- Amazing golf experience
- Stableford scoring
- Great fly-by maps
- Performance laggy
- So so expensive
In the era of the smartwatch, pretty much every device can double as a golf watch. With a host of free golf apps on Apple Watch and Wear OS, you can track distances to the pin for nothing more than the original cost of your watch.
But Tag Heuer has decided to do things differently. It’s launched a Golf Edition of its high-end Wear OS smartwatch – complete with its own golf watch features.
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It's taken the Connected Modular 45 smartwatch it launched back in 2017, and given it a more durable design that makes it a better fit when you're out for a round. That's also joined by a dedicated Golf app that among the many features can display 39,000 golf courses from around the world, with the database regularly updated to account for new courses and changes made to existing courses.
Like the first Connected Modular, this is a smartwatch that unsurprisingly comes with a luxury price tag and will set you back a cool if you want one in your life.
We got hands-on initially at Baselworld 2019 and were impressed by the attention to detail that Tag had placed on its proprietary app. But how does it fare on the course? There’s only one way to find out. Here's our full verdict on the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition.
Update: Tag has just launched the new third generation Tag Heuer Connected smartwatch. Read our first impressions.
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition: Design and build
We’re not just going to be re-reviewing the watch here – so if you’re interested in how it fares as a smartwatch, check out our dedicated Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 review.
But as an overview, the Connected Modular 45 boasts a 45mm body, which means it's one of the biggest Wear watches around. There's a 1.39-inch, 400 x 400 resolution AMOLED display wrapped in scratch-resistant sapphire cover glass, and at 13.75mm thick it's still one of the chunkiest as well.
It’s really chunky – and that will put some people off. And as a sports watch we did find it a little cumbersome, but not so much it bothered us during the game. However, tight fitting sleeves may not pass over the watch, which can make it a little showy.
Tag has partnered up with Intel, packing in the chipset maker's Atom processor Z34XX. That's backed up by a pretty standard 512MB of RAM and there's 4GB of storage on board as well.
The Golf Edition comes with an adjustable fabric strap, which attaches with a deployment clasp. It’s a stiff strap, but we didn’t find it that comfortable.
Being a Swiss Made watch you’d always expect some subtle design variations, and the most obvious is that the numbers around the bezel read 1 to 18, rather than simple timekeeping.
And it’s not just a design trick. When you’re playing a round of golf, the on-screen data will highlight these physical details to show you the current hole you’re playing, which is a really nice touch.
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition: Golf features
We’ll freely admit that we weren’t expecting to be blown away by Tag Heuer’s own golf app – but we were wrong.
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What’s available on the Tag Heuer Connnected Modular 45 Golf Edition is a brilliant golf experience that will rival any Apple Watch or Garmin golf watch offering.
To get started you download the Tag Heuer Golf smartphone app for iOS/Android, which is free for anyone to download and use. You then pair that to your Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition, and the smartwatch app, which is pre-installed, will come to life.
When you’re ready to start a round, you can do that on the watch without any interaction with your phone. Just open it up, and it will select nearby courses. Tap, and you're ready to go straight from the wrist.
This is another huge plus that it has over Hole 19, which requires set-up on your phone before the partner smartwatch app kicks in.
By default the GPS is set to work from your phone, but in the settings you can switch this to the watch, which will tax your battery. You’ll only be looking at one round from your watch if you do this.
The display also reverts to a black and white power-saving mode, with reduced detail to make sure it lasts a full round.
It offers 39,000 courses – 99% of the world's total – which is pretty much identical to any golf app out there. But it’s the detail that really impresses. Each course benefits from a 3D render, which shows all hazards and the shape of fairways and greens. There’s no grainy aerial photography, and the presentation of these hole fly-bys is incredible.
It’s translated so well onto the smartwatch app as well. When you’re on a hole you just drag your finger through the hole – exploring from tee to green. There are white lines that intersect every 5 yards or so, and the distance to each line is shown on the side.
The green has three lines, so to get a yardage to front or back you just drag the display, and there's additional ones for the green apron too.
It’s simple – and while perhaps not as glance-able as other setups to get your front, middle, back green yardages, it’s so much easier to find the distance to hazards on the course.
The app doesn’t hold back on features either.
You can quickly initiate distance tracking of your shots via the menu – which measures the straight line distance between your tee and the ball.
There’s scoring too, for you and buddies on your round. And leaderboards/Stableford scores will all be tracked within the app as well.
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition: Watch performance
So what’s holding it back? Well, while the app is pretty hard to fault we did feel that the performance of the Connected Modular 45 let it down slightly.
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We found that some aspects were a little laggy, including switching between holes. The app could also be a little stubborn if tee boxes were close together, switching between them automatically and incorrectly.
Yardages were slower to update than Hole 19 on the Apple Watch, and you should make sure you give it time to settle before selecting a club, or you may find yourself through the back of the green.
These were all minor gripes and hardly anything to ruin the experience – but it shows that Tag Heuer is onto something impressive with its app.
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition: Golf App
Of course, while we’ve been touching on the performance of the smartwatch app, the smartphone app is so much of the experience – and it’s fantastic.
Free for anyone to use, you get the scoring, course mapping and leaderboard options. You can even do shot measuring, all from your smartphone, without the watch getting involved.
If you’re using the Tag smartwatch then your data will automatically be recorded into this app, including scores and any tracked shot distances.
Users can also get the Apple Watch companion app, which is available for an annual subscription.
How we test