A golf rangefinder

How to make use of technology in golf

Golf may be a game that’s down to pure skill, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little helping hand from technology. For those who are into their gadgets, there are plenty of golf devices and technology on the market that will take your game to new heights. Things in the tech world are changing all the time, and it’s important to keep up with the latest developments, along with what you can and can’t use on the golf course.

In this article, we’re going to take you through some of the most commonly used golf gadgets on the market to give you some ideas on how you can add a little technological magic to your game. On we go…

Golf rangefinders

We kick off with rangefinders - commonly seen on the golf course as players use technology to give their game the edge. Golfers of all levels like using rangefinders because they take away the guesswork when you’re trying to calculate distances on the golf course.

Do you use a rangefinder to navigate the golf course?

So, how does a golf rangefinder work? First, you need to focus it to suit your eyesight (you only look through it using one eye), and it will quickly give you an accurate distance by shooting its laser at the obstacle or target in question. This extra information helps you make an informed decision as to which golf club to use, because you’ll have a much better idea of what sort of distance you’re aiming for.

It’s important to point the rangefinder at the biggest part of the object you’re aiming for, whether it’s a pin, a flagstick, a bunker or a water hazard. Be sure to keep the eye you’re not using closed, and try to keep your hands steady too. Because it’s simply a matter of pointing and shooting, when you have a golf rangefinder you’ll never need to waste time downloading course maps again.

The higher-end, newer rangefinders on the market are generally more accurate and often feature an ‘inclinometer’ which helps you assess not only distance, but also slopes (both up and down). Sometimes called a ‘slope rangefinder’, these are legal on the golf course but you’re not allowed to use this feature in tournament play (so make sure it’s switched off!).

Bear in mind that there are two different types of rangefinders: golf rangefinders and hunting rangefinders… and they are not the same thing! While they may look similar, hunting rangefinders are more precise, cover far more yardage and are a little slower to return results, but they are built for targets in the wilderness (not the foreground). So make sure you buy a rangefinder that’s been specifically designed for the golf course.

Rangefinders either work by GPS or laser and cover up to 400 yards, but the latter tend to be the more accurate so golfers tend to prefer this option. This is also because GPS rangefinders rely on decent signal, whereas laser rangefinders don’t. But let’s not forget about GPS completely. We all know that GPS still brings major advantages on the golf course, and it is not unusual to see a golfer using a laser rangefinder alongside a GPS watch (GPS watches get their moment in the sun later on, don’t worry).

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Smartphone apps and gadgets

They’re ubiquitous, and most of us can’t imagine life without them these days, but have you considered that your smartphone could be your best friend when it comes to improving your golf? You could invest in a launch monitor (see below) which links with a smartphone to transform your golf swing and boost your score. Or, you could consider attaching smart sensors to the end of your clubs in order to access vital analytics such as swing path and distance tracking via your smartphone.

And all that’s before we’ve even mentioned the thousands of golf apps that are available for you to download to your smartphone - from digital scoring systems right through to rangefinders, course maps, swing analysis, and even booking tee times at your local golf course. There are dedicated golf apps like this one from the R&A where you can swot up on the rules of golf and find out lots more about what’s going on in the world of golf. (Psst, if you are wondering what the very best golf app on the market is, it’s this one.)

GPS watches

It could be argued these days that a wearable device - e.g. a golf GPS watch - is an essential part of modern golf. One of the most important things to look out for when you’re buying a GPS watch is its accuracy, because they are not all created the same. Great for extensive course coverage, it provides accurate yardage using precise GPS technology to help you make the right club selection and improve your performance.

A second-hand Garmin Approach S20 GPS watch from golfclubs4cash

Something that’s important to pay attention to when choosing your wearable fitness watch is its battery life. You may have the all-singing, all-dancing model that beats all the others hands down in terms of features, but if it’s not going to last the length of an 18-hole round of golf, then it’s probably going to hold you back. Some models come with advanced battery-saving features - this is a feature that’s well worth looking out for (and paying extra for, too). The other thing to consider is the display size and quality - it needs to be easy to read, with a big enough display for you to easily glance at it without having to strain your eyes.

Many of the newer GPS watches on the market come with preinstalled maps of thousands of golf courses, along with the ability to download newer golf courses. This is a great feature that saves you loads of time and data downloading course maps. Some GPS watches will even give you information on course and weather conditions, along with swing data and other metrics (along with heart rate and an activity monitor etc., just like any other high-end fitness watch would feature). 

We’ve always got plenty of great quality used golf GPS watches in stock for you to browse, so keep an eye on our range and bag yourself a bargain.

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Golf simulators

Golf simulators continue to grow in popularity as they become more accessible to the average golfer, and since there’s an option to suit most budgets we don’t see this changing any time soon. We all know the value of regular practice and technique refinement, but there are always days that we can’t get out on the golf course or the driving range, and that’s where golf simulators come into play. 

Many of the bigger golf courses and golf training academies have golf simulator rooms where you can take your shots and watch your swing back in slow motion to analyse the finer details of your swing technique. And if you work with a professional golf coach this can lead to transformative results on the golf course (and on your scorecard!).

But you don’t have to go to a golf training centre to raise your game. These days, golf simulators are available for you to install in your home, garage, basement and even your garden. No matter how big or small the space you have available is, there’s a simulator to fit your needs. We highly recommend you try one out if you haven’t already!

Online resources

There’s a huge amount that you can learn when you go online to find out about golf. Whether it’s watching dedicated YouTube golf channels which give you the latest golf clubs and equipment reviews, golf news sites, or golf blogs and articles, you can while away those dull, wet afternoons by taking in everything the internet has to offer.

You could even spend time watching some of the world’s greatest players compete in the biggest golf tournaments to get some inspiration for your own game (and dig into what’s in their golf bags while you’re at it!). Don’t forget to check out the celebs that are pairing with the world’s top golf pros in the latest celebrity pro-ams. And then there are the official golf body sites like the R&A and England Golf to scour. There’s absolutely no excuse for feeling bored on a rainy weekend when there’s this much golf content to consume!

Launch monitors

launch-monitor.png

Launch monitors really came into their own during the Covid-19 pandemic when we were all locked in our homes going stir-crazy with boredom. How do golf launch monitors work? Well, they identify weaknesses in your swing and show you where your strengths are too. This information can be used to make small but mighty changes to your swing. You can use them inside or outside, and they can be paired with a golf simulator to take your practice to new heights. The price of launch monitors has come down significantly over the past few years, so they are more accessible now than ever before. 

Depending on which model you choose, a launch monitor measures and quantifies all sorts of data like ball speed, club speed and spin rates, which can then be used for club fittings and lessons. The best way to interpret this data is to take averages from a number of hits, rather than just one.

So, if you’re the kind of golfer who likes geeking out over data like trajectory, distance, accuracy and all manner of other golf stats (and let’s face it, who isn’t), then it’s about time you got a launch monitor in your life.

What’s the next big thing in golfing innovation?

If, like us, you’re wondering what the next big thing in the world of golf technology is, then it’s fair to say that with AI and robotics getting more sophisticated by the day, things will continue to move quickly. Apps and other digital technology are going to become more and more interactive and innovative, and of course, the manufacturing of golf clubs themselves will become even more precise with advances in engineering.

Golf courses could become far more reliant on technology, with features like drone technology for course maintenance, advanced irrigation systems and even GPS-guided mowers becoming standard.

Virtual reality golf experiences will become more common - VR is already being incorporated into golf simulators to mimic real-world situations. Imagine being able to play a round with Tiger Woods himself sometime in the future - albeit virtually! And there’s good news for the ecologically minded among you too, because technology is making great strides forward in areas such as solar-powered golf carts and water-saving irrigation systems.

In summary, there is no getting away from it - technological advancements are transforming the way we play golf, and on balance, we think it’s great news for golfers, as well as for the planet. We can’t wait to see what the next wave of technological innovations brings into our lives - what are your predictions? Let us know!

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