These high-tech golf gadgets promise to make your game suck a little less. But do they deliver?
Birdie: Exceeded huge expectations.
Par: Met huge expectations.
Bogey: Fell short of huge expectations.
The Hyper Range Finder
Hype: The 5x-magnification Tour V2 Slope Edition calculates the exact distance to the flag, while an “inclinometer” factors in elevation.
Reality: Testers found it easy and fun to use—when
the pin was in sight. Which isn’t always the case.
The Grip-Perfecting Glove
Hype: Four sensors provide audio feedback on how tightly the club is held, promising to help you cultivate a relaxed grip for accuracy.
Reality: Surprisingly helpful. One tester: “I didn’t think I needed a robot telling me to keep loose. I guess I did.”
The Ball-Finding Glasses
Hype: These blue-tinted shades claim to up the contrast between foliage and your Titleist so you can find it in the woods. Or anywhere else you would like to see more balls.
Reality: Testers complained that “everything white stands out.”
The Know-It-All Caddy
Hype: Preloaded with over 7,500 U.S. course maps, the ¿Garmin Approach G5 GPS gives a bird’s-eye view of each hole. Garmin says it’ll inspire confidence by displaying yardage to any fairway or green.
Reality: It works. But testers lamented a lack of “live cart-girl tracking.”
The Laser Putter
Hype: Three lasers extend from this training tool’s face to target the cup and improve your muscle memory for Terminator-style putting.
Reality: Shockingly, our testers actually found the putter useful for correcting errant backswings.
Rating: Birdie. It’s got freaking lasers!
The Distance-Improving Driver
Hype: The PowerBilt Air Force One boasts an ultrathin face, backed up by a chamber filled with pressurized nitrogen. PowerBilt claims this allows slower swingers to compress its face on impact like the pros for longer drives.
Reality: Our trio of testers? Not a Happy Gilmore among them, but for two of them, dead-on hits were followed by straight, long blasts that couldn’t be matched by our control driver. And one tester called the Air Force One’s sound “immensely satisfying.”