Which club to use? - Part 2

Published on   2022-03-14 by Kai

The previous article in this series was about laser rangefinders, which can help the golfer on the round to choose the right club for the next shot.

These devices work well and allow distances to be determined well. But they also have a disadvantage: they always have to be picked up and used separately.

The situation is different with golf watches, which are worn normally on the wrist. They also work with a completely different technology than the laser meters.

The market for smartwatches is growing, and there are hardly any limits to their diverse applications. So it's no wonder that the manufacturers of these watches, especially in the sports sector, no longer limit themselves to heart rate measurement and fitness apps. For golfers in particular, they have opened up a new world.

Smartwatches for golfers come in different price ranges. Prices start at around 100 euros, with hardly any upper limits - as is so often the case. If you want a reasonable and well-equipped model, you should reckon with 400 to 500 euros.

Despite the price differences, the devices have one thing in common: they work with GPS technology. This means that the wearer's location is determined via satellite.

Anyone who uses a navigation device knows the technology.

Anyone who uses a navigation system in their vehicle is at least superficially familiar with the way it works. As in a car, the Global Positioning System determines the user's position on the golf course to within several meters.

But that alone is not enough, of course. The location information must be linked to the golf course. The manufacturers of these watches achieve this by using databases that often contain a five-digit number of golf courses from all over the world.

Conveniently, the watch uses the position to automatically identify the course on which the golfer wants to play his round. After that - depending on the model of the device on the arm - it's just a matter of telling the watch which club is being used. The rest is taken care of by the technology.

(Photo: Garmin)

A glance at the wrist then not only tells the player the distance to the green, with even the start, middle and end of the green being displayed. Obstacles such as bunkers or bodies of water are also stored and can be queried, as can the distance from the location to the dogleg, for example, i.e. the bend in the golf course to the left or right.

While simple and cheaper models only show distances, more expensive models can also recommend the right club for the next shot, for example. [A note at this point: Golf watches as well as laser rangefinders are normally only for training. They are regularly banned from tournaments because they provide unauthorized assistance].

Of course, the usefulness of these watches is far from exhausted with distance information and club suggestions. Connected to a smartphone and the associated app, they are the perfect training aids because they can keep statistics.

Apps evaluate the round

So it's not just the scorecard that is automatically filled in. The apps evaluate each round in great detail. They indicate how precise the individual strokes were, show with which club the best result was achieved, and do so in both relative and absolute terms.

The route display is also nice and useful. The distance traveled is displayed precisely on a map. You can see directly which club was good and far, but also which club landed off the fairway. With a click, you can then see where the golfer has weaknesses, which clubs work well and which should be practiced.

Finally, or as the icing on the cake, some programs provide fitness tips. Many watches can also measure and store the player's pulse in parallel to the golf data.

Of course, not all watches can do everything, and not every app is perfect. If you are planning to get one and have it on your wrist during the round, you should check out the different manufacturers and their offers.

Previous article in the series: Which club to use? - Part 1

Next article in the series: Training under control

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