Our main problem with the original Golfer 2 was the price hike for the shot tracking features, which we found intrusive, inaccurate and unwanted – yet priced at a premium. The new Golfer 2 SE perseveres with the automatic shot detection, but at a more wallet-friendly $165. It's not cheap, but comes in alongside the Garmin Approach X40 and Approach S20.
But does it make a better fist of things? We've taken it out on the course to see whether it can register a birdie or whether it's back-to-back blobs for TomTom.
TomTom Golfer 2 SE: Design and features
Like most of TomTom's offerings now, the Golfer 2 SE is built into the familiar TomTom Spark case. It's a decent, comfortable design with a monochrome screen and a four-way control button underneath. There's no touchscreen here, but that's fine, and makes it easy to control if you're wearing a golf glove or playing in the rain.
The watch comes out of its strap to charge via a proprietary connection, which is now common across TomTom devices. It's pretty dull to look at, but TomTom adds some colour accents to the strap that offer a sporty look.
One of the big downsides to the Golfer 2 SE is battery life. After an average round we saw the battery at around 50% – making it dicey that it would last two rounds. While few of us have the pleasure of playing two rounds in a day, thus making it a minor issue, it compares poorly with the current crop of golf watches.
In terms of features, the Golfer 2 SE is pretty packed.
Distances to front, middle and back of the green are the main event, across 40,000 worldwide courses. We tested on a number of different courses, and accuracy was spot on. No problems there.
Second is distance to hazards, which is accessed by pressing the right-hand direction button – and this was also a great experience. Not only is the distance to on-course hazards like water, bunkers and ditches displayed, they're shown as elements on the fairway, showing when you can play to the side of them, and how far you need to hit in order to clear them. It's one of the better hazard features we've seen – and one of the reasons we loved the original TomTom Golfer.
So when it comes to distances, things are great. And we also loved the way the Golfer 2 SE offers live distance of every shot, using the automatic shot detection. When you take a shot on course and start walking up the fairway, a live counter will appear, showing you how far that ball went. On Garmin devices you have to enable the measure mode – on the TomTom it's done automatically, and it's great to get that gratification.
TomTom Golfer 2 SE: Shot tracking
This is the area the Golfer 2 fell down in our original review, but we're going to judge it slightly differently here - the reason being that the Golfer 2 SE charged you £200 for its shot tracking. The Golfer 2 SE is much more reasonably priced, making it possible to ignore the automatic shot detection if needed.
There's another tweak, too. When the original Golfer 2 review went live you couldn't quieten or cancel the buzzes and beeps that blare out when a shot is detected. That's now possible. While you can't turn shot detection off, you can safely ignore it.
So what's all the fuss about?
Well, when you're out on a round, the Golfer 2 SE will detect a shot being played from the movement of your arm. It will make a note of the position of that shot, which will be analysed after the round in the Golfer app. Naturally, there are some quirks, and the Golfer 2 SE will sometimes detect shots that haven't happened, or fail to detect a shot. In this instance, a shot can be cancelled from the four-way button, or quickly added by covering the screen.
Sounds great, right? Well, as with the Golfer 2, shot detection is still quite fussy to get right. When we're playing golf, we like to, y'know, play golf, not manage shot detection on our watch. It's kind of a buzz kill to be adding and cancelling shots, and you can drive yourself mad wondering "was that shot detected or not?"
So we left the watch to its own devices – and the results were... okay. The Golfer 2 SE uses manual on-watch scoring (above) to help the shot detection along, and it asks you to input your shots and putts at the end of each hole. One quirk: shots and putts are counted separately e.g. three shots and two putts = five. We've never seen a scoring system like this. Usually it's total shots within that hole, of which you say how many were putts. So we produced a tonne of junk data for our first couple of rounds.
All the data is then transferred to the app – so let's take a look at what you get.
TomTom Golfer 2 SE: The app
So what gets tracked from your round, and more importantly, is it useful? Well, everything is now tracked within the dedicated TomTom Golf app, which is a breath of fresh air.
The app is really clean and easy to use – and completely trumps Garmin's post-round analysis, which is pretty mediocre.
You get a scorecard and for every hole scored, you can jump onto that hole and see all detected shots and how far each shot was. This melds together the shots you input during scoring, with the ones detected by the watch – and it does a decent job of this.
You will then get visuals for your tee shot pattern, greens in regulation, average distance off the tee for each par of hole, average putts per hole.
And it's actually fairly useful. When the original Golfer 2 came out, there were so many false positives recorded all of this information was useless. But the enhancements and improvements make for some decent post-round analysis. Couple that with the live distances for each shot on course, which is a benefit directly attributable to the auto-shot detection, and TomTom has won us round.
Now, it's not all rosy. The shot detection does still have the power to frustrate those who really want accurate tracking of every shot. And the data isn't much more useful than we get from our Hole 19 app, which works by quickly noting the shots, putts, direction of tee shot and any penalties. But it's useful. And best of all, you're not paying a premium for the privilege.
- Accurate distances, clear hazards
- Good golfer app
- Distance of every shot shown live
- False positives and missed shots
- Buzzes can be irritating
- Peculiar scoring input