GarminApproach.jpg

As the days grow longer and the weather gets nicer, it’s time to dust off those golf clubs and start booking your tee times. With over 2000 golf courses to choose from across the country, there’s no shortage of majestic and challenging sprawls to tee off from. This year, as you hit the links, think about some of the other things out there that could boost your golf game. It doesn’t always just have to be a new set of clubs. Take a look at some of the new wearables available to help enhance your golf game.

Analyze your golf game

 

If there’s anything I’ve learned about my golf swing over the years, it’s that I’m never happy with it and I’m always craving longer yardage. While I don’t golf seriously enough (in my opinion) to get professional swing coaching, the analytical side of me wonders where my shortfalls are.

 

ZeppGolf.jpgDevices like the Zepp Golf Monitor and Blast Golf Wireless Performance Monitor can help you analyze what your golf swing looks like and find ways to help you improve (or prove you’re doing a great job!) Both monitors are extremely lightweight and attach very easily.

 

The first consideration is where you want the attachment. Blast attaches to your golf club, while Zepp attaches to the back of your glove (so as not to impede your swinging motion.) The Zepp is pictured at left. Both monitors offer features like capturing the speed of your swing (Zepp states that adding an extra 5 MPH to your swing can add another 20 yards off the tee.) Blast also has a neat feature that allows you to capture your swing on video and playback to see what you’re doing.

 

The second consideration is which smartphone you own. The Blast Monitor can only be used on iOS devices right now (likely because it’s a Bluetooth device and we’ve seen difficulties between Android and Bluetooth compatibility before) while Zepp is supported on both iPhone and Android phones.

 

Let your watch do the thinking

 

GarminApproachS4.jpgIf you’re like me and your eyes deceive you all the time out on the course, maybe it’s time to invest in a golfing GPS smartwatch. I tend to lose sight of the ball after about 100-150 yards or so, and rarely see how far I’ve driven a ball off a tee, let alone know how far I am to the flag. Without a caddy that knows the course inside-out or relative familiarity, I’m the kind of golfer that sort of measures distances with his eyes.

 

Here’s where a GPS watch like Garmin’s line of Approach watches would help us all, especially the S4. For the purchase price alone, not only do you get instant access to 30,000 golf courses worldwide, but lifetime updates too. You get green views, a digital scorecard function, the ability to even write custom data and even a round timer if you want to see how fast/slow you are out there. Since the watch is driven by Garmin technology, you know that you’re going to get a high precision, high quality GPS too.

 

I did mention that the Approach line was a Smartwatch. In addition to the help it provides you on the links, it’s just as useful off. The Garmin Approach watches can push you alerts from your phone, including emails and texts. They are fast-charging (90 minutes for a full charge) and have a long battery life, so they can function for up to 6 weeks simply as a watch or provide 10 hours in GPS mode.

 

TomTomWatch.jpgNot to be outdone, Garmin rival Tom Tom has their own high quality golf GPS watch which is only available at Best Buy. Boasting a similar 10 hour GPS battery life, Tom Tom’s Golfer watch features data from over 34000 golf courses worldwide (through the iGolf database,) and can give you a current look at some of the dangers and challenges that lay ahead on your course. It’s water resistant up to 165 feet, and syncs with your smartphone in real time to offload data for you to check out later. It is also ridiculously light, and boasts a slightly larger screen than the Garmin Approach. You can even hook it up to your PC and continue updating both your own data, and the watch’s with Tom Tom’s easy update system. Best yet, it’s one of the most well supported wearables I’ve seen, with functionality for iOS, Android AND Windows devices.

One thing to be aware of, however, is that if you’re buying this watch, it’s best to do so if you’re going to use its GPS function primarily. This watch does not have the ability to push you email and text notifications, so if that’s important to you, look at other golf watches.

 

Whether you want something to help you in real time on the course, or help you improve your game off the course, these latest wearables are definitely a good step in helping add yardage to your game or help you understand how to harness your current skills.

However, these fun devices shouldn’t come at sacrifice to normal golf course etiquette. Here are a few things to remember on the links this summer after you’ve paid your green fees:

 

Don’t be the slowest player. When you’re out at a public golf course, there’s nothing worse than a logjam caused by somebody 2 holes over that needs to check his phone constantly to analyze the exact yardage or quality of swing on every shot. Have a lot of extra golf balls on hand as well. Balls get lost, and you don’t want to spend more time looking for a lost ball than is reasonably necessary. Even the great Arnold Palmer once said you shouldn’t spend more than 5 minutes looking for a lost ball. In short — Don’t be “that” person.

 

madgolfer.jpgKeep the technology to a minimum (or not at all) I guess it seems odd for me to say this in a tech-based blog, but the course itself isn’t the best place to check your swing progress in realtime, or brag about how fast your last shot was hit off the tee. While a GPS Smartwatch will be a helpful tool, you don’t need 20 minutes to stare at the distance to the hole and make a decision on your next shot. You’ll want to tuck your phone away too unless you want to feel the wrath of the other golfers (and potentially your playing partners too.)

 

Golf first. Show off later. Remember you’re there to play golf first and foremost. That new Smartwatch and swing analyzer are cool, but it might be better off to talk about or show them off in the clubhouse after the round’s done.

 

Respect the land. A lot of this is basically golf course etiquette 101. Wear proper footwear. Repair any divots you accidentally leave. Keep the cart on the cart path and avoid driving onto any edges of the course. While you want to avoid those sand traps, be sure and rake over and smooth out any dips you create.

 

Respect yourself: There’s a certain element of self respect to exercise out on the course too. While you might get away with that bright neon golf shirt and Payne Stewart-esque Tam O’Shanter, there’s not much room on the course for throwing clubs or throwing a fit over a bad shot. We’re all going to fire a few balls into the sand, or 5 putt in our golfing lifetimes. Just remember that you only have a finite number of clubs in your bag before you fling that sand wedge into the water.

 

Lastly, respect your fellow golfers. Keep your talking to a minimum, and don’t practice your next swing in the next golfer’s field of vision. Think about how frustrated you’d be aiming for the green while the guy behind you is talking about the sweet new golf GPS watch he bought last week.

 

All the wearables you’ve read about and seen on this blog are now available at Best Buy stores and online at BestBuy.ca.  Good luck on the links this summer!