I’ve thus far resisted taking up technology to measure how far it is to the pin. “What's wrong with your eyes?” I say in my grumpy, Scottish, traditionalist way! It irks me greatly to watch mid to high handicaps take forever scoping out every approach shot and then dump it 30-yards short. We are, so many of us, far too reliant on such things!
Wrist-mounted devices however are, to my mind much more practical, a snap to read and perfectly adequate for the task at hand - i.e. basically get the ball on the green. I’ve used GolfBuddy’s wearable ‘Voice’ watch from time to time; the only trouble with that being, I kept forgetting to bring the damn thing!
Now, a general-purpose, everyday wrist-watch which tells me everything from my heart rate, blood pressure, how well I’m sleeping - and - the distance to the pin - might just come in very handy!
The world of wearable technology is currently ticking some significant boxes and soon everyone will be looking at their wrist much as they do their phone-sporting palms. You can now use your watch, synced to your phone, linked to your bank to pay stuff. You can schedule events, get notifications and stream your music. It’ll track your steps, tell you the weather and if it’s waterproof, join you for a swim. What’s not to love?
Things move fast in the world of wearables and GolfBuddy’s WTX and WTX Plus were good efforts to bring us practical, wearable GPS wrist watches. Their new AIM Line’s W10 is going to market as-we-speak, a slimmer, smarter iteration with a better bezel control functions. The aim W10 includes a full-color touch screen display, green undulation and slope-adjusted distance readings giving better ‘real-life’ views and more insights into the course. Along with a 13-hour battery life, long enough for most rounds, convenient digital scorecard, and a new zoom in/out functions around the green, the aim W10 is getting close to everyday wearable watch perfection. At around $299 (USD) it’s probably the most attractive option currently available.
But the big news at the PGA Merchandise Show on the watchfront is… GolfBuddy has just signed a deal with Samsung, their fellow Korean leviathan of the electronics age (fun fact - Samsung’s HQ is located in the Gangnam District of Seoul, one of the most affluent, dynamic, and influential areas of the city) to give us perhaps the best smartwatch iteration yet; Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active - fully loaded with GolfBuddy’s some 40,000 golf courses software.
It’s not 100% clear at this point which of the Samsung models will be anointed. Their new Galaxy Watch Active is a more sporty, lightweight version of the rather sturdy yet traditionally appealing Galaxy Watch. The Active will undoubtedly be better for us golfers as it’s far less obtrusive and noticeable on the wrist compared to the ‘Big Ben’ presence of the Galaxy Watch! But to have everything from tea-time to tee-time to green undulations at the flick-of-a-wrist is an exciting prospect and one that GolfBuddy’s alignment with Samsung is auspicious indeed.