Golf is truly one of the greatest sports in existence. Unfortunately, not all of us can call ourselves ‘great’ at the game and keep a straight face. For those of us who have a burning passion for golf and enjoy getting out on the course whenever we can (but aren’t going to make the PGA tour anytime soon), we are always looking for ways to improve our game. Luckily, there are a plethora of amazing gadgets out there that can not only take your game to the next level but, just as importantly, improve your enjoyment of the sport while out there on the fairways and greens. So, if you are planning your next game on Mottram Hall’s golf course in Cheshire, consider adding a few of the below to your arsenal for a tidier looking card and a bigger smile back in the clubhouse.
Unfortunately, we can’t all have caddies to help us out on the course when enjoying a friendly game, but that doesn’t mean we can’t acquire a little virtual assistance to make our lives easier. There are a number of extremely clever virtual caddies out there that are purposely designed to improve your game. Many of these come in the form of incredibly smart and surprisingly fashionable watches. Featuring GPS tracking to help you measure the distance from tee-to-green and how far you are driving, many can even pair with mobile apps for even more helpful data pertaining to your game. But with so much of info being supplied directly to the watch itself, these little gadgets are a very handy and convenient tool to add to your kit.
Tony Korologos from Hooked on Golf Blog – a great resource for lovers of the game – spoke to us about his favourite gadgets. Tony certainly recommends adding a GPS watch for performance tracking to your bag and suggests the Shot Scope V2, which he has reviewed on his blog, where he states:
“I’ve been working with the Shot Scope V2, a GPS Watch which also tracks all shots, distances, and statistics. The Shot Scope V2 combines the best of the GPS watch world and the shot tracking worlds of Arccos and Game Golf.
“Thanks to the Shot Scope V2, I now have a much better idea of my tendencies with each club and how far I really hit them. Armed with that information, I can make better club choices and more confident swings on the course.”
It’s not just watches that will be your companion on the course, however. VPAR is a mobile app that comes replete with a bunch of helpful tools and features designed at improving fun on the course, as well as your scorecard. From GPS and course planners to performance stats, it’s all here. Speaking to us about the app and why it is recommended to improve your golf game, Nick Glenday from VPAR said:
“Removing the guesswork for golfers is a big goal for VPAR. On-course we provide a pinpoint GPS tool, so you can plan your next shot and club selection in confidence. Alongside this, our Digital Scorecard looks after all things scoring, so you can concentrate on your game and not calculating points!
“Also available is the VPAR Handicap, a free golf handicap tracking system that allows you to calculate and maintain an accurate handicap to use on course. All you need to do is submit three rounds and we will do the rest. Then get back on the course and start knocking shots off your handicap.”
Nick also spoke to us about VPAR’s challenges, leaderboards, and news feed features, all of which are designed to boost your golf enjoyment: “VPAR live leaderboards let you know exactly what you need to beat the field, whether that’s friends, family or colleagues. This brings a competitive edge to a golf outing which is often missing in amateur golf.
“VPAR Challenges allow you to compete against golfers from all around the world. Prizes for lowest score and most rounds played encourage golfers to get back on the course to beat their previous efforts. And as we all know, practice makes perfect.
“The News Feed in the VPAR app allows golfers to like and comment on their friend’s recent rounds, who will receive a notification, as well as read the latest golf news from around the world.”
There’s nothing worse than lugging your own clubs around the course and, if you don’t have access to a caddie, this is a reality many of us face. This is where electric trolleys come in. These battery powered carts are designed to carry your golf bag with all your clubs and accessories, so you don’t have to, eliminating the need to hire a caddie and make your time on the course that much easier. Golf can be tough enough as it is without adding extra fatigue from carrying your bag from hole to hole, but by using an electric trolley from someone like Motocaddy, you can focus on your game and keep that card as low as possible.
Speaking to us about their range of electric trolleys, the team at Motocaddy said: “Our electric trolleys offer a wide-range of game-enhancing features to golfers of all ages and abilities, including compact folding, Downhill Control, QUIKFOLD, USB device charging, remote control, distance measurement and cutting-edge smart technology, including GPS and optional smartphone notifications.
“It’s with great pride that we are innovators in the electric trolley sector and we’re always thinking of new ways to improve transporting clubs around the course. This includes pioneering the change to lithium batteries, which our whole fleet now includes as they’re smaller, lighter, more reliable, quicker charging and come with a full five-year warranty. Plus, the exclusive EASILOCK™ system – featured across all new Motocaddy trolleys and bags – is designed to lock the cart bag onto the trolley and remove the need for a lower bag strap. Two holes on the trolley’s bag support are aligned with two removable pins on the base of all new Motocaddy cart bags; ensuring golfers can lock their bag onto the trolley before using the upper bag strap to secure it completely.
“When it comes to accessories, we also have products designed for every eventuality. The useful Accessory Station accommodates up to four accessories at the same time, including an Umbrella Holder and Device Cradle, plus Scorecard and Drinks Holder. In addition, there’s Winter Wheels, Device Cradles, USB cables and Trolley Mittens.
“This year’s range is our strongest yet, so if you’re looking for the very best in design, build and functionality; you’ve come to the right place.”
If you are someone who could do with a little help with your swing, perhaps correcting that persistent hook on your drive, a swing analyser might be just the gadget for you. Take the Zepp Golf 2, for example. This sensor acts as a smart coach, attaching to your glove to give you readings and interesting swing data. Once paired with the Zepp app, you will be able to take a look at some really helpful stats to help take your swing up a notch, including hand speed, swing speed, hip rotation, and backswing position. It’s like having a coach right there on the course! With 3D swing analysis and instant evaluation, there are fewer better ways to stay on top of your golf training than this.
Another companion that you will want to bring with you every time you hit the links is one of the many helpful range finders available on the market. When judging your approach to the next green, nothing will be more convenient than whipping out your trusty range finder to help you judge the distance and miss those nasty hazards. Fitted with lasers to find the exact yardage to the pin, these little devices are often more reliable than their GPS counterparts, not to mention more accurate, as you can point it directly at the flag. Bushnell Golf is a big name in the world of range finders and their Pro XE model can zero in on the flag from 450 yards away with ½ yard accuracy.
David Jones from the UK Golf Guy – a site that helps people plan to play golf on courses across Europe – has tried many a gadget in his days playing the game and he spoke to us about his advice, as well as recommending range finders: “The best advice would be to once a year go on a trackman and find out how far you are hitting your clubs, and note the carry distance as well (especially for you irons). Many golf pros and club fitters will do this for you for maybe £30. You will probably find that you are hitting the ball a little less than you think (take the average distance not your best!) but this data is invaluable when you go to the course.
“Then, on the course, I would thoroughly recommend having a rangefinder with you. Keep it somewhere very accessible so you aren’t holding play up (and use it while you’re waiting for other members of your group to hit). It may sound pretty straightforward but knowing how far you hit it, and how far you have to the hole, will make a big difference to your scoring over the season.”
Speaking to us about the benefits a range finder can add to one’s golfing enjoyment, the team at Yumax Golf – a Bushnell Golf distributor – told us: “As we all know golf can be won or lost in the mind, having confidence in one’s golf equipment goes a long way to achieving a successful round. Bushnell Golf has more than a decade of being the most trusted rangefinder used by PGA Pro’s on any Tour and the reason for that is that we innovate and update our products through working with tour caddie’s and listening to their feedback.
“Our new Pro XE rangefinder is a great example of this. It comes with a new feature – Elements – that is the result of working closely with Tour caddies to make sure the algorithms used match their own calculations. If it works for them and their Tour pro’s it works for us - and it truly does work!
“An additional feature of owning a Bushnell rangefinder is the FREE to download GPS app. Golfers can go on line to register any Bushnell Golf laser rangefinder which then entitles them to down load the Bushnell Golf GPS app on to their Android or Apple mobile phone. Golfers then have access to 3D graphics and distance measurements on 36,000+ course across the globe, score tracking and several other useful features all on their mobile phone, all seamlessly updated via a blue tooth connection.”
A little post-round analysis goes a long way. There’s little point having a disappointing afternoon on the course and then forgetting all about it – you’re not going to improve your golf game that way. So, adding a shot tracker to your golf gadgets tool kit should certainly be on the agenda. Shot trackers utilise sensors that attach to the grips of your clubs that then track all of your shots made on the course. You can then use an app like PIQ to upload your data so you can review your stats on your phone or computer (depending on the tracker). Shot trackers will provide top-level stats such as the number of fairways hit, greens in regulation, and putting metrics, helping you to know where you went wrong, what you did right, and how to improve for next weekend’s round.
- Virtual caddies
- Electric trolleys
- Swing analyser
- Range finders
- Shot trackers
Finally, David from UK Golf Guy advises an old school technique that shouldn’t be forgotten: “The other gadget I would recommend is a pencil and scorecard. Keep your stats for fairways hit, greens hit in regulation and putts per round, and then set yourself a target for the next couple of months. You can use something like Golfshake or Golfshot then to see your trends if you want, and targets for players with handicaps like you. Or, of course, you could just use an excel spreadsheet. It will focus the mind and help you focus your practice on the areas you need it most.”
Try out some of the above gadgets next time you hit the course and see for yourself how these useful tools can add a great deal to your game and golf enjoyment.