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By: MyGolfSpy

Why Apple Watch?

Developed and designed as the perfect partner to the iPhone when it debuted in April 2015, the Apple Watch allows wearers to do pretty much just about everything they can on their phone without having to take it out of their pocket. In fact, you can even leave your phone at home and still utilize certain functions, features and apps.

But we’re here to talk specifically about golf.

With a seemingly endless amount of GPS and shot-tracking apps on the market, including SwingU, 18Birdies, Golfshot, Arccos Caddie, TheGrint, Hole19 and GolfLogix, golfers are more reliant on tech than ever. Apple Watch is more than compatible with a number of trusted golf apps.

Not only can you easily record and view tons of data, distances and metrics on your wrist through your preferred golf app but the Apple Watch Ultra 2 released in September features a titanium case and flat sapphire front crystal with the brand’s brightest display ever, making your watch more rugged and viewable, especially on a sunny day on the golf course.

The brand’s latest model offers 36 hours of battery life with regular use or up to 12 hours running an outdoor workout with GPS so you’ll have plenty of juice for 18 holes—or 36 if you’re feeling up for it.

Wait! There’s more!

Taking things one step further, the high-frequency motion API (application program interface) released in watchOS 10 takes advantage of the latest accelerometer and gyroscope in Apple Watch to detect rapid changes in velocity and acceleration.

Your point is?

Well, the new API empowers developers like Golfshot with tools to create innovative experiences to help users record, view and scrutinize even more data and metrics than ever, all in the name of getting better at golf.

Through Golfshot’s new Swing ID On-Range experience, Apple Watch sensors offer comprehensive analysis of a golfer’s swing from the beginning to the end of the motion, while machine learning tracks key metrics including tempo, rhythm, backswing, transition and wrist path.

“Since we launched Auto Shot Tracking for Apple Watch in 2021, our goal has been to empower our members to get better through real and reliable data,” said Alex Flores, Golfshot Chief Growth Officer. “Getting better at golf takes time and ongoing analysis of your game—we know there are no quick fixes. 

“Now, we’ve taken it to the range with On Range utilizing the existing technology that a lot of our Golfshot members already have: an iPhone and Apple Watch.”

Testing the New API

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine what’s wrong with my golf swing. I am fully aware that I’m very steep on my downswing which causes an annoying amount of side spin on the ball and, thus, the dreaded—and common—slice.

But it wasn’t until I was equipped with an Apple Watch and Golfshot at Chelsea Piers Golf Club in New York City that I could see the minutiae of my swing and the changes needed to make it better. Easier said than done, though.

After logging into the app and toggling specific settings to enable the appropriate Swing ID tracking, I took a few warm-up swings at the driving range. But none of them were recorded. It wasn’t until I started aiming for a target approximately 60 yards away that the Apple Watch and Golfshot came to life. 

Able to view metrics and feedback on my watch (and phone), I analyzed my trends with an instructor who told me I need to close my wrists more prior to impact. Attempting to put his advice into practice, we would then look at my metrics again and again to compare them to my previous swings.

As the first golf GPS app to go to the range with Swing ID On Range, Golfshot gives users like me valuable data and insights including target distances, shot dispersion and swing analysis metrics including tempo, rhythm, hand speed, backswing arc, wrist rotation and impact plane in a blink of an eye after every swing.

Again, as someone who doesn’t go down a golf data rabbit hole, I still felt empowered, having even more data and feedback at my fingertips—well, technically my wrist—that I can leverage to try to work on my game.

Final Thoughts

While my trial with the new Apple Watch features and API was specifically with Golfshot, I fully expect more golf GPS and shot-tracking apps to take advantage of this recently released functionality as the arms race for golf app supremacy rages on.

The good news is that it will ultimately benefit golfers who will have a myriad of apps to choose from. Golf is a game of personalization so it’s fitting that finding the right app depends on each user—though I’d assume many will rely on their Apple Watch as an easy-to-use access point rather than reaching for their phone after each shot.