Golf is a beautiful game. It’s competitive yet leisurely at the same time. It can be just as frustrating playing alone as it is playing against better competition. However, it can also be just as exhilarating in either instance. You don’t need to be a certain height, a certain weight, a certain age, or a certain build to do well. So long as you can swing a stick, you have a shot.
While golf feels more inclusive than many other sports, it remains very challenging. As with any activity, you have to put in the time, make the effort, and really apply yourself if you want to do well. Because of this, there’s a healthy selection of golf gadgets out there aimed at helping players in various areas of their game. They usually make for a more cost-effective way of practicing and making refinements to your game compared to taking private lessons or hiring coaches.
Here are some of our favorite golf gadgets.
SKLZ Gold Flex
This swing trainer is designed to improve strength, form, and tempo by developing your core golf muscles with repeated use. It has a grip designed to encourage the correct hand position for holding clubs, while naturally fighting slices and flattening the swing. Of course, you can do the same things with a real club, but this makes a lot more sense since you’re less likely to destroy things in the house if you end up hitting anything with it (you can still damage stuff, by the way, since there’s a 2.5-pound weighted head on it). It’s also one of the best warm-up tools for golf, as it creates a low-impact stretch that helps your flexibility and range of motion.
This package uses 14 individual sensors, one for every club in your bag, that you screw at the butt end of your club grips. Once paired with the app, all you have to do is select the course you’re playing on and the sensors will begin monitoring every single one of your swings. The system can actually measure how far you hit each shot by simply monitoring your swing, complete with the ability to replay how you hit each shot from your phone. Able to serve as an AI-powered rangefinder, the device can provide precise yardage, taking slope, wind speed, temperature, humidity, and altitude into account, all while providing personalized advice (which club to use, how hard to swing, etc.) before every shot based on records of your previous rounds. That’s right, it’s like having a knowledgeable caddie right next to you the whole time. After games, it can also offer personalized insights that highlight your strengths and weaknesses, while giving suggestions on practice and equipment upgrades.
Obviously, you’ll have to keep your phone nearby to ensure the sensors stay paired to it (and to check feedback from the app, of course). If you want to just focus on playing and review your performance later, they offer a standalone device called Caddie Link that can store your sensor readings, allowing you to leave your phone somewhere else while still tracking every shot.
If you have limited space at home, but want to practice your swing stroke without taking a trip to the range, a basic simulator like this one might be the most ideal device. It comes with a sensor that you can attach to your golf clubs for tracking every stroke, although you can also use the included practice stick if your space is too limited to swing a full-sized golf club comfortably. And no, you don’t need to use a ball with either option. The app can calculate head speed, swing path, tempo, face angle, attack angle, and distance with every swing, all while offering detailed analysis and line graphs for every swing, drive, chip, and put you perform.
It comes with the outfit’s own golf sim app, which gives you free access to seven virtual courses, so you can play full simulated games, do the driving range mode, or do some of the included mini-games. The device is also compatible with both WGT and E6 Connect, if you want access to more courses and more robust golf simulation.
Prefer a more traditional optics-based rangefinder? The Pro XE is arguably the best in the category, ranging flags faster and more precisely than most anything else you can find. It can perform that function up to 500 yards away on any course, all while taking not just slope into account but temperature and barometric pressure, as well, making its readings more trustworthy than ever. Being the outfit’s flagship rangefinder, it bundles all top-end features from their lineup, including the vibrating function when you’ve locked on a flag, 7x magnification, a magnetic mount (you can snap it onto your Batman golf cart), and a waterproof construction.
This is Garmin’s more affordable take on the personal launch monitor, measuring ball speed, club head speed, launch angle, and launch direction every time you tee up. It’s a great addition to any driving practice, allowing you access to detailed measurements of things that happen during every swing, giving you ideas about where you need to adjust to make your swing more consistent each time out. Aside from being a launch monitor, it can also work as a full-fledged golf simulator when paired with a compatible app. As of now, you can use it with the Garmin Golf app’s free Driving Range mode, play full virtual courses on Home Tee Hero (requires $9.99 monthly subscription), hook it up to E6 Connect on PC (which is an even more expensive software), or play golf games with a twist on Awesome Golf (costs $349.99 one-time purchase).
Do note, the R10 is best used outdoors, as that seems to be the optimal setting for its radar-based tech. As such, it’s not ideal for practicing in garages and bedrooms, as the measurements just aren’t as accurate as they are when playing outdoors. If you have the backyard space or, even better, access to a driving range, this can make for a really good practice gadget to help work on your golf game.
While it may look like one of those GPS golf watches, it isn’t. Instead, this wearable training aid looks to fix your swing by prodding you to make adjustments in real time using an “electric trickle.” That’s right, it’s a shock collar for golfers. Using sensors, it’s able to monitor hand speed, transition plane, backswing length, tempo ratio, and more, all of which it uses to determine if your swing is within your desired parameters. If it’s not, it informs you immediately, so you can make changes right in that instant. According to the outfit, it’s designed to minimize bad habits and promote a more consistent swing each time out.
As good as the Approach R10 is, it’s still widely considered as the budget option when it comes to launch monitoring and golf simulation. Basically, it’s what you’re going to get if you can’t afford a more sophisticated unit like the SkyTrak. Instead of radar, it uses a photometric system that takes multiple images of the ball after impact, then extrapolates its measurements based on those. It’s impressively accurate, turning out numbers that rival the precision of much pricier commercial systems used by professional athletes. In direct contrast to Garmin’s device, this one is best for indoor use. That’s because it’s able to take better photos with the controlled lighting of confined spaces, with the sunlight in wide open fields usually interfering with its image captures.
It comes with its own software that, sadly, also has different membership levels. Everyone gets access to the practice mode, where you can see ball flight and data from a single camera angle. If you’re willing to go up the higher membership tiers, you can get access to multiple camera angles, multi-colored shot tracers (based on clubs), ability to adjust ambient conditions (wind, humidity, turf), a shot optimizer mode, skills assessment, mini-games, and a whole lot more. So yeah… golf is an expensive hobby. The device is also compatible with Swing Catalyst, E6 CONNECT, The Golf Club 2019, WGT Golf, Creative Golf, Fitness Golf, ProTee Play, and Golfisimo.