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Review: Microsoft Band and TaylorMade’s myRoundPro

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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.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.myroundpro.com/” oemtext=”Learn more from TaylorMade” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00P2S2M88/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00P2S2M88&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=TNU4TDU46N2VXL2D”]

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned 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

16 Comments

  1. Tom

    Feb 6, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    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. Jeff

    Nov 13, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    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. Jeff

    Oct 15, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I just pre-ordered the Microsoft Band 2 and created a MyRoundPro account. It ships on October 30.

  4. Jayme Johnson

    Oct 7, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    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

  5. adam

    Sep 29, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    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.

  6. TR1PTIK

    Sep 25, 2015 at 10:09 am

    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?

    • Andrew Tursky

      Sep 28, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      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!

  7. Nathan

    Sep 25, 2015 at 3:31 am

    Hurry Up and bring it to Australia Already

  8. Philip

    Sep 24, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Cool – technology is almost here, and at a reasonable price. Wonder if TaylorMade will end up charging for the app down the road.

  9. Roddy

    Sep 24, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    No round should ever take 5 hours and 7 mins. Ever.

    • Philip

      Sep 24, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      But sometimes they do … beyond your control. Myself, I just enjoy the company and being outdoors.

      • Roddy

        Sep 26, 2015 at 3:49 am

        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.

  10. Robeli

    Sep 24, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    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.

    • Chris Nickel

      Sep 27, 2015 at 11:39 pm

      Had this same question…Is there any reason not to wait for the 2nd generation of the band?

  11. Tre

    Sep 24, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    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).

  12. Don

    Sep 24, 2015 at 10:34 am

    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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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Putting Perfecter

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Putting can be one of the most frustrating parts of the game, it mystifies scratch golfers as much as high handicaps and can make anybody tremble over a three-footers. It’s one of the biggest factors in scoring, especially for the club-level player, but it’s often one of the last things people actually work on. Let’s be honest, it’s a lot of fun to pound drivers on the range, am I right?

But if you are seriously looking for a simple tool to help get you into the proper address position, the Putting Perfecter is a great one to start with.

The beauty of the device is in its simplicity. Fitting under your arms and across your midsection, it “locks” the player into the proper position to create a pendulum putting stroke. After giving it a shot and hitting putts for just a few minutes, then going back to putting without it made me feel like I was much more connected.

Don’t think it’s just for putting though.

Funny story, when I first took it out to work on my putting, I used it for about 30 minutes and then moved onto my chipping. After a few trips around the putting green I tried chipping with the Putting Perfecter in the same position and “WOW” same connected feeling was produced—it was perfect for working on low-flying “runners.” I was excited to tell my friend about it, until I went home and realized they actually advertise it to help with that too. Guess I’m not as clever as I thought…

No matter how you use it, the Putting Perfecter is a simple and effective training tool that can be carried in a bag to be used before or after a round, takes NO time to set up (a big plus), and is light—so you don’t feel like its dragging you down if you actually keep it in your bag. Since it’s a putting tool, you can even use it indoors very easily. If you are someone that struggles with consistent address position on putts or disconnecting when chipping, I believe the Putting Perfecter is a great tool to try.

For more information check out the Putting Perfecter website.

 

 

 

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Uther Supply golf towels

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Product: Uther Supply golf towels

Pitch: Via Uther: “Uther cart towels use the highest quality material and construction which have been tested to perform season after season…Uther’s unique blend of moisturize wicking, soft microfiber is 3x more absorbent than cotton and 5x more durable…Waffle pattern to easily remove even the most stubborn dirt in club grooves and golf ball dimples…Uther is the creator of the fashionable golf towel. Features unique sublimated prints and designs that make a fun accessory for both men and women golf bags.”

Our take on Uther Supply golf towels

Most golfers have a “logo” towel hanging on their bag today. Typically you’ll see the name of a course the golfer has visited, or an OEM name. Uther Supply towels, however, are different. Uther (pronounced “other”) Supply Founder Dan Erdman described his inspiration for this unique line of golf towels in an interview with GolfWRX a few years back:

“When you work in the back shop and storage facility, you handle a lot of golf bags. I just noticed rows and rows of bags that all look the same and I thought it made a lot of sense to inject some personality into it. You know, people go crazy for how all the pros personalize their wedges and their bags. They buy towels and bag tags from courses like TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach to personalize their stuff, but in the end it all kind of blends together… I thought we could really add something to the marketplace.”

They have certainly succeeded in creating a new type of towel in the marketplace. We used them over several rounds of golf, in various conditions to put them to the test.

Meant to be shown off, Uther golf towel designs are creative and clever, with some of the most popular being the “Happy Gilmore inspired” Cart Towel and “90s coffee cup” Tour Towel. There of course, are many others to choose from.

Of course, let’s not forget that the primary function of a towel is to clean your golf equipment. That might seem easy but we at WRX have ordered some custom towels from other manufacturers in the past and were disappointed in the performance. Uther’s towels, however, succeed in both form and function. They’re stylish, but they also are an excellent functional towel. You’re like to be impressed at how light they are as well. These aren’t bath towels, but rather high-quality microfiber blends that Uther says are 3x more absorbent than cotton.

As far as cons, if we’re nitpicking, you may need to find a larger carabiner clip for some golf bags if you want to hang your towel in a more prominent place. These are made to show off, after all.

Prices range from $28-$35 USD and are available for purchase at uthersupply.com, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy in the US and Golf Town in Canada.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

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Product: Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

Pitch: From Adidas: “Designed for protection from the elements, these golf shoes have enhanced cushioning to return energy on every swing. The shoes feature a spikeless outsole that flexes with your foot and has strategically placed lugs for outstanding grip and balance. An innovative closure system is built for micro-adjustments so you get the exact fit you need.”

Our take on Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

Golf shoes are curious creatures existing in a strange place? No? Finally free of the gravitational pull of traditionalism, shoe styles are finally at a place where form follows function. And while you may pine for the days of saddle shoes aesthetically, your feet (and likely your golf swing) surely do not.

While the shoes are also available in gray/white and black/white colorways, we tested the bolder dark marine variant.

Now, “good” footwear, as we are constantly wont to admit, is highly subjective. As of yet, you can’t test two pairs of kicks on a TrackMan and determine which is superior (rumored featured of TrackMan 5). So leaving aside aesthetics and how you like your shoes to fit, we provide the most valuable information, that is, regarding stability, cushioning, and traction. However, in this case, it’s also worth noting the closure system does allow for a more precise fit (and one that stays in place) than lace-up shoes do.

With respect to comfort, first of all, anything Boost is going to be comfortable, and these shoes are no exception. And whether you refer to the “Forgefiber in the upper features heat-pressed, TPU-coated fibers…stitched in” to the upper (as Adidas does), or merely the sensation that the Forgefiber Boas provide a solid foundation during the swing, the truth is the same: sound, stable here.

A look at the Puremotion outsole showcases some serious spikeless technology that also offers performance on par with the very best in spikeless footwear.

A final word: These shoes are no porous sieve, either, as you might be concerned they could be on first glance. Adidas’ Climastorm technology in the exterior yields a respectable level of water-repellency.

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