From swing sensors to the best golf GPS watches, we run through the 7 smart golf accessories you need to get out of the rough and onto the green.
Fore! If you're itching to hit the fairway (or slice it into the rough), you’re going to want to dust off your clubs and pick up a new golf gadget – because there’s no better way to improve your game.
Golf’s no longer just about long shorts and flat caps. Surprisingly, for a sport that’s essentially hitting a ball with a stick, the game’s jumped firmly on to the high-tech bandwagon. There’s a whole fleet of great golf gadgets out there, all aimed at helping you get your handicap down and take you from tee to green in as few strokes as possible.
From swing analysers to shot trackers – via an awesome golf buggy replacement – there's a device to improve every facet of your game. Including this lot, the best golf gadgets you can buy right now.
Now watch this drive…
1. Zepp Golf 2
Tidying up your swing is the easiest way to bring your score down, and Zepp’s second-generation swing sensor is the best way to iron out any kinks in your action. Acting as your own private teacher, the unobtrusive circular sensor, which attaches to the back of your golf glove, tracks each and every swing you make – relaying the data in real-time to an accompanying app.
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As well as mapping out your swing in a navigable animation, the sensor intimately breaks down the individual metrics of your swing. From club plane, hand plane, and backswing position mapping to club speed, tempo, and hip rotation metrics, Zepp’s lightweight sensor lets you analyse every aspect of your movement.
Rather than simply pointing out your faults though, it diagnoses issues with your swing, creating bespoke coaching plans to help you fix your faults. Can’t get a round in? Don’t worry, the Zepp sensor, which will set you back £129.99, can be attached to your tennis racket and cricket bat (with separate mounts) for multisport monitoring.
2. Game Golf Live
Tracking your game from tee to pin, the £249.95 Game Golf Live lets you map your progress around the course with club-mounted NFC tags. When tapped against a small, GPS-enabled hub that attaches to your belt, these tags set markers on your course map. This data is then automatically converted to let you track everything from shot distances to individual club groupings.
Bringing round analysis to the amateur game, and syncing with your iOS or Android smartphone, the Game Golf system offers a detailed breakdown of your every shot. From your accuracy at hitting the fairways to your putts per hole average, there’s data on everything. Pulling a lot of your drives to the right? Your stats won’t let you forget it.
It’s not just about tracking your own game either. Yes it offers live shot tracking and can help determine how to improve your round, but with a sizeable community, part of the appeal is that you can compare your round against friends, randoms, and even the pros.
Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £232
3. Garmin Approach S6
The Garmin Approach S6 is the most feature rich golf wearable around and is suitable for all ability levels.
Duffers like us pretty much live in the CourseView mode, which tells you the exact yardage from your ball to the front, middle and back of the green across more than 39,000 international courses – we've yet to find one that's not supported.
There's also detailed swing metrics, layup distances, and pin placement functionality, so it's got something for more advanced players, while score tracking and robust battery life are universally useful.
Its rounded colour LCD display sets it apart from other premium golf wearables, and as it packs Bluetooth connectivity, you can connect it to your smartphone and receive at-a-glance email and text notifications while you're out on the fairway – say goodbye to those icy glares from your fellow golfers every time your phone squeaks.
Garmin's entire range of sporty wearables is class and has price points to suit all budgets, but if you're looking for a golf smartwatch that's in a different league altogether, this is it.
4. Microsoft Band 2
A multi-talented wearable, the Microsoft Band 2 offers all manner of sport and fitness tracking, from run and cycling to weight work, and even how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed. It’s the wristband’s golf skills we’re interested in though, and here it can mix it with many dedicated golf gadgets.
Offing distances to the green, the smartphone syncing wearable uses its integrated GPS and accompanying software to let you track your shots and even review your round to better breakdown where you’re dropping shots.
It’s not just about getting live swing metrics either. The £199.99 smartwatch substitute can also bring email, text, and call notifications direct to your wrist, all without having to take your phone from your golf bag.Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £182.99
5. iPing for iPhone 6/6S
There’s plenty of tech to help you work on your driving and iron work, but it’s on the green that it’s easiest to give away cheap shots. Club manufacturer Ping has found a novel way of working on your putting though, and it requires little more than a specialist phone case and accompanying free app.
Playing nice with your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S, the iPing mount straps your smartphone to the shaft of your club (any putter, not just Ping-branded ones). Using your handset’s accelerometer and gyroscope to map your putting path, the $10 (£7.12) accessory lets you work on your game without breaking the bank.
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Tracking the angle of your putting action to help you work towards a cleaner, straighter strike, unlike many of the other golf gadgets out there, it has the added benefit of letting you practice indoors.
6. Stewart Golf X9 Follow Electric Trolley
Ever feel like you’re being followed? Well you will with this remote controlled electric golf trolley. Taking all the strain out of carrying your own equipment while avoiding the oversized mobility scooters that are golf buggies, the X9 Follow drives your clubs around the course autonomously.
How does it know where to go? Well, it uses Bluetooth to communicate with a dedicated remote you can simply attach to your belt, letting the X9 roll after you at a consistent distance like a loyal sheepdog. It will move when you move, stop when you stop, and even apply the brakes on a down slope without prompting so it doesn’t roll ahead.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. You can take control of the £1,499 machine whenever you want, using the remote to drive the trolly at a pace of your choosing. Heck, there’s even cruise control. Our cars don’t even have that.
7. Iofit Smart Balance Shoes
Designed in partnership with Samsung, these smart shoes offer data in real-time to help you train better. Each shoe is embedded with an array of pressure sensors, which measure the forces in different areas of the foot while you’re swinging a club, using posture analysis to determine balance and how you’re shifting your weight.
How can this make you better at golf? Well, by visualising this data with graphs and heat maps through an accompanying app, you can see if you’re unbalanced, placing your weight in the wrong areas or moving your hips too much. Giving everything a bit of context, you can compare your movements with the ideal to show you how to improve.
There’s no need to worry about needing to plug your shoes in to charge after every round or trip to the driving range either. A seven day battery life can be topped up by placing them on a wireless charging pad. A pair will set you back $249 (£177) when launched later this year.
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Got any favourite golf gadgets we've missed out? Let us know in the comments.