I freely admit to being a golfing contradiction. Generally a minimalist and yet I go through iron sets faster than changing socks. Love single length and yet don’t have them in the bag. A huge fan of traditional and yet also very keen on tech. I have given up trying to justify all this even to myself and prefer to embrace the duality. I love simple but can’t resist a gadget so here are some of the coolest golf gadgets out there.
Get a Rangefinder
Without a doubt, rangefinders are cool. Even the most basic models are a lot of fun. There is something deeply satisfying about zapping the distance to all sorts of objects, from the basic (distance to the flag) to the lip of a bunker or the tree on the corner of a dogleg. I enjoy playing quite a lot by eye and just guessing distances, but generally when score is on the line, I will get use my rangefinder to get the distance.
A word of warning here. There are some deeply unimpressive models around. Without naming names, I have tried a couple of cheaper models that were horribly frustrating, one of which I kept for a week adjust sent back. It isn’t just price-related though because you can get something basic that does a really good job. In fact, if you compare basic and top of the range, they both generally give you the same information. Lower-end models can be frustrating because sometimes they are hard to actually focus on the object you want, so if you can try before you buy (maybe borrowing from friend) this is well worthwhile.
Some of the new top end models are extremely cool and will give you a range of stats, not just something as simple as slope-adjusted distance for example. You can get distance for sure, but also a screen showing the layout of the hole. You can even track shot distance and generate stats for the different clubs in the bag. It basically comes down to having a golf computer doing the round with you.
Personally, this would be too much for me, but I can certainly see the fun in using this sort of set up now and again. On the downside, I can only imagine how long rounds might become if everyone in the four ball is using this to its full capacity!
If technology isn’t really your thing but you want something out of the ordinary in your bag, what about an adjustable golf club? There have been a few different versions of this over the years, and the most famous is probably the Divnick. The idea is quite simple to explain, but a little bit more difficult to imagine. This video from Rick Shiels should make it easier to understand.
I haven’t tried this myself (although I do like a bit of one club minimalist golf) There is no doubt that turning up on the first tee and pulling an adjustable club from a mini-bag attached to your belt would certainly turn a few heads!
Aside from (possibly) looking cool, this would actually be a great option for anyone who travels and wants to play a few holes. Of course, you can always hire a set, but that might be an expense you want to avoid or perhaps you just want to hit a few balls on the range without borrowing a full set.
Perfect Practice-the Putt Out and the Simulator
Of course, cool golf gadgets aren’t just for the course and the next couple are options that make practice fun and productive. The first is the putt out. This is actually something I dismissed as a complete gimmick the first time I saw it. It looked more like something off a golf channel ad than a serious piece of kit. I am happy to admit that I was wrong. This is one of those things that is so simple that it is hard to believe nobody has thought of it before.
It is basically a putting target. It consists of a small slope with a hole slightly smaller than the ball. In order to get the ball to roll up the slope and stay in the hole, both pace and direction have to be perfect. This is so much better than your basic putting cup or target. It is also extremely addictive and one of the best ways to practice putting that I know.
For the other cool practice solution, we are going to need some tech. In fact, the more tech, the better! Probably the coolest home golf set up you can actually have is a golf simulator. Of course, this can be fairly simple with little more than a screen and simple launch monitor. However, if you want to up the ante a bit, creating a home golf studio is a dream for many of us. Setting up something like a trackman with a high resolution screen and a relatively fast computer is as close to golf as you can get without going to the course.
In fact, in some ways it is even better. You can play those courses that you will never play in real life. You can choose everything from weather conditions to green speed. And there isn’t any danger of losing a small fortune in balls as you try Bethpage Black or Le Golf National from the back tees!
Golf Buggies and Golf Scooters
In many areas of the world, golf buggies are the norm. In fact, you often aren’t even allowed to walk the course. As crazy as this seems to me, it also means that you can find a host of motorised options for getting around the course. The standard golf buggy is the norm, but there are also a load of “pimped up” buggies that cost more than most cars! I suppose if you live on a golf resort and take the buggy from your house straight to the course, you may as well put your hard-earned into the best buggy money can buy rather than a car that you aren’t using.
For me though, the cooler option is something like a golf scooter, skateboard or motorbike. And yes, these are all real things! For example, you might be dying to release that inner ‘easy rider’. What about getting a fat tired golf bike? You might want to forego the leathers and beard (tattoos are optional) but to me at least, cruising round the course on something that looks like a golf buggy/Harley hybrid sounds like a lot of fun.
Another option that would certainly turn heads is the golfing equivalent of a skateboard. I am not a skateboarder at heart and to be completely honest, I have a terrible sense of balance, but I have been looking at the Golfboard recently and I think this would be great. The potential downside of falling off in front of the clubhouse would be more than offset by the fun of slaloming across fairways (well out of site of the bar, obviously!)
Making Golf Fun with the Coolest Golf Gadgets
More than any other sport, golf has an image of being an old man’s game. Fun and cool aren’t the first words most people think off when you say golf (although they might be the last!) I am not on a personal crusade to change this, but there are plenty of ways to make golf a little more stylish. Whether it is putting some bright colours in play with your bag or clothes or just injecting something different by using technology to its fullest, there is no reason why we shouldn’t look for a gadget or two to make golf a little cooler.