If you buy into the golf industry’s marketing machinations, every few months there is a major new aerodynamic or metallurgical breakthrough. And each new innovation is designed, of course, to give the average soft-bellied high handicapper an extra ten yards off the tee and little forgiveness on off-center hits.
The allure of the latest wonder stick is undeniable, especially if you just watched a Tour pro gripping one launch a fairway-splitting monster drive or a wedge shot that miraculously spins back toward the hole. But as far as improving your game, never fall into the trap of believing a new set of clubs can substitute for quality instruction reinforced by hours of practice.
If you’re looking for legit shortcuts to shaving strokes off your scorecard, then look to high-tech golf gadgetry. The tech pinpoints the pin, gives you a neurotic amount of data on your putting game, and keeps you cool under pressure. Here are seven game-changers — including a swing sensor, smart ball, and a high-powered rangefinder — to keep the double-bogeys at bay.
TLink GPS Golf Watch
Wearable golf tech that displays instant yardage ⏤ the distance to the back, middle, and front of the green ⏤ on 40,000+ courses worldwide is old hat. But few pull it off as unobtrusively and elegantly as Calgary-based TLink. Their watch is like the silk underwear of golf GPS’s, you’ll barely notice you’re even wearing it. And if you do, there’s an optional belt buckle clip in the box. It pairs with your smartphone via Bluetooth and also provides accurate hazard yardage and doubles as a fitness tracker.
Bridgestone’s BFit Mobile App
This Bryson DeChambeau-endorsed BFit app is designed to help you figure out which golf ball suits your game. It’s like Tinder for hooking up balls with golfers. Key in some basics about your game, including how low you shoot and your current go-to ball, and follow the app’s directions to video your swing. Follow a few more prompts and boom … papa’s got a “date” with a brand new ball. “Hey there” e6 Speed.
If your alignment is off, then you aren’t going to come anywhere close to firing on target. SetupEye uses lasers and “target lock technology” to help golfers take dead aim with absolute confidence. Simply lock onto the flag or your chosen target through the viewfinder, press the button, and place the device on the ground between you and your golf ball. From there, just follow the shooting green lightsaber as it points the way.
The beauty of the Arccos GPS-based performance tracker is that it doesn’t add distractions to your typical round. There’s no button to remember to tap before you hit or data to enter after each hole. It all works on autopilot collecting reams of robust game data and generating every major golf analytic in real time, including longest drive, average driving distance, and number of fairways hit. The newest iteration of the screw-in Bluetooth sensor also rocks a slimmer profile and lets golfers keep their smartphones in airplane mode, which saves battery life and helps avoid roaming charges on vacation. If you’re in the market for new clubs, Cobra’s been integrating Arccos directly into their drivers.
Galvin Green Bow Windstopper
What’s the difference between a windbreaker and a windstopper? One is a serviceable layer that marginally cuts down on wind chill while the other is a highly technical garment that gets the job done. The Bow is equipped with an ultrathin protective membrane laminated to a lightweight textile layer. It’s not only breathable but also prevents overheating while keeping you warm. I’ve been wearing Galvin since a golf trip to Ireland ⏤ where I played Ballybunion and Tralee amid nonstop drizzle and 2-club wind ⏤ and the jacket performed like a champ. Sweden’s rainwear savant simply does not suffer inclement weather. At $360, it’ll set you back a bit, but the protection is next level.
DuoTrac’s Gen i1 Smart Ball
It’s only a matter of time before every piece of equipment keeps tabs on a golfer’s skills. The DuoTrac nGen i1 tracks motion, spin, and speed via technology embedded inside the golf ball. It’s essentially a miniaturized launch monitor you can drop on a putting green, send for a ride toward the hole, and then scope out the ball rotation and face angle analytics. Set for an early summer release, packages will include two balls: one for putting and one capable of handling full-swing action.
TecTecTec VPRO 500
Golf is an exacting game of inches, and you need every bit of help if you’re going to stick one in close. The French-made VPRO500 is a top-selling laser rangefinder that makes the decision to layup ahead of the creek or go for it a snap. It can measure up to 540 yards in continuous scan mode, uses “pinsensor technology” to differentiate between overlapping objects, and has an accuracy rate of +/- one meter. Plus, the price is hard to beat.