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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 [email protected].

    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

GolfWRX Spotlight: Crossrope weighted jump rope & app

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An 18-hole round of golf averages out to just under five miles of walking, which on its own is a good workout. Once you throw in some potential uphill trekking you get some serious cardio too, but if you all looking for a quick workout between rounds of golf look no further than Crossrope.

Crossrope – The details

Crossrope is a system of the weighted jump rope that allows you to quickly switch the weight of the ropes you are using to boost your workout—they range from 1/4 lbs all the way up to 2 lbs depending on the kit you start out with. There is an accompanying app that helps you go through multiple workout routines and is available free, or you can upgrade to the entire library of workout routines along with more workout tracking options.

This is NOT your middle school jump rope

The handles are heavy duty and feature precision bearings to allow the rope to move smoothly around as you go through a routine. They are also ergonomic and fit into your hand naturally, which making gripping easy, something that is really nice when you’re swinging a 2 lbs coated steel cable around. The handles also come with a fast clip system to make changing cables depending on your selected workout easier too.

The ropes themselves are made from braided steel and are almost impossible to tangle, allowing them to be easily transported and stored when not in use. All in you are getting a premium piece of workout equipment that is effective and easy to store—hard to same the same thing about a treadmill.

When it comes to a workout, skipping rope is one of the most effective cardio workouts you can do, and with Crossrope, you can get both cardio and low impact weight training when using the heaviest ropes, and follow along with the guided workouts.

As someone that hadn’t used a jump rope in over a decade, starting out lighter was a nice way to ease in before moving up, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy and fun some of the workouts in the app were. If you are looking for a fun way to add something to your workouts, or you just want to try something new to get you into golf course walking shape, this could be right up your alley. To learn more check out crossrope.com

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of

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One of the coolest parts of being in this part of the golfing world is being able to shed light on smaller companies that typically get overshadowed by their bigger corporate brothers.

So, this post is about one of those products that is definitely competitive against top golf shoe companies, and it’s made by a company called Athalonz, which is based out west in Arizona. Typically known for its innovative baseball cleats and insole packages, Athlonz newest addition takes the patented design to the world of golf with the EnVe golf shoe.

These have started appearing on the world long drive circuit due to the amount of traction they get, allowing players to swing harder. So for the last few months, I have gotten to wear them and see if they are as good as the company claims.

Athalonz EnVe: Living up to claims

The main selling points of these shoes are focused on two things

  1. Design that delivers more power and stability
  2. Custom comfort that lasts all day

These are somewhat difficult to combine into one shoe, and though they are on the heavier side, Athlonz are completely worth it for the benefits. It is obvious that they made strides to hit each box on the list for a great shoe. The patented design has been adapted from their baseball cleat and introduces a spikeless golf shoe with a circular design that allows the player to gain traction through the golf swing. This gives a player the chance to swing harder and faster without losing their footing. They also offer insole packages that help with correct bodyweight placement to help add an extra layer of consistency.

Secondly, it’s very noticeable that there was plenty of thought given to comfort with a roomy toe and custom insoles to fit your style. Additionally, ankle padding helps to provide more stability and comfort.

On another note, they have a good sense of style with a more classic, casual take. In addition to the pictured white/brown color, there’s a black/grey colorway as well.

After multiple months of wear in all types of conditions, these shoes have performed great for me with all the traction I need and while feeling great throughout the round.

Verdict

I am a person who tends to support smaller companies when I can if they make good products. Any support for them goes a long way—especially in the golf business. Since these shoes will set you back about $150, I wanted to be sure they are worth it for the money and they absolutely are. Seriously, for anyone looking to boost their shoe game and help alleviate aching feet and ankles, give these a shot.

 

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Accessory Reviews

GolfWRX Spotlight: Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII

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Every golfer should have an accurate, reliable, easy-to-use rangefinder. With the new Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII, you get all of that and more in one of the smallest, lightest packages on the market.

Not only do you get a ton of features, but when you consider these devices start at only $199.99 for the 20 G II and then $229.99 for the 20i GII ( slope adjusted version ), you get one of the best values in a rangefinder from one of the most well-known consumer optics companies in the world.

Review: Nikon CoolShot 20 GII and 20i GII

First Target Priority and 8-Second Continuous Measurement: “First Target Priority” is Nikon’s way of making sure you are picking up the flag and not a tree behind your intended target. There is nothing worse than thinking you have your distance dialed in to then have a shot fly over the green. With how quickly it lets you know the ranger finder is locked, getting that distance and double-checking can happen remarkably fast.

In the eight-second continuous measurement setting, the rangefinder will continuously measure the field of view as you scan the target area for approximately eight seconds. This setting is great when playing unfamiliar courses or trying to figure out the exact spot to a dogleg, tree, or hazard on your intended line.

Bright, 6x Monocular: Nikon is known for its glass and multi-coating technology, from telephoto camera lenses to rifle scopes, if it’s Nikon glass, it’s going to be clear, fog-resistant, and high-contrast for easy viewing. From a viewing experience perspective, the Coolshot 20 GII’s 6x monocular has an adjustable diopter for sharp focusing, along with long eye relief—meaning you can keep your glasses (or sunglasses) on when acquiring your target.

Slope-Adjusting ID Technology: With the 20i GII you have the option to get the slope-adjusted distance for any shot thanks to Nikon’s ID Technology. The mode can be turned on and off by the user to comply with USGA rules to make it legal for tournament rounds. Having tested it out on hilly terrain it’s easy to see why so many golfers mis-club going into greens when elevation changes become a lot more dramatic.

Review

The Nikon Coolshot 20 GII’s size and weight make it ideal for anyone who regularly carries and wants the benefit of knowing distances but without having to worry about weight—it weighs about the same as a sleeve of balls.

The size allows you to hold the units stable. However, I could see for those new to the rangefinder space, it could take some time getting used to when first getting acquainted with it. The best bet for this is to take it to a range or just step outside with it on your next walk and get used to hitting targets before you take it to the course—plus it makes for a fun game to see how good you really are at estimating distances.

Overall, for the price and size, it is one of the best rangefinders on the market. Plus, with a five-year warranty, you can be assured of years of use with the Nikon CoolShot 20 GII rangefinders.

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