Review: Arccos 360 GPS tracking system
Our Arccos 360 review took place at the launch event at Woburn and in competition rounds at Sandburn Hall.
Ignorance is no longer an excuse when it comes to discovering the exact state of your game.
The last three or four years have seen an explosion in the numbers of gadgets and apps purporting to give you to-the-yard information on every club in your bag and detailed stats on how – and where – you hit the ball.
One of the newest to hit the UK market is the Arccos 360.
You’ll be familiar with the company if you’ve bought a new Cobra driver and are using the Cobra Connect app.
Arccos 360 review – first impressions
Like many of its competitors, Arccos 360 requires you screw a sensor into the end of each club grip.
The box comes with 14 sensors and they are battery certified to last at least two years. Arccos say they should actually last for five.
While some of their rivals add spares, the Arccos sensors look pretty sturdy and, so far, have easily handled the bustle of being banged around in a golf bag.
The initial set up sees you ‘pair’ your sensors with the app on your phone. I was using the iPhone app but it is also compatible with selected Android phones.
From there, you download a course, start a round and off you go.
The most convenient thing about this system is you don’t have to tag. With your phone placed in a front pocket, the sensor detects when you are hitting a shot and automatically tracks it.
That merely leaves you to walk to your shot and hit the ball again.
With GPS in the app giving you yardage to front, middle and back of the green, and instant stats as soon as you have hit another shot, you have the opportunity to review your play in round or wait until the end to see detailed numbers.
Arccos 360 review – the results
The GPS will be a golfer’s first interaction with the Arccos 360 and it’s very accurate – to within a couple of yards of my laser rangefinder.
The sensors are so light there’s no discernible effect on swing weight and the app itself is very smooth. As soon as I’d hit a second shot, I could click on the hole and see instantly how far my drive had gone.
The hole layouts are detailed and the par score, in the top right corner of the screen, lets you know exactly how good – or badly – you are getting on.
This system really starts to shine when you’ve used it for a few rounds. To call it data hungry would be an understatement.
It will give you the usual stuff you’d expect from any tracking system – fairways hit, greens in regulation, putts per round and distances with each club.
But, over time, Arccos 360 starts to calculate how far you hit each club and gives you a ‘smart distance’ on your yardage.
So, in my case, while my longest drive was 307 yards my smart range – how far I actually strike it – was between 215 and 249 yards. That gives me a smart distance of 229.
That’s a number that becomes pretty important if you’re wondering whether you can carry a bunker or not, or if you’re unsure about an approach into a green with an iron.
Arccos 360 will also give you a detailed handicap breakdown, judging your performance on driving, approaching, chipping, sand play and putting.
Out on the course, the sensors are pretty reliable and cleverly able to tell the difference between a practice swing and an actual shot.
It does this by using the sensor, along with the microphone and gyroscope on your phone.
That necessitates you have your mobile in the front pocket and, initially, that can take a little getting used to.
One thing I have to watch out for is that the sensor can often add an extra putt onto my score.
It appears to believe my practice putt is an actual stroke – but this appeared to be a glitch unique to me and was not universal.
At a very tight course I played, with tees that backed on to greens and little separation between the two, the system also sometimes got confused about which hole I was playing.
These are very minor concerns, though, and, given the post round editing I’ve had to do with other tracking manufacturers, it’s actually largely hassle free.
Arccos 360 review – NCG verdict
The imminent launch of the Arccos Course Analyser in May, which will show golfers their optimal strategy for playing any hole in the world based on their data, is likely to be a game changer for this device.
Anyone getting ready to fire up Augusta National?
The Arccos 360 is mightily impressive and, having religiously used a rival system for about three years, I’ve found it’s the Arccos that’s still attached to my clubs at the moment.
The accurate GPS and hole layouts are a factor but the smart distances are what really clinch it for me.
I like just being able to get on and play, forgetting about whether I’m actually recording shots or not, and it’s a positive not to have to wire the phone up in the car immediately after I’ve left the clubhouse.
I’m toting a pretty new iPhone 7 and a round with the Arccos 360 will drain about half the battery.
The system will also work with your mobile in flight and low power modes and this also reduces the need for charging.
An evolutionary device, future software updates on the app should improve it even further. I look forward to seeing what Arccos have got planned.
More details about Arccos 360, which has an SRP of £249, can be found on their website.