When searching for the right shot tracking software, there are some very important elements that must be considered. Golfers should seek out a device that accommodates their needs without overwhelming their experience with buttons, syncing, pairing, or bulk. For Shot Scope, they have introduced a shot tracking device and tag system that is compact on the clubhead, comfortable on the wrist, and easy to apply to any golf round. This review will break down the experiences and best practices with the Shot Scope device.
One of the first things to consider with a shot tracking device is what it requires to operate, and how that impacts the golfer when playing. For Shot Scope, golfers are provided with a quality wristband with a rubberized strap system that fits well on the left arm (or right arm for lefties). The overall bulk is not bad, with the face of the wristband being not much larger in height than a typical watch. There are five buttons including power, and the numbers one through four (which will be discussed later). Finally, there is a USB connection on the side of the wristband that has a soft rubber cap, which can easily be removed to plug into a device. The most accurate way to operate the Shot Scope is by wearing the wristband while playing, as it tracks more than just where you hit your ball.
It is entirely up to the individual what is tolerable to have atop the club, however it is of the opinion of this reviewer that protrusions out of the top of a grip are an extreme nuisance. To the credit of Shot Scope, their tags are small enough that it did not cause any sort of annoyance which came as a big surprise early in testing. The tags themselves are durable, and the connection to the club is very strong. There is a small chance the caps can lose their epoxy bond, however that is a relatively easy fix and does not degrade the effectiveness of the tag itself. During testing, the cap of the putter tag came apart due to the endless verification of tag screw tightness (fidgety tendencies while reading putts have that effect on devices), however it was easy to recreate the bond and continue with confidence. It was a non-issue.
This became a major concern after completing the first review round only to read on the website that the home course of this reviewer had not been mapped. Shockingly, the course was mapped within twenty four hours, which is impressive! The website has a ‘suggest course’ feature in case users plan to go somewhere to play and want the information readily available for them, and the Shot Scope course database will continue to grow over time.
Additionally, they have a “suggest an edit” tab which allows users to submit any potential course changes like that pesky new bunker at the home course, or if there is a notable error that requires correction. In situations like this, the user base generally dictates how strong the course database is, which seems to be one of the best possible ways to construct an ever growing course database.
Each individual tag has a role already assigned to it, based on the number or letter atop the cap. This is great because users do not have to sync their tags to each club, assuming they put the right tag on the right club. Shot Scope includes a total of twenty tags, which includes a number of extras labeled X1, X2, X3, and X4. All the golfer would need to do is verify to themselves which tag is on which head before they take to their Shot Scope app to review the round.
When arriving to the golf course, the most ideal timeline to activate the Shot Scope device is after finishing a warm-up session and heading towards the first tee. The device takes a very short amount of time to engage the GPS location, and it removes any potential errors or carryover shots from the range (as experienced the first time using). It can be said with confidence that a clear day GPS acquisition can take less than a minute without issue.
Integrated GPS Tracking and Club Sense
The wristband provided by Shot Scope has built in GPS tracking that considers the location of the golfer throughout their round. When the golfer stops at a location, removes a club from the bag, and takes some swings, the device collects that information and considers a shot taken from that position. This is a great ‘hands off’ feature for data collection, however it does require some post round resolution if a penalty stroke is taken.
Reading into the product logic and robust FAQ section of the website, it seems that Shot Scope is actively using the best possible practice for data collection, as considering each swing would produce many errors due to practice swings, or club changes (it considers the last club used as the one that has hit the ball). Fortunately for users, it is extremely easy to use the application to upload rounds to the Shot Scope website, which are simple to edit and add in penalty strokes for the round analysis (more on this later in the review).
This may be one of the best features of the Shot Scope design. Rather than leaving it to confusion, users select the number of putts they made on the green while standing over the pin location, and the software accepts that location as the end point. This helps to not only track the hole location, but also the number of putts made during a round (this does skew the results slightly if the ball is resting on the fringe, as many would argue a putt is only on the green itself).
The one drawback to this feature is the necessity to make it routine. During testing, getting into the ‘zone’ a few times meant a total mental block on the device itself, leaving a few holes without the use of the PinCollect feature. While this can be edited post round, it is most effective when making it a habit to select the number of putts at the pin location. For this tester, it seems like it would be something that would become second nature over time (like not wearing a hat but still reaching for the ball marker up there).
Bluetooth Syncing and Round Analysis
Shot Scope users can decide whether they want to sync their round with a bluetooth capable smart phone, or a direct connection to a USB port on a computer. In both situations, it is very easy and fast to sync round scores, and the app redirects to the Shot Scope website for the review.
Once on the site, the overview page is present with the most recent score submission highlighted. It includes great information like score to par for total and all par types (3, 4, 5), fairways and greens in regulation, scrambling, and putting averages. Beside the round totals, they have also provided the season average which is another great feature.
Diving into the round is extremely easy. Simply selecting hole one, brings up the hole overview with each shot and the distance it registered. Per a previous note, adjustments can be made to the round by selecting the ‘edit’ feature, which allows for additional shots to be placed (ex: OB, Lost ball re-tee, water hazard, etc). This also allows the golfer to validate the locations of each shot after the round to make sure the right data is being collected.
One error that did concern during testing was the tee location. There are what seem to be anchors on each tee box built in by the mapping team, and in some situations (tees that are across a road as a sample) seem to have an anchor point ahead of where the drive was actually taken. It would seem that a simple note to Shot Scope would help to validate these locations for future use.
For the most part, data collection proved very accurate, however there is and always be a small amount of error when dealing with fringe vs green or fairway vs rough. During testing, Shot Scope seemed to get this right at a much higher frequency than anticipated. It also rarely, if ever, made an error on shot selection or shot origin during the hole itself, leaving this tester very confident in the overall device accuracy.
For statistics lovers out there, this feature will satisfy every possible need for numbers. The user can see their total club distances (including average, performance average, and longest), as well as detailed stats on tee shots, approaches, short game, putting, and personal records. This information requires a commitment to accuracy throughout the year, and increases in accuracy every time a round of golf is played (removing the crazy outliers and elements that add or remove distance to shots).
Not unlike many of our current handicap systems, a fair number of rounds before the stats become solid references to a players’ skill is somewhere in the realm of twenty or more. At that point, the trusty 8 iron used to punch out of trouble on four occasions becomes the minority to the other 30 times it was used and managed maximum distance.
There are a number of effective shot tracking devices available on the market today, however it does seem like Shot Scope has isolated many of the extremely important aspects of what makes a shot tracking device good, and easy to use. With the on course activity limited to a simple button compression per hole, and the online application being so user friendly, it will rightly seat itself among the leaders in this product class. For more information on the Shot Scope, visit www.ShotScope.com.