Sal Syed, Co-Founder and CEO of Arccos Golf, the industry leader in golf shot tracking, was kind enough to take a few minutes and answer a few of our questions about how he got started and where he sees the industry going.
What's really exciting is that just after our interview, Arccos announced their newest product - Arccos 360 - which will be released in late-October 2016. We'll have a more detailed analysis of what's sure to be one of the holiday's top sellers sometime in the next couple months!
Until then - we hope you enjoy our chat with Sal Syed.
To start off, can you tell us a little about yourself and your role with Arccos?
My dad tried to get me into golf when I was a child, but it wasn’t until my late teens that I really discovered and absolutely fell in love with the game. After receiving my undergrad degree from Ohio Wesleyan, I chose to pursue an MBA at the Yale University School of Management, selecting it not just because it was a great program, but also because Seth Raynor designed The Course at Yale, and it’s one of my absolute favorite tracks in the world.
I met Clinton Grusd at business school and we came up with the idea for tracking golfers’ stats. After working to develop the concept, we became aware that Callaway had an early version of shot detection hardware. When a new executive team took over at the company, they received a shareholder mandate to focus on golf clubs and balls. So, Callaway set these other projects on the side. As a result, Dr. Alan Hocknell sought to license some of the shot detection technology Callaway had developed and at that point Ammad Faisal, a childhood friend from Pakistan, joined on to get the company rolling.
With the help of a team of Ivy League engineers, rocket scientists, PhD’s, designers and PGA Professionals, we made the system into what it is today and named the company Arccos, after a function of advanced mathematics. I am currently the CEO and oversee business development, among a variety of other responsibilities.
What exactly is a golf performance tracker?
Our products combine Live Shot Tracking + GPS 2.0 + Tour Analytics. This is what has helped us earn the title “Golf’s #1 Performance Tracker.”
The Arccos platform is built around a tiny sensor that attaches to the grip of a golf club and is paired just once via Bluetooth with a free app for iPhone and Android.
Currently, we have two systems available, Arccos Golf and Arccos Driver. The former includes 14-sensors, one for each club in the bag, and automatically maps, measures and records every shot the user takes, capturing critical data on club distances, putts per round, greens hit in regulation, driving accuracy and more to help players identify patterns and refine strategy. It also provides a handicap breakdown for each of the five areas of play – driving, approach, chipping, sand and putting – so that every golfer knows their strengths and weaknesses and can focus their practice to improve performance.
Arccos Driver is our new performance tracking and live competition system. It consists of a single-sensor that attaches to any driver and automatically detects and records distance and accuracy on each drive.
The system provides golfers an entirely new opportunity to battle their friends and take on the worldwide leaderboard through a virtual long driving competition called King of the Hole.
How does this compare to a golf GPS unit?
Both our systems provide advanced GPS for more than 40,000 courses. This means we have virtually every course in the world mapped. If a user ever notices a missing course or error in the mapping, they just contact us and we’ll make updates, usually within a day.
While GPS devices only serve one function – measuring distances – Arccos does that at a very high level while also recording data for every shot and round a golfer plays. This provides a much deeper and more valuable understanding of how far each club travels, in combination with the obvious benefit of having rangefinder GPS to any point on every course. So, with more information at their fingertips, players can make better decisions in real time, and lower their scores.
How is Arccos different from other performance trackers on the market?
Our system is the easiest to use and most accurate, which is why we consistently receive best-in-class honors from independent media outlets like Golf Digest, GOLF Magazine, GolfWRX and My Golf Spy.
One feature that’s consistently cited by reviewers – and cheered by our users – is the fact that Arccos is the only performance tracker that’s completely automatic. Once it’s set up – a process that takes less than five minutes – all you do is start the app then go and play. Whether you’re using the full Arccos system or Arccos Driver, it seamlessly records all your data in a hands-free manner that completely eliminates the need for tapping or other annoying disruptions to your routine.
Beyond accuracy and ease of use, our Tour Analytics platform is also a true point of distinction. An extension of the Strokes Gained methodology that’s become so prominent, Tour Analytics is actually more powerful than what’s used on Tour. With the full Arccos system, you can take a deep-dive into every single aspect of your game, so every player gets a precise picture of their strengths and weaknesses. Our web dashboard, in particular, is incredibly useful as witnessed by the fact that more than 50% of Arccos users visit these pages after every round they play.
What's the difference between the 14-Sensor Arccos unit and the new Arccos Driver?
Arccos’ mission statement is to create technologies that allow golfers of all skill levels to maximize their potential and optimize their enjoyment. Both Arccos Golf and Arccos Driver were created with this in mind. The difference is that Arccos Driver was built as a gateway product. It allows players who are new to performance tracking to get a taste for its benefits, while also experiencing the King of the Hole platform that has become exceptionally popular since it was launched early this summer.
By contrast, the 14-sensor Arccos Golf system is the full-package when it comes to performance tracking. It’s the most robust and powerful platform on the market and without question one of the most valuable game-improvement tools a player can employ.
Where do you see the game tracker industry going? Do you think every club will eventually be fitted with one?
It’s a very exciting time to be a part of this category, as the buzz and momentum are really spreading. We have some big announcements coming this fall and early next year that make major advancements for the golf industry as a while. Ultimately, it is our vision that Arccos sensors and data capture become an integral part of every round that played worldwide.