We are all looking for that extra advantage out on the golf course and there has never been more technology available to help us out.

Do you rely on a GPS system to find your yardages or do you prefer to use a laser rangefinder to zap the distance to the pin?

Or maybe you’d rather just look at a yardage book or work it our from the 150 markers?

James Savage and James Tompkinson debate the issue.

JS – I’ve been using a GPS watch for a while now and think it works best for me. Having the yardage to the front, middle and back of the green and noticing what colour the flag is gives me the information I’m after. I’m also quite lazy so having the information I want on my wrist rather than attached to my golf bag is a bonus – I’m also far less likely to lose a watch…

JT – I have to admit that I am a newcomer to using technology on the golf course, but having tried both GPS and laser devices, I think lasers are much better. I find that just having yardages to the green doesn’t often give me the information that I really need on the course, and in many cases can cloud my judgement over shot selection or encourage me to take more risks. I like the fact that you can use a laser on any hole and it will give you the yardage to any point, be it a bunker, water hazard or a point on the green.

JS – Lasers are good for finding the distance to carry a bunker or water hazard. Maybe I need a bit more time to get used to them but I often got different readings when trying to locate the back of the green for example. It may have been due to an unsteady hand. There are also other great features on watches like giving distances to particular points, allowing you to keep score and measuring the distance of your tee shots.
The watch suits me more than a laser because I will always use it”
JT – My biggest issue with the watches is one of simple personal preference. Many of them are quite chunky and I don’t like playing while wearing a large watch. I’m not sure whether it actually interferes with my swing or not, but I just find wearing a GPS watch uncomfortable and slightly irritating. However, I can have my laser attached to the bag and can use it whenever I need to. I don’t particularly want technology on every shot, so I like the idea of being able to use it when I feel I need it rather than having it there all the time

JS – I would definitely go for a more slender watch as some of them are a bit too big. The watch suits me more than a laser because I will always use it, particularly when laying up on a par-5, I can try and leave myself a good number. The watch acts as a constant reminder to focus properly on each shot and then gives me feedback on club selection. If you can afford it (and don’t have a habit of losing things) it’s quite handy to have both.

JT – That’s a good point, I guess it’s never a bad thing to have a constant reminder which makes you focus on the shot. However, I think I do the same using a laser as it means I’m focusing on the bigger picture rather than just the green. Yesterday I played a par-3 and was able to take measurements to the front and back of the green, the pin and the two bunkers either side. I find the laser helps me focus on all aspects of the hole rather than just having a quick glance at a watch. Of course in an ideal world it would be great to have both because they would actually complement each other nicely – but we shouldn’t forget that they aren’t cheap and therefore people need to really think before they make a purchase.



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