Santa Claus, aka the lovely Joanna, was very kind to me this year, with a number of golfing gifts coming my way, the most exciting of those being a Garmin S2 GPS watch in black with fetching green highlights. Plus a spare wrist strap in shocking green if I feel brave enough. So when Boxing Day came around it seemed only sensible to venture on to the course and try it out.
The front nine at Chilworth was pretty soggy after much rain in recent days and nights but perfectly playable, and the Boxing Day weather was clear and bright with not much in the way of a breeze. Setting up the watch at the start of the round was swift and simple, with the requisite satellites being quickly found, and off we went. The watch plots its way round the course very effectively, recognising the next hole as you move on to it, and providing yardages to the green with no noticeable lag at all. There are the usual front, centre and back of the green readings, plus a facility which will give you distances to layup points at 50 yard intervals and to doglegs. It really is a lot more convenient to glance at your wrist rather than fish your mobile phone out and fiddle around with that to get a yardage. I really did think it a better way of doing things.
In addition, you can keep your scores as you go, which I did, finding it useful if basic (Swing by Swing on my mobile allows you to record more detail, eg putts, penalties, bunkers, direction of tee shots). I suspect I might use the mobile app for scoring. Settings I didn’t use are measurement of an individual shot and the odometer, but both could be helpful. All in all, I was very pleased with my new toy and look forward to using it regularly around Chilworth and as many of the 30,000 plus courses that come preloaded and are free to update as I find the time and opportunity to play on.