At GolfPass, we've covered all the various ways that recreational golfers can track shots on the golf course in order to gain advanced statistical and strokes-gained insights into their own games, just like the pros on the PGA Tour (and as of last week's announcement at the KPMG, full-field advanced analytics data on the LPGA as well).
GolfPad has been around for a while but has flown under the radar compared to some of the larger players like Arccos, ShotScope and wearable giant Garmin (which also has club sensors). Having heard some good things about them in online communities and even from one of our GolfPass Local Advisors, I decided to hang up the Arccos sensors for a few weeks and give GolfPad a shot.
GolfPad TAGS features a set of 15 club sensors for $99. This includes a year of their premium app ($19.99), as well as GolfPad's wearable app, club recommendations and advanced analytics. Compare that with Arccos ($179 plus $99 annually after the first year), Shot Scope V3 ($219) and Garmin's CT10 censors ($299 plus compatible Garmin watch) and it's clear GolfPad is a value play.
Despite the sharply lower price point, GolfPad delivers a pretty slick mobile app, while the club tags themselves are accurate but not as intuitive as its rivals.
The tags themselves, which use the NFC technology in your iPhone or Android device, are simple, flat and all black, similar in appearance to Shot Scope's (but unlike Shot Scope, you will individually pair and assign each tag when you take them out of the box - Shot Scope's are pre-assigned).
The main difference between GolfPad the other club-tag products is that you have to actually tap your phone with the club you are about to use before each shot. While the instructions say to tap your phone in your pocket with the club before you hit, I actually found it was more like holding the butt-end of the club so it was close to the top of the phone. Done successfully, you hear an audible and futuristic sound that tells you the shot club and location has been tagged. (IMPORTANT: Use the 'Smart Lock' feature on the phone's screen in order to tag clubs without taking the phone out of your pocket; check out GolfPad's Getting Started on iPhone page here)
GolfPad's mobile app, which can be used with or without the tags, is impressive, especially for the $19.99 premium price. Among the advanced analytics, you can get a shot-by-shot strokes-gained analysis, a neat feature if you want to see precisely which shots were your best and worst. This can help with strategy or to see which recurring themes are surfacing in order to guide your practice. You can also view shot dispersion figures by club.
Using GolfPad TAGS and app with Apple Watch: Another highlight of GolfPad is that it is Apple Watch-compatible and works well with the famously tricky wearable for third parties to develop on. The screen features front-middle-back yardages as well as club recommendations. You can scroll down on the watch to view live auto shot-tracking distances. I even found it worked a little more intuitively than Arccos on the course and didn't drain my battery as much. GolfPad's premium app also works with Android and Samsung wearables. | Best Apple Watch apps for 2021
Tagging pin locations can be done with GolfPad, but must be done on your phone. (I've found Shot Scope does the best job of intuitively tagging pin locations by automatically doing so when you select how many putts you made on the hole you're on. Arccos has made strides as well with their Caddie Link clip). | Read my Arccos review | Read my Shot Scope V3 review
Here's one other little perk GolfPad offers that none of the other outfits appear to do that the data geeks among us will especially appreciate: easy access to download all your data into an Excel file.
Do I need 'Link' to use GolfPad GPS? You may have seen some previous articlces mentioning the need to use GolfPad's wireless receiver for shot tracking. As of 2018, you do not need the GolfPad Link in order to use the GolfPad club tags.
GolfPad TAGS: The Verdict
I was surprised at how well GolfPad TAGS performed given it's a smaller player in the space and about half the cost of any other club sensor technology. If you are willing to look past having to manually tap your phone before every shot, the tags perform admirably and accurately. The insights on the app are sufficient, but lack proximity to hole by club, something I love about Arccos. GolfPad TAGS are especially good for those who want to use club tags in coordination with Apple Watch in-round for GPS. | Buy GolfPad TAGS for $99 at GolfPadGPS.com.