-ins, but you can edit those strokes in during or after the round.

A look at my fitness stats from the Micosoft Band app after one round
My fitness stats from Micosoft’s Band app (1 round).

When you open TaylorMade’s myRoundPro program on your computer, tablet or web browser (there’s no app, yet), your entire round is there: every shot from every hole. While you may have to make edits, like changing a chip from the rough to a bunker shot, or adding in an extra stroke where you left a ball leaning on the edge, it’s all there in a Shotlink-esque display.

TaylorMadeMyroundpro

While you make your post-round edits, you’ll have the option to select what club you hit for each shot during the round. It may take an extra 10-15 minutes, but the additional club data will be worth it for those looking to take a magnifying glass to their game through the bag.

Then, when you finalize the round (make sure it’s all correct first, because once you finalize you CAN’T go back and make edits), you enter a page where a full statistical analysis is displayed: shot dispersion from certain distances, proximity to the hole, Strokes Gained: Driving, Irons, Short and Putting, and the standard fairways, greens and putts per round.

TMroundProStrokes Gained stats — developed by Mark Broadie, professor of business at Columbia Business School — have gained attention in the golf world because they calculate how good or bad a golfer’s performance is on each shot compared to an average. Hit an above average shot from a fairway bunker and make birdie? You will gain ground on the average. Make a long putt? That’s close to a full stroke gained. Left a ball in the bunker and made double bogey? You’ll lose ground on the average.

Related: Learn more about Strokes Gained here.

TaylorMade enlisted the expert services of Broadie when developing the myRoundPro analytics program, which compares your shots to averages pulled from millions of shots hit by amateurs and professional golfers.

In order to determine what “average” you want to compare your game against, myRoundPro asks you to select your handicap. Therefore, if you select 10-handicap, the analytics platform will compare your driving, approach, short and putting games against other 10-handicappers.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 10.49.18 AM

TaylorMade’s myRoundPro also provides comprehensive graphics showing distance and dispersion throughout your previous rounds.

myRoundProStats

The analytics system allowed me to see what areas of my game needed improvement, and what patterns I have from different distances and areas on the course.

HeartRateBand

My favorite part of this entire system, however, is the heart rate monitor that monitors hole-by-hole heart rate. During my round, I had two emotional peaks on Nos. 8 and 18. On No. 8, I hit my shot of the day — a 3 wood to 15 feet for eagle from 270 yards — and had a side bet with my playing partner on 18 (which I lost).

It’s valuable for competitive golfers to see how their heart rate fluctuates throughout the round. Do you get first-tee jitters? Do you play better when your emotions are high, low or average? It’s eye-opening stuff.

Looking forward

As myRoundPro progresses, you’ll be able to pair the analysis with a coaching feature, which TaylorMade says is in the works. Look out for future improvements and expansions, but even for right now, it’s worth the small price of admission.

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Andrew Tursky is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team while earning a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

16 COMMENTS

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  1. e product on the hole could be very good, yes you have to keep an eye on it that its registered next hole and check it has recorded your putts, but I can live with this.

    The thing I can’t live with is the awfulness of the Taylormade site, I have tried to enter 4 full rounds, and only succeeded with the first. The issues being –

    *After hole 11 it stops remembering the clubs I enter for each shot, you do a hole move on, but when looking back its lost the information. Holes 1-11 remains though. This has happened on 3 rounds out of 5

    *The issue that I have just come up against, says that the site is too busy to process the hole, yet it is only on holes 7 and 14, all other hoes are editable and working, and allowing me to save all clubs.

    *Taylormade have not responded to 3 separate support tickets, placed over the last 3 weeks.

    I cannot recommend this as it has serious flaws. The band I like, the Taylormade site, I could do better my self

  2. Well I’ve had the Microsoft Band 2 for a couple of weeks and here is my review on the Golf app.
    Downloading the courses is a pain because you can only have 1 course on the band at any one time. Once you download the course and use the band to compile statistics of your round, I found the experience to be not ready for prime time. First off the course info is not accurate, 2nd between 50/75% of shots are either missed or recorded wrong (example par 4 drive, pitching wedge and 2 putts would typically record as a birdie, or instead of 2 putts your first putt would be from the green and then your next shot would somehow be from the rough). When you go to myround.com to record your round, you have to manually fix shots on every hole in order to get accurate stats. Even then you are basically guessing at the yardages.

    I called Microsoft today and sent back my Band for a refund. My advise don’t buy the band if you are looking for it to compile your golf stats. If you want to record your steps, sleep, heart rate then its great. However I can do all of that with my iPhone.

  3. Hi Andrew,

    I am currently working with a company that is building a new product that helps golfers improve and analyze their golf swing, taking a multi-sensor approach to the swing analyzers products on the market. The product will launch in 3 months. Would you like us to get in touch with you to test the product? If so, please send me your email to jayme@koocreate.com.

    Many Thanks,

    Jayme Koo

  4. When keeping a true handicap, there’s no such thing as a “gimme” so personally I think it should not be included in the cons of the device. I’ve missed 1ft putts before and I play to a single digit handicap. Only cheating yourself with not finishing your putts.

  5. Andrew, is it necessary to have the Microsoft Band in order to use myRoundPro? I’m very interested in the strokes gained statistics, but I can’t get that through Game Golf right now. Is there a way to input data manually?

    • Yes, you can manually input your round at myRoundPro.com, but it’s recommended to use in conjunction with the Microsoft Band in order to optimize your data. Thanks!

      • You’re right they do. But I think by putting it on there it can give the impression that it’s acceptable for a round of golf to take 5 hrs. Bottom line – it’s not. Golf is dying and slow play is a major factor. I’m not surprised his heart rate stopped on 15 Tre. I think mine would if I had been out there that long.

  6. I have done some research on fitness trackers combined with golf, and this is the most promising and probably the best. However, Microsoft is launching Band 2 in Oct, so will wait until then before pulling the plug.

  7. Should we worry that your heart stopped beating on 15? I am no doctor, but you should have that checked out.

    Pretty cool technology. I am sure if I wore that my heart rate would spike on 9 and 18 (uphill holes).

  8. There was someone who, while discussing the Garmin S6, said that he wasn’t going to be buying a golf specific watch at the moment; that technological advancements will, very soon, result in a watch app for any of the smart watches that will be all that and a bag of chips. This looks like another step in that evolution.

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