Arccos were one of the first companies to harness the power of GPS to track your golf game using sensors attached to the grip of your club.
The Arccos 360 is their second generation system that uses a slimmer sensor that is 6mm shorter at 1.3cm and 3g lighter too, not that either of them are particularly heavy with the new version weighing just over 7g.
The sensors screw into the end of the grip of your clubs and to be fair, visually they blend in very well, even if they are still a little deeper than competitor versions.
This is because each of them has a battery inside which is guaranteed for 2 years, but which is expected to last for at least 5 years, based on 50 rounds a year, before you would eventually have to replace it by buying another sensor.
There are 13 un-paired club sensors plus a dedicated putter sensor, which is the same size as the original version so this is the only one that is club specific.
However if you have putter grip with a counterbalanced weight you can't screw it in. Arccos are aware of this and investigating this further I found a post from Arccos support that roughly translates as 'tough', which is simply not good enough. There should be an attachment or another solution that works for all putters as you need to know where your first putt is taken from in order to work out the distance of your approach shots.
My personal solution is to carry the putter sensor in your pocket and then balance it in the end of the counterweight putter when you putt and this seemed to be accurate enough, even if it was a bit of a pain to remember to do it every time.
Other solutions involve cutting off the screw part of the putter sensor and then taping it to the end of your putter grip, so get creative and see what works best for you.
Once you have added them to your clubs then you need to pair them with the free app that you download to your Android or iOS smartphone. You need to do these one at a time by taking the clubs from your bag as the sensor 'wakes up' when it comes out of the dark and is turned towards the skies and having more than one club in this mode will confuse things.
Some sensors take more provocation than others to wake up and two of them were on an extreme lie-in and I was unable to pair them, in which case contact Arccos and they will send you replacements for free.
This is all very well, but a spare one or two sensors in the box would have been nice to see as most competitor systems do this. Other sensor systems don't have batteries and work out of the box and whatever extra benefit comes from using high quality, battery powered sensors loses its appeal at this stage.
However you will need to get it working as if you don't pair a sensor then the missing clubs will not show in your club list on the app and therefore you can't even edit them in post round.
OK, so now you are ready to go and when you get to the course you open the app and it quickly and easily finds the course you are playing. From here on in you don't need to do anything as the sensors and the app work together during the round without any input from the user, which is one of the big plusses of the system.
However you have to play with your phone in the leading front pocket of your trousers, which could be an issue for ladies and cross dressers in the summer. Even for those of us with pockets there is enough crap in them for golf already without adding a phone too.
Arccos started down this route years ago when phones were smaller and let's face it, they are expanding in size as time goes on, like most of our waistlines. Having a big phone in your pocket whilst playing is not really my preference, but maybe it’s normal for connected millennials who can’t move an arm’s length from their devices.
The phone has to be on your person because the system predominantly uses sound to track swings and therefore works with the mic on the phone so it must be close by and not in your bag.
After the round all the data is already in your Arccos account as the app has been collecting information in real time so there is no need to sync anything, which is a plus.
The Arccos 360 was pretty good at picking up my shots, but there were a few that were missed. However for the ones it did pick up, the accuracy of the location was very good and you can also see them on your phone.
Whichever way you attach your putter sensor, it will mark the position of your first putt and even with my balancing solution, the sensor did well at recognising the number of putts I took.
Through the app or your online account you can view each hole and edit or remove putts or full shots and change the club used. At the time of review, the beta online Arccos Dashboard seems to be work in progress and is pretty basic with details of fairways hit, GIR and putts.
It also shows the Strokes Gained colour code system that is used on the PGA Tour, but it would be better to have more information on what age or handicap data set you are being compared to and what the colour codes actually mean apart from excellent or poor.
Once you have played 5 rounds you are eligible for the Arccos Caddie service which by then has enough data to suggest hole strategies and club selection as you play in real time. This of course can't currently be used in competition, although this is under review by the rule makers, but it may give you some valuable insight during practice rounds.
Initially Arccos Caddie is free until 1 July 2017 and with less than a month to go Arccos say that they have not decided on the pricing for accessing this after this date, so I doubt it will be free forever, or certainly in the short term, which seems a little mercenary when other systems give so much more data analysis for free.
I am trying to be positive about the Arccos 360, but as you can see there are a lot of little niggly things. As a first mover, the structure of the system using battery tags and phones might have been fine a few years ago, but having tested all the main game tracking systems in the market, things are moving rapidly in this sector.
Some sensors don't need batteries and are all wide awake out of the box, receivers are getting smaller rather than larger and can be worn on your belt or wrist, or built in to pitchforks to solve the counterbalance grip issue, and the data analysis to help you improve your game is more in depth and free.
On the plus side the accuracy of the Arccos 360 sensors is good, probably because they are larger than most, and the 'hands free' collection of data during the game is still a key benefit, especially for those who don't want to wear a device on their wrist.
To be fair, everyone is struggling to get a system that is 100% perfect in all respects and this is due to that fact that the technology for collecting and measuring data is still evolving and is not at a level yet where there are no compromises.
Therefore as always, whether the Arccos 360 measures up to your needs is down to you.