Data has taken over the world and we aren’t going back, ever. With the ubiquity of launch monitors, GPS technology, and phone apps, to name only a few, golfers have been taking advantage of data for a while, but the real question is, does any of this data actually make you better? How do you separate the signal from the noise? Well, if you are willing to buy into its system, the new Shot Scope V3 might be just what you need to track your round and help you actually improve with the vast amount of data it captures while you play.
The Shot Scope V3 is the latest iteration of the popular Shot Scope system that is part full-loaded GPS golf watch and part performance tracker. Using small, 2-gram tags in the butt end of each grip, the Shot Scope V3 system tracks every shot you take with minimal interaction and maximum post-round impact.
If you have been a loyal user of the V2 system, the V3 offers a far more compact watch that includes modern GPS technology to increase data accuracy but also allows you to build on the dataset you have already built with your V2. If you haven’t been a Shot Scope user in the past, let’s dive into just a little bit of what you have been missing.
Let’s start with the watch. The GPS watch functions exactly as you would expect from a high-performing golf watch. The color screen provides easy access to front/middle/back distances at a glance and distance to and over hazards (or penalty areas for some of you) with a single button push. Even in the brightest of direct sunlight, the screen remains easily readable. The auto-hole change feature works flawlessly and the PinCollect feature, which appears on screen when you walk on the green, makes sure that the right number of putts are recorded and the location of the pin is precisely placed. More on that in a bit. If you have more than 18 holes planned in your day, the improved battery in the Shot Scope V3 will be there for you for at least 36 holes on a single charge based on my experience. If you need more than that, the charger is quick and should get you plenty of charge in very little time.
The GPS watch works great, but the real magic happens behind the scenes in the GPS + Track mode without much user interaction during the round. The only real user interaction required during the process is clicking the number of putts you took as you pull your ball out of the hole using PinCollect to ensure the most accurate putting data possible.
Shot Scope says its users have reduced their handicap by an average of 2.7 shots, and I have to say I believe it. As stated, the shot tracking works automatically, and after the round it syncs via Bluetooth to the app for editing and analysis. If you think shot distances are all you get, your head may just explode when you see everything the dashboard has, although I can only show you a fraction here.
Want to see a graphical breakdown of how you played a certain hole last week? No problem.
Need to see the distance you hit your shot and the distance left as a result? You got it.
As you can see, reliving a round is a piece of cake, but that has limited use outside of bragging to others. For me, the real value of the Shot Scope V3 comes from all the information you could ever need to improve those 2.7 shots. After enough time, I will bet that you will see that you have tendencies you never knew you had. At this point I need to break the fourth wall a bit and admit how hard writing this review is because there is so much information that I could share with you from the dashboard. Let me walk you through a little of what I’ve learned about my game over the last month that helped me shoot two of my lowest scores in over a year during this review.
First, I’m a typical amateur golfer in that I hit the ball short of the hole far, far too often. Only 39.7% of my shots made it to or past the hole. The takeaway? Take an extra club when in doubt.
Worst yet, 54% of my putts came up short of the hole. Even the dashboard told me what I needed to know: never up, never in.
So, it became clear that I have some work to do with putting, but where should I start? Thankfully the Shot Scope V3 told me exactly where my make percentage drops and where my lag putting is failing me, leaving me with some nasty knee knockers for my second putt.
As a result, I spent some extra time putting from 20-25 feet rather than 5-7 feet before my round and, surprise, it worked. Boom, these is a stroke or two a round saved. Whether you look at your driver stats, your approach stats, or your short game usage, you are certain to find something you need to work on that you didn’t know.
In addition to the stat tracking and round recaps, the Shot Scope V3 awards medals the first time you achieve something new, such as your first birdie on the system or the first round with nine GIRs. The medals are a nice reminder to keep striving for something new and remind you of your personal bests. Shot Scope also has leaderboards where you can compete at the global or national level, including just with others within your handicap range. The medal and leaderboards are just another of the many ways to use your data and keep you engaged and striving for better.
All told, if you are trying to improve your game and your handicap, you need to know where you are losing strokes, and potentially more importantly, what you could do to lose fewer of those strokes. If you are serious about tracking your round and actually using data to improve, there aren’t too many tracking systems that can live up to what the Shot Scope V3 system offers. While there are presently a few drawbacks of the system, such as a GUI that is difficult to get used to and a few growing pains with tracking that are being addressed with firmware updates (such as missed partial wedge shots, added phantom shots, or courses that aren’t mapped yet), I think the juice is certainly worth the squeeze. With the hundreds of ways to look at your data in the Shot Scope system, you will certainly find somewhere to gain a few strokes. God knows I’ll be looking for a few more strokes in my data. You can learn more about the Shot Scope V3 system at www.shotscope.com.
Cost: $219.99 but with an introductory sale currently going on at time of publication
Colors: Black, Grey, Red, Teal and Purple
Also available without the tracking features in the Shot Scope G3 model