Golf takes both practice and discipline to master. Sure skill and raw talent come in handy at times, but again it won’t do you any good if you haven’t spent any time perfecting your swing.
It’s not an easy sport to master either. You have to be knowledgeable about all of your equipment and clubs, and you have to constantly assess the lie of the ball during play. Luckily, there are quite a few gadgets out there that can lessen your handicap, or at the very least help you better strategize your next shot.
Years ago, you probably never would have guessed that technology could play a major role in how well you perform while golfing, but it’s true. Athletes such as swimmers, runners, and bikers aren’t the only ones that can benefit from gadgets and wearable tech. These days, there are devices out there for any niche, hobby, or sport you can think of. Golfers are no exception.
We’re going to take a look at five gadgets that will help you up your golf game. Who knows? Maybe one of these will help you win that bet you made.
1. Zepp Golfsense
There’s one thing that can ultimately make or break your golf game, and it’s your swing. What if you could consistently monitor your swing, in real-time and then adjust your play style so that you’re improving it each time you step up to the tee.
The Zepp Golfsense is a small, lightweight sensor that attaches to the back of your glove. When you pull back and then swing it measures everything about your movement and then displays it back to you via a 3D interface on your smartphone. By working in tandem with your smartphone — which is presumably being kept in your pocket — the device will measure your hip rotation, your clubs speed and position, and also the tempo and path of your swing. This data is relayed back to you, and on your smartphone you’ll get a visual representation of your swing.
Just like with a 3D image, you can manipulate the view any way you want by zooming, rotating and panning the screen. You can assess each swing in extreme detail and see exactly what you’re doing wrong.
With any luck, you can strap one of these on your glove and lower those strokes. If you want one, you can pick up the Golfsense for $130.
2. Garmin Approach S6
One of the best things about playing a golf video game — like Hot Shots Golf or Rory McIlroy PGA Tour — is you can instantly see the entire hole you’re playing via an overhead view. While you’re on a real course, you can’t do anything like that, yet.
The Approach S6 smartwatch will allow you to see the entire course, and each individual hole via a simple, overhead view. Through a combination of GPS and aerial maps the device will track your shots accurately. At any time, you can pull up the remaining distance to the hole and see the layout of the course, that way you can better plan your next shot. Out of the box, there are more than 30,000 preloaded courses stored on the device and you can visit Garmin’s website to get more.
You can even track your swing with the watch. When you’re all finished, you can use your data to see a detailed analysis of your play style and habits.
If you prefer not to wear a watch while you golf, you can opt for one of the Approach G model trackers. They’re more akin to a smartphone and offer the same topdown view of the course you’re playing.
The Approach S6 is $399.99, and there are three colors to choose from: dark, light and dark/orange. If that price is a little too high for your tastes, and you don’t need bleeding edge features, you can buy one of the older Garmin Approach models instead.
3. TomTom Golfer
In some ways, the TomTom Golfer is a lot like the Garmin Approach S6. They are both smartwatches and they are both designed specifically for golfers. Aside from that, they have some glaring differences that will divide players everywhere.
The TomTom Golfer does not have a color display, instead it uses a vivid 168 x 144 monochrome screen — a black screen with white text and graphics. Like the Approach S6, it comes preloaded with more than 34,000-course layouts and allows you to track each of your shots. It will display the distance to the hole, the front and back of the green, nearby hazards and lay-ups and more.
However, it can also track your score, measure your shot distance and relay the calories you’ve burned while you’re on the course. That last one is crucial because it will help you decide if you need another beer or not. All jests aside, it’s a robust device that can handle more than one task at a time.
As an added bonus, the battery will last for a total of ten hours on a single charge. That’s plenty of time to get in 18 holes of golf and go out for a few drinks, or heck to bang out 36 holes if you’re that dedicated. It’s even water-resistant up to 5ATM so if you get caught in the rain you don’t have to worry about it getting ruined.
GameGolf is another shot analyzer that will help you improve your overall score. It works a little differently than the Golfsense or the Garmin Approach S6. There are several sensors that you must use to measure your personal stats: one that you wear on your belt, and a series of button-like sensors that you attach to the top of your club.
When it’s your turn to tee off — or take a shot — you just need to touch the club to your sensor, and it will activate the tracking mode. All information is relayed to a smartphone app so that you can track your stats in real-time. The information you can see includes the location of each shot you take, the quality and distance of your shot, and more.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about the sensor looking silly. This thing was designed by Yves Behar, the guy responsible for creating the look and feel of Jawbone.
The GameGolf is $179.
5. TaylorMade R1 Driver
This next gadget doesn’t have any fancy bells or whistles. There are no LCD displays, smartphone apps, or portable batteries to go along with it. It is, however, a remarkably valuable golf gadget that anyone could benefit from using.
The TaylorMade R1 Driver allows you to adjust the face, loft, and general shape of the club on the fly. If you notice your shot has a skewed slice or shoddy draw you can adjust the club accordingly to improve your future shots.
This club was $400, but it has been reduced to $200 on TaylorMade’s official site. That’s because it now has the R15 driver, which does the same thing. In case you’re wondering, the new model is $430.