Game Golf

June 14, 2014

I haven’t done many golf posts lately because I having been playing much golf. Rain and work and a persistent left knee problem have limited me. But I’m starting to get out a little now, at least on the weekends. I’m working my way back, nine holes at a time.

Anyway, I’m also testing this little gimmick, Game Golf.

I’ve played 27 holes with it and I can tell you it works. And it should, it’s a pretty simple GPS-based idea, it doesn’t really measure anything other than the distance between where you “tag” your clubs. Theoretically you could do the same with any GPS system, if you were willing to take notes.

It is nice if you want to show off a bit, and share your rounds on Facebook or via Twitter — I probably won’t continue doing that though I did with the first three rounds I played to test the interface.You can check out my rounds here, if you’re interested.

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Though these stats are based on a very small sample size, they’re pretty accurate. Two of these three rounds were played in very wet conditions (and the course was soft when I played yesterday) but the driving distance — a 257 yard average — is probably pretty close to what I would average over a season. There’s one outlier (the 300 harder happened to hit in precisely the right place to roll out, most of the shorter drives were carry only) but my best guess is that I average between 260 and 265 these days. The last (18 hole) round I played before acquiring my Game Golf unit was actually one of my best driving rounds of the past few years — in firm, dry conditions I had several drives that were around 300 yards.

(I also hit a 233-yard four iron that day — that’s 20 yards further than that club travels when I strike it solidly.)

Unfortunately, Game Golf doesn’t know anything about that round. It computes my “average” four-iron distance as 185 yards, six yards shorter than I hit my five iron. (That’s the small sample size — the 5-iron average is based on a single swing with that club. It was a tee shot and it plugged in front of the green. For the record, I haven’t hit a six iron in the 27 holes I’ve played with the Game Golf unit; I hit my seven iron 164 yards, my eight iron 158 and my nine iron 152.

That’s not too far off the distances I’ve assigned them — generally my seven iron is my 165 club; my eight 155 and my nine 145. At least one of the eight irons — one that went 163 yards — measured was downhill.

Fo what its worth, I’ve chipped and putted very well since I’ve been using the unit, which accounts for my decent scoring. (I’m two over par for the 27 holes I’ve played.) That won’t hold up — I’m due to three putt and until recently I’ve been pretty clunky around the greens. when the sample gets larger, my putts per hole (currently 1.7) stats will go up and my scrambling (73 percent) will go down.

As far as the unit’s usefulness, it has already identified some flaws in my game. First of all, I’m a terribly inconsistent driver of the golf ball. When I have good days, I’m (relatively) long and straight but it’s the one aspect of my game that causes me the most trouble. I’m hitting my three wood a lot off the tee these days, which is fine on a medium length track but makes it tough for me to play a 7,000 yard track. It’s particularly difficult for me because I used to be a big hitter — and I’m still relatively long with my irons.

Finally, Game Golf is fun — and useful — but it’s easy enough to “edit.” It doesn’t record gimmes or mulligans taken (if you don’t tag them). It won’t make anyone honest.

Still, it’s a neat toy. I’ll probably keep using it.


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