Game Golf Live review

Is the new Game Golf Live worth upgrading from the original device?

Charlie Lemay's picture
Thu, 26 Nov 2015

Game Golf Live review

How do YOU measure a blistering drive?

Point your rangefinder back to the tee? Pace out your distance to the centre of the green and then subtract the figure from the length of the hole? Take a stab in the dark and then brag to your mates in the 19th?

Why not get an exact reading on your phone, along with a variety of other real-time stats?

Two years after the release of the original Game Golf device, the company has unveiled Game Golf Live.

The key feature distinguishing the two, other than the £90 hike in price, is Game Golf Live's ability to update the golfer on his/her stats during heir round – hence the term "Live" in the title.

Its hardware has hardly changed, apart from a slight colour switch, which has changed to a shade of maroon rather than red.

To use the device, a player simply inserts tags into the ends of their clubs, and taps the tag against a small module worn on the belt before each shot.  

The original Game Golf device then required players to plug the device into a computer before downloading the data.

They were then provided with a variety of stats, including distances, fairways in regulation, putts per round and sand saves, just to name a few, via a system using GPS, motion sensors and near-field communication technology.

With the new Game Golf Live product, players install an app on their android or iOS device, and the device allows them to see their real-time stats. Game Golf Live also boasts "Strokes Gained", offering metrics off the tee, on approach shots, during the short game and on the greens.

Review: Game Golf

It also allows you to pit your skills against those of a scratch player, pointing out where you are losing shots to the better players. For the narcissists among us, see how you match up against Game Golf ambassadors Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood, Jim Furyk, Chesson Hadley and Sophie Walker.

The full picture also becomes clearer now Google Maps imagery has been added, in addition to Bing and Apple’s cartography.

The social aspect of Game Golf continues, too, allowing players to share stats with friends, while there is also the ability to create "challenges" such as the longest drive that week.

Game Golf's system is fully USGA and R&A approved for tournament and handicap play as long as you do not use the "Live" app during the round.

Review

Making the system "Live" greatly enhances Game Golf.

On the original device, after a fleeting honeymoon period in which I found myself rushing to a computer to see my numbers, I became flippant about downloading my rounds, resulting in multiple outings stacking up on the system.

Because I had a waiting period before I could marvel/mope at my statistics, the excitement and intrigue of seeing my stats wore off. Instead, I would download rounds in clumps of around five, to inspect my patterns of play.

Of course, this was still a useful tool, one which I have been using continually for two years, but the ability to see numbers mid-round adds another dimension to the product.

Other than being able to brag to playing partners about your longest drive, the system will also inform you of your accuracy off the tee and on approach shots, which you can factor into decision making on future holes.

Interview: Game Golf inventor John McGuire

Without Game Golf, I would add a dash on the scorecard every time I three putted, didn’t get up and down from an easy spot, or did something equally calamitous.

Now, when I’ve signed for my card, I can instantly look and see where I let the shots slip away, while the round is still fresh in my mind.

If Game Golf Live tells me I've putted especially badly, which is more often than not, I'll be certain to put in some extra work on the practice green before I head out for my next round.

Game Golf Live also seems to be more accurate than the original product, which I was able to check while out on the course (i.e. I'm standing a foot from a tree - does this match up to what is shown on my phone?).

If, for whatever reason, a shot is not recorded correctly while you are playing, a golfer can amend the mistake instantly, rather than waiting until they have uploaded the round to do so, which is then often amended while looking through rose-tinted spectacles.

Other new features such as "Strokes Gained" are additional bells and whistles, but the classic device was stacked with enough analysis to keep the most inquisitive golfer satisfied.

One important update is the ability to download a map before you play. For some reason, the tee shot on the first hole at my club has never synced with the device (a premonition, perhaps, of my usually dreadful opening hack). With the new system, every shot was recorded.

The system is incredibly easy to use, although some players may find tagging each stroke slightly off-putting, especially those with ingrained pre-shot routines.

Annoyingly, the putting tag also doesn't fit into the end of my grip. To get around this, I carried the tag in my pocket and tapped it on the module when lining up a putt, which is a bit of a chore. My flat stick is a new product, and does not have a conventional grip, but it is still an issue that golfers should be aware of.

For those who play at more esteemed, snooty golf clubs, pulling out a phone on the course could cause some commotion. It could also cause slow play, golf’s current political hot potato.

Verdict

Game Golf Live is a significant upgrade on the original device. The ability to check stats live is a new dimension to the system.

The improvement in accuracy is also welcome - the only problem is, if you err on the side of exaggeration, you will be unearthed. It leaves little room for embellishment.

Price: £249.99

Are you a Game Golf user? What do you make of the new product? Share your thoughts in the forum thread below, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

 

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