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One of the traditional symbols of success is a shiny, gold watch, and companies that make luxury timepieces have been associated with golf for decades. They sponsor tournaments, sign endorsement deals with players and pay to have large clocks strategically places around elite golf courses and resorts. Tommy Fleetwood recently inked a deal with Tag Hauer, a Swiss timepiece maker, and has been wearing one of the company’s watches on the course this season.
Fleetwood’s watch, however, is unique because it is a Tag Hauer Connected Golf Edition. It’s a smartwatch, and after being paired via Bluetooth to your mobile phone, it can tell you the time and provide you with a host of other modern features. For example, it can provide you with notifications for incoming text messages, emails and sports scores. A built-in heart rate monitor, accelerometer, internal gyroscope and tilt-detection sensors help it count your steps, monitor your heart rate, help you pay for things using Google Pay and even control music on your smartphone.
Tommy Fleetwood at the 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational. (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
The Tag Hauer Connected Golf Edition comes in a large box that contains two bands. One is golf-themed in white with green trim, while the other is all black. On your wrist, it feels more substantive than ordinary golf GPS watches. It is thick, but the bands have a suppleness and the watch itself has a gentle heft on your wrist. The body is made from titanium, the sapphire screen is scratch-resistant, it is water-resistant to 50 meters and the adjustable clasp opens and closes quickly.
Wearers can choose from a variety of watch face styles and quickly change them anytime. Some look like multi-faced chronographs, while others look like classic Tag Hauer watch faces. There are also modular and customizable faces that let you see elements like appointments, weather and daily step count.
Tag Hauer Connected Golfer Edition watch. (Tag Hauer)
The Tag Hauer Connected Golf Edition also acts as a golf GPS watch. It has its own GPS system, so even without your phone, it can display color renderings of holes and green complexes, as well as the distance to greens and hazards on over 39,000 courses worldwide. Its touchscreen makes it easy to see the hole features in greater detail, and the hole diagrams are among the most detailed and easiest to read in the industry.
They should be: The Tag Hauer Connected Golf Edition costs $2,550.
According to Tag Hauer, the Connected Golf Edition’s battery can last up to 25 hours after it is fully charged, but using the GPS feature while you play golf will drain the battery faster. The company claims that a four-and-a-half-hour round of golf will drain about 60 percent of the battery if you use the watch’s GPS, so it will not last for an entire 36-hole day. However, you can link the Connected Golf Edition with your phone and have it use your smartphone’s GPS to save some battery life.
The obvious and fair question to ask is simple: With so many other golf GPS watches out there for about one-tenth the price, who is buying this?
The answer is a golfer who loves timepieces, obviously, but Tag Hauer is marketing the Connected Golf Edition squarely at young, successful people who want the features and conveniences of a modern smartwatch with the cachet of a luxury brand. You can see someone wearing an Apple Watch or Fitbit everywhere, and on the course you see units from Garmin and SkyCaddie. Tag Hauer’s Connected Golf Edition is for people who want a modern timepiece that will look great in a suit, be at home in the gym and still provide help on the golf course.
The Tag Hauer Connected Golf Edition is not for everyone. By definition, luxury items never are. But as more and more people who are tech-savvy gravitate towards golf, the Tag Hauer Connected Golf Edition watch may be one of the first of many golf-themed smartwatches we see come from luxury timepiece makers.