Sal Syed is a traditionalist who runs a company rooted in innovation. Those messages appear to collide, but as CEO of Arccos, Syed has created a dynamic that fosters creativity in the game of golf while preserving its rich history.
Arccos Caddie is another major step in this direction.
Below are Syed's thoughts about what makes Arccos Caddie such a revolutionary tool. If you want to learn more about the platform, click here. If you want to start playing with the leading connected golf system, check our shop.
Stepping back for a moment, what's the coolest part of Arccos Caddie?
The thing that appeals to me most is when you think about your experience with a caddie, what are the kinds of questions you ask during your round? What we have done with Arccos Caddie is try to replicate some of those questions. Which club should I hit off the tee? How does this elevated tee change my distance? What is the wind doing? Using machine learning and AI, we’ve made Arccos Caddie smarter than any caddie in answering that question. When you’re on your approach or hitting a tee shot on a par-3, your caddie is helping you figure out what the wind is doing, is it downhill, it is uphill? You're then taking the impact of all of those conditions to make your decision. We’re doing all of that within the app. These are key things we’ve answered through machine learning and AI, and it’s something no one else has. It’s a huge leap forward in golf decision making. Not only is it better, but it’s faster too.
How does this revolutionary technology mesh with a game that thrives on history and tradition?
As a company, our culture is a golf culture. We play golf the way it’s meant to be played. We love caddies! We’re not trying to get rid of them – we're trying to make them smarter. If users already are getting input from their caddie, this is another source of information you can access if you need it. The human caddie may not have all the answers because it’s the first time you’re playing with him, and he doesn’t have access to all of your personal shot history. Arccos Caddie does. It’s up to you how much you want to use it during the round, but you can also use it before your round to gameplan or after your round to strategize. I’m a traditionalist. We’re not trying to change any of that, we’re trying to enhance your golf experience. If you’re facing a shot that’s 30 feet downhill, but you have a 7 mph wind in your face, you have to figure out the net effect of that. You can either guess, or you can use the technology to make a smarter decision and focus on execution. Execution has always been what the game is about, and we’re not changing that.
What's the biggest benefit of partnering with Microsoft given Arccos' status as a start-up?
We have access to literally the smartest minds in the world on machine learning and AI. At this point, machine learning is a science and an art, and these guys have been working on their craft for the last 30 years. For a start-up – or any company for that matter – this kind of experience, this kind of genius-level expertise, is difficult to find. Microsoft being one of the tech behemoths has access to that kind of talent and those kind of minds. From the partnership with Microsoft, we’ve been able to have access to those people. Those people who literally created the industry of machine learning are now helping us solve problems that golfers are experiencing. Whatever solutions we come up with will be the best possible solutions. And that’s all through the Microsoft partnership. We have access to literally the best minds in the world, and they’re helping Arccos solve golf problems.
What's next for Arccos Caddie?
We’re going to keep learning and improving, using data to make the algorithm even smarter. There are tons and tons of ideas and concepts using AI in our future that we can’t share right now, but they’re coming. And they’re going to be awesome. We’re not stopping any time soon.