​Best golf wearables: GPS watches and swing analysers

​Best golf wearables: GPS watches and swing analysers

Knock shots off your handicap with these top wearables
Essential golf tech round-up

If you're looking to slash shots off your handicap, investing in a golf GPS watch or a swing analyser could be the answer to your prayers.

Wearables and golfers have long been bedfellows, and for those desperate to shave a few digits off their handicap can really find benefits through technology. Using a GPS watch can help golfers make better decisions, and the price of technology has plummeted in the last year, making the tech affordable for everyone.

Essential reading: Best GPS running watches

It's not just GPS watches and glorified range-finders either. Systems like GameGolf and Zepp are helping golfers get more out of their practice time, and both systems promise* to offer unprecedented insights into your game – and most importantly, actionable information to become a better golfer.

*Miracles not guaranteed.

Just in: While we've tested the below, Garmin has just released its latest line-up of golf devices including the Garmin Approach S20 and the Garmin TrueSwing shot analyser, which should certainly figure in your thinking.

Garmin Approach S6

Garmin has a watch for nearly every sport imaginable, and its line up golf range finders is now in its sixth iteration. Like those before it the Garmin Approach S6 has built-in mapping for 30,000 international courses, and will display yardage to the pin and a top-down view of the hole on its colour screen.

In a new addition, the S6 will also provide information on your swing, helping you to achieve a more consistent performance, and Garmin Connect, which is one of the best platforms for running stats analysis, now has a Golf version so you can analyse and compare your rounds.

For those who can't stomach spending the equivalent of a top-end driver on a device that tells you how far to hit one, never fear. The Garmin Approach S1 may be six generations behind in terms of features, but it still offers yardage information for just £99.

$389, garmin.com | Amazon

TomTom Golfer

Best GPS golf watches and swing analyzers

TomTom picked a timely date to announce its latest wearable, with the Golfer getting an official unveiling on the same day the Ryder Cup kicked off. The TomTom Golfer includes data for over 34,000 courses with details such as distance to the pin, front and back of the green, to hazards and to lay-ups on offer in real-time when out on the course.

Unlike the S6 there is no colour display but the 168 x 144 monochrome screen offers course graphics and a green view mode for checking out the position of the flag. It also offers score recording, distance measuring and the calories you've burned during your round.

With a 10 hour battery life, the TomTom Golfer should have enough power for a society day 36 hole competition and if it rains, no worries – the Golfer is 5ATM water resistant.

Essential reading: Check out our full TomTom Golfer review

$249, tomtom.com | Amazon

Game Golf LIVE

Best GPS golf watches and swing analyzers

Another wearable analyser, GameGolf is brimming with professional endorsements with Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and some bloke called Barack Obama all using it. If that wasn't enough, GameGolf even boasts design by Yves Behar, the creative director of Jawbone.

GameGolf comes in two parts, a wearable sensor which mounts on your belt, and a series of sensors that mount onto the top of your club. When you're about to play a shot just touch the club element to the sensor, and play your shot. When you get home Game Golf shows every shot and the success rates in each part of your game, so you can identify the areas your need to work on.

The first update – Game Golf LIVE – has just been released, which adds real-time shot tracking so it becomes more useful out on the round. It connects to a smartphone app so you can get yardages to the pin while you're stood over the ball – which increases Game Golf's usefulness on the course.

$299, gamegolf.com | Amazon

Zepp Golf Sensor

Best GPS golf watches and swing analyzers

Zepp Golf is a clip-on device that attaches to your glove when you're on the course or hitting on the range. The array of sensors notes everything from the speed of your hands to the tempo of your forward and backswing, before showing your data in the app which flashes up in less than a second after you've hit the ball.

You can then review the data, look at visual charts of your shots, and even compare them to professional's swings to see where you're going wrong. There are also heaps of tuition videos from pros tailored to the area of your swing you're struggling with.

When paired with a smartphone, the app will even use the built-in accelerometer to track hip movements: a crucial element of a consistent swing and the Achilles heel of many a weekend golfer.

Excitingly, the CEO of Zepp, Jason Fass, revealed to Wareable that the company will have its technology built into clubs in 2016.

Check out our full Zepp Golf review for our take.

$149, zepp.com | Amazon

Microsoft Band 2

Best GPS golf watches and swing analyzers

Microsoft's original GPS wristband enjoyed a golfing update, in partnership with equipment giant TaylorMade – and the sport now has pride of place on the follow-up wearable, too. Just sync your local course to the Health app and you can get yardages to the front, centre and back of the green – just like any GPS golf watch.

The Microsoft Band 2 will also keep your score as you go along, and the band can even differentiate between a practice swing and a proper shot, and you can override the scoring if you need to as well. At the end you get a scorecard that blends calories burned and heart rate data. It also works with TaylorMade's myRoundpro platform for detailed maps of your shots and an analysis on your performance.

$249.99, microsoft.com | Amazon

Garmin Vivoactive

Best GPS golf watches and swing analyzers

Garmin's first smartwatch blends GPS-enabled sports tracking, including a dedicated golf mode, with access to information on 37,000 courses, offering yardage to the pin, lay up distances and the ability to track your score right from the wrist.

What's more, there's smartphone for notifications so you never miss a massage when you're out on the course, as well as general activity monitoring, as well as running, cycling and swimming tracking, it's truly the ultimate watch for the golfer.

While the golf features are no-where near as in-depth as the Approach series of watches, for most golfers, they're more than adequate, and with the host of features, it's truly a top choice.

In depth: Read our Garmin Vivoactive review

$249, garmin.com | Amazon

GolfBuddy BB5

The Golf Buddy BB5 doesn't exactly brim with information – unlike the overloaded Garmin Approach S6. Taking the form of a band rather than a traditional watch, the GolfBuddy simply counts your steps while out on the course, and displays distance to the front or back of the green on its LED dot display.

While some golfers may only want the basics, at £199, it's not cheap. It's same price as the Garmin Vivoactive and TomTom Golfer, both of which pack in scores more features in their own way. And those looking to save cash could look to the low-end Garmin Approach S2.

$249, golfbuddy.com | Amazon

Bushnell NEO XS

Best GPS golf watches and swing analyzers

For those looking for some extra help on the course without breaking the bank, the Bushnell NEO XS is a surprisingly powerful golf watch. As well as coming pre-loaded with data on 33,000 courses, it will also provide yardages for up to four hazards per hole, with information for layups and bunkers that can help anyone play more intelligently.

$179, bushnellgolf.com | Amazon

Ojee Talon

This nifty gadget sits top of your club's grip, offering you real time information on your shaft and club-face rotation angle – essential stats for ironing out problems in your game. Talon pairs with a belt and back unit to keep tabs on your posture – and you get real-time feedback on your technique which is great for time on the range. It's not made it into market yet, but you can bag a unit from Indiegogo, and shipping is expected in November.

£149 (RRP £229), indiegogo.com

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