When it comes to new technology, often times a product, whether it be hardware or software, becomes somewhat stagnant or slow to improve after the initial burst onto the scene. Then something comes along that proves to be a paradigm shift in an existing technology.
Think of Google’s Chrome browser’s influence on boring old Internet Explorer, TIVO’s affect on the cable box, or, the most obvious example, the way the iPhone changed the cell phone game forever.
In the golf world, it’s even more obvious, the move from wood to metal, the jump in golf ball technology, and, most recently, shot tracking.
Shot tracking has been around now for a few years with brands like Game Golf, and now even Cobra building in that capability into its driver. The way it works is pretty straight-forward. Screw in the corresponding tags into the grip of each club (driver tag into driver grip, three-wood tag into your three-wood grip, etc.) and then, at least in the case of Game Golf, on the course, you “tag” the club you are about to use with a device attached to your belt.
It’s a really cool idea and allows you to understand your game that much more. You can see club distances, where your misses are, and show off that one massive drive you had.
But now comes along what the start-up world would call a “disruptor.” An improvement of existing technology that could have the effect of giving it that push it desperately needs.
Shot Scope still asks you to install tags into each club. But instead of a device on your belt, you wear what amounts to a watch on your wrist. Then all you need to do is go play golf. Unlike Game Golf, there’s no more tagging prior to each shot.
I don’t know and I don’t care. All I know is that it’s pretty great.
I tried the “tag and go” technology before and by far my biggest issue was remembering to tag my club before taking my shot. And when I did remember to tag, I felt like it was interrupting my pre-shot routine. I know, kind of ridiculous, but I just never was comfortable with the whole process.
Instead of tagging each shot, Shot Scope asks you to mark the hole location and number of putts with a single button on the device on your wrist.
The device on your wrist has five buttons on it. A power button and four buttons identified as 1, 2, 3, and 4. Once you sink that last putt on a hole, right before or after you pull the ball out of the cup, you press the button that coincides with the number of putts. Done.
I’m happy to report I have yet to press the “4” button. But I can also tell you that pressing that “3” totally adds insult to injury. If you weren’t aggravated enough after a three-putt, wait until you have to officially validate it with that button.
But that’s really all you have to do to track your entire round.
But that’s just the beginning of what Shot Scope can do. There is also the app and website that is tracking a multitude of statistics for you.
After your round, you sync up with the Shot Scope app via Bluetooth or plug into a computer via USB and then the fun really begins.
Now, there is some editing you typically need to do on the website. For example, if you happen to chunk an 8-iron into the middle of a pond on your approach shot, Shot Scope won’t know that. Not that I know anything about that…
What this exercise has taught me is I can recall literally every shot on a golf course during my rounds of golf. Even if it happens to be a week later. What I can’t do is necessarily recall the distances of my putts, so I simply take Shot Scope’s word for it.
At any rate, once you’ve reviewed the and updated the round, as necessary, you can start getting into the numbers! You can compare your latest round to your current season averages.
For example, what was my Fairway in Regulation (FIR) percentage this round compared to my season in total? Was my average number of putts this round better or worse than my season average?
But then you can move to the “Performance” section of your page. There it will tell you average distances of each club, the performance average of each club, which removes all outliers from the average club distances, and, of course, longest shots with each club.
Yes, I did hit a golf ball 305 yards with my driver. And, yes, it did bounce twice on the cart path on its way there. Whatevs.
The performance page will also tell you the percentage of use for each club, which is actually quite interesting. I’ve used those numbers to understand which clubs I should focus on during a range session.
You can also cycle through different metrics related to tee shots, approaches, short game, putting, and personal records. And you can go through each of those sections by club. It’s helped me understand where my misses are with each club in my bag. I had some idea in general, I know I miss right more often with my driver. But then there have been some revelations, like the fact that I’ve never missed right and hit the fairway 70% of the time with my five wood. Want to guess what my go-to club is when I’m struggling off the tee now?
Shot Scope also provides a full breakdown of putting stats, as well. It is really nice to see that I’m holing in out in two or less putts 86% of the time. I’m also sinking 90% of my putts inside six feet. So now I can focus my putting practice on the six to twelve feet distance, especially since I’m making a woeful 42% of those putts.
Finally, something that has just gone live on the Shot Scope website is a “My Bag” page. Shot Scope provides you with 20 tags to insert into clubs. If you happen to have more than one driver, three wood, wedges, whatever it may be, this page allows you to swap out clubs virtually without having to change out the tags. Instead, you can simply drag and drop one club to replace another.
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed using Shot Scope thus far. And since receiving the product, they have continually improved the technology and website on the backend. It is still a relatively young company, but they have recently received an influx of investment cash and have also opened a shipping location in Chicago to make deliveries more efficient.
In other words, I don’t think this company is going anywhere but up as it matures.
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