Arccos Golf is revolutionizing how the game of golf is being played. We caught up with Jason Fortin at the show and he demonstrated how this incredible technology works and how it can help you lower your scores.
Tom Brassell: 2017 PGA merchandise show continues as we take a trip down technology lane , probably the best, hottest technology out there, but probably the most useful technology out there. We’re here at the “Arccos” booth with our friend Jason Fortin. Jason, great seeing you.
Jason Fortin : Great seeing you.
Tom Brassell: Jason, take us down technology lane down here, because this is something that is really useful.
Jason Fortin : Yeah, so we just formed a partnership with Microsoft where we’ve developed this course analyser. Basically at “Arccos” we’re talking all the data that we have. We have recorded 50 million shots of users, and we have 40,000 courses mapped throughout the world. And so based on that information we know the course, we know the hole, we know elevation, we know the users tendencies and their distances. We can map out an optimal strategy. So what I’m going to do here is take you through Amen corner. We’re gonna take you through two holes of Amen corner with two very different players. On the one hand we have Frank, who has over two hundred rounds logged into the “Arcos” system. He’s a 13th handicap, and he hits the balls about 208 off the tee. This actually happens to be my data here, as you guys know I play a fair amount of golf.
Tom Brassell: 3.2, I’ll put you in my next scramble team.
Jason Fortin : I have over a hundred rounds logged in the system. In terms of the differences in style I’m a little bit longer hitter off the tee, and so We’ll sort of take you through this strategy of A man corner.
Tom Brassell: And now the “Arccos” technology again, it fits on the butt end of your golf club, and you’re in the second generation of this right?
Jason Fortin : Basically put 14 sensors here, and see Tom, they’re really light weight, and you put them on the end.
Tom Brassell: Oh yeah, yeah.
Jason Fortin : It’s a one time pairing process where it distinguishes that the driver, this is the sensor for the driver, this is the sensor for the 3 wood. Then the beauty is you just go to the golf course, you turn on the “Arccos” app.
Tom Brassell: Phone is in your front pocket right?
Jason Fortin : Front pocket, and set it and forget it. You don’t have to think about it. THere’s no behavior change, you don’t have to tap anything, it records everything automatically, every shot on the course. And so the beauty with all this data now is it’s got my information, we’re here on the 11th hole of Augusta national. It’s pretty steep, the downhill, as you know there’s a lot of elevation in Augusta. This one goes downfall. And so the interesting thing is, if I pick up the driver here, and we’re playing the members tee’s by the way. You notice based on my distances the fairway actually opens up pretty dramatically here, so I’ve got a 55% chance of hitting the fairway. Normally I’m more of a 40% in terms of hitting fairways but here based on the course, based on my typical distances drivers away. And then when I come in to the green with a 56 wedge in my hand and you can see that there’s trouble here. There’s a 2% chance of water here, .4 I go long into the creek, but 72% chance I get in to green regulation.
So based on the information, and this machine learning algorithm I have an expected score of 4.3. So the interesting thing is a lot of times people think well, you know, I gotta play conservative. If you do that strategy here the interesting this is if I take a 3 hybrid notice that the fair is actually narrow. There’s only a 42% chance I’m in the fairway even though I’m hitting the safer club. Actually driver’s the optimal strategy here. And then you see then, If you come into with the 7 iron into the green, Obviously I was more 70%, and now it 46%, and the water comes more into play.
Tom Brassell: So you can help manage your game when you’re on the tee as far as-
Jason Fortin : World’s smartest caddie. Save a half a stroke by going the optimal strategy. And the beauty of this is that people think I gotta play smart, I gotta lay up on everything. That’s not the case. We’re figuring out the optimal strategy, not the conservative strategy. Cause in this case, the conservative strategy actually leads to the higher score. So that’s the 11th hole. The 13th hole is significantly uphill. There’s about 30 yards of elevation there. So even though I like to go to Augusta and breach the green like all those guys, the problem is when I hit my drive, there’s about a 60%-58% chance I’m gonna end up in the pine straw.
Tom Brassell: Cause you hit it out there about 260 and you move it a little bit left to right.
Jason Fortin : Yeah. And so it’s narrow here, and here’s the other problem is Microsoft has figured out I’m not as good as Phil Nickelson, so when I hit out of this area it’s more likely – a 36% chance – I’m gonna end up in the water. Only and 18% chance to be on the green. So an expected score of 5.3. Really the optimal path here is to hit the 3 wood, we’ve got a 59% of hitting the fairway, lay up the 6 iron, and then come into with a 56, and now that water comes less into play and I have an expected score of 4.9, save .4 strokes. Those are 2 different holes, but obviously we have different people out there. So let’s go to Frank who’s a very different player. When you go to Frank, you know If you remember my strategy, the recommended strategy, was to hit a driver. Now with Frank’s distance, when he hits a shot, so 45% chance that he’s gonna be in the ferry. Problem is now he goes for the green, you’ve got the water there. If he goes for the green with the 5 wood there’s really only a 6% chance he gonna be on the green. Much more likely he’s gonna be swimming with a 32% chance of being in the water.
So really Frank is a great chipper. Really the optimal strategy for Frank is to hit a 3 wood off the tee, 63% chance of getting the fairway, hits his 4 hybrid and basically takes the water out of play. There’s only a 1% chance he goes in, there’s only a 9% chance he hits the green but really ends up here and then chips on and he’s basically made a bogey at Augusta National and should be pretty happy with that. 4.9 expected score versus 5.5. And then back to the par 5. In my case it was recommended I got conservative with the 3 wood and lay up. The problem is if he goes the conservative route, he does a 5 wood again, does a 5 wood again, and then got an 8 iron onto the green. The water’s 16% coming into play, there’s less than a 50% chance he hits the green. In his case, which is opposite of mine is we recommend he hits the driver, remember it’s significantly uphill, hit a 3 wood and then coming into the green he’s almost to 70% chance hitting the green in regulation 5.6 versus 6.-
Tom Brassell: Much better chance of making par than – obviously gonna make bogey or worse – when he goes to the other way. Let me ask you one question as we close this. You said one word and it was Microsoft. Talk about that partnership with Microsoft.
Jason Fortin : So yeah, we’re using, we’re partnered with Microsoft together we’re jointly developing this machine learning algorithms that will come up with this, like I said they will be available in April to our users. Harnesses our data. Like I said, the course data and stuff, and comes up these algorithms, as I said, comes up with the words basically smartest caddie.
Tom Brassell: It’s “Arccos“, the worlds smartest caddie, probably the most useful technology in golf, make sure to check it out. Jason Fortin.