Here’s a watch that is a very hand item especially if you play golf on a regular basis, maybe once or twice a week, twice a month even.
It’s an interesting concept as this is a model that once you switch it ON, you can’t switch it OFF. Sounds a bit weird at first, but as the watch in it’s default display shows the Time, Date and Month (settable as USA or UK format) which is of course what a watch traditionally does and is able to do this for roughly 60 days before a charge is required, it makes for a sort of sense. Especially if you are indeed a golfer, as after any round of golf you would put it on charge anyway, though it manages apparently around 10 hours playing time.
The watch is also a decent looking affair, flat to the wrist, very light at just 52 gms and has a very comfortable and flexible rubber buckle strap with an unusual but effective keeper. Once on the wrist you don’t even know it’s there.
Tom Tom are relatively late into this golf GPS business, though they obviously checked out the “comments” and so on that the competition received before deciding what operational format to use. Whether it would have a touch screen or not was quickly decided as NOT, simply because of many issues with touch screens flagged up on other products. Also the issue of buttons on the watch case. Would they cause problems during the swing (during the wrist cock on the back swing, for all you golfers out there). So no case buttons at all.
Instead they mounted the controls, similar to a flat joystick controller as a curved extension to and below the case, with control part protruding through the strap. Simply pushing with the finger the appropriate control edge, which vibrates as it actions, operates the selected function on the watch display. A rather novel feature is that the entire watch and extension can be popped out of the case frame/strap, allowing it to be used in an optional cradle which you can attach to a golf trolley for example, for those who don’t want a wrist watch as such. Very clever indeed!
I said this was not a touch screen and it’s not, but if you look closely there are 3 tiny dots on the right edge of the glass. This is a small capacitive control, tap it and the back light comes on and after a few seconds goes off again- handy if that round of golf takes a little longer than you thought and the members have lined up their cars/headlamps for you on the last green.
I’ll not go into the golf course icons and course planning here, suffice to say, it should automatically find your course, then show each hole number, it’s par, distance to green center, back or front, indicate a straight or dogleg fairway, show which hole you are playing and progress to the next hole when finished. You can also check other parameters such as layup distances and so on and then there’s a clock, phone Bluetooth, Time, Date, Month and Year adjustments etc. You can also record your scores and upload these to an App on the phone if required.
The instruction booklet is very basic, though I guess once out on the course, it’s fairly intuitive and I note that if it doesn’t progress on to the next hole (sometimes happens owing to the last green and next tee position being too close, and which tee is used and so on), you simply push the UP controller and it goes to the next hole.
However what I really like about it is that if you are a golfer, then this is basically the only watch you need, as it’s truly and basically a watch that’s always ready for golf. So next time you’re going to golf you certainly won’t forget it, because you’re wearing it anyway! And that’s very handy as let’s face it, you always forget something and you’ve just eliminated one of them, which must be an aid to your temper when on the first tee!
From a watch wearer point of view I like this model as it fits the wrist neatly and a little different from the usual ones I see around.
However I do note that the built in Golf Course list is considerably shorter than Garmin or Golf Buddy, which has to be disappointing to many. It’s also not clear whether Courses can be easily added to the database as the Tom Tom web site is hardly intuitive in this respect. So perhaps some improvement yet is required to fully justify it’s rather high price of £199.00. Surely a fundamental requirement has to be the inclusion of the fullest possible Golf Course database and anything less simply favors their competitors. (see Note 2 below)
Let’s hope improvements are in the pipeline – sooner rather than later.
Note 1 – Charging – The supplied Charge cable/unit comprises a specially shaped curved connector unit with integral USB connection plug lead, so for charging has to be connected either to a PC, Laptop or preferably to a USB 3 pin wall socket adapter.
Note 2 – Checking with Tom Tom it appears that courses can be added by request, as can correction of incorrect course data on their Tomtom/support/golfer web site, which sound very positive. Also there is a fully comprehensive set of instructions for the Golf Watch also on their web site available for download, in html or .pdf format, which makes up for their rather poor booklet that comes with the watch.
Note 3 – I’m going to check this watch myself soon on the Golf course and see what it can do for me – though my Wife says if I replaced my old Baffie, Niblic, Brassie and Iron Putter and that old leather pencil bag, it would be a start!