After many months of waiting for Arccos to release the Android version of their system, I decided to give up and look for other alternatives for shot tracking during my rounds. I'm a bit of a numbers geek and think that knowing my yardages and tendencies can do nothing but improve my game. I looked into Game Golf and even downloaded their app to try out, only to be disappointed that you couldn't use their tags and app at the same time, so it provided no real time tracking capabilities. You had to wait to hook up the device to a computer to review and download your round. This was a major setback for me, because I already use GPS on my phone and Android Wear smartwatch, so carrying around another device is ridiculous. I want to be able to do everything from one device and Arccos has shown that can be done.
Enter Golf Pad GPS, an already well known golf GPS app for both Android and Iphone. They have developed an NFC based shot tracker that operates off of the same premise as Game Golf, but uses your existing Android smartphone with NFC technology to track the GPS and to tag your shots. I am already an NFC user, so this was nothing new to me. One note that I have to give is that your phone must be NFC capable in order for this system to work and there is a list of compatible phones on the golfpadgps website if you're not sure. The phone that I'm using for this testing is the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and also the Samsung Gear Live watch for the smartwatch testing portion. Supposedly using the watch along with the phone gives you a complete experience without ever having to take the phone out of your pocket. I've heard that one before, so we will test that out.
So the package arrives today and it's a small box. Inside are 15 small plastic NFC tags and a code for one year of golfpadgps premium upgrade.
The tags come in a velvet pouch which will come in handy once they're on the clubs:
The next step is to simply install one tag onto each of your clubs. The tags screw into the grips securely, but I noticed a distinct difference in how tight I could get them depending on the grip type. I have NDMC's on my woods and CP2 Wraps on my irons currently and they screwed in very firmly on the NDMCs, but the CP2 Wraps are a much softer grip and didn't have the same positive stop at the end. I don't fear losing one, but I do feel much more confident in the ones that are in the NDMCs.
You may notice that these tags are not labeled by club like other devices. It does not matter which tag goes on which club because as a part of the software setup on your phone, you will assign each individual tag simply by tapping it to your phone. I simply downloaded the app, put in the premium code that I was provided and went into the app setting and enabled Golf Tags, which required me to make a couple changes to my phone. Of course NFC must be enabled, but you also have to go in and tell it not to turn the screen off automatically when the power button is pressed. I'm used to this because as an NFC user, I already know that NFC powers down when the screen is off which wouldn't work with the tags in your pocket. They did get around this by installing a "smart lock" screen, which keeps the screen on, but locks it so that you don't accidentally press the screen and dims the display to where it is barely on to save battery power. How much battery is this going to take for a round? I don't know yet, but we will definitely find out.
I am going to take it out on the course this afternoon and test it out and try to grab some screenshots off both my phone and my Android wear watch to show the functionality. I have used the Golf Pad GPS app before and found it to be one of the best on the market, so I'm interested to see how adding the Golf Tags functionality into it affects the experience.