TAG Heuer’s Connected Smartwatch Is The Golf Gadget You Can Wear All Day
Golf, as it turns out, requires a lot more equipment than a set of clubs and a luxury convertible. TAG Heuer recently invited me to the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course in Orlando, Florida in the hopes that I would say nice things about the new TAG Heuer Connected 45 Modular Golf Edition watch and TAG Heuer Golf mobile app. I was chosen to attend not for my golf prowess or my brilliant writing ability, but because I’m the only Petrolicious contributor who plays golf on a regular basis—with a 12.8 handicap, if anyone’s asking.
I carry a lot of stuff around—I currently use a combination of a laser rangefinder and a handheld GPS monitor, as well as a GPS wristwatch. This latter gadget has a small numeric display (about 25mm) and only indicates yardages to the green. It shows the center, front, and back distance to the green, but does not show the hazard and the carry.
Yet I found that the Golf Edition was the best combination of my handheld monitor and GPS wristwatch. With a large 45mm color display (41mm for women’s sizes) it shows the course, the fairway and the greens, and the approach necessary to avoid water hazards.
We started the day at the Lake Buena Vista golf course. It may be owned by Disney, but this is no Mickey Mouse golf course: Golf Digest rated it a 4.5 out of 5 stars in difficulty. Disney characters occasionally pop up in the signage, but there are plenty of water features to sink your ball, and a sand bunker in the shape of Mickey Mouse. I like wearing bright clothing while golfing—and since the corporate colors of TAG Heuer are green and red, I patronized them a bit with a bright green shirt and red shorts. The fine folks at TAG Heuer had a great laugh. I won the longest drive of the day and the contest for the longest putt, but there wasn’t a best-dressed award, they said—otherwise, I clearly would have won, right?
The TAG Heuer smart watch starts up quickly, and was able to locate the course just as easily (one of 39,000 that are included in the app, representing 99% of courses around the world). Eight hours of battery life while golfing should cover even the most enduring of sessions, and 24 hours of normal use between charges is plenty. The controls are quite intuitive, and even in direct sun, the screen image is large and bright—they aren’t saving time by making it impossible to read.
At first I had doubts on the size of a 45.4mm diameter watch. My larger sport watches—like, say, Panerai and Audemars Piguet—max out at 44mm, and that is on the edge of wearability. Surprisingly, this larger watch sits well on my wrist and does not feel intrusive at all; it is light enough not to hamper my swing.
The case of the TAG Heuer made of Grade 5 Titanium, substantially lighter than the stainless steel of your typical sport watch. What’s more, the material is significantly more scratch-resistant and less susceptible to transferring heat or cold to your wrist.
According to Matthieu Soudan, product manager for TAG Heuer Connected Technology, it was designed to be a watch before a golf tool, befitting TAG Heuer as a timepiece manufacture first and foremost. Soudan spearheaded the TAG Heuer Golf project and created the technology for the smartwatch and the TAG Heuer Golf mobile app, which is designed for both iOS and Android systems.
And it really is the best one I’ve used to date. It shows the green, distance, and all the other information you would typically want in a golf app, but the graphic, details and information is like no other I’ve seen. The touchscreen display allows you to scroll and pinch the screen to move the image or enlarge the course; if you are on the wrong hole, a quick swipe of left or right fixes that in a second. It also measures the distance of your drive or any other clubs, and there is a function to keep score and the numbers of putts, which you can review after the round. The app works well by itself, but the integration with the watch is the best bit.
I enjoyed playing with the Connected 45 Modular Golf Edition so much that after my Lake Buena Vista outing, I ordered one myself. The watch retails at $1,850; for that price, I managed to replace the three items I usually carry to the course. Goodbye laser rangefinder, goodbye GPS monitor, and my old GPS watch. I love gadgets, but downsizing is in these days.
I asked the people at TAG Heuer if the watch would shave five strokes off my game with consistent use. They politely informed me that “anything was possible.”