Wednesday, 27 June 2018

TP5X vs Chrome Soft 2016, Chrome Soft 2018, Chrome Soft X 2016, Chrome Soft X 2018

From previous posts:
Chrome Soft vs TP5, TP5X
Chrome Soft vs Chrome Soft X

With the introduction of the 2018 versions of the Chrome Soft (CS) and Chrome Soft X (CSX) a rerun was necessary. When I compared the CS to the TP5X previously I noticed the ball speed was lower and it showed higher spin. The CSX exhibited better ball speed but noticeably more spin.

Callaway claim the introduction of Graphene produces higher ball speed, higher launch and lower spin especially with longer irons and driver. That should move the 2018 balls closer to the TP5X.

Capture 5 solid shots with each ball across a variety of clubs.

The clubs used in the test were:
60° wedge (goal was a 50 yard pitch)
PW (45°)
7 Iron (31°)
5 Iron (24°)
3 Hybrid (21°)
Driver (8°)

The balls tested were:
Chrome Soft 2016 (CS16)
Chrome Soft 2018 (CS18)
Chrome Soft X 2016 (CSX16)
Chrome Soft X 2018 (CSX18)

Results and Analysis

Does the new CS and CSX produce higher ball speed?
Yes, albeit by a small margin. Neither ball appears to reach the level of the TP5X though.

Does the new CS and CSX produce higher launch?
Perhaps with driver but that is likely being overridden by strike? Launch isnt as high as the TP5X with irons.

Does the new CS and CSX produce lower spin?
In general it looks like they do, again by a small margin. They are not as low spinning as the TP5X.

Delving into the Driver Numbers
The driver numbers caught my attention. The TP5X clearly shows a higher ball speed but it was up to 9 yards shorter in total distance. The CS16 was shorter still.

The TP5X produced higher ball speed and lower spin but launch angle was lower which results in less distance. Spin axis was also tilted more and I have previously noted the relationship between spin axis tilt and distance. The Skytrak flight model definitely favours higher launching shots with relatively little spin axis tilt.

Does the TP5X launch lower with driver?
Launch angle with driver is controlled far more by delivery and strike than the ball.

Gamegolf vs MyRoundPro vs Shotscope V2 Part 5

Continuation from part 4.


MRP has the most useful (actionable) stats, but I don't want to use a mobile phone when playing golf, I don't want to edit post round on a mobile phone and the support is non-existent.

GG is easy to use and relatively unobtrusive once you get used to tagging shots. However, its stats are massively outdated and the product looks like it needs to be reimagined. Support is decent but the product isn't evolving rapidly enough to keep pace with competitors.

SS is in a different league from a play perspective, no interaction with the device until you have holed out. The editor is pretty good and the stats have the potential to equal those from MRP (and possibly surpass them). Support is excellent and development appears rapid.

I started my shot tracking journey with MRP and the microsoft band 2 when it was released. The support (lack of) frustrated me massively and I switched to GG. GG just worked and I used it for a long period of time. However, I found myself manually copying the data into MRP to get decent stats and to target my practise. Since getting SS a couple of months ago I haven't been back into MRP or GG. I would like strokes gained data in addition to its comprehensive analysis but its tracking is best of breed, it is accurate, support is excellent and the product is being actively developed.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Gamegolf vs MyRoundPro vs Shotscope V2 Part 4

Continuation from part 3


MRP displays putting stats well. 1 screen showing make % at the top and the number of putts per round in each distance category. Below this is SG data which can be broken down per round or per shot. This is probably the most useful screen in the app. For the round in this analysis I lost 2 shots in the 10-15' range (a consistent trend for me). My SG was +ve in the 0-3' range and in the >30' range.

Avg putts per hole seems almost useless to me. However, I noticed last year my 3 putt percentage was higher than my handicap peer group. I worked on my tempo to improve distance control (with the excellent Blast Motion) and I now average 1x 3 putt per 18 holes which is better than my handicap benchmark (source). Having said that I needed the MRP data to see it was >30' putts where I was losing most SG. This chart is ok but it is coarse, crude and dated compared to MRP.
SS has a number of detailed charts on a single page. The first few lines show the same data as GG but it then gets interesting. It shows the average length of putt holed along with the longest putt holed (would be nice to see total ft holed). The 'never up never in chart' could be really interesting but it is currently wrong (for me at least). Because I recorded my putting distances I know I only left 4/26 putts short (15%) but the chart is showing 78%!

Make % is very useful, but it needs some kind of benchmarking for context.

 SS appears to work on a minimum granularity of 2' for putting, but the above chart shows resulting proximity grouped by starting distance. Very useful information but benchmarking data is needed.
Avg shots to finish should be analogous to SG but it is again missing the benchmarking inherent to SG. 

Conclusion to follow in part 5.

Gamegolf vs MyRoundPro vs Shotscope V2 Part 3

Continuation from part 2...


MRP breaks approach by distance; it shows proximity and SG per round and shot. The UI looks good but it is irritating to use and you cannot see an overview of SG for approach play. The overview used to be visible on the web page, another drawback of a mobile only approach.

Was my approach play good or bad?
GG almost meaningless. No SG drilldown, no proximity data.

No SG data but it shows detailed proximity data including a red zone. It also shows shots to finish (SF) (easier to understand than SG?) which can be broken down by distance, club, lie etc. A lot of data displayed really well on a rich web page.

Short Game

MRP follows the same approach for short game. A massive number of screens required to show relatively little information.

GG shows the same screen as approach. Once again no valuable information in terms of proximity, SG etc.

SS another excellent screen with a lot of information. Proximity, a red zone, up/down % and shots to finish.

Putting to follow in part 4...

Gamegolf vs MyRoundPro vs Shotscope V2 Part 2

Continuation from part 1

Results and Analysis
I don't have a great deal of interest in the distance data captured by the devices. I know my distances very accurately due to extensive time on Skytrak, Trackman and GCQ. I am however interested in what insights the devices offer so the rest of this post will delve into this...

MRP Overview

GG Overview
MRP aces this, it is immediately obvious where strengths and weaknesses lie. It has a good selection of Strokes Gained (SG) baselines and I have manually verified the accuracy of the calculation.

GG is ok, but the data is rather crude and because there is no strokes gained drilldown you cannot verify accuracy or dive into the details. It does have a selection of strokes gained baselines.

SS doesn't currently have an overview screen. This seems like a substantial shortcoming.

I didnt hit a shot into a hazard, but according to MRP I did!

MRP is clear in terms of SG by club but the interface is clunky and you need to click buttons to swap clubs. It only allows Driver, 3W and other as categories. You cannot hover over the dots to see where/when shots were taken.

GG focuses on distance, no reference to SG. You can hover over the dots to see which hole/course/round it was captured which is excellent. The display can be filtered by any combination of club/round etc. Unfortunately the display is meaningless, hitting or missing fairways doesn't really matter as proven by SG.

SS has huge potential. It shows distance and dispersion but it also shows score (par, birdie etc) so over time you will start to see where your costly misses are. Hovering over a dot provides extra information and click-through to the actual shot! What would massively improve the visuals would be the distance and accuracy grids to colour the dots based on result to par and even better some kind of SG heatmap. It makes no reference on SG which makes interpreting the data somewhat challenging.

Part 3 will cover Approach, Short game and Putting.

Gamegolf vs MyRoundPro vs Shotscope V2 Part 1

In order to improve on course performance it is necessary to understand strengths and weaknesses within your game. That way you can practise hardest on weaknesses to try and improve overall. There are now a variety of options available for shot tracking but the way data is captured and stats produce vary significantly. I have Gamegolf (GG), MyRoundPro (MRP) and Shotscope V2 (SS) so it seemed sensible to compare them.

Play golf (13 holes) using Shotscope V2 and record putting distances manually to check for accuracy.
Manually enter the same data into GameGolf and MyRoundPro.
Compare the resulting data.

Data Capture (Subjective)
SS couldn't be easier; wear the watch and play golf. When you hole out hold the watch over the hole and enter the number of putts taken. The data syncs via bluetooth to a mobile phone or via usb cable to a PC. For high accuracy putt distances to hole should be captured separately.

GGis somewhat intrusive (needing to tag every shot), but the process is slick and reliable. The unit is small and unobtrusive. For high accuracy putt distances to hole should be captured separately.

MRP (with Microsoft Band) was pretty good in my experience, although it didnt know which club was hit so you had to manually capture this separately. No tagging was required so the experience was unintrusive. The problem with this approach was the Microsoft Band or more specifically the band of the Microsoft Band - they split! I split 3 bands before giving up, it just wasnt fit for purpose.

MRP (with mobile). The mobile app is fairly slick but I dont want to play golf with a mobile phone in my pocket, let alone needing to use it after every shot.

Accuracy (Subjective)
All options appear pretty accurate in terms of tagging location. Gamegolf is pretty clever at 'guessing' the pin location. Shotscope doesnt guess it is reliant only on the accuracy of its GPS signal and in my experience it got this pretty close most of the time. MRP didn't attempt to guess pin location.

Post Round Editing (Subjective)
GGhas a very slick editor on PC. Distance to hole is shown when moving putts which is incredibly useful when you have recorded putt distances to the hole.

SS has a web based editor and it is reasonable. Frustratingly it shows shot distance, not distance to hole when moving shots. If you need to adjust a putt location this is very difficult. If the lie is incorrect (e.g. on green but marked as fairway) you cannot change this which leads to incorrect data.

MRP can only be edited on a mobile device. It used to be possible to edit on a PC but for some unfathomable reason Taylormade removed the website. Much like I don't want to play golf using a mobile phone I also don't want to do post-round editing on one. As a positive it does show distance to hole when placing putts.

Support Experience
SS is outstanding. I raised a support ticket at 10pm and by 10am the next day this was answered.

GG is good. I have raised a few tickets about rounds disappearing and they have been fixed within a few days.

MRP isn't supported from my experience. Course issues seem common and MRP/TM support dont fix them. You can raise requests and you will get a confirmation but nothing will be done. I attempted to point this out to TM via social media and their response was to mark the comment as spam!

This is becoming very long, results and analysis to follow in part 2...

Saturday, 27 January 2018

2017 Taylormade M2 vs Callaway Epic Sub Zero - GCQuad Data

Following on from part 1 I managed to repeat my testing on a GCQuad.

The Epic Sub Zero should be lower spinning.
The Epic Sub Zero should produce a longer carry distance.

Within the limitations of my setup I tested by capturing multiple shots (not blatant mishits) with each club/config.

The clubs used were:
Taylormade M2 (9.5deg adjusted to 7.5)
Callaway Epic Sub Zero (9 deg)

The ball used was the TP5X.

Results and Analysis
M2 Shot

Epic SZ Shot

I was impressed in part 1 but the data from GCQuad is amazing. Over the course of 15+ shots I averaged 20 yards greater carry.

It is now clear from the data, validated on 2 launch monitors the 2017 M2 doesn't suit me. The combination of slightly higher ball speed and significantly lower spin means the Epic SZ is way better in my hands. 20 yards equates to approx 0.06 strokes gained every shot which could be as much as 0.8 shots per round!