The idea of using your apple watch for golf has become a popular subject recently. Apple watches and smartwatches in general have exploded the past 2 years. Everywhere you go someone has an Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, FitBit or something.
Millions of golfers around the world were also turning to GPS watches to get accurate yardage info, track scores, stats and more. You could spend anywhere from $150 – $500 for some of the best golf GPS watches.
But do we need one anymore? More and more golfers are now using their Apple watch for golf rather than buying a golf watch specifically designed for golf like the Garmin S60.
Since Apple Watches (SP) now have built in GPS technology, they can now work the same way that some of the best golf GPS watches work. All you need to do is download a Golf GPS App for your Apple watch.
Is the Apple Watch Good for Golf?
Yes, your Apple watch is good for golf. It’s great actually. All you need to do is get one of the best golf apps for Apple watch. I can give you a few recommendations below.
Using your Apple watch for a golf GPS watch lets you do pretty much everything that the premium golf watches let you do. Using some an Apple watch for golf you can do the following:
- Accurate GPS distances to the front, middle and back of greens
- Key hazards info and yardages
- Complete Hole Sky Views
- Track Your Scores
- Track Key Statistics – Fairways Hit, Greens in Regulation, Putting, Up and downs, etc
Some of these features above are not available on many golf watches unless you are paying top dollar for some of the more premium watches like the Garmin S60, which will set you back close to $500 (Check Price On Amazon).
For example Hole overviews, detailed green views would not be available on some of the more budget friendly watches.
Best Golf Apps For Apple Watch
There’s so many brilliant options available now to golfers who have an Apple Watch. I will mention the most popular ones available and the ones that I like the best.
- Hole 19 (What I Use)
- Golf Shot (2nd Favourite)
- GolfLogix GPS
- Golf Pad
- Golf GPS ++
- Fun Golf
I will do a full post on the best golf apps for Apple watch next week explaining each one in more detail; but for today I will go into the two that I think are really worth considering. To be fair, I need to spend a little more time messing around with the other apple watch apps for golfing above.
Hole 19 Golf App (Winner)
I have used the Hole 19 app for a long time on my iPhone and it worked great (even the free version), so when I got my Apple watch I had to try the Hole 19 Apple watch App. It works really well and so easy to use.
Hole 19 offers so many features that match the top premium golf watches on the market. With Hole 19 you can get the following features:
- GPS for +42,000 Golf Courses
- Hole overviews
- Accurate yardages to the front, middle and back of the green
- Hazard info
- Scoring (Stroke/Stableford)
- Key Statistics like driving accuracy, GIR, putts, up and downs, scrambling, etc
- Auto-Change Hole
- Distance Tracker
- Match Play
- Club Recommendation
- Augmented Reality
- Premium Maps
- Notes (Take notes for the next time you play i.e iron off the tee
- Handicap Simulator
- Club Statistics
- Advanced Statistics
- Share your rounds on Social media or Hole 19 community
Some of the features mentioned above require a premium subscription that you can pick up for around $50 for the year.
You can check the different options HERE and see which works best for you. You can get a free trial for the premium for one month to see, but the premium does offer a great deal of info, maybe too much in fact for the weekend golfer.
What I have is just the ‘Wearable Lite” subscription that only costs around $3 a month and has offers the key features I need – yardages, hazard info, auto change hole and scoring for tracking stats.
Golf Shot App
I will do a full review of this a later stage and will go into more detail in next weeks post of the best golf apps for apple watch. I loved it.
The hole overviews were very cool (on the iPhone), the yardage to hazards etc were accurate and easy to navigate on the Apple Watch. It’s well worth checking out.
Golf Shot Features:
- 40,000 courses worldwide
- Cool SkyViews of each hole using Augmented Reality that you can view in detail on your phone (this was brilliant for new courses)
- Get real-time distances to the green, hazards and targets
- Digital scorecards
- Statistics tracking – fairways, GIR, putts, up and downs etc
- Link your handicap and post scores
- Voice assistant distances to say the yardages for you.
Problem With GolfShot
I had one big problem with the Golf Shot and that was the yardages on the apple watch. This was only on some holes to be fair but it was a little annoying. The centre of the green sometimes wasn’t the centre of the green if you get me. The line in middle of the green (see below example) was way to the front.
I was playing the 15th at my local course and doing quiet well on the day. The green at the front is narrow, with a bunker cutting on the front a few paces on and going around the side and back. The watch was telling me that I was 105 out but I just knew by looking at it, it was a more. Especially when I could see the 100 yard marker in front of me.
But when I zoomed on the green view, the centre of the green started 5 yards on from the green where the bunker started. I used the Hole 19 app on the phone to move the pin only to see the flag (which was bang in middle) was at 125 yards, which my buddy also confirmed with his laser rangefinder. This means I had to compensate or guess the extra yardages or take out the phone and move the pin.
Now I know this can happen from time to time with a GPS watches so it can be just one of those things. But a few holes seemed off when you see the line of what GolfShot assumes is the middle of the green. It was just annoying not having full confidence in the watch app unless I used the phone.
Why I Preferred Hole 19 vs GolfShot
I just feel that Hole 19 is more accurate and gives me more confidence in my yardage.
When I used the GolfShot app for apple watch; I needed to double check the yardage on the app and move the pin to make sure the yardage was accurate.
Whereas with the Hole 19 app for apple watch, I rarely take my phone out of the bag to be honest, unless I want to double check a yardage to a tight pin with a wedge in my hand.
I need to do more research on some of the other golf apps for Apple watch. Maybe one of the apps I listed will knock Hole 19 off it’s perch. But not for now.
Apple Watch vs Garmin Golf Watch
I am a huge fan of Garmin Golf Watches, they are high performing, accurate and come with heaps of features, well the higher end ones at least.
The Garmin watch to the Apple watch is the Garmin S60. The S60 will set you back around $500 at the moment (Check S60 Price On Amazon HERE).
I won’t go into too much detail here as I have a full review post on the S60 HERE.
The only key features that make the Garmin S60 (SP) better than the Apple watch for golfing are:
- Course Overview On S60 – You can’t view this on the Apple watch itself but you can via the app on the iPhone.
- Tab yardages – to get yardages to hazards and layups. Again this is available but only via the app on the iPhone
- Drag and drop pins – You can move the pins around the greens on the S60. You can’t do this on the Apple watch, but you can on the App.
These missing features are me being very picky and trying to highlight some key differences when you compare the apple watch vs Garmin S60. These features are available, so are not losing them, you just need to use the app to check them.
I must also add that they are features that I rarely would use. The course overview is something I don’t use on my local course. I can think of maybe 2-3 times a round I would use the map on the iPhone to move a pin for a more accurate yardage with a wedge or tab for a yardage yo a hazard.
Apple Watch vs Garmin – Which Would I Buy?
To be honest, if I own an iPhone and I’m deciding between and Apple watch or Garmin watch, I would be choosing and Apple watch.
It does exactly what I need from a golf perspective. It offers accurate yardages, hazard info, course overview, score counting and key statistics. I love it.
Conclusion: Apple Watch For Golfing
Is the Apple watch good for golfing? Yes, it sure is. To top it off, it’s an Apple watch at the end of the day. A brilliant smartwatch that you immediately get addicted to. When I don’t have my watch with me, I feel lost.
You get hooked on hitting daily goals (steps, calories, etc). I love it for the gym and running and controlling my music. The Apple watch is brilliant and Apple have upped their game with the release of the Series 5.
If you are buying an apple for golf, make sure you buy from the Series 3 upwards as they have GPS capabilities. Without GPS technology, you won’t be able to get yardages.
Should you buy an Apple watch for Golf? I will leave that up to you to make the final call, but I would say yes.
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