Critical Golf: Unbiased Golf Equipment Reviews

Arccos Golf

The Arccos Golf Performance Tracking System is so elegant in its simplicity that it leaves behind all of the competitors for tracking shots on the golf course. Arccos combines an iPhone app, a set of sensors that attach to your clubs, and an intelligent algorithm for determining when you’ve made a “stroke” that should be recorded. As a result, you don’t have to do anything other than play a round of golf as you normally would. Arccos records all of your shots, tracks your score, and then provides a wealth of data on your performance, including how far you hit each shot and with which club.

The beauty of the Arccos system is that all shots are registered automatically. The system isn’t 100% perfect – there are rare occasions when it will miss a shot, such as when it takes you two shots to get out of a bunker. One of Arccos’ competitors, the Game Golf system, tries to avoid this situation by requiring you to touch your clubs to a sensor clipped to your belt in order to register a shot. But we found that Arccos was actually more accurate in tracking shots because we would frequently forget to manually register shots with Game Golf (particularly after hitting a bad one). And you can always manually add a missed shot through the Arccos iPhone app.

Arccos has become one of our favorite devices. It has made it painfully obvious where we should invest our practice time (driving and chipping), and has pinpointed the distances that we hit each club, which is particularly helpful because we just invested in a completely new set. At just under $300, Arccos is a bit expensive, but we think that it brings tremendous value to the table. We highly recommend going out and getting an Arccos system to record your performance for the remaining rounds you play this summer and fall – it’ll help you decided what to work on during the off season!

Teaching Value


  • Easy set-up
  • Almost “set it and forget it” simplicity
  • Generates incredible wealth of data that is presented in insightful ways
  • App also doubles as golf GPS device, with excellent integration with the Apple Watch


  • Some issues with batteries that were dead upon receipt.
  • Higher battery drain on your phone.

Retail price: $299.99
Three-year cost: $299.99
Amazon.com: Check price now
Golfsmith: Check price now
Edwin Watts Golf: Check price now

The most innovative golf product that we’ve tested in 2015 is the Arccos Golf Performance Tracking System. Every once in a while, something like this comes out that not only is fun to use, but also might shave a couple of strokes off of your handicap. The Arccos system is the combination of an iPhone app (there is no support for Android yet) and a set of 14 small sensors that screw on to the butt end of your clubs (including a teardrop shaped sensor for putters) and pair by Bluetooth to your iPhone. The sensors are lightweight (10 grams/0.35 ounces each), and while they do extend a hair off the end of your club, we found that we stopped noticing them in short order.

Setting up the Arccos system was a piece of cake – it’s a simple matter of downloading the Arccos app and creating an account through the app, telling the app what 14 clubs you carry, screwing a sensor on to each of your clubs (including the putter), and then pressing the top of the sensor to pair each club when the app instructs you to do so. Done! The entire process took 10-15 minutes.

The app itself is an excellent golf GPS app, with overhead course maps and the ability to touch any point on the map and determine the distance to that point and the distance from that point to the center of the green. The Arccos app also supports the Apple Watch, where it will show you the distance to the front, middle and back of the green.

The magic is in the sensors, which detect when you’ve made a swing. The app uses the iPhone’s GPS to determine where on the course the swing was made. As you proceed on a hole, the Arccos will add your shots on to the hole map, showing you where and how far you hit each shot, as well as the club that you used. It will also automatically track your score during your round. After the round the app and its software do a tremendous amount of heavy lifting in providing you a wealth of data that will be helpful in improving your game, showing you how far you hit each club on average, where you’re missing with each club, and much much more.

What we love most about Arccos is that you don’t have to tell it when you take a shot – the system uses the combination of the sensors, the iPhone’s GPS and its software algorithm to make a pretty accurate guess. For example, it assumes that multiple swings taken at the same approximate location are practice swings. Now it’s true that if you take two actual swings within a small area (say, for example, you chunk the ball off the fairway and it only goes a few feet, so you have to hit it again), the Arccos will think that you only took one swing. But have no fear, you can quickly add a shot on the app. In our experience you can go through pretty much a full round making no more than one or two small corrections, most often when you pick up a gimme putt – the technology obviously can’t detect that.

Learning how far (and where) you hit each of your clubs has immeasurable value. Most of us get a good sense about our approach irons because you tend to notice when you regularly wind up short of the green. But most of us also have an incredibly inflated sense of how far we can hit the driver, and probably no real idea how far the fairway woods actually go.

The Arccos takes care of all of that for you – all you need to do is hit the ball. Among the data that you can review are:

  • Aggregate statistics:
    • A calculated “handicap” for your game for your driving, approach shots, chipping, sand shots and putting
    • Percentage of holes that are eagles, birdies, pars, bogeys, and double bogeys or worse
    • Average and longest drive
    • Standard deviation of drives
    • Percentage of fairways hit and the percentage of misses that were left and right
    • Greens in regulation hit
    • Distance to the pin on greens hit
    • Distance to the pin on all approaches
    • Percentage of misses left, right, long and short
    • Percentage of up and downs
    • Average distance to the pin on chipping
    • Percentage of sand saves
    • Average distance to the pin on sand shots
    • Putts per hole
    • Putts after a GIR
    • Percentage of one putts, two putts, and three putts
  • Statistics for each club (note that the data below is viewable for each specific club, not just the aggregate of everything in your bag):
    • Average and longest drive (for the driver and any other club that you use off of the tee on par 4s and par 5s)
    • Standard deviation of drives (for the driver and any other club that you use off the tee on par 4s and par 5s)
    • Percentage of fairways hit and the percentage of misses that were left and right (for the driver and any other club that you use off the tee on par 4s and par 5s
    • Average and longest distance on approach shots
    • Greens in regulation hit
    • Distance to the pin on greens hit
    • Distance to the pin on all approaches
    • Percentage of misses left, right, long and short
    • Total shots hit
    • Date of last use
    • Battery strength of the sensor on that club
    • Distance of every single shot with each club – Arccos will tell you the date, the course, the hole number, and how far it went, and you can click on the shot to disregard it for calculating averages (helpful for not distorting your driver distances when you shank it off the hosel into the weeds 5 yards away)

More importantly, the data isn’t just dumped into your lap – Arccos does an excellent job of presenting the results to you in insightful ways that highlight the areas in which you need to improve. Realizing that you are losing a significant number of strokes in chipping may inspire you to hit the practice green instead of pounding drives at the range. And knowing how far you hit certain clubs will improve your course management – you can start laying up short of (or hitting over) the hazards that cost you vital strokes.

Of course, nothing is perfect. Two of the sensors we received had faulty batteries (they’re easily replaceable CR2032 watch batteries), which initially led us to question whether the system itself was flawed, since it wasn’t recording any of the shots from the lob wedge (which we use for all chipping and pitching). One of the sensors also managed to unscrew itself from the end of a club and hide deep at the bottom of our golf bag. And there is definitely higher battery drain on your phone as a result of both the use of GPS and the constant Bluetooth pairing to the sensors – a 5.5 hour round left us with 40% battery remaining on an iPhone 6.

But when it comes right down to it, the Arccos Golf Performance Tracking System is one of the “must-have” products for anyone who has a passion for improving his or her game. Until now, the benefits of understanding how you hit each club have been far outweighed by the hassle of tracking shots while playing a round. By eliminating that primary obstacle, the Arccos system opens up a wealth of information to you. Whether you take advantage of that information to improve will be up to you!

Retail price: $299.99
Three-year cost: $299.99
Amazon.com: Check price now
Golfsmith: Check price now
Edwin Watts Golf: Check price now

And since a picture, er, video is worth a thousand words:

  • mschad

    Excellent review, and right on the money. I have both Arccos and Game Golf, but in my opinion, Arccos is by far a superior product in both easy of use and usable data.

  • Kevin Augustine

    Do you need to use your data plan on your iPhone to use it as a golf GPS