When the USGA invited scores of golf writers to play the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links in advance of the 119th U.S. Open, TAG Heuer offered me a doubly unfair advantage. With its new TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition, I could check accurate ranges to every flagstick on the course—while looking more sophisticated than the average golfer doing so.
I sported the Connected Golf Edition at the preview round and used to calculate everything from the layout of hazards to the distance to the pin. On a course as demanding as Pebble Beach (especially when it’s set up for an Open), the accuracy of those measurements was essential. This course still possesses the smallest greens in the game, and the TAG Heuer gave me that extra chance to play proper target golf.
That total package of brains and beauty is what Matthieu Soudan, product manager of TAG Heuer Connected, set out to create; the watch debuted at the most recent Baselworld. While there are scores of golf watches on the market, TAG Heuer’s offering needed to catch the eye and serve as a top-shelf timepiece that could be useful on the course and worn proudly in the clubhouse after the round.
“We know how to make a watch,” Soudan says. “The entire challenge for us was avoiding the thinking that this is ‘just a golf watch.’ You take off such a watch and put it back in your golf bag when the round is over. You want to continue wearing this piece. Our watch is the best in class for both looks and functionality.”
The device works with a free, dedicated smartphone app (an annual fee of $39.99 will be charged to use the app on Apple watches) and communicates distance to the green, along with detailed 3D imagery that analyzes the course, reads the landscape and alerts the wearer to all bunkers, water, second cut rough and beyond.
“We made sure that we also installed the most advanced GPS and imagery technology as possible into it to separate us from the average golf watch,” Soudan says.
But for all its bells and whistles, Connected Golf’s most impressive feature has to be its screen. While Pebble Beach surrendered to the clouds and fog of Monterey Bay for the back nine, the round kicked off under the brightest sunshine—what pilots call “severe clear.” The crisp contrast and sharp, well-designed graphics made the watch’s functions perfectly visible, even in the rare peninsula glare.
The indomitable TAG Heuer materials and construction always make for a solid watch of weight and substance. When you add in the extra visual and GPS functionality, this Connected Golf offering adds some noticeable mass to the wrist. The watch isn’t too bulky, and its presence doesn’t interfere with play. Still, the sensation of extra heaviness is noticeable. Since the golf swing is all about comfort and confidence, the player may wish to take TAG Heuer to the practice range before playing to ease into the change in weight and balance.
As any round concludes, the player can record his or her score in a variety of forms, keeping statistics on personal performance and improvement.
At the end of my media round, Pebble Beach proved worthy of the pros heading its way and superior to my mid-handicap game. However, I had no excuses as TAG’s tech filled me in on every possible course detail. If only my shots were as accurate, I’d tell a different story.