50 Words or Less
The TomTom Golfer GPS watch does the GPS basics well but has a ways to go with additional features.
Finding the right distance device in golf might be the most difficult task to accomplish when buying equipment. Are you a laser or GPS guy? What features do you want and/or need? The fact of the matter is that everyone will have different preferences, but everyone is looking for a way to get accurate information quickly so they can hit an educated golf shot. No stranger to the GPS game, TomTom has introduced the TomTom Golfer GPS watch to help golfers quickly get their yardages while also including a handful of other features to enhance your golf experience.
Setup & Ease of Use
Setting up the TomTom Golfer GPS watch is fairly easy to do. Essentially, you hook the watch up to your computer and follow the prompts to go through the setup and get your watch properly registered and updated. You can find pictures of each of the steps in the process here.
In terms of ease of use right out of the box, the TomTom Golfer GPS watch is not 100% intuitive and the included instruction book isn’t all that helpful. I ultimately found the best way to learn what options were available was by pushing the button all different directions from the different screens. Once you do a little online research and gain some familiarity with the TomTom Golfer, it’s easy enough to use. The most important thing is making sure you are familiar with where each screen is located and how to use or read them, otherwise you’ll be that guy wasting time fidgeting with his fancy golf gadget rather than keeping the play moving.
Accuracy & Performance
For the general distances like front, middle, and back of green, the TomTom Golfer GPS watch is dead on accurate. The technology behind GPS has gotten extremely strong and reliable over the past decade so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a GPS industry leader like TomTom can deliver accurate distances quickly. My favorite feature on the TomTom Golfer is the screen that shows you layup distances. Rather than calculate how far you have to hit a ball to land on a layup distance, the TomTom Golfer has a screen that shows you how far you have to hit the ball to layup at three different distances. This proved the most valuable to me during my rounds.
As far as “Performance,” I would say the TomTom Golfer is ok. It does the basics well, but there are a lot of added features and screens that can make the watch somewhat cumbersome to use (though I do really like the one-button control). Also, there are a couple of features on the watch that sometimes take a few tries to connect/load, aren’t automatic, or are just plain difficult. A couple of times I arrived at the course and went to load up the course I was playing and it wouldn’t load any courses. I had to retry up to four times and it’s taken a total of fifteen minutes and one full hole until the course would load. TomTom also says the watch is good at automatically detecting when you’ve arrived at the tee of the next hole, but more often than not I had to manually navigate to the next hole. Also, TomTom offers a feature where you can sync the watch to your smart phone via Bluetooth. There’s decent potential here for different functionality, but for whatever reason, connecting the phone and the watch failed for me, requiring many retries and additional time playing with the watch and my phone.
I’m a touch indifferent on the value of the TomTom Golfer GPS watch. As stated multiple times, the basic distance functionality works great and is very accurate. I think the watch is very comfortable and one of the best looking golf GPS watches on the market. Some of the added features and sketchy reliability mentioned above are what make me question the value. There’s a screen that shows distances for hazards on the hole and general locations, but the actual on-watch screen looks nothing like TomTom shows online (see below) or the sticker that comes on the face of the watch. Rather than put the exact yardages by each hazard like pictured, you get a scale on the side and spots on the screen indicating the type of hazard. You have to roughly estimate the distances based on the scale on the right hand side, and it’s not that useful. Maybe this is a feature that can be adjusted, but I have yet to figure it out which only speaks to the lack of intuitive use I mentioned earlier.
The price (currently $199, down from $249, via TomTom’s website) falls within the middle of the market. I think there are better options for less money, and spending just a little bit extra can put you into a far better watch that will add more value, and most importantly, save you time on the course.
If you like how the TomTom Golfer GPS watch looks, find it comfortable, and you’re only looking for basic distances to the green then this watch is worth checking out. I’m more of a laser guy, but I’ve found that this TomTom watch is a good piece of supplemental technology. When I arrive at my shot and don’t need much more info beyond the distance to the front, center, and back of the green, I’ll just glance at the watch and pick a club. If I need more detail because the pin is in an odd spot, or I need to know how far I have to clear a bunker, then I rely on the accuracy of my laser over this watch. The TomTom Golfer GPS has potential for future models, but TomTom has some work ahead to catch up to bigger players in golf.