I’m a statistics geek – not just with respect to golf, but every walk of life. So I do have a predisposition to enjoying devices which crunch numbers, and am prone to waxing lyrical about them (if they’re any good).
But impartiality is important to me too, so when I was handed the new Game Golf Live digital tracking device, I did my utmost to avoid looking like a kid at Christmas.
Of course, one lame excuse to the Mrs later, and I was out on the golf course, excited and at the ready to give my new toy a try.
Game Golf pretty much broke new ground with their “Classic” product a few years ago, which I was blown away by at the time.
So would the newest addition represent a marked improvement? Abso-frickin-lutely.
If you already own Game Golf Live please feel free to leave your own review in the comments at the end of this article.
Game Golf Live
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The Ping i’s are a progressive string with minimal offset in the shorter irons - more offset in the longer. Now despite there being less offset than its predecessor, the Ping i’s are very forgiving and cater to a slightly wider handicap and player bracket because of this. In the past we found Ping irons to be fairly squared off at the toe, but they have turned this around and now are pleasantly rounded particularly at the toe.
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iOS / Android
Additional Features to Game Golf Classic
GPS-enabled rangefinder, real-time on course stats, in-round editing
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Detailed Review of Game Golf
Build & Features
There aren’t really too many significant differences between the new model and the original in terms of hardware. The color is a slightly lighter shade of red – almost maroon. And there is nothing in it in terms of the tags.
But there are two key fundamental differences in the overall package. The first is the presence of an app, which is both iOS and Android compatible, and you can now view your performance stats in real time on your phone. Save the data, edit it – you can do what you like during the round, and afterwards it all syncs up to your phone anyway. Too easy.
The other important feature is a GPS-enabled rangefinder, which the original didn’t have. We carried a separate GPS on the course with us to compare, and I can promise you the distances offered up by the Game Golf Live GPS were bang on the money.
In terms of metrics and features, the usual suspects are all there, but it is the addition of the strokes-gained stats – in the context of tee shots, approaches, short game, sand saves and putting – which offers the most actionable insights of all.
Ease of Use
As with the original, Golf Game Live couldn’t be much simpler to use. Setup is a piece of cake. Charge your device up in the USB port and download the Game Golf app to your phone.
Once you’ve created a login, you can pair your phone with the device via Bluetooth.
Once all that is done, it’s a simple case of screwing the tags into your grips, which is straightforward given that each one is designated to a specific club.
Customizing the app to match your set of clubs is also easy – in fact the entire setup process literally takes a few minutes.
When out on the course, turn the device on, clip it onto your belt, and then find the course on your app and select your starting hole.
After that, all you have to do is tap the tag onto the device before (or after) each shot, which is validated by a little buzz sound.
Probably the only weakness is the very concept of tagging – it’s still a bit manual, and requires you to remember to do it each shot! But that’s knit picking in all honesty, as this is a very smooth and convenient customer experience all round.
And by the time you finish your round, it’s all nice and synced up to your phone for you, so no need to plug it into a computer. Just crack open a cold one, sit back, and indulge the numbers geek within you!
Performance & Analysis
There was nothing we could fault about the performance of the entire Golf Game Live system.
I’d read before that there were problems with the app in terms of saving data, finding courses and in-round editing, but we experienced none of that. It’s just a smooth process from start to finish, and everything is instant.
We always think we know our strengths and weaknesses as golfers, but I was amazed at the trends it was able to pick up on – even with the relatively small data set of the two rounds we played.
The strokes-gained stats in particular are fantastic, but the wide range of data factors in everything you can think of: fairways, bunkers, putting, wedge shots etc.
You can also see in detail how you played each hole, which in turn enables you to infer what impact things like slope, dogleg and wind have on your distances.
Yet even with a sea of data at your fingertips, I truly don’t believe it is an overload, and because the app conveys it all in a clear and concise manner, it really is easy to determine the good and the bad, and to implement the necessary improvements to change your game for the better.
As for the battery life, we charged the device up for a couple of hours; played two 18-hole rounds with it, and still had a bit left over.
So even though it may be a pain to have to charge it up in the first place, at least you’re guaranteed good mileage out of it.
Value for Money
When Game Golf Live first launched in 2016, it retailed at about $300. At first glance, that looked like a lot of money, but having reviewed the product exhaustively, I’d say that would still represent decent value.
So the fact that you can now pick up one of these babies for half that amount, well… I think it’s an absolute steal in all honesty.
To put it into context, think about what this sort of system can do for you by channeling and providing focus to both practicing and lessons.
In both cases, you’ll have such a crystal-clear idea of what needs to be worked on, which in turn will ensure a great deal of efficiency in terms of time and money spent. Value. For. Money. Everywhere!