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.
- 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.
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:
- Download the course from the 18,000+ course-database currently available on the Microsoft Band app, including courses in the U.S. and Canada.
- Choose your tee box.
- Take a full-speed practice swing on the first tee to calibrate.
- Play golf and let the rest happen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Strokes 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.
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.
TaylorMade’s myRoundPro also provides comprehensive graphics showing distance and dispersion throughout your previous rounds.
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.
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.
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.