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Game Golf’s wearable device technology has the golf community buzzing

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Active Mind Technology, the Silicon Valley start-up behind the much-talked about product called Game Golf, has a substantial problem on their hands. Orders for the device are coming in at a pace that exceeds the company’s ability to ship them out.

Game Golf ($249) was arguably the most intriguing product introduced at the recently concluded PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. It’s not an easy feat to trump equipment manufacturers showcasing the latest sticks and balls, but Game Golf managed to rise above the substantial clatter of noise echoing from one end of the pavilion to the other with the bold promise of revolutionizing how golfers play, compete, socialize and improve their game.

The technology itself is surprisingly simple. A lightweight device sensor clips onto a player’s belt and interacts with little red tags that attach to the butt end of the grip for every club in your bag. When you are ready to play your shot, you touch the tag to the sensor on the belt and make your swing. The device will accurately record the distance and direction that the ball flies, tracking your performance from tee to green.

Shot data is transmitted from the device to your computer and is accessible on Game Golf’s website when you log into your account. Your dashboard will list your previously posted rounds allowing you to adjust your score if necessary (as in the case of adding a penalty shot) and determine whether you wish to share your round with your friends within the Game Golf community.

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Although the ability to electronically track your score is becoming increasingly commonplace, you’d be wrong to assume that Game Golf is just another in a long line of derivative applications that offer little more than basic stat-keeping.

Unlike existing GPS devices or software applications designed for smart phones that require substantial input from the user, either during a round of golf or afterwards, the Game Golf device is designed to stay out of your way as much as possible while you play so that your focus remains on the shot at hand, as opposed to fumbling around with your phone between holes or scribbling copious notes on your scorecard.

“It collects your round of golf seamlessly,” says John McGuire, CEO of Active Mind Technology. “When I tee off it starts collecting what clubs I’m using and the distances of my clubs. This is the first device that captures that type of data without the golfer having to take out his phone and enter data into an app.”

Active Mind Technology began developing the concept of Game Golf six years ago in Ireland, but it was McGuire’s decision to move the company to San Francisco two years ago to lead with a design-first approach that really propelled the project forward. The company partnered with Fuseproject and famed Swiss designer Yves Behar, who was behind iconic product designs such as the One Laptop per Child computer and Jawbone wireless device to come up with what McGuire affectionately describes as an Apple-like consumer experience.

McGuire’s company focused on engineering the technology while Fuseproject applied their award-winning skills to design the device, the packaging and the user experience. McGuire says working with a firm that didn’t have an inherent knowledge of the golfing industry was a conscious decision.

“They’re outside the box most people are in and came up with something that hasn’t been shown before,” he says. “That’s how breakthrough innovation happens.”

What the joint partnership came up with is a slick package, not just in terms of the actual device (which is substantially cool in it’s own right), but with the online media hub that displays your best round to date, your scoring average, your putts per hole as well as distance and accuracy stats. Drill into a round and Game Golf will overlay each shot against a map of the course you played, giving the player a unique and visually stunning way to view the clubs they’ve used and the flight paths those clubs recorded.

“There’s a plethora of stuff out there on the web for golf but it’s really poorly designed,” McGuire says. “Very little thinking has gone into how you visualize the actual data in terms of colors, in terms of bringing each shot by shot to life. That was one of the biggest challenges we had and I think we’ve done a really good job in making it very simple and very visual.”

At the heart of Game Golf is data. As you would expect, it records your fairway accuracy and greens in regulation. It also records your putts and calculates your scoring average, revealing trends for all the statistics mentioned above.

Things get really interesting because the platform is able to track club performance. The ability to measure the distance golfers hit each club accurately to within less than a yard allows them to have a much better understanding of far how they hit the ball. This is nothing short of revolutionary considering the majority of golfers consistently under-club on their approach shots to the green. Game Golf also has the potential to surface insights about how you use each club in your bag. Imagine being able to find out what your left rough tendency is specifically with your 3-wood, or a breakdown of your GIR percentage based on distance. While Game Golf is not up to par with ShotLink, it is easily the most advanced platform available for the recreational golfer. And McGuire says the company will collect enough data to dig as deep as the Game Golf community wishes them to.

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Game Golf went through a thorough beta testing period. One of the early adopters included PGA Tour professional Graeme McDowell, who was so convinced with the product’s potential he became an investor.

“I chased Graeme for a good year while I was in Ireland,” McGuire says. “I eventually got to him and showed him what I was thinking of building and he got it immediately. And he wanted in.”

McGuire credits McDowell’s use of the device as being pivotal in ironing out issues and furthering its capabilities.

“He’s been testing the product for two years,” McGuire says. “Not in it’s current beautiful form factor, but when it was an ugly grey box. We’re very thankful to Graeme. He was able to see around corners and he’s a got a pretty solid head screwed onto his shoulders in terms of what’s coming.”

Active Mind Technology has also brought Lee Westwood and Jim Furyk on board as investors. Westwood saw McDowell wearing it at last year’s U.S. Open practice round at Merion Golf Club and was signed that evening.

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McGuire’s company has also partnered with the PGA of America and Golf Channel, two major organizations in golf that clearly see the product’s potential for increasing participation and enjoyment in the game.

The social-centric appeal of Game Golf is no less impressive than it’s data analysis capabilities. Active Mind Technology came up with the concept of the activity feed patterned after existing social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The activity feed not only allows you to share your round of golf with others as you might expect, but it also lets you notify others of your individual achievements such as hitting your longest drive. Your buddy halfway around the world can then receive that notification on their phone and try to best you the next time they hit the course.

“For the really good golfers who want to improve, it’s all about your statistics and understanding your club distances,” McGuire says. “Whereas if you’re a high handicap golfer it might be more about trying to outdrive your brother. So there’s different value props for different golfers.”

Game Golf and the PGA of America also envision a scenario where teaching professionals can be notified via the activity feed of any rounds posted by their students. This gives the PGA teaching pro another platform for engaging their students and, most importantly, a tool that can help golfers return for additional lessons and play better.

Will this new technology have the same transformative effect on golf as the titanium driver or the multi-layered ball? Considering that Active Mind Technology’s small San Francisco-based staff is feverishly working to fulfill product orders so that everyone’s first impressions of the device and the company is a positive one, the long-term answer might be yes.

“Game Golf will revolutionize the game by changing the way we socialize about golf and reveal how we are actually playing the game,” McGuire says. “Much like the introduction of plastic cleats changed the culture of the game, we are doing the same by making golf more social and bringing a golfer’s data to life.”

Updated 2/14/14

The makers of Game Golf were able to respond to some of the questions previously posted.

Is the device waterproof?
It’s not waterproof – but it is weatherproof.

Will there be an update that addresses skewed distances when a player chips with an iron or wood?
Today the club performance data is calculated using median shot distances, so chips of 15 yards have little effect on your averages. An upcoming update will automatically remove outliers to give you more precise data.

Will the device ever replace other GPS devices (such as SkyCaddie) in terms of providing accurate distances to various objects on the golf course (flags, bunkers, etc.)?
GAME GOLF’s focus is on capturing, scoring, visualizing, and sharing your round of golf. There are lots of great products out there for other on-course needs. However, we listen to our customers so if there’s demand we’ll consider it. Our community site (http://myexperience.gamegolf.com ) is the place to visit to contribute & vote on ideas

If a golfer buys the current iteration of the hardware device, do they have to worry about it being hopelessly outdated a year from now should a newer iteration come out?
There are two components to the GAME GOLF platform. The belt device & tags, and the software that provides the post-game analysis. We worked hard to make the hardware a solid foundation for future software improvements to leverage. For example, last night we released new software that improves the round editing experience. There are lots more software improvements & features in the queue. On the hardware side we will continue to look at new technologies to see if these should be incorporated into the product – but that’s a much longer cycle than software changes.

Will the device be able to transmit information to actual golf courses so that they can better understand the tendencies (i.e. player distances, scoring ability, slow play issues) of the golfers who play there?
There are many potential uses of the data that we’re excited about. For now our focus is to delight our customers – so that one day we can expand the horizons of what’s possible.

Our customer care team can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions you’d like answered one-on-one.

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Rusty Cage is a contributing writer for GolfWRX, one of the leading publications online for news, information and resources for the connected golfer. His articles have covered a broad spectrum of topics - equipment and apparel reviews, interviews with industry leaders, analysis of the pro game, and everything in between. Rusty's path into golf has been an unusual one. He took up the game in his late thirties, as suggested by his wife, who thought it might be a good way for her husband to grow closer to her father. The plan worked out a little too well. As his attraction to the game grew, so did his desire to take up writing again after what amounted to 15-year hiatus from sports journalism dating back to college. In spite of spending over a dozen years working in the technology sector as a backend programmer in New York City, Rusty saw an opportunity with GolfWRX and ran with it. A graduate from Boston University with a Bachelor's in journalism, Rusty's long term aspirations are to become one of the game's leading writers, rising to the standard set by modern-day legends like George Peper, Mark Frost and Dan Jenkins. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: August 2014 Fairway Executive Podcast Interview http://golfindustrytrainingassociation.com/17-rusty-cage-golf-writer (During this interview I discuss how golf industry professionals can leverage emerging technologies to connect with their audience.)

85 Comments

85 Comments

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  7. Tman

    Jul 14, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    The game has stopped growing for one specific reason. The failure to promote Junior Golf to the masses. There are the elitest parents who drive their kids to every tournament they can find, they might be the 1%. What golf doesn’t realize there survival depends on allowing Junior golfers cheap access to golf. It is easier to learn when you are younger and once hooked you are a golfer for life. Instead courses market themselves for cooperate golf tournaments, creating a one shot golfer scenario. Teach a kid to golf young..10 to 13 and he will be lifetime golfer. More importantly he will be more willing to teach his/her children how to golf. I have inflicted my children with the golfing sickness, of which 3 play regularly ( once a week)and the other on Fathers day…

    I still remember paying on 85 cents to have an all day pass at golf course that was over 40 years ago. A majority of courses don’t even have a Junior rate. Most juniors can play a course of 7200 yards…

  8. Steven

    Apr 18, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    I purchased this device two weeks ago and used it on two rounds and found it to be terrible. I have read through the other posts on this page and have to issue a very cautionary tale. I think the idea is fantastic and would love to see it work as promised. It falls short for so many reasons that should have been clear from the beginning and I think that the promise of the device bypassed my practical experience. Yes it uses a waist mounted GPS device and that should cause most of use to question the accuracy. If you have not used a GPS device before, or if you have and not noticed there are natural limitations to the consumer available technology. The terrain around a golf course with the trees and vegetation make it difficult for any GPS to provide accurate results. This can easily be overcome with typical handheld units the problem is much bigger with game golf. You do not know when it did not work until after the round and then it is your best guess as to where you were and then you have to go in and manually change the hole. With the current interface it is way more difficult than it should be to begin with, but the bigger question is that with it being so unreliable why am I spending $250 of my own money to purchase something that I am much better off tracking myself with the multiple free apps out there that do a much better job. This is where I will strongly urge you to not buy this product. I normally one that prefers to do my own assessment and let others do theirs. With this product and their distribution partner being Digital River it is almost impossible to return the product and get a refund. I have been at it almost two weeks and feel that I am not any closer to getting a refund at this point than I was the day I purchased the device. There is absolutely no upside to buying this product with your own money and then trying to get it back. IT IS UTTERLY RIDICULOUS TO HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS!! I have issued a warning to all members of my club that this company and its partners should be avoided. In todays day and age there should be nothing difficult about trying out a product with a money back guarantee and returning it. Gamegolf and its partner are terrible to deal with.

    • Steven

      Apr 24, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      I wanted to give an update on my return it has been another week and 3 emails and 5 phone calls to digital river and still no idea when they will allow me to return my device. I have been dealing with a supervisor named Erwin and he has promised each of the last 3 days that I would be provided an RMA # to facilitate the return and have not received it yet. I have also contacted GameGolf twice and have not heard anything from them. There is no chance I would ever recommend anyone buying this product.

    • Ryan

      Sep 8, 2014 at 5:24 am

      Steven you have summed it up perfectly!

      Just starting my return – hope it’s easier over here in the UK.

  9. Kaleb

    Mar 5, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    I got mine about 3 weeks ago and have used it for three rounds. Yes, it is essentially just a GPS tracking device, but the simplicity of using the device is what I like most about it. As long as the course your playing has been mapped by the GPS service GG uses, all you have to do is turn on the belt clip and tag the club before/after you hit and go. Compared to an app like Golflogix, GG is the winner hands down. You don’t have to manually search for the course on the app each time you play. You don’t have to worry about an app like Golflogix draining your smartphone’s battery. Also, unlike an app where you have to manually type in shots, whether you hit the fairway or not, made a GIR, and number of putts, GG keeps up with all that information just by the GPS and the club tagging. The GPS is surprisingly accurate in terms of tracking Fairways Hit and GIRs; if you’re close to the edge you may have to do some tweaking post-round. That’s another cool feature about GG; the ability to edit/tweak shots post-round. Once you plug the device into your computer and upload your round(s), you can edit shots as needed (i.e. if you forgot to tag a club, add a penalty shot, incorrectly tagged a club, etc.). I also like the overview look and the ability to review shots on an actual view of the holes played. I still use my rangefinder for distances obviously since this is more of a reactive tracking system. Does it track swing speed, angle of attack, smash factor, RPM, spin rate, or any other buzz word people like to throw around? No. Does it matter? Not at all. GG is designed to track in game performance and clubs used during the round, which is much more valuable data to me. If you’re worried about tracking angle of attack, swing speed, spin rate, and everything else, grab a device that is made to track those data points. It also offers a cool interface through the PC/Smartphone dashboard to share and review rounds. I’ll be in Pinehurst next week for 5 rounds and you can bet I’ll be using my GG to track every shot so I can relieve every hole long after I’ve returned to the real world.

  10. Tyler

    Feb 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Is this something I have to wear on my waist or could I keep it in my pocket or clipped on my bag if walking?

  11. Tim

    Feb 15, 2014 at 10:08 am

    There is a system out there that seems to be even more advanced: http://www.caddieon.com

    • JR|Ray

      Feb 16, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      Looks like they are still in Indeigogo phase. Looks like the exact same thing only worn on your wrist.

    • Reader

      Mar 12, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      If you already wear a GPS watch this may be a dealbreaker.

  12. jay

    Feb 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I placed an order on Jan 16th, I just got a shipping confirmation.

    Wait a minute, I live in NY, I’m not golfing for another 2 months at least…

  13. Roy striper

    Feb 13, 2014 at 8:37 am

    I’m waiting on mine to arrive. The issue about chipping say with an 8 iron can be edited after the round for now. As I was told by the developers. They are aware. My initial interest is in fitting which I’ll be doing in April. My fitter gave me a small booklet to record 4-5 rounds of club and shot data. I’m hoping GG will make the process easier. I will also compare distances with my Sktcaddie.

  14. Rocky

    Feb 13, 2014 at 3:43 am

    This looks very cool and I like the lack of messing with an app…. Stoked so done us pushing the envelope a little here

    But…. I suspect the window for this product will be short lived. There are too many parts with it..

    If garmin, etc…. built a simple up/down button into a GPS watch you could tell your watch what club you pulled in 3 seconds. No need for extra apps, phones, etc… And you get the added bonus of having a gps watch on *if* you want it. Plus the course I go is easily downloaded if you use USB to charge the watch, etc…

    If they’re smart, they are already in talks to either license the back end or just sell out. The club and belt interface is the Achilles heel that anyone could take advantage of..

    I’ll be a buyer in its gen 2 firm. 🙂

    • Chris

      Feb 17, 2014 at 10:47 am

      not everyone plays with a watch, they’re bulky and uncomfortable. This is quick and simple. GPS is slowly ruining pace of play so something like this well surely be a welcome addition to the course tech family. IMO this should be used before any amateurs use a GPS because the majority of them have no clue how far they carry they’re irons or woods because nearly every amateur “hits it 300yds…when they catch it”.

      • Dave

        Feb 17, 2014 at 6:52 pm

        Before GPS, I walked off my yardage from sprinkler heads which sometimes took up to a minute to find a marker, pace it off, return to my bag and grab a club. Now, a quick look at the GPS and I’m grabbing my clubn within a few seconds. Not sure how this is ruining pace of play.

        My Garmin watch is smaller than every one of my regular watches so I definitely would not consider it bulky nor uncomfortable.

        • Josh

          Feb 18, 2014 at 10:52 am

          I agree. If anything GPS is speeding up the pace of play. I played golf with a guy who has a GPS watch last year. I asked him the distance and grabbed my club of choice. It sure beat looking for the markers and guessing. I’ll be purchasing one myself as the season starts here in Wisconsin. A GPS watch would actually benefit this device imo.

        • Reader

          Mar 12, 2014 at 10:43 pm

          I agree. I don’t wear a watch in my civilian life, only on the golf course.

  15. Slim

    Feb 12, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Is it legal? Can it be used tournament rounds?

    • ParHunter

      Feb 13, 2014 at 7:10 am

      From what I read yes, as it doesn’t give you any information during the round. I think that was a deliberate design choice as the target market will be ‘good’ amateurs and professionals who want to keep track of their stats. If it would act as a ‘GPS’ device it couldn’t be used during a competition (e.g. for prof events).
      The device itself might not even know anything about the course, I think it is just recording a location all the logic to interpret that data is done on the server once you upload the data after the round.

  16. Tim Friedman

    Feb 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    what about using this device to practice. I did not see anyone using this on a range where they are able to work with their clubs and actually perfect the different distances.

    • Rusty Cage

      Feb 12, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      Tim,

      The device is designed to be used at the golf course, not driving range.

      • Tman

        Jul 14, 2014 at 3:30 pm

        unlike most people I practice on the course during slow times. It should be easy enough to track more than one ball at a time…As long as I go get the ball I can track the yardage I hit it. Sounds like only a minor tweak in future software change. Driving range guys obviously cant go to the ball after shot. Maybe website options to download different types of scorecard tracking for people in your foursome….Binga Banga Bonga, net skins, gross skins, quota points.

        Can I upgrade the RF ID reader on-line to fix any bugs.

        Looks promising product.

    • markb

      Feb 16, 2014 at 1:46 am

      It can only compute the length and direction of your shot when you move forward to the stopping point of that shot and tap the next club for the next shot. Can’t do that at the range.

  17. oliversax

    Feb 12, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Seems to me the Motoactv Watch from Motorola(from a few years ago) does the same thing but more, since the Motoactv gave you distance to the hole as well. Am I the only one who doesn’t see this as revolutionary?

    “It collects your round of golf seamlessly,” says John McGuire, CEO of Active Mind Technology. “When I tee off it starts collecting what clubs I’m using and the distances of my clubs. This is the first device that captures that type of data without the golfer having to take out his phone and enter data into an app.”

  18. David Smith

    Feb 12, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Does your shirt need to be tucked in and the device exposed for accurate readings? Or will it work if you wear your golf shirt over it?

    • JR|Ray

      Feb 12, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      I’ve used it with several pullovers covering the device. With nothing blocking the device it has about and inch of “range” where it will pick up the tags. When it was covered I had to make sure to press the tag against the device through my pullover. Once you get enough layers going it will prevent the device from reading the tag.

  19. JR|Ray

    Feb 12, 2014 at 9:40 am

    I beta tested this product for several months. It is water resistant, I have played several rounds in the rain with it and had no issues, the GPS it uses is fantastic, the course maps are provided by Google maps so if your course has decent imagery on it then they have it mapped, it requires a subscription to their online service so there will be an ongoing cost associated with using it as there is no stand alone version of the software, It takes about 30 minutes to upload and edit a round, it is not a gps ranging device so you will still need to carry your laser or sky caddie, it has storage for several rounds on the unit itself in case you can’t get to a laptop to upload, firmware updates are provided through plugging the device into a computer via usb, you can charge it with any usb charger, the web interface has been vastly improved and can track club stats fairly accurately, the apps for android and ios are very good. I have some pictures I took showing the size of the device that I can post if anyone wants to see them.

    • pablo heitmeyer

      Feb 12, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Helpful comments thx.

    • MJ

      Feb 12, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      I am very interested in this product. I think it is a breakthrough, but will wait to buy it until the bugs are ironed out.

      A couple of questions…
      1.How much is the yearly subscription?
      2.How does it track your scramble %? I see it does do this, but if you just touch a device, I wonder how it does this. Guessing it recognizes you are off the green by GPS?
      3.Does it show your % of right and left of green or fairway? This helps to know for personal info, tendencies and improvement.

      I am sure there is more I will come up with…

      • JR|Ray

        Feb 12, 2014 at 1:07 pm

        1. During the beta they were kicking around 5-10 dollars a month. I’m not sure what they finally decided on. When you buy the device it comes with a one year subscription.

        2. It uses the GPS location and maps that against what it thinks your course looks like.

        3. At the end of beta being able to show percentages was a big request. AFAIK it only tracks fairway percentage. Additional stats are being added to the interface all the time so it will eventually be able to show additional stats.

        • Dave

          Feb 12, 2014 at 2:18 pm

          This was posted to their FAQ yesterday:

          Is there an annual subscription fee?
          Last Updated: Feb 11, 2014 04:10PM PST

          There are no subscription or service fees associated with any Game Golf services. Once you purchase the device, you will be able to use the out-of-the-box features that come with the device for free for the life of the unit.

          • JR|Ray

            Feb 13, 2014 at 6:58 am

            I’m glad they decided to do away with the yearly fee. We always thought it would be detrimental to the success of the product.

    • Tim

      Feb 17, 2014 at 3:32 am

      It appears they dropped the subscription fee.

  20. Rusty Cage

    Feb 11, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Dear Readers,

    The guys at Active Mind Technology are genuinely swamped. That being said, I will be sending them a list of consolidated questions at the end of the day. I don’t expect them to answer everything, but I will repost their responses when I receive their reply. If you would like anything specific addressed, leave a comment – I will be scanning later on today.

    I appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm and interest, as I’m sure they do as well.

    • Dave

      Feb 11, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks for your help and for giving us a great write up on Game Golf.

  21. Dave

    Feb 11, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Rusty, is the device waterproof?

    I LOVE the idea but am leery of using another device on the course. After years of using a rangefinder then a handheld GPS, I made the switch to a Garmin S1 watch. I bought it because it was waterproof and gave me what I really wanted; simplicity and front/middle/back pin locations.

    My Sunday playing partners and I have a rule, no phones out during our round. Therefore, any app-driven product is a no no.

    The second Game Golf offers a waterproof watch with front/middle/back pin locations that I can also “tag” my clubs for recording shots, I’ll be the first in line to buy.

    • Rusty Cage

      Feb 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      Dave,

      I’m still trying to hunt down some answers – to your question, as well as others that have been posted. Short answer – I don’t know if it’s waterproof. In general I can only suggest that you send them feedback directly via email at [email protected]

    • Jack

      Feb 11, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      yes..the Game Golf Unit is waterproof..

    • hank clanton

      Feb 12, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      You bring up some good points about combining technology. I have had mine for 2 months now, and although I would not dive in a pool with it, it appears to be very water resistant. There is a micro usb port to transfer data and charge through, that has a snug rubber cover, so I think they have done a good job of protecting it. It is a social media sharing and game improvement device. It is fun to collect statistic on distance by club, where your miss is, your scrambling and putting statistics. Although it allows you to share your round on face book, or by email, I found most of my rounds were ones I did not want to share! But every once in awhile, you get that great round captured.
      I would not worry about a little rain, and since it fits on you belt, a simple vest or jacket usually covers it.

  22. Neil

    Feb 11, 2014 at 8:23 am

    It isn’t that sophisticated. You’re fixing a start position when you touch the club, then the finish when you touch the next club.

    You could do this with an app. Set a position on the tee, and set another when you get to your ball. A little high school geometry gets you the distance then overlay it on a map.

    Sophisticated marketing, a gadget that will get bought by many. I suspect the novelty will wear off after a few weeks. It’s the natural cycle of gadgets. Nothing wrong with that, we’re just in the “age of the gadget.”

    • James

      Feb 11, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      I think it’s an accuracy issue.

    • dumpus

      Feb 12, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      the idea is that you dont have to use an app. you dont have to take out your phone, unlock it, wait for the gps to sync, select the club, press a button to confirm, and put your phone back in your pocket. all you need to do is touch the end of your grip to the device.

      the sophistication lies in taking 6 or 7 steps and reducing it to one or two, increasing accuracy of the measurement, and being much less intrusive.

      i had a beta unit, played about 20 rounds on it side by side with some appa. works much better than any app i tried. more accurate. brainless to use on the course.

  23. Jay

    Feb 10, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    This product is really intriguing, I ordered one a few weeks ago.
    I was really hoping that GolfWRX would give us some feedback during the PGA show, but there wasn’t any mention of it.

    • Brandon Hughes

      Feb 11, 2014 at 12:41 am

      I had the opportunity to participate in the beta testing stages of this product several months back and it is an amazing product. When our coach told us they had moved forward in the process, it was great to see! Great training aid and golf gadget all the way around.

  24. george

    Feb 10, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    A timer could be added to the device to address slow play 😉

    • paul

      Feb 10, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      Awesome idea!

    • Jason

      Feb 10, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      It would be cool if that info was sent to the golf course automatically to address slow areas, etc. Of course it would be blind data but it could help figure slow play trends, etc.

    • Andrew

      Feb 13, 2014 at 8:12 am

      Is teh 20 000 Volt prod that “encourages” you to get a move on an optional extra??

      This does look interesting. Distances should be very accurate because the GPS error will be the same at the beginning of the shot and the end. Stats like fairways and greens hit will undoubtedly need manual updating when you upload but that is not such a hardship.

      Let’s wait and see.

  25. ca1879

    Feb 10, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Richard,

    I think you’ve made it appear a bit more sophisticated than it is. Based on the comments I’ve seen, it’s not clear to many that it is not a GPS ranging device, and that it just uses GPS to track the location of each tagging instance, and then calculates the distance and direction from the location of the previous tagging instance. The distance portion of this kind of tracking is available on many GPS ranging units, although in a less convenient fashion where you have to manually tell the unit which club is chosen. However, those units do offer the advantage of green and hazard ranging, which this does not. Next, it does not communicate with the web while you’re playing. You have to attach the device to your laptop or tablet after your round, and upload the data. You then have to edit it to remove any mistaken taggings and adjust for penalty shots if you want an accurate score. If club performance is your goal, you have to manually eliminate any short shots made with a club (e.g. a chip with a 9 iron) that would affect the full shot performance stats for that club. It’s a very good start and I really hope they overcome some of the clunky bits. A real time editing and viewing function for our ubiquitous mobiles would overcome most of my objections. Integration of the club tags with a full GPS ranging device, would be a dream scenario.

    • ca1879

      Feb 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      Sorry – wrote “Richard”, meant “Rusty”.

    • Rusty Cage

      Feb 10, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      Your assessment is pretty spot on. At this point in time, the device does not take the place of a range finder.

      As far as skewing full shot performance with a club (as in the case of chipping with a 9-iron), Active Mind Technology is well aware of this issue and they are working on ironing out those bugs. Expect to see notable improvements in future iterations of the platform, but as far as being able to record your scoring and assess your club distances, it’s a pretty good concept.

      • ca1879

        Feb 10, 2014 at 4:55 pm

        Agreed. Even with the ver 1.0 issues, I’ve got one on order.

      • MJ

        Feb 10, 2014 at 10:09 pm

        So is it best to wait and get the next version, or is this the “long-term” device and they will add updates to the program as you hook up the device to your computer? Hope that was clear?

        • Rusty Cage

          Feb 10, 2014 at 10:16 pm

          MJ,

          It’s a good question, one that I can’t answer. But ask yourself this: is your current approach to shot tracking as good or better than this platform? If not, consider this product a good investment.

          • paul

            Feb 11, 2014 at 2:44 pm

            To solve the chipping issue is simple, a quick software update to make a double tap on the device a chip shot.

          • Daniel

            Feb 12, 2014 at 11:54 am

            Solving the chipping issue seems very easy to me….just don’t tap the sensor when making a chip shot. It sounds like the only time data is recorded is when you tap the sensor right? You would do the same when hitting a recovery shot from the trees. No need to track a 30 yd punch out.

            Love the idea behind this product and I’m excited to see what they come up with in the future.

          • ca1879

            Feb 13, 2014 at 3:09 pm

            If you did that, you’d lose the score tracking and the ability to do up and down stats. Double tapping is a better idea, or they could add an extra tag or two to hang off your bag and tap when it’s a chip or when you need to add a penalty stroke.

    • Larry Ridge

      Feb 13, 2014 at 12:29 am

      Maybe the device could include a “less-than-full-swing” button, or a double-tap with the club to tell the app that the shot is a chip, pitch or sand shot.

  26. Pingback: Get Golfed

  27. Rich

    Feb 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Looking to pick one of these up. Not usually an early adopter, but this looks fun, and WTH. I’m due for something new this golf season.

  28. Lewis Ainsworth

    Feb 10, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Will this work in the UK and on UK course…I am a bit of a tech nerd and love the sound of this could help with a lot in my game I am a 5 handicapper and will help getting me down lower…fingers crossed I can use in the UK thanks

    • Rusty Cage

      Feb 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      Lewis,

      The company is working on making the product available outside the U.S. and Canada. I don’t have an ETA for you, but I’ll see if I can get an answer.

      • Lewis Ainsworth

        Feb 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm

        Cheers Rusty if you could even get a ball park that would be great thanks love the product and GolfWRX is amazin we need a UK version of this also haha

      • Martin

        Feb 10, 2014 at 4:24 pm

        Can you answer my question below, this has no functionality as an on-course GPS unit?

  29. Scott

    Feb 10, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Great concept, terrible name. Google “Game Golf” and you get everything but what you’re looking for.

    • Chris

      Feb 10, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      Actually, if you google “game golf”, the first result is for their website.

  30. Chris

    Feb 10, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    I wonder if the GPS is affected by trees. I seem to play a lot of shots under and around trees.

  31. Martin

    Feb 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    So I watched the video, tracking shot length is easy and afterwards it will show me where I was on the course and where my shots ended up…but

    It doesn’t show me how far to the green or the next hazard, so I would now need two devices.

    Correct?

    • Jordan

      Dec 4, 2017 at 10:41 am

      That was my take too. I’m all in favor of tracking metrics by any means, but not at the cost of distractions. And two devices will distract me.

  32. David McCuiston

    Feb 10, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    So I assume it has a gps device and tracks your last shot length when you make your next shot?

    • Rusty Cage

      Feb 10, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Yes, it uses GPS to map the course you’re playing on and tracks both length and direction from one shot to the next. It’s accurate to within 1 yard. Check out their website to see an example of how GMAC’s rounds are illustrated visually.

      • Andrew

        Feb 13, 2014 at 8:17 am

        It may be accurate to 1 yard in terms of shot distance but it certainly is not for where your ball landed. Using normal GPS (Without any WAAS) and Google maps as your coordinates will give you +/- 5-6 yards if you are lucky.

  33. David McCuiston

    Feb 10, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    About to check the link. Hoping this video on their site will explain. How does it track shot direction and length and how accurate is it?

  34. GolfingPro

    Feb 10, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Great device going the right direction. But the real revolution for the game of golf would be adding a sensor to each flag on the top that would give you the exact distance to the pin. Lets say within +/- 2 yds. what then would be shown on something like a small Golfbuddy voice device on your golf bag.
    No more use for gps units or lasers. And think about the speeding up effect on the game.

    • MIZZY

      Feb 10, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      Are you thinking about a sort of sensor on the top of each flagstick so the device can tell the yardage right to the pin whereever it is placed on the green? Sounds interesting.

  35. LorenRobertsFan

    Feb 10, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Gamechanger for sure

  36. richard

    Feb 10, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    When and where can regular folks buy one of these?

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Tiger Woods’ 2008 U.S. Open WITB

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Driver: Nike SasQuatch Tour 460 (7.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana White 83 TX

3-wood: Nike SasQuatch2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 103 TX

5-wood: Nike SasQuatch2 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 103 TX

Irons: Nike Forged Blade (3-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Nike Pro Combo (56 degrees), Nike SV (60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS

Ball: Nike One Platinum

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

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Equipment

Sweet Spot? Triple Play? Examining the Callaway Apex combo set options

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The combo set is not a new concept, and Callaway has been doing de-facto combo sets for a number of iron generations.

However, with the Apex 21 line of irons, Callaway decided to take the combo concept to another level, making a major investment in tooling and precisely calibrating loft, life, bounce, and blending in the Apex 21 irons to allow for uniform set makeup.

For Callaway, it was a serious endeavor and a thoughtful effort at the front end to design a family of irons for ease of combination, rather than an assemblage of combinations at the back end.

“With the rise of custom fitting, we knew we wanted to go beyond just a traditional combo set. By creating dedicated models and specialized tooling, we are making the transition to combo sets a seamless experience. It shows our dedication and leadership position in irons.”

–Dave Neville, Sr. Director, Brand & Product Management

Callaway offers a “menu” of four combo sets using ingredients from the Apex iron family — Apex DCB, Apex 21, Apex Pro 21, Apex MB.

Michael Vrska, Callaway’s Director of Custom Fitting & Player Performance, says the decision to offer four sets in general and their specific makeups was arrived at after lengthy discussions with the company’s network of fitters and the R&D team, as well as a close look at past iron sales and custom fitting data.

“Working with the R&D team to understand how they thought the different AI face designs, sole configurations, specs and other design details could be best blended together started the process, but working with our National Fitters Board and other top club fitters across the country was key to creating the four sets. We then used custom sales data and additional feedback from our internal fitting team to fine tune. I’m proud of the work we did and it’s been exciting to see positive the feedback from golfers about these new fitting options.” — Michael Vrska, Callaway’s Director of Custom Fitting & Player Performance

Sweet Spot

The first of Callaway’s four combo sets is targeted toward players who need more help in the long irons, the “Sweet Spot” combo features the Apex DCB in 4 and 5-irons and Apex 21 in 6-AW. It’s designed to offer maximum distance and forgiveness in the longest irons.

Mixed

According to Callaway, the “Mixed” set player is generally a mid-handicap who struggles to hit long irons but doesn’t want to replace long irons with hybrids. The Mixed includes Apex 21 in 3 through 7-irons and Apex Pro in 8-iron through A-wedge.

Triple Play

The “Triple Play” generally appeals to a similar player as the Mixed but one with a preference for more technology and a more compact look at address in the scoring clubs. It features Apex DCB (4-5), Apex 21 (6-9) and Apex Pro (PW-AW).

Player

Offering true blades in the scoring clubs, the “Player” combo set, appropriately, is designed for the better player. Outfitted with taper tip shafts throughout, the Player set is composed of Apex Pro irons in 3-7 and Apex MB in 8-AW.

The most popular of the new Callaway combo sets, according to Neville, is the Apex Mixed. The Mixed, again, features the Apex 21 in 3 through 7-iron and the Apex Pro in 8-iron through A-wedge.

Roughly 15 percent of Callaway’s full iron set orders are for combo sets. But with the embrace of customization generally, the continued growth of custom fitting, and fitters familiarizing themselves with the new “menu” — and who is best suited for each “dish” — that percentage will grow.

Ultimately, the Callaway combo set options — and the introduction of the Apex DCB — are evidence of the company’s commitment to offering not only viable irons but an optimal set makeup for every golfer.

For more details, and answers to the questions we know WRXers want to ask, we spoke with Michael Vrska.

GolfWRX: For the combo set, how does adjusting the lofts weak or strong affect the bounce? Will it affect playability?

MV: For the Apex Pro heads in the Mixed and Triple Play sets we actually do separate tooling for those, so the lofts are adjusted independently from bounce during the design phase. For the other Apex heads in the other combo sets we need to bend to get loft dialed in, we limit that to one degree so turf interaction differences are minimized. And remember, loft and bounce changes are a one-to-one ratio. One degree stronger loft equals one degree less bounce and vice versa.

GolfWRX: For the higher handicapper, is it more effective to have short irons that launch higher and land steeper, or is there a method to bringing down trajectory?

MV: For higher handicaps with slower swing speeds, they typically don’t generate a lot of spin on their own, so yes, descent angle and peak height are optimized so the player can still carry the ball far enough and limit roll out, though spin is still a factor to that player in terms of ball flight. On the other hand, some higher handicap players swing very fast and generate a lot of spin, but controlling that spin or having consistent contact may be more of their issue. And this is a good example of why we don’t like to fit for handicap, but we strongly recommend players get fit for their club delivery and ball flight. There are many different ways to become a 19-handicap, or a 2-handicap for that matter.

GolfWRX: For players who are married to taper tip shafts like Dynamic Gold. How do those shafts work in parallel hosels?

MV: Taper tip shafts work great in parallel hosels for those that want that. We can assemble taper tip shafts in both taper and parallel hosels and there are some players who love a shaft model that is only available in a taper tip. It doesn’t work the other way though. Parallel tip shafts do not work in taper tip hosels without boring them out, which is not something we generally recommend at it can negatively impact the structural integrity of the hosel.

GolfWRX: How do you optimize spin with the higher launching faster heads? Is it addressed through descent angle?

MV: Descent angle certainly matters, but we don’t like to put too much focus on any one single factor. For every player type and iron set we look at speed, launch angle, descent angle, peak height and spin to maximize distance, with proper gapping, and also to make sure iron shots will hold the green. There is no one size fits all answer to that. It’s why we offer multiple Apex sets, multiple Apex combo sets and recommend all golfers get fit.

 

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Equipment

Dustin Johnson using a mini-driver at the 2021 U.S. Open?, Mickelson spotted with new TaylorMade mini-driver

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In our forums, our members have been commenting on a potentially significant change to Dustin Johnson’s equipment setup at the 2021 U.S. Open.

Per TaylorMade Rep Chris Trott’s Instagram, included in DJ’s build sheet for this week is a mini driver with an LA Golf shaft, as well as a 15.5 degree Sim Max HL driver.

@trottiegolf

Phil Mickelson’s TaylorMade Original One mini-driver has received plenty of attention recently, as the 50-year-old utilized the club so effectively on his way to winning the 2021 PGA Championship.

In a twist, however, Lefty was spotted on Monday at Torrey Pines using TaylorMade’s latest 300 Series Mini driver which hit the USGA conforming list last month. 

Speaking to media on Monday about the utilization of a mini-driver this week, Mickelson said

“Just a 2-wood. I call it a 2-wood but it’s a mini driver. Just a 2-wood. I think at least half, if not a fraction more, of tee shots will be with that club just because the way the fairways are a little bit firmer than Farmers.

The ball runs out and it gets down there to a pretty good spot. There’s a lot of holes where it kind of turns or tightens, and I don’t really want to get to that spot. If you look at 4, you get it down too far and it starts to pinch in by the canyon. You look at the contour on 7, how much that fairway pitches. I really don’t want to get it down there.

That 2-wood, I’ll call it, seems to fit the right yardage on a lot of those holes for me.”

Our members have been speculating on the potential use of a mini-driver for DJ at Torrey and whether the move could be inspired by Phil, as the World Number One goes in search of his second U.S. Open title.

  • CCUgolfer23: “Would be interesting to see this combo since his driving last week wasn’t great.”
  • bladehunter: “Doesn’t look like a driver. Or it’s a secondary driver. Like Phil, 44 inches is a 3 wood these days.”
  • Valtiel: “DJ quite notably uses a pretty short 3-wood though, especially for his height. 42.75″ I believe. Also almost always higher lofted, 16-17*. I wonder if this is maybe something for him to turn over and goes further than his 3w?”

Check out the full discussion here.

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