It's difficult for golfers to make improvements in their games if they don't know where to look. Unfortunately, when most players finish their rounds, a lot of that critical information is discarded. You might remember a few of your great shots or your poor ones, but I find that golfers don't have a real grasp on what is actually going on in terms of their overall trends.
That's where stats can help. But traditional ones like putts per round and fairways hit can be misleading. If you want to really know what's going on, you need to take a much deeper dive. Fortunately, over the past few years, there are several companies in the performance-tracking space that collect that information for you while you play and present that analysis in a neat online dashboard.
One of the leaders in this space has been Shot Scope. Several years ago, the Scottish-based brand solved a significant problem with their V2 GPS watch, which allowed automatic shot-tracking without the use of a cell phone or having to manually tag your shots before each swing. Their new release, the V3, just hit the market and it packs a significant upgrade. After using it several rounds, I now believe the company has removed pretty much any objection to using their system from a price perspective and functionality.
The Only Missing Piece of the Puzzle
Shot Scope V2 was a fantastic product. The system allowed golfers to track their game automatically, show yardages through a GPS watch, and gave access to a robust online portal, which showed a detailed analysis of where they needed to improve. The only complaint you would hear from golfers is that the watch was too big.
Back in January, I met with Gavin Dear, the company's Chief Commerical Officer at the PGA Show. I knew what I wanted to hear from him - that Shot Scope had a new hardware upgrade, and the watch was now smaller. In my view, it was the system's only real imperfection. Low and behold, he delivered on my request.
My next question was the price point. I assumed they would charge more of a premium for a newer release, perhaps in the $300 - $400 range. Gavin told me it would be around $200.
I responded, "I think you're going to sell a lot of these."
Taking Shot Scope V3 for a Test Spin
If you're not familiar with Shot Scope, you can read my review of their V2 release for a bit more detail on what it has to offer. They managed to create a system that solved many of the problems its competitors faced. Arccos requires a cell phone to be in the golfer's pocket to track their shots, while GAME GOLF requires users to manually tag shots before each swing. Shot Scope was the first solution that allowed golfers to play their rounds with just a GPS watch tracking their shots in the background (you have to screw in tags on top of each of your club grips).
While I didn't have a massive problem with the V2 watch, it was a deal-breaker for certain golfers due to its size.
Shot Scope V3 debuts a noticeably smaller GPS watch. It now has color, a better battery life (up to 10 hours), and a more substantial GPS capability to improve shot-tracking accuracy. It's almost exactly the same size as my Apple Watch.
Recently, I played five rounds with the V3 watch. Similar to V2, you still get yardages to the front, center, and back of the greens as well as hazards. It's a sharper screen with colors now, but most importantly, it's no longer a burden on your wrist.
All course downloads and round editing is handled through their mobile app, which is quite intuitive to use.
For the most part, almost every shot I hit on the course was tracked appropriately. You do have the option of manually tagging where the pin is while you play for enhanced putting accuracy. However, I found that even when I did that, you still should expect to spend about 5-10 minutes after your round in the app to make sure everything is accurate. Putting is really the only place where the watch might not detect precisely where you are on the course. Shot Scope did tell me they will potentially address that issue with a firmware upgrade that will boost the GPS signal.
Overall, there wasn't much of a problem with V2 in terms of its functionality, but the newer version of Shot Scope solves the "watch size problem" and adds a boost to its GPS accuracy and battery life.
The online dashboard is still top-notch, and they've also added a lot of social elements where you can compete against other golfers. For less than $200, you're getting a GPS watch and shot tracking system that doesn't have any ongoing fees. In the current marketplace, I think that's a great value proposition.
Where It Fits In
When this category first started 5+ years ago, I was very excited about its prospects. If you want to become a better golfer, I do believe keeping track of your stats can absolutely help. Traditional statistics like fairways hit can be misleading, though, and almost every company in this category does a great job taking a deeper dive into where your game needs help.
I did like what GAME GOLF had to offer despite its requirement to manually tag shots, but unfortunately, the company is no longer in business.
Arccos is still a big player, but it does require you to keep your cell phone in your pocket while you play, which is a deal-breaker for me. They do have a workaround with a sensor you can wear on your belt, but it's currently unavailable and brings the total cost of the product closer to $300. Additionally, there are ongoing fees to use their software.
With its current release, I think Shot Scope has nestled itself at a nice price point. Additionally, they have mostly solved the problem of tracking your shots during the round without being a nuisance.
You can purchase Shot Scope V3 with a special offer for our readers here.