Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a new GOLF.com series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they faced along the way.
Earlier this year, I set a goal to break 80 for the first time in over 25 years of playing golf. Then I found out my wife was pregnant with our first kiddo, who, of course, was planning on meeting mom and dad right near the end of prime golf season.
Time was of the essence, and as the pressure mounted and I tried squeezing in as many rounds as possible, it became clear I wasn’t going to achieve my goal.
Of course, the payoff is pretty sweet, considering I’ve got a newborn baby girl who is the joy of my life. But, man, I really wanted to see my scorecard display something in the 70s before she arrived.
Still, not all is lost when it comes to my golf game.
While I didn’t break 80 (my best score was 84), I did set the foundation for myself to do so soon, because I’ve successfully shaved four strokes off my game.
What helped me the most? Unlike many amateurs, I didn’t just pound balls at the range or continue to do what I was doing — relentlessly playing as much as possible. Instead, I got more efficient with how I both practice and review data after my rounds.
In the video above, I explain what GameGolf is, and how it’s helping mid-handicappers like me continue to shave strokes.
Game Golf KZN GPS Shot Tracker
How Game Golf KZN helped me shave strokes
It’s not often that you experience aha moments as a golfer — but using GameGolf KZN provided me with a few.
Because I was about to be a first-time dad, I needed to become a more efficient golfer. Using GameGolf KZN helped me to do that.
Like plenty of mid-handicappers, I struggled with understanding my stock yardage, so I didn’t really have a plan of attack as I prepared to hit each shot.
I just assumed that I hit my 7-iron about 150 yards, so that was absolutely going to be the club I used on shots from that distance.
Then GameGolf opened my eyes, showing me cold hard data that I needed to know to improve.
As it turns out, my stock yardage with my 7-iron is about 165 yards, with a max of just over 180! Impressive, sure, but not quite the tool I want to use if I’m staring down a shot from 150.
Understanding this info led me to “date my clubs.”
What’s that mean, exactly?
During trips to the driving range, I would hit 25 balls with each club in my bag, tracking every shot with GameGolf. After each practice session, I was able to review the information, which provided cold hard stats rather than making me guess my carry yardages.
Naturally, this proved to be helpful when I did play — no matter what the conditions were that day.
By unlocking GameGolf’s “Smart Caddie,” I was able to get data-driven recommendations on which club to use from every distance; all based off my shot history. The more I used the app — which was during every practice session and round I played — the smarter GameGolf KZN got.
I’ve found the app to be really helpful on days where I play a course for the first time, giving me an advantage over the unknowns of a certain layout.
So even when a hole is over 500 yards long with a narrow fairway, has water on the left and bunkers on the right, and a green that slopes forward with a pin placed in the back, I don’t need to feel intimidated. Instead, I just rely on info from “Smart Caddie,” which provides me peace of mind even before I tee off.
By understanding who I was as a player, and where my strengths and weaknesses were, GameGolf shows me the areas I most need to work on.
What is GameGolf?
At the 30,000-foot level, GameGolf is a powerful and accurate GPS shot tracker. Using sensors that easily screw into the top of each club in your bag, you connect to the KZN medallion via your phone’s Bluetooth and get to work.
Whether you’re headed to the driving range or playing a quick 9, the units track every shot and provide you with invaluable information that’s personalized to your game.
The app also tracks your location, so it’s able to identify the course you’re playing on, giving you recommendations for each shot based on your tendencies and any previous rounds played on that course. This is helpful when you’re playing a new course, too, so you can game plan each shot in real-time.
For instance, if you tend to hook your 9-iron on an approach from 135 yards out, GameGolf can show you that data before you play a similar shot. And since it offers up recommendations as well, you can either use the 9-iron and align a little bit further right to play the hook, or choose a club that the app identifies as a more consistent option — like a soft 8-iron that tends to go straighter when you swing at 80 percent effort.
Having this level of info allowed me to play confidently and free, which helped shave four strokes off my scorecard.
How GameGolf works
GameGolf is easy to use, and has a seamless setup.
First, download the GameGolf app and create your profile.
Second, charge the wireless medallion (which usually takes about 90 minutes for a full charge).
Next, take the smart sensors and screw them into the top of your clubs. You can then individually pair them with your GameGolf app to track your information. This only has to be done one time.
That’s it! Now that you’re all set, you can get yourself to either the driving range or course to experience how data-driven results can help improve your game. From seeing your actual yardage off the tee to dialing in your distances to getting club recommendations, the GameGolf KZN is like a personalized caddie you’ve always needed — and the feedback all comes instantly and is stored on your smartphone.