There are tech-savvy dads who can seamlessly magvyer all their home's various wires and cables to create a connected home that would make any roadie proud. Others, meanwhile, may want absolutely nothing to do with the latest "smart", digital advancements in their domain.
The same goes for golf. Some dads prefer a quiet, analog experience. Others are into the latest and greatest gadgets. We're into a new era of tech in golf, and some of the new insights that consumer wearables provide and club sensors can be truly illuminating and provide the key to lower scores.
If dad watches a lot of pro golf, he may be curious what his "ball speed" or "Strokes gained" averages are. Maybe it's time to add some data and tech to his golf game for Father's Day, birthday or upcoming holiday. Here are a few ways to get started:
A premium golf app
There is an arms race when it comes to golf apps, both wearable and on your smartphone. Most have freemium versions but when you consider all the bells and whistles that come with a $29-50 yearly upgrade, it may be worth it.
The Grint premium is my go-to at the moment and comes with an official World Handicap, GPS Apple Watch app, and you can travel and compete with along with a host of analytics for your golf game. The social function is also a neat perk. You can receive a push notification if your dad tees off and is using The Grint scorecard and you can follow along and comment on the round. (Full review of Apple Watch golf apps)
Automatic game tracking
Want to gift dad some Grade-A insights into his golf game? Get him a hassle-free club-sensor package. A leader in the club-sensor and game tracking world is Arccos. Attach 14 club sensors to each club and boot up the round at the first tee on your smartphone. The sensors will track every shot including putts. The insights from the Arccos Caddie are wide-ranging and will show you your average distances with each club, but also what you need to work on in your game, showing you where you're gaining and losing shots against the field in each round.
The AI-powered Arccos Caddie is included for one year with the sensors and then you must renew the subscription ($99) each year after that, so if you see that dad is finding the data useful, you can just the subscription every Father's Day henceforth. (MSRP: $179.99).
A Mobile launch monitorDemo of Rapsodo MLM
Has dad mentioned his range sessions are a little aimless? Maybe it's time to for a launch monitor. You don't need the five-figure investment of a pro-grade Trackman to chart every swing on the range these days.
The mobile-launch-monitor space is growing as tech improves and there are a few different ways you can get swing data. Rapsodo (which dropped the price of their MLM to $425 until June 24) has a unit that attaches to your phone and can take video of each swing. It will also audibility announce launch angle and distance after each shot. You can see literally every shot hit afterwards in the app with video and a chart of every shot. (See full review).
For a device that isn't reliant on a smartphone, the Flightscope Mevo Plus (which dropped $50 off their $500 for Father's Day) provides clubhead speed, ball speed, launch angle, spin rate and carry, plus flight time and peak height.
Should you go with a rangefinder or GPS watch? Rangefinders are more accurate for getting distance to the pin, while GPS watches give front-middle-back yardages quicker and many come with a suite of easy scoring functions and activity tracking. You can spend anywhere from about $150 to $600 on a great GPS watch, depending on all the functionality you want, such as advanced scoring that charts putts and fairways. The latest from Garmin, the Approach s62, comes with a shot tracking functionality and unlike many other apps that use Apple or Android, it doesn't require a phone to start up the round.
If you play golf with your dad and you approve of his choice of tunes, get him a Bushnell Wingman (MSRP: $149.99). Not only does it have premium sound quality but it can also tell your yardages on the course.John DeCastro of Bushnell Golf talks new rangefinder technology, music capabilities
Get a ball fitting
Is dad playing the right kind of golf ball for his game? If you're not so sure, maybe it's worth getting him ball fit. You can do it now at a local golf shop or PGA Tour Superstore (anywhere that has hitting bays with a Trackman or similar monitor. If dad already has some swing numbers from another personal launch monitor or recent lesson, you can input those data into websites like Bridgestone to find out what type of ball is best.