We fully enjoy low-tech rounds as much as any golf purist. But we also appreciate the 21st century technology that can support our game. This list of golf tech must-haves doesn’t include fancy shmancy out-of-reach simulators. Instead, each suggestion is designed to make your game more fun and functional. We have found these useful in our play and want to share them with our KINONA community.
Enjoy this list of our favorite golf tech to improve your game.
1. Range Finders
Also known as distance-measuring devices or DMDs, this handy tool determines the distance from you to the pin and shows how far you need to hit a shot to avoid pesky hazards like water, bunkers, and trees. These helpful devices are useful when you are playing a new course and can help you get a lay of the land. Many rangefinders can also determine slope, though be aware that feature isn’t allowed by the USGA for use in golf tournaments and needs to be disabled if you’re planning to compete.
Check them out:
- The SkyCaddie SX550. This hybrid GPS rangefinder features maps created by a team who personally walks all the courses to provide extremely accurate data points and measurements.
- The Bushnell Pro XE is a favorite traditional rangefinder we see in hands of players for consistency and accuracy.
2. Global Positioning Systems
You’re likely very familiar with GPS units. They offer pinpoint data including hole layouts, distances, elevations, hazards, etc. The biggest difference is that GPS systems often require you to download additional course information prior to play rather than being the more “plug-and-play” option of a rangefinder that can be used on any course. However, GPS has a leg up on rangefinding lasers in some situations. For instance, rangefinders may struggle to provide accurate data when calculating over sand, water, and in inclimate weather conditions. They also are more accurate around turns or bends in a course and can add precision to a shot when you’re in the blind of the pin.
Here’s a couple to consider:
- The splurge option is the Garmin Approach G80 featuring over 41,000 preloaded courses and large touch-screen display.
- This Bushnell Phantom 2 is a great lower cost option with over 38,000 courses and it easily fits in your pocket or clips on your golf bag.
3. Fitness Tracking Devices and Watches
The cross-functionality of a device like this offers fabulous bang for the buck, especially if you choose one that includes golf course gps data and digital score cards. You can even play music close to your body so it won’t distract others, stay in communication with the office or family and friends without having to tote your phone in your pocket. While KINONA women’s golf fashions offer zippered pockets, wouldn’t you rather use those to hold your tees or a snack? Of course we do love the tradition of a golf logbook (who doesn’t love those little pencils and bound pages?) to keep a record of scores and stats, but the space in your golf bag is precious and anything that maximizes space is a real win.
Our top three votes are:
- An Apple Watch and Fit Bit pull double duty tracking your steps, heart rate, activity levels, and workouts.
- This Garmin golf watch serves as a traditional smartwatch while also providing data specifically for golfers like course layouts, GPS, and more. Their newest technology, Green Contours, even includes slope readings and gradients for more accurate play.
4. Smart Sensors
Using Artificial Intelligence and GPS technology, smart sensors attach to your club and body to provide real time data about your swing. In addition to analyzing your swing, these sensors can track how far you hit with each club, an invaluable skill when learning to navigate different challenges on the course, and even offer tips on how to play each hole. It’s like having a professional caddy (or coach) by your side, except you still have to tote your own golf bag.
Companies in the Smart Sensor Space:
- Blast is helping golfers understand and improve their own golf game and grow as players.
- Arccos even offers suggested videos and drills that can uplevel precision and performance.
5. The Extras
We couldn’t help but throw in some of our favorite extras to level up your golf game. If hitting the range on a gorgeous sunny day is a ten, these devices take it to an eleven. They are even perfect gifts for the golfers in your life (or to add to your own birthday wishlist, we won’t judge).
- Backup battery packs are a must and, with modern solar chargers, you can continuously charge your phone on the course.
- Electric golf caddies might seem a bit frivolous but they sure make walking 18 holes a bit easier.
- This mini massager is admittedly an extra splurge but so useful to work out kinks while the rest of your group tees off.
- A rechargeable bluetooth speaker is a necessity if you prefer music while you play and even better when it’s a space saving combo device like this Bushnell rangefinder + speaker.
- An Apple AirTag or Tile Tracker detection device makes retrieving your items easy and great for your golf bag. We even toss one in the zippered pocket of our pullovers so we don’t misplace them on warm days when jackets come off.
6. Websites and Apps
No tech review would be complete without highlighting some of the best websites that support golfers. Here’s a quick round-up of our fave URLs:
- USGA GHIN - Track your scores and Handicap index.
- Golf Shot - This app syncs to your watch and provides data on golf courses including 360° views of courses, yardage, and level of difficulty so you can plan for every shot.
- Fore Tees - This app is your hub for scheduling tee times and even dining at your favorite club.
- USGA Rules of Golf - This app has everything you need to understand the rules of the game.
- National Weather Service - Be prepared for whatever conditions the day holds before you hit the fairway.
At the end of the day, tech can impact speed, precision, self-awareness, and fun, but none of it is necessary to mastering the game. You’re still the one swinging the club, like golfers have done for centuries without tech. Thankfully, no matter the level of tech you choose to employ when you approach the tee, you can always in style in KINONA. Whew!