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We're in that special hell of rules controversies with the implementation of the new Rules of Golf. There have been some growing pains with the new rules, and that has allowed the golf media to tee off on its favorite target, the USGA. Which, to be fair, can make itself an easy target: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/despite-harsh-words-from-some-tour-pros-usga-pleased-with-roll-out-of-new-rules-of-golf. That aside, I wanted to talk about the "controversy" about the knee-height drop that the Rules now require. Rickie Fowler got a one stroke penalty for dropping from shoulder height this past weekend. Cue the complaining from him: https://golfweek.com/2019/02/22/rickie-fowler-hit-with-one-shot-penalty-for-illegal-drop-at-wgc-mexico-championship/ I can forgive him - he just had a brain fart, probably didn't gain an advantage in this situation, it cost him money. I'm always annoyed when I get a penalty, personally, and it's absolutely never my fault, okay? But cue the pearl clutching from the media: https://www.golf.com/news/2019/02/25/backstopping-pro-tours-under-policed/ I'm here to tell you that this is wrong, and knee-height drops actually make a ton of sense. One of the best things the new Rules do is simplify dropping. Now, all you have to do when dropping is land the ball in the relief area (without touching you or your equipment before hitting the ground) and ensure the ball comes to rest in the relief area. If you don't do this, you have to redrop. Pretty simple. Yes, you have to figure out what your relief area is, but that's pretty simple, too. (For a fuller explanation of this, see Rule 14 and the definitions in the Rules of Golf.) The old rules were much more complex. Specifically, if your ball rolled to one of 9 areas after you dropped it, you had to redrop. For example, if your ball rolled more than 2 club lengths away from where your ball hit the ground, you had to redrop. You had to know all of these 9 areas to know if you needed to redrop or not. So, the new way is simpler, right? Instead of learning 9 different triggers for a redrop, you only have to learn 1. Great! Why am I talking about when you have to redrop? This is why we're dropping from knee height. Generally, under the new Rules, your ball cannot go as far after hitting the ground as it used to without triggering a redrop. Dropping from knee height reduces the chance that a redrop will be necessary. It also means that a ball has less of a chance of embedding in sand when you drop it. It makes a ton of sense, really. Now, you might say, that's all fine, but why not allow dropping a ball from anywhere above knee height? I think you could easily game the rules to be able to place the ball when you really want to by simply dropping from shoulder height instead of knee height. Think about dropping on a side slope, for example. You're much more likely to have to redrop and place if you drop the ball from a higher point. Sure, this is rare, but why take the chance? We're all on the same page, right? Knee-height drops make a lot of sense. (If you want to know more about the changes to dropping, this is an excellent article that talks about this in a bit more detail: https://rulesgeeks.com/2018/12/30-days-of-2019-rules-changes-day-16-procedure-for-dropping-a-ball-in-playing-it-from-a-relief-area/) Now to the point of all of this: golf media, please take 5 minutes to understand the rule before issuing a HAWT TAKE about the rule. The USGA has a one page sheet that explains the rule: http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/new-procedure-for-dropping-a-ball.html. You don't come off very well when you fail to read that. I know it's fun and easy to just mindlessly bash the USGA, but they do get things right. This is one of them. (Oh and by the way, the Rules are actually really good, as a whole. Maybe I'll talk about that in another post later.)
Hi all, Game Golf users have their own place to post their rounds and get feedback, but I didn't see one for Arccos. I picked an open box Arccos up at the local Scheels for $150, so I figured I couldn't beat the price to give it a try. So far so good. I don't see a way to post a link to the entire round yet, I have a support ticket sent into Arccos for that just waiting to hear back. I have taken screenshots of my overall stats and plan on posting my per round stats as I play. I encourage any other Arccos users to do the same! I have (1) 18 hole round in and (4) 9 hole rounds in...Approaches could use some work, and have been the main focal point at the range lately. Working on getting this GIR number to be much higher!!
https://www.golfdigest.com/story/this-latest-usga-equipment-decision-might-bring-artificial-intelligence-closer-to-competition The title is "This latest USGA equipment decision might bring artificial intelligence closer to competition" Arccos (and eventually, GAME GOLF) has a "virtual caddy" system that can tell you what club to hit and where to hit it. I don't think the USGA is saying that's allowed. If I read the Golf Digest story, it reads to me that the ability to tell you the yardage is allowed (it's the same as a GPS app)… but the article is written very confusingly. I don't understand how the recommendation "off the tee" is legal (but for an approach shot, it's not?) because "those recommendations can be made before a round begins." What about on the second tee? The round has already begun. It then goes on to say: But that's what the caddy does: offer club selection information/advice. It later adds: Okay… so that means it can't say "you're hitting your clubs shorter today, so instead of a 7-iron here, hit a 6-iron." Fine. That's easy enough. So… Is the "ruling" basically saying the Virtual Caddie, before you begin your round, can make a recommendation for what you should hit off each of the 18 tees before your round? I.e. it can't use information "live" from that round, and it's basically published "before" your round and doesn't change. If so, big whoop. Who cares about that? That's not a "virtual caddy." That's just a tiny bit of pre-planning, and for all you know the course is playing softer or firmer or the wind is in a different direction that day. Am I reading that right? Or did I miss something? The headline and the writeup are not very well done, IMO.
Product Name: Arccos Golf Performance Tracking System Product Type: GPS Shot Tracking System for iPhone Product Website/URL: http://www.arccosgolf.com/ Cost: $299 Ratings (out of 5): Quality: 4 Value: 3 Effectiveness: 4 Durability: 4 Esthetic Appeal: 4 iPhone GPS tracking system for your golf game Please look at The Sand Trap Review by Michael Hepp, http://thesandtrap.com/b/accessories/arccos_golf_review My Member Review The Arccos Golf Performance Tracking System is the GPS enabled system to track all of your golf shots and putts during a round. It works currently only with the iPhone. I was given the opportunity to review this product having never used any shot tracking system. Below are my impressions. The Arccos System comes in this sharp looking box. The box is sturdy and well designed. Inside of box the club sensors are arranged in individual holders. This comes in handy when storing the the sensors in the off season. I do both indoor and outdoor range work in the off season and don't want to use up the battery life of the sensors. The sensors activate every time you hit a ball. The sensors themselves are different from other shot tracking systems in that they use Bluetooth to communicate with your phone. They are the diameter of a golf grip and about 3/4" deep. The sensor screw into the top hole of the grip. The clubs sensor is below on the left with the putter sensor on the right. The putter sensor is made for a standard pistol type grip. I currently use a SuperStroke 3.0 grip. This sensor doesn't quite fit perfectly on that grip. The putter sensors are a little different than standard club sensors in their sensitivity and function. Arccos should maybe consider making putter sensors for other popular grip styles. The sensor does add length and weight to your clubs, but it is not noticeable. No one I played with noticed the sensors at all. Instructions come with the unit. They are simple and straight forward. The left page shows the Step 1 instruction for attaching the sensor. On the right, step 2 is shown. It might be a bit more intuitive if the Step instruction and pictures were open at the same time. The app is only currently available for iPhones which is a bummer for you Android folks. After downloading the app I went through the process of attaching the sensors to my clubs and activating them. It is a pretty straightforward process. You select the club from a drop down menu. Then press down on the sensor to couple with the app. Arccos calls this "pairing". I am using two types of grips lately, Pure DTX and Golf Pride MCC Plus. The sensor easily attaches to both, but the Pure grip is a little softer at the end and the sensor feels a bit more loose. I didn't have any issues with the sensor falling out though. It just felt more secure in the Golf Pride grip. The app opening page is below. The app tries to find the closest course when you open. It has tons of courses loaded. You can also pre-load favorite courses. When you select the course and start a round, it brings up a satellite image of the first hole. It will give you distance to the pin, front and back of the green. The photo below doesn't show all the information because I took it sitting at my desk. But essentially, the Arccos system acts as a GPS system as well. Unlike other shot tracking systems, the Arccos system doesn't require you to select a club and tap a sensor before taking a shot. Each sensor is already paired to your phone. If you take practice swings that activate the sensor, the Arccos system will disregard those as shots once you take the actual shot. It senses that you are at the same location and notes the last shot. Below is and example of a hole played. Notice I had a nice drive followed by a topped 5W! Each shot can be edited. If the sensor did not activate, you can add a shot later. When I first used the system, it was having trouble staying connected and had location issues.. It turned out to be an issue with iOS 9. I contacted Arccos and they responded immediately. They created a patch and instructed me to delete the app and reload the app with the patch in it. After that, I didn't have any more location issues. The image below is a nice par. I was only able to get six rounds in before the snow came. But there was enough information for me to see the capabilities of the system. As Michael, @mchepp , indicated in his review, you can only edit the round on your phone. This really isn't a big deal. I got used to that quickly. You can edit the club, insert a shot, move a shot location, etc., on your phone. For the most part, I only had to add a couple of full swing shots in a round. I have to admit, they were probably fat shots from the rough where the sensor didn't activate. I did have to add a few putts. For putts, you have to be careful not to tap your putter down while walking. In the bag, the sensor is off because of the orientation of the club. The sensor has a little gyroscope inside and knows when it is in the hitting position. It is a good idea to carry the putter by the head when walking to keep it from activating. I didn't have any issues, but was aware of the potential and was careful. For the putter, it also is set to sense you getting ready to putt with a pause. Arccos recommends that when you tap in a close one, you need to pause before hitting so the sensor knows you putted. If you walk up and tap it in, the sensor may not read. This isn't a huge issue because you can always add the putt later. But it will not know the location on or off the green. Once you get enough rounds in, you can start seeing the analytics. The image below shows my clubs. Available views are Smart Distance, Smart Range, longest, GIR and usage. One thing the Arccos doesn't know is whether your shot was a full swing, punch out or pitch/chip. In order to develop your shot zones for each club, you will need to remove those shots from the calculations unless Arccos saw the distance as an outlier. The Smart distance algorithm takes outliers out of the calculation. But it does miss some. Example below: I used my 5 iron only four times in the 6 rounds. One was a punch out. I can remove that shot. There are a lot more statistics available as well. They can be looked at from individual clubs, as in the image below, or your combined rounds. @mchepp review, http://thesandtrap.com/b/accessories/arccos_golf_review, shows the stats available on the Arccos site, so I will not show those pages. Below are a couple of views on my iPhone. Ok, I have to admit that my whopping drive was downhill! Other notes: Battery life - Arccos is a GPS system, so it will use up battery. They give instructions on how to maximize battery life. I was careful to fully charge my iPhone 5 before each round. I brought a power pack, but didn't have to use it. The system used about 50% of my battery during a 18 hole round. I've got a new iPhone 6s, so I will be curious to see how the battery lasts with a new phone. Putting stats - The putting distances are recorded by estimating your distance from the hole by the length of the first putt. It knows where your second putt started. So it will not give you the most accurate putting stats. I see the system as more geared toward full swing analysis. Conclusion: All in all, I think this is a pretty good system. I usually carry my phone when I play because I keep my score on my phone, so that is not a hassle for me. The system is easy to set up and works as advertised for the most part. I kept the phone on me as recommended, but it would be nice if I could keep it in my bag instead. I'm not sure of the Bluetooth distance capability, but that would be a nice improvement. At $299, it is expensive, which is why I gave it a three for value. Except for the putter sensor, the sensors are not really noticeable, which I find as a plus. I would again recommend that Arccos has a different sensor shape for SuperStroke type grips. I will take this out again when the season starts and work with it some more. There is also a lot more to explore on the web site. You can look at your performance by round, by course, overall, etc. I don't have enough rounds in to evaluate battery life in the sensors. I will report that in this thread along with any other observations. Thanks for reading.