A WEARABLE FUTURE
A new wave of mobile technology has designs for golf.
DID YOU KNOW
there’s a headband that can monitor your stress levels as you play? Or a sensor for your glove that can record swing path and tempo? Or a tiny computer for your grip that can track shots and distance? These are just a few examples of how golf is benefiting from the recent explosion in wearable technology – a snazzy term for any computer or electronic device that you can operate and wear at the same time. A tide of new gadgets has started flowing into golf. To help you cut through the clutter, we present 15 of our favourites here.
1 GoPro $500 / Hero4 gopro.com Black
Nothing has popularised the idea of wearable tech more than the GoPro camera. The lightweight, durable camera fits in the palm of your hand, has available chest or head mounts and records video at 120 frames per second at 4K resolution. In other words, it’s perfect for swing sequences and documenting a round.
2 Game Golf / $200 / gamegolf.com
Game Golf has small sensors that plug into the end of your grips. Another sensor on your belt records data from your round that you can later chart on your computer. President Obama was spotted using Game Golf during his vacation at Martha’s Vineyard in August last year.
3 Swingbyte / $170 / swingbyte.com
The advantage of attaching a measuring device to your club, rather than to your body, is that it measures more accurately what’s happening to your equipment as you swing. Swingbyte syncs to your iPhone, iPad or Android device via Bluetooth and allows you to analyse your data through an app on your phone.
4 Zepp / $150 / zepp.com
This poker-chip-size glove sensor and corresponding smartphone app were picked by Apple to go on sale in its stores worldwide. Zepp tracks your swing’s path, length, speed and tempo, among other things. If a certain position isn’t optimal, the number will appear on your screen in red, and Zepp will guide you into the proper position, which then appears in green.
5 K-Trainer / $995 / k-veststore.com
Some of the world’s best players and instructors use the K-Vest (starting at $6 000). With sensors at the top and bottom of the spine and on the lead wrist, K-Vest tracks the amount of separation between your shoulders and hips on the backswing. The less-expensive K-Trainer has a $99 monthly subscription fee and features just the back and hip sensors.
6 Arccos / $400 / arccosgolf.com
Arccos sensors plug into the end of your grips and track every shot and distance using GPS and Bluetooth technology. You can then view the data in real time through an app on your iPhone.
7 Lumo Lift / $100 lumobodytech.com
All instructors agree that good posture is an essential part of a good golf swing. Lumo wants to prevent back pain – on and off the course – by monitoring your posture and the amount of stress you put on your back through other activities, like running or working out. If you start to slouch, Lumo will remind you to stand up straight by gently vibrating.
8 SkyPro / $200 golfskypro.com
The SkyPro attaches to the shaft of your club and registers any movement the club makes (full swing, chip or putt) and transmits it to your phone through an app so you can view your swing change in 3-D as you progress. Ping has recently started using SkyPro in its clubfitting process because it can track things like shaft lean and club rotation.
“IF MUSE DETECTS A RISE IN YOUR STRESS LEVEL, IT’LL NOTIFY YOU VIA AN APP ON YOUR PHONE.
9 Bose Quiet $300 Comfort/ bose.com20
You might have spotted Rory McIlroy using these recently. The large noise-cancelling headphones that Bose became known for shun outside sounds by first muting and then covering the unwanted sound waves. Bose has adapted that technology to this easily portable, more-discreet design.
10 Muse / $300 choosemuse.com
In case you haven’t noticed, golf is stressful sometimes. To keep you in your most rational state, Muse has developed a headband that tracks your brainwaves. If it starts to notice a rise in your stress levels, the information is transmitted to an app on your phone.
11 Fitbit Flex / $100 / fitbit.com/flex
A study found that a person who averages six hours of sleep a night over the course of two weeks, rather than eight hours, performs cognitive tasks at the same level as someone who’s legally drunk. Sleeping more might lead to better golf, too. With Fitbit you can track, among other things, how much sleep you get.
12 Jawbone UP24 / $130 / jawbone.com/up
Aside from tracking sleep and movement, Jawbone can monitor your diet. All you have to do is input into your phone (via an app) what you’re eating, and Jawbone will assign a value depending on how healthy it is.
13 Garmin Approach S6 / $400 / buy.garmin.com
It won’t carry your bag for you (not yet, anyway), but this GPS watch does most of the caddie’s other jobs. Its colour screen points out the hole’s various hazards, and it provides distances from wherever you are on the course.
14 Samsung Gear 2 / $300 / samsung.com
The Samsung Gear 2 is essentially a smartphone in the form of a wristwatch. You can answer calls on it, take pictures, track your fitness activity, play music and even use it as your TV’s remote control. The bad news: It makes the “I wasn’t near my phone because I was on the golf course” excuse less believable.
15 Apple Watch / $350 / apple.com
Apple launched its long-awaited watch in September and will make it available to consumers in early 2015. It’s essentially everything you like best about your iPhone but in a wristwatch. It tracks how much you move, you can download apps onto it, and its touchscreen makes it easy to discreetly email, text or tweet from the course. Heck, it can even tell you the time.