In 1976, Karsten Solheim – founder of PING Golf – patented the first PING Man, a robot used primarily for R&D purposes. As to the value of this mechanical teammate, “They answer a lot of questions without saying a word,” said Solheim. Forty-three years later, I’d imagine Solheim would have similar thoughts on PING’s partnership with Arccos.
Through the use of sensors installed in the butt-end of each grip, Arccos captures thousands of data points during each round and when used in conjunction with Arccos Caddie, leverages artificial intelligence to make data-driven club and course strategy recommendations. “We are honored to join forces with PING in furthering the promise of data for the everyday golfer,” says Arccos CEO and Co-Founder Sal Syed. With Arccos, mainstream golfers have access to the same level of stat tracking, and performance analysis as tour pros do via technologies like Shotlink – and for better (or worse) Arccos’ data collection means you’ll know exactly how far your 7-iron carries on average – even if it won’t impress your buddies. “In addition to providing exact distances plus club recommendations, the app collects thousands of data points that can be analyzed to uncover opportunities for further improvement through set makeup or other equipment refinements,” notes PING President John K. Solheim. To take that a step further, given sufficient on-course data, Arccos could tell you when it might be beneficial to drop that 5-iron and add a 5-hybrid.
The agreement allows PING customers to access the benefits of Arccos technology through its custom-order program, which offers both the Smart Grip (sensor embedded in the grip) and Smart Sensor (sensor screws into the butt end of an existing) technologies. The MSRP for each sensor is $10.50, and the Smart Grip version is available exclusively in the Golf Pride 360 Tour Velvet in white (standard) and aqua (-1/64”) sizes.
Arccos is engineered as a full-bag concept and therefore to access PING’s version of the Arccos Caddie app, golfers will need to equip every club (including putter) with a sensor. Additionally, new customers get a 90-day free Arccos Caddie app trial. After the initial period, an annual subscription to the app runs $99.99.
Three years ago, Cobra Golf was the first major OEM to venture into an agreement with a tech-forward company by incorporating Arccos sensors on each of its three King series drivers (LTD, F6, and F6+). At the time, the primary question wasn’t whether or not it could benefit golfers, but rather what would be the next logical extensions of such a platform. Now, with the PING-Arccos agreement, perhaps it’s a step toward more OEMs formalizing strategic partnerships with tech brands, though ShotScope is likely the only worthy competitor in the space.
Taking a minute to consider the possible applications of Arccos and similar technologies, it’s easy to get lost in a list of hypothetical “What if’s” – What if AI could adjust for geographic factors like elevation, wind, and temperature? What if Arccos could scan and read a green to produce a suggested line? What if Arccos Caddie became legal for tournament play?
The Luddites might not be thrilled with such advancements, but big data is here to stay. If anything, it’s only going to get bigger.
In MyGolfSpy’s One Word Brand Survey, PING was most strongly associated with the terms engineering, trustworthy, integrity, quality and humble. What this seems to indicate is consumers believe PING’s discerning, yet targeted approach to growth is made in a manner which adheres to its Play Your Best mantra and by partnering with Arccos, PING is continuing to make good on that edict.
Is this type of partnership something you believe other brands should offer?
For more information, visit PING.com.