While golfing purists might moan that laser rangefinders and GPS devices provide an unfair advantage on the course and aren’t in the spirit of the game, modern golfers have discovered that being able to gauge distances more accurately makes it possible to concentrate on their technique. Whichever side of the fence you stand on, there’s no denying that golf technology has improved out of sight in the past few years. The newest innovation is the golf watch, which offers all the functionality of a handheld GPS in the convenient form of a wristwatch. Now, if only it could lead you to the 19th hole...
GarminApproach S6, $549
It’s pricey but golfers will find plenty to love in this Garmin smartwatch. It’s loaded with more than 30,000 international courses and, together with the GPS, lets you see how far you are from the green with a flick of your wrist. Plus, the Approach S6 isn’t as bulky as other golf watches so you can’t blame it for throwing off your swing.
The downside of GPS is that it relies on accurate maps in order to work effectively. Not so laser rangefinders, which offer a higher degree of accuracy when calculating the distance to the nearest visible target. SureshotLaser Pin Loc 2000 does this quicker than its GPS counterparts and works just as well on pro golf courses as those you’ve set up in the bush.
GolfBuddy WT5, $280
If you can do without the colour touchscreen and Bluetooth of Garmin’s Approach S6, the GolfBuddy WT5 offers many of the same core features for fewer dollars. The main screen displays distances to the front, centre and back of the green. Several other features – shot tracking, pin placement and hazard distances – are only a button-push away.
Sureshotgps Hero 350x, $229
If fiddling with gadgets on the golf course doesn’t appeal to you, the compact Hero 350x handheld GPS keeps things refreshingly simple. Loaded with Australian and New Zealand courses (with an option to download international courses), it displays distances to the front, centre and back of the green, as well as individual shot distances, on its 5.6-centimetre colour display. ￼