There is a lot of cool gear in the golf equipment world that doesn’t always fit neatly into Most Wanted Tests or Buyer’s Guides. You still want to know how it performs. In our We Tried It series, we put gear to the test and let you know if it works as advertised.
What We Tried
TAG Heuer Connected Watch—Golf Edition
Our Resident Horologist
Dave Wolfe —MyGolfSpy writer and putter fanatic. In addition to being a golf junkie, I’ve been an amateur watch collector since backpacking through Europe with a fistful of Swatch watches in 1985.
High-Tech Luxury Golf
Today, we are going to take a look at the TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition watch. Of course, high-tech watches are already a part of golf. In 2020, watches completely dominated our GPS buyer’s guide. So why we are looking at this watch on its own since most other watches are tested together? Truth be told, it’s the TAG Heuer name.
For those not familiar with the TAG Heuer brand, they have been crafting precision timepieces since 1860. TAG Heuer watches typically come up in the same conversations as Rolex, Omega and other luxury watch brands. While Rolex made an April Fool’s joke about making a smart watch in 2015, TAG Heuer actually made one. Coincidentally, 2015 was also the release year for the first Apple watch. That’s why this watch generates a little more attention than other golf watches. Curiosity mandates we explore a smart watch from a company with a rich history of making high-end timepieces.
And yes, high-end means expensive.
Tag Heuer Connected: It’s a Smart Watch
Before we dive into the golf specifics, let’s take a moment to look into the smart watch features of the TAG Heuer Connected watch. Obviously, this is not an Apple product so your connectivity will be based upon Android and Google. That said, this watch gives you all of the connectivity that you expect from a smart watch. A good smart watch allows you to leave your phone in your pocket or purse. You can check appointments, read texts and emails, run various apps and essentially navigate all of your quick digital needs. I was actually surprised when music controls popped up on the watch when I started my car.
The TAG Heuer Connected watch also has health-monitoring capabilities. It can count your steps and calories expended and also keep track of your pulse over immediate or long-time spans. Though not really part of this “golf watch” review, keep in mind that this watch delivers far more than just golf goodies.
The TAG Heuer Connected watch features ample customization. You should be able to download the apps you need and even alter the face to match your aesthetics. I probably spent an hour just goofing around with the different faces.
The watch also features multiple fitness-driven programs. Obviously, we will be focusing on golf today but the watch is also ready to integrate with your running, walking, cycling and other fitness regimes. Naturally, you should only do one of these things at a time.
Tag Heuer Connected: On the Golf Course
Let’s dive a little deeper into the golf aspect of the watch. Right away, it is obvious that the golf functionality of the TAG Heuer watch is actually a pairing of watch function and app function. The TAG Heuer golf app is pretty robust on its own. It has great 3D maps of each hole for tens of thousands of courses. It can keep your play stats over time, track shots and also keep scores for your foursome during a round. No, it’s not a paradigm-shifting app but it is solid. The 3D rendering is actually pretty impressive, especially since you can zoom in and rotate holes.
By adding the watch, you essentially improve upon the app experience. The play features are basically the same but now you can access them through your wrist rather than your pocket. Let’s dive a little deeper into what it is like playing a round of golf with the TAG Heuer Connected watch.
Ease and Ergonomics
I think we can all agree that the last thing we want to do on the first tee is fight with our tech. Out of the box, it did take a bit of time to get the watch software all updated and synched with my iPhone 12. All in all, though, not too complicated or time consuming. After downloading my usual courses in the app, I was all set to adventure out for some testing.
The TAG Heuer Connected watch is a large timepiece. On one hand, this is fantastic as the screen is large enough to see the hole renderings and one can easily touch the appropriate icons on the screen. On the other hand, the watch does seem a bit bulky, especially if you are not a watch wearer. I had some concerns about its heft but those went away after about half a bucket of balls. It is surprisingly comfortable for a watch of its size.
One of the reasons the watch is so comfortable is the incrementally adjustable band. When the band has links and holes, you run the risk of being between them for fitting. This means the band is either too loose or too tight. With this band, you can slide the clasp fractions of an inch to ensure the correct fit. This is very important for something that will be on your wrist as you swing.
Speaking of bands, let’s take a bit of a detour to talk about what comes in the box with the TAG Heuer Connected watch. First, you get an additional black watch band. With the black band, the watch looks more like a classic TAG Heuer watch. The band is a great value inclusion since the watch will likely be worn more off the course than on.
You also get some golf swag in the box. There are some tees, a sleeve of TAG Heuer-branded Pro V1 balls and a TAG Heuer-branded Scotty Cameron pitch tool. The rational part of my brain knows these are but trinkets but my emotional brain was still giddy seeing them. Naturally, everything you need to charge your watch is also in there. All in all, it felt like I was opening up something significant.
Touch and Turn Control
Most of the operation of the watch is accomplished using the touch screen which is large and accessible. This makes it easy to touch and swipe your way through menus. The buttons on the side will call up various menus with the crown serving as both a home button and a scroll wheel. Pretty standard stuff that worked so well that it was easy to almost immediately stop paying attention to it. Yes, that is a compliment.
TAG Heuer fans will also appreciate how the lower button changes the watch into a stopwatch, a nod to a classic feature on their mechanical watches.
GPS and Shot Tracking
Once you get to the course, open the app on the phone and on the watch, press Start Round, and you are on your way. You have two options for watch display. You can either focus on the green (shown above) or on where your next shot will likely land (shown a few photos below). Turning the crown during play will allow you to move the landing position forward and backward.
You also have two GPS options during play, watch-based or phone-based. I compared both to my trusty Neo Ghost and swapping from phone to watch didn’t change the numbers much. Keep in mind that I was walking during testing so my phone was always close. If you leave your phone in the cart while you take your shot, the numbers may vary a bit.
For shot tracking, you press the upper button when you take the shot and then again when you walk to your ball. At this point, you can also record the club used. I totally did this wrong the first time out, wondering why it always thought I had hit my putter. Once I had the correct button sequence, it was easy to get into a recording rhythm.
Recording your shots while playing is not that exciting but it allows you to analyze your play on the app after the round. You can see the shots you took, color-coded for the score on the hole. If you play the same course all the time, you can really come up with a data-driven plan for how to score better.
Battery longevity is the keystone of all wearable electronics. Consumers demand that a watch do lots of amazing things and possess a strong enough battery to do said things for a long time.
I found the battery life of the TAG Heuer Connected watch to be sufficient for a round of golf, if you are careful. My first round out, the battery was toast on the 15th hole. I had started with a full charge but I had also enabled all of the notifications and was using the watch-based GPS. I basically had the watch set on maximum battery drain. Notifications should be off anyway, unless you like getting a vibration on your wrist during the backswing. All of that non-golf activity and the ever-hungry GPS chewed up the charge.
Draining the battery did allow me to experience the low-battery mode with the watch. When the battery is critically low, the display features a simple watch face (photo above). Even at low charge, TAG Heuer wants you to have a timepiece.
Don’t be tempted to max out the screen brightness during play as it will drain the battery. In full sun, the screen is a bit washed out but it becomes a habit to angle the watch into the shadow of your body while using it. It’s essentially the same skill you already have developed with your phone.
Thankfully, during subsequent rounds, battery life was not an issue once I disabled the notifications and set the GPS to phone-based. Even then, know that this is not a 36-hole watch unless you charge it between rounds. The good news is that it will fully charge in about 90 minutes.
Overall Golf Experience
Can I see myself consistently wearing the TAG Heuer watch when I play golf? Definitely. It was way more comfortable than I expected and easy to use once I dialed in the steps. Unlike other GPS watches, recording scores is super easy as is editing of those scores should you make a mistake. I’ve stopped using more than one watch or app because of interface frustrations. Such is not the case with the TAG Heuer Connected.
Though possibly not correlated with watch wearing, I did shoot my lowest rounds of the year while wearing this watch. Maybe that’s just the planets aligning but I give the watch some credit. Did you notice the colored bars around the dial? Those colors correspond to your scores on the holes. I swear that I was a little more focused because I didn’t want “bad” colors to show up on the watch. Is that silly? Probably, but I did drop strokes from the non-watch rounds so maybe it works.
The Luxury Elephant in the Room
Let’s take a minute to talk about the one big issue with the TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition watch: the price. The MSRP on this watch is $2,550.
No, I didn’t misplace the decimal and, yes, that is expensive. For many of us, that price puts the watch out of our budget. However, some will see the price as quite reasonable for a TAG Heuer product. $2,550 puts the TAG Heuer Connected watch just above the entry-level TAG watches and significantly lower than other TAG watches. My drool watch is this black and rose gold Carrera that comes in at $6,550. The Aston Martin Carrera is flat out gorgeous and $26K. Compared to those prices, $2,550 is very reasonable.
The simple truth is that luxury items such as these watches get purchased by loyal customers. For TAG Heuer, it is a brilliant move to get into smart watches as a way to keep brand-loyal customers and also acquire customers from competitors such as Rolex and Omega who do not offer smart watches. The potential customer can get the full luxury experience by going to one of the TAG Heuer boutiques where all of the connectivity, software updates and such will be taken care of for them. It’s a luxury brand for a reason.
Final Take on the TAG Heuer Connected Golf Watch
I really enjoyed playing with the TAG Heuer Connected golf watch. Not only did it possibly improve my scoring but it also gave me a glimpse into a different socioeconomic lifestyle.
If I had the money, would I buy one? You bet. It’s rad. I’m just not the correct demographic for this type of luxury product. It would be a big (huge) stretch for me to spend $2,550 on a watch. Honestly, if I had the means to buy a TAG Heuer watch, I would buy a mechanical watch that I could later pass down to my son as a family heirloom. It would be a significant addition to the Wolfe estate. Cool as smart watches are, they are no more heirlooms than an iPhone 5.
For the right demographic, the TAG Heuer Connected seems like a slam dunk. The reality is that some people have drawers full of TAG Heuer watches. Without question, the TAG Heuer collector will be stoked that he or she can get a smart watch from the brand that they love and not have to settle for an Apple watch. For those that can afford it, the TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition is a great golf watch.
Find out more about the TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition watch at TAGHeuer.com.