Some golfers just like to play golf, while others are more analytical. And some love a little (or a lot of) music with their swings. Fortunately for those players, there's a whole lot of technology toys available, from the best Bluetooth speakers to distance-measuring devices to swing analyzers.
If you've got a golf techie on your holiday list, here are a few options:
Harmin/Kardon One Bluetooth speaker
As tunes on the golf course are starting to become the norm, you might as well have a good Bluetooth speaker to play your favorite golf playlist. There are a lot of options when it comes to Bluetooth speakers, but I found this Harmin/Kardon One -- which features a unibody aluminum housing with anodizing coating -- on sale right after Thanksgiving at Best Buy for $79.95, which was more than half off its suggested retail price of $220. Since it's made by one of the most respected names in audio, you know the sound is going to be great, and it's easy to pair (2 x 6W stereo Bluetooth streaming) with your phone and fits nicely in the shelves of most golf carts.
Garmin Approach X40 golf band
I sometimes find myself debating whether or not I want to wear a fitness band or a golf watch when I play golf. The Garmin Approach X40 GPS golf band solves that problem, offering both in a compact band that not only gives you yardages to features on the course (there are 40,000 pre-loaded courses) but also your step count, as well as other fitness data. AutoShot round analyzer automatically tracks shots along the fairway and measures distances for post-round analysis on your smartphone. ($249.99)
VC300SE Voice Golf GPS
I didn't think I'd like a GPS device that talks to you during the round, but after trying one, I see the advantages. There's no looking, just listening, like you would to a real caddie -- if you will -- so it doesn't do anything to slow down your round. The lightweight VC300SE Voice Golf GPS, which clips to your visor or belt, provides distance to the green, as well as tracking your round. ($129.99)
Oakley Flak 2 sunglasses
More and more golfers these days seem to be wearing sunglasses during their rounds, especially as they get better at and more adaptive to playing golf. One such model is the Oakley Flak 2 sunglasses, which feature something called High Definition Optics. According to Oakley, they offer truer, more accurate vision versus conventional lenses that magnify images and make objects appear shifted from their true position. ($170)
Bushnell Tour V4 Slope rangefinder
The latest from Bushnell might be the best in the business. The Bushnell Tour V4 Slope rangefinder has five times magnification plus something called Pinseeker with JOLT technology that provides the golfer with short vibrating pulses to give tactile confirmation that the laser has locked onto the flag. The slope feature adjusts for downhill/uphill and can be disabled for tournament play. ($349.95)
Zepp 2 Golf Smart Coach training system
Worn on your golf glove and connecting to your smart phone via Bluetooth and the special Zapp app, you get all kinds of swing and game information and analysis. The latest version offers an on-course mode as well as other technology improvements. For golfers who like to tinker with their swings, this is pure gold, offering 3D swing analysis, plane, tempo, swing speed, the ability to compare swings with the pros and the Smart Coach Training System, which evaluates and recommends training programs. ($149.99)
If you love stats, you'll love the original Arccos Golf, a fully automatic performance tracking system. Using sensors that attach to the butt of your grips and Bluetooth technology to your smartphone, Arccos tracks all your stats, including GPS distances, club distances and averages, as well as putting stats. The best part is you really don't have to do anything since it pretty much happens automatically. Arccos' Tour Analytics platform analyzes those stats to suggest game-changing insights. ($199.99). There's also the new Arccoss 360 ($249), which has even more features, including 50 percent lighter sensors, a new software program that increases accuracy by up to 90 percent, a permanent battery good for two years and handicap breakdowns for driving, approach, chipping, sand and putting.
Garmin TruSwing Golf Analyzer
If you have a Garmin watch, there's a good chance you can pair it with Garmin's TruSwing Analyzer. Instead of attaching to a glove, the TruSwing attaches to the shaft of a club, where data can be transmitted and downloaded to Garmin Approach golf devices, including watches. Metrics include swing tempo, speed, club-path measurements and club angles. You can also upload data to the Garmin Connect online golf community for 3-D swing reviews. ($149.99)
This little gem uses vacuum pressure inside the walls of the cup to preserve temperature at least twice as long, if not longer, than ordinary insulated cups. At $40, it's a little pricey but worth it. The off brands are cheaper and seem to work just as well. I have the "Boss," and used it all summer not only during golf but tennis as well. It was a real lifesaver. Every golfer should have one of these; they're really cool (pun intended). Though you can use them for hot liquids as well.