Junior Golf: Wearable Technology-Is It Right For Your Daughter?

In this Friday Flop Shot let’s continue our look at wearable technology and see if there is a valid reason for your daughter to be using it. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106-1

With S3, most of the time the word technology was used was with golf club design, golf ball design or with new high-tech fabrics that kept him warmer or cooler or dryer. Just about the only wearable technology was the wristband golf watches. So there wasn’t an overwhelming number of options to choose from.

So here is the beginning of our adventure into wearable tech. Hand-held range finders were everywhere, being the most utilized distance aid by boys and girls alike. We bought S3 a Bushnell Tour V2 which he still uses today. It is distance only so it is tournament compliant. Be aware that models that measure slope and altitude are not compliant. These rangefinders are not wearable technology. S3 wanted the handheld device rather than the wristband/wearable variety.

What really got his attention was a lesson from his swing coach on how heart rate/pulse and breathing/respiration can affect performance. High readings of either 1 are not helpful for playing good golf. We found a relatively inexpensive digital watch that also measured the heart rate. It worked well for a $65.00 price tag. S3 wore it for several months until he got a good idea of what situations elevated his readings. Then he learned some calming techniques. Not really being a watch guy he quit wearing this device and it sat in a drawer. He learned what he wanted and he was done. That ended this adventure in wearable tech.

What does a parent do? Almost everything is more than $100.00 and where is the benefit for your daughter? Depending on your girl’s age and skill level, a quality, legal/rules compliant distance device is 1st on the list. As your budget allows, buy her the style she prefers, wearable or handheld. Wearables may be slightly cheaper with some models on sale around $150.00. Not everyone is comfortable playing golf while wearing a watch, which is basically what this would be. Sometimes the wrist gets bruised. Talk to your daughter about this before you spend any money.

Handheld devices are prevalent in junior golf and college golf. Expect to pay from $200.00-$500.00 for a name brand. The good ones are waterproof, shockproof and offer better target acquisition and some anti-shake/image stabilization features. And they last. S3 has had his for 5 or 6 years and it still works great. The only caveat with handhelds is your daughter must be vigilant about not losing them or leaving them visibly hanging on her bag where they can be easily stolen. Use a Sharpie to put her name or unique identifying marks on her rangefinder. S3’s has somehow disappeared twice and was amazingly found and returned both times because of his identifying marks.

Of the 2 makes of wearable tech shoes coming out, the Under Armour model catches my interest as being more applicable to golfers of different skill levels. The Samsung IOFIT seems like it is a lot more technical and may work better for the more advanced players. And as far as all our pieces of clothing talking to each other, we’re really not there yet.

If it was me Mom and Dad, here’s what I’d do for my girl. Decide on a wrist or handheld distance device, include it in the budget and buy it ASAP, the best quality you can afford. The shoes, in my opinion, are a bit of a luxury item. If you have the extra bucks, the UA shoes might be fun, but not sure how helpful to playing better golf. And the IOFIT shoes would likely work best for those junior golfers who are of advanced skill levels and are seriously pursuing lower scores and perhaps a college scholarship.

See you on #1 tee with some new technology… Sam

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