Over the past three or four years, do-it-yourself golf improvement has gone from a web-based high-tech infant to a full-grown arena for all things digital. It’s not enough to get accurate distances from a dedicated device or an app on your phone. Thanks to products like GAME GOLF, every single shot — how far it went, where it went and what club you used to hit it — is measured instantly via Bluetooth and GPS technology. And GAME GOLF does the job better than most thanks to simple set-up, well-thought-out interface and a wealth of useful features. It’s good enough that several Tour stars, folks like Graeme McDowell, are using it to gauge what areas of their game need work, from driver through putter.
The centerpiece of GAME GOLF is its iPhone or Android app, which you use to set up an account and match each of 14 included Bluetooth transmitters to the club it’s attached to. Just take the small, red plastic device, screw it into the small hole on the end of the grip, tell the app whether it’s a 9-iron or 3-wood or whatever (even the brand if it’s in their database), and repeat the process until you’re wired for sound … round, rather. After charging the accompanying relay device, attaching it to your belt and activating it, select “Play Golf,” find the course you’re playing and start tracking — not only distances for each shot thanks to a full-fledged built-in GPS rangefinder, but the results of each shot. Here’s the key: You must remember to tap your club on the sensor on the underside of the belt device before each shot, or GAME GOLF obviously won’t pick it up. Forget, and you’ll have gaps in your score, and in the play-by-play of your round when you reference it later online (you can edit rounds if necessary). It takes some getting used to, and using GAME GOLF most likely needs to become part of your pre-shot routine; once it is, it’s is a powerful tool to help you pinpoint what parts of your game need the most attention, showing fairways and greens hit in regulation, number of putts, short game stats, shot dispersion and strokes gained in each key area. It’s also invaluable in helping dial in club selection in subsequent rounds, and the more tracked rounds you rack up (it’s legal in competition, too), the better you’ll get at smoothing out the rough edges with every stick in the bag — and being truthful with yourself regarding how far you actually hit each club on average. You can even compare your scores and performances to others in the “GAME GOLF Live” system.
Of course, even with GAME GOLF in your arsenal, we’d recommend keeping your favorite teaching pro around. They’ll help you analyze every number and come up with a practice plan to turn those decimal points into saved strokes. Says PGA pro Scott Shapin, “As a teacher, I love this product because it allows me to examine a student’s round without having to be on the course with them. This information can be used to help structure their lessons and evaluate a student’s ability to implement what we are working on. I use it in all my rounds. Just like my students, my practice time is very limited. GAME GOLF collects invaluable information that allows me to easily identify where to focus my efforts. Right now it’s putting, so I spend approximately 60% of my practice time on the green. I am able to see how I have played the course in the past and develop a game plan for the future. This is great for amateurs too, especially if they play a particular course over and over. Never step up to a hole or a shot without a plan of attack. If you want to become a better player and shoot lower scores (I haven't met many people that didn't want to get better) then you need GAME GOLF. It is a great tool to help you and your instructor create a roadmap for improvement.”
Adds Brandon Horvath, a professor of turfgrass management at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a 6-handicap, “I expose my students to the latest in technology, and showing them how GAME GOLF’s information could be used to improve course management, is just the next step in the evolution of the game.”
Our GAME GOLF testing bears out these comments. It works, and it’s fun. Time to join us on the cutting edge.
$249 | www.gamegolf.com