Pros: The TomTom Golfer 2 watch does three important things: provides yardages, keeps score, and tells time/date. The first two are particular to golfers and it displays these simply and well. As for the third, it’s a sleek-looking watch that would be fashionable for various occasions.
Cons: Its watch-sized face may be a bit cumbersome during a backswing. If it is, simply attach it to your bag or put it in the golf cart. The automatic shot detection, based on movements of your wrist, can pick up practice swings and add those to your score (although there is a fix for this!).
Who’s It For: The TomTom Golfer 2 is for the golfer who prefers to not point and shoot a laser rangefinder. It’s also for those who want to keep score/stats digitally and transfer them via app to tablet, phone or computer.
First things first; let’s wear this! The TomTom Golfer 2 has a major face plate and minor toggle button, anchored in a plastic case. On the bottom of the case is the charge plate, where you dock the USB charger. The entire plastic case is set into a rubber wristband, highlighted by a metal, tri-fold sizer with 9 wrist-thickness settings. The watch is easily adjusted to fit a variety of wrist sizes, though. Two buttons, squeezed simultaneously, release the tri-fold sizer for simplified on-off of the watch. Wearing this watch couldn’t be easier or more comfortable.
Next, let’s use this! The TomTom Golfer 2 has a toggle button that serves as the bridge for all your tasks. You have access to a number of screens, some of which provide data and others that allow you to log each shot you take. Since I preferred to hold the Golfer 2, rather than wear it, I used my thumb to move from screen to screen. If you’re wearing the watch, it’s easier to use your index finger to cycle through the options. Either way, it’s easy to do.
Finally, let’s sync this! The TomTom MySports app allows you to sync the watch with your phone, tablet or computer, then transfer each round’s data (score, greens in regulation, putts) between devices. After setting up an account at the TomTom site, the bluetooth connection is seamless and nearly instantaneous. For number crunchers and data junkies, you’ll have all the information you need to review your round and plan your practice.
When you arrive at your golf course, the TomTom Golfer 2 locks onto the layout and welcomes you to the first hole. From there, it’s in your hands and up to you. Toggle to the right and you’ll see the first set of readings: yardages to the front, middle, and rear of the green. Unless you’re on a par-3, you need more than this. A second bump to the right brings up a screen with yardages to hazards on the course. These include bunkers, creeks and other water elements. If you’re interested in yardages to every potential feature on a golf course, here’s where a rangefinder offers just a bit more than the watch… assuming you lock in on the proper target.
At this secondary point, toggle up or down to bring up six additional screens. One is a close-up of the green, another tells you yardage to the green, a third tells you how many calories you’ve burned — Nos. 4 and 5 give you time of day and time of round, and the last tells you how many shots you’ve taken on the hole (and can log putts separately!). As mentioned in the Cons section, the TomTom Golfer 2 is susceptible to picking up practice swings and recording them as strokes. If you want to use the device for accurate scoring, I’d suggest attaching it to your bag (when walking) or leaving it in the cart (if riding). I played a tournament recently and used a push cart for all 36 holes over two days. I secured the TomTom Golfer 2 to my bag strap and used it for yardages on every hole.
After the round, as you parse your data, the MySports app allows you to zero in on an overhead shot of the course and review your round. If you find that the score needs proper editing, you may do so within the app, adjusting numbers of putts and strokes accordingly. Rounds may be deleted with a leftward swipe of the finger.
TomTom’s first venture into the golf watch market was the original TomTom Golfer. Available in two versions, the original offered many of the features found in model 2.0. The upgrades include automatic shot detection, shot history analysis, and the automatic scorecard. The premium edition of the original watch costs the same as the TomTom Golfer 2, with the hand-crafted italian leather band, ball marker and cart bag mount unique to the premium edition.
The life of a USB charge of the TomTom Golfer 2 will depend on how often you consult and manipulate the device during a round of golf. If you wear it as a watch most days, your battery life will be measured in weeks. If you undertake a great deal of input and output of data, you will find yourself charging every 48 to 72 hours.
The TomTom Golfer 2 lists for $249 on the company website. If you like the look of the watch, you’re halfway to the purchase. The watch face is attractive, and reads time and date easily. As for the real reason behind the purchase, the distance measurements are very accurate (I tested them against my rangefinder and various course markings and they were spot on) and give you readings above and beyond front, center, and back of green. If you’re over the point-and-shoot of a laser rangefinder and want something easier to use, this device delivers what it promises. If the price is right, the TomTom Golfer 2 is yours.
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Top-3 men’s golf polos at the 2018 PGA Fashion Show in Vegas
GolfWRX’s fashion expert Jordan Madley picks her top-3 favorite men’s polo shirts from the recent 2018 PGA Fashion Show in Las Vegas. Enjoy the video below!
I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went
Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.
Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.
It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.
The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.
But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.
Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.
“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”
“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.
On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.
The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.
We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.
Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)
Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.
Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.
But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.
Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.
Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.
Review: The QOD Electric Caddy
If you want an electric golf caddy that doesn’t require that you wear a sensor or carry a remote — one that will be reliable and allow you to focus on your game, and not your cart — then the Australian-manufactured QOD is worth checking out.
The QOD (an acronym for Quality of Design and a nod to its four wheels) is powered by a 14.4-volt lithium battery, good for 36 holes or more on a single charge. It has nine different speeds (with the fastest settings moving closer to jogging velocity) so the QOD can handle your ideal pace, whether that be a casual stroll or a more rapid clip around the course.
The QOD is also built to last. Its injection-molded, aircraft-grade aluminum frame has no welded joints. Steel bolts and locking teeth take care of the hinging points. The battery and frame are both guaranteed for three full years. If you need a new battery after the three-year window, the folks at QOD will replace it at cost.
Its front-wheel suspension gives the QOD a smooth ride down the fairway, and the trolley is easy to navigate with a gentle nudge here and there. The QOD is always in free-wheel mode, so it is smooth and easy to maneuver manually in tight spaces and around the green.
The caddy also features three timed interval modes for situations where you might wish to send it up ahead on its own: when helping a friend find a lost ball or when you will be exiting on the far side of the green after putting, for example. The clip below includes a look at the caddy in timed mode.
Another area where the QOD excels is in its small size and portability. When folded, it measures a mere 17-inches wide, 15-inches deep and 12-inches tall, making it the smallest electric caddy on the market.
Folks Down Under have been enjoying the QOD for some time, but it wasn’t until a few years ago when Malachi McGlone was looking for a way to continue walking the course without putting undue strain on an injured wrist that the QOD found U.S. fairways. After first becoming a satisfied customer, McGlone convinced CEO Collin Hiss, who developed the product and oversees its production in Australia, to allow him to distribute and service the QOD here in the states.
The QOD has no self-balancing gyroscope, bluetooth sensor or remote control. Bells and whistles just aren’t its thing — though it does have a USB port for cell phone charging that can come in handy. However, if you are looking for a no-fuss workhorse to move your bag down the fairway, the QOD should be on your radar.
The 2018 model has begun shipping and will be on sale at $1,299 for a limited time. It normally retails at $1,499.
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