Arccos Caddie provides personal, data-driven insight

Arccos Caddie provides personal, data-driven insight

Equipment

Arccos Caddie provides personal, data-driven insight

 

Arccos Caddie, a subscription-based product available to Arccos users, soon will be able to help players learn more about their games while helping manage club selection and strategy.

“Every shot in golf involves a decision-making process, and the caddie’s role has historically been to help you make more intelligent choices,” said Sal Syed, CEO and co-founder of Arccos. “Today, however, less than 3 percent of players have access to a caddie. Everyone else is missing out on a crucial source of information that can help inform every shot.”

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Arccos Caddie launches May 22 and is free until May 31 before being available by subscription to golfers who have played five rounds with the Arccos system, which incorporates a small tab on the butt of a club’s grip synched to a smartphone app to track a player’s round. Arccos Caddie attempts to replicate the wisdom of a caddie who has carried your bag for years and knows every nook and cranny of the course you are about to play.

To accomplish that, Arccos Caddie studies data collected from your previous rounds, including your typical shots with each club, and compares it to how similar players faired while playing the same hole you are about to start. Arccos’ database includes more than 61 million shots and 386 million geotagged data points on more than 40,000 courses. Machine learning and sophisticated algorithms simulate you playing the holes tens of thousands of times using various club combinations and strategies. The system then shows which combination of your shots is most likely to yield the lowest score.

For example, when you arrive on a 490-yard par 5, your inclination might be to grab your driver, but Arccos Caddie could reveal that going with a 3-wood, laying up with an 8-iron and hitting your approach shot with a pitching wedge gives you the greatest likelihood of making par or birdie. Stripped of ego and preconceptions, the decision-making process relies on data to create its recommendations.

It might sound like hyperbole, but systems like this have the potential to affect how recreational golfers play and perform as much as major equipment changes of the past.

“Golfers using Arccos improved their handicap by an average of 2.77 strokes last year,” Syed said. “With the introduction of Arccos Caddie, we expect this trend to reach even more dramatic heights.”

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Arccos Caddie is USGA legal. The shot-tracking system records your shots as you play and stores the data in your smartphone before uploading it to the cloud for analysis. At the same time, the Arccos Caddie function provides information and suggestions based on data from previous rounds. It takes anticipated wind speeds and directions into consideration, but it does not show you real-time wind information or reveal data about the round you are playing. The prerequisite five rounds provide the system with baseline metrics of your game; the more you play and the more data is collected about your game, the higher the quality of recommendations because they will be based on a larger dataset of shots.

One of the most useful features of Arccos Caddie is it not only displays the likelihood of you hitting the target with a specific club, it reveals where you are most likely to miss if you fail to hit the fairway or the green. You likely have heard TV commentators and players talk for years about managing your misses, and now you can do that more effectively.

“Arccos Caddie is the first platform in sports that truly harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to help players make smarter decisions,” said Mike Downey, who leads Microsoft’s sports partnerships. “Through the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, Arccos Caddie instantly digests unique data sets and delivers actionable advice to any golfer, from beginners to pros seeking to make the PGA Tour.”

A real caddie can fill you with confidence, encourage you to play smarter and help you have more fun. Arccos caddie can do that, too, but you still have to hit the shots.

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