Nowadays, most serious golfers are heavily dialed into data, fixating over their launch angle, club speed, spin rate and other key metrics launch monitors spit out. But when locking in distances with a rangefinder, most are still content with simply the ability to shoot flags and lock into the front, middle and back of the green distances along with getting a slope read.
Most rangefinders measure slope by simply triangulating from point A to B once the button to shoot a laser to the target is pressed. “That’s what they are solving for, how far are you horizontally versus the elevation change of the actual hole,” Brayden Epp, lead data analyst at Precision Pro Golf, explains.
Epp spearheaded the development of MySlope technology, a feature on their R1 rangefinder that provides a deeper level of club selection surety by accounting for a golfer’s unique abilities in order to make individualized club selection recommendations.
“We are taking into account how are you going to hit the club that we think is best for you in every situation,” Epp, who crunched analytical data for the Cincinnati Reds before taking his talents to Precision Pro, explains.
“So, you’re 160 out, you take a 7-iron, you’re going to hit your 7-iron very, very differently than other people hit their 7-iron. You’re going to have different speed, different launch angle. The level of precision is quite a bit more precise because it is down to that individual and how they swing that club. It’s so fun to see how people use it and it really does help you take the correct club and really identify that exact distance.”
Currently the rangefinder is not endowed with artificial intelligence. Golfers need to key in the data themselves as to how far they hit each club in their bag as well as spin rate and other data points following a session on a trackman or another launch monitor.
“We tell people to take five to ten swings and to make sure these are indicative of how they would normally swing cause people on a Trackman tend to either overhit or have a shank shot in there that can throw the data off. Once they throw that data in, they’re set. The app doesn’t actually learn on the user at any point after that. It’s purely based on what they did on that Trackman,” Epp explains.
If they bent the rules at a PGA Tour event and allowed Epp to use a rangefinder equipped with MySlope while caddying for the 25th Ranked golfer in the world, he thinks the surety of the club recommendations would give him a huge performative advantage.
“I think he’s top 10. The best thing about MySlope is just the state of mind, it’s the idea that you don’t have to think. It’s giving you info that you know is unique to you and I think that in itself reduces a lot of the stress around thinking, ‘ok what club do I have to take here, what’s my actual distance, the slope is this but I hit my club X.’ That’s what it can really help with, reducing that stress around all those decisions.”
Precision Pro’s higher end rangefinders also take into account live time temperature, humidity and altitude as well as wind, relaying the data to the rangefinder via Bluetooth. Something in golf we still can’t fully measure due to technological limitations would be the ability to fully gauge a golfer’s mental state.
There are wearables that can track how a player is doing physically, allow measure their heart rate and for users to input what was going on in their head after the fact in order to intuit performative related trends. But there isn’t currently a product on the market that can provide actionable intelligence in live time tying what is going on in a golfer’s head to how they should approach their next shot.
“The future is how do those two things go together because golf is so much a mental sport so we can come up with datapoints and analysis that tie those together and give the golfer a more holistic view of their performance,” Epp says.