Many enthusiasts love the concept of a purpose-built sports watch, although it’s undeniable that smartwatches have become the go-to choice for performance-oriented applications, as the data and analysis they provide far surpass what is capable with any conventional wristwatch. While the Apple Watch is used by millions of people all around the world as an everyday fitness tracker and connected device, its functionality can also be significantly expanded through an assortment of third-party applications that tap into its network of sensors, and Apple Watch owners now have the ability to turn their devices into advanced golfing companions, thanks to a suite of golf-focused tools from the app developer Golfshot.

Rather than being intended for one specific sport or environment, the Apple Watch has always been a bit of a “jack of all trades” smartwatch that is rather competent at performing a wide variety of different functions, while easily integrating into a person’s everyday life. When the Apple Watch Ultra first appeared in 2022 with a titanium case and the ability to function as a proper dive computer, people started to realize that the Apple Watch wasn’t just a trendy and convenient consumer electronic, but rather that when paired with a more rugged exterior, its numerous on-board sensors and advanced processing power made it the ideal blank canvas for a wide variety of different sports watches. 

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Both the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Ultra naturally include sensors such as an accelerometer and gyroscope, and the new high-frequency motion API released as part of watchOS 10 takes advantage of these sensors to detect rapid changes in velocity, acceleration, and direction. The Golfshot app offers a new Swing ID On-Range experience, which uses the updated high-frequency motion API to detect the precise moment the club strikes the ball. This allows for comprehensive swing analysis from the beginning to the end of the motion, and it enables the Apple Watch to track key swing metrics such as tempo, rhythm, backswing, transition, and wrist path.

To further assist users on the golf course, the Golfshot Apple Watch app also offers GPS distances, scoring, Auto Shot Tracking, swing analysis, and Auto Strokes Gained, all of these functions being available directly on the Apple Watch device itself. Using the app, golfers can track their shots and see real-time distances to the green, along with hazards and targets for more than 46,000 courses around the world. Additionally, data collected on the owner’s Apple Watch will be automatically collected and transferred to their iPhone to unlock more in-depth stats and analysis. 

While Golfshot’s new Swing ID On-Range experience is the latest advancement in golf-oriented Apple Watch applications, Golfshot is just one of many third-party developers that operate within this continuously growing space. For example, Arccos is the official game tracker of the PGA Tour, while apps like GolfLogix, TheGrint, Hole19, and 18Birdies Golf GPS Tracker all enable Apple Watch owners to see hole layouts, track scores and distances, view maps, and get club recommendations. Additionally, it’s important to remember that all of this is just related to the sport of golf, and in the same way that numerous companies are creating golf-related apps, there are also countless others writing software to transform the Apple Watch into other types of sports watches.

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During the glory days of mechanical sports watches, companies would take existing movements and then create new dials, bezels, hands, and cases to produce timepieces that offered some type of unique purpose-built functionality. In today’s world of digital screens and wireless connectivity, the technology behind sports watches has exponentially evolved, although there are still companies that take the fundamental concept of a watch and adapt it to perform sport-specific functions. With that in mind, rather than using an existing movement and manufacturing a new dial or bezel to provide the watch with its novel functionality, today’s brands are creating apps for the Apple Watch that utilize its network of high-tech sensors to transform the device into a purpose-built sports watch with the advanced capabilities of a wrist-mounted computer.

Golf is one of the few sports where the data collected from a wristwatch has the potential to offer a significant amount of insight into a player’s performance, and the sensors that reside inside every Apple Watch make them ideally suited for tracking the metrics of a golf swing. At the time of writing, the Golfshot app is available for the Apple Watch Series 8 and later, along with both versions of the Apple Watch Ultra. Additionally, while the Golfshot app itself is completely free, you will need a Golfshot Pro subscription to truly take advantage of its advanced features for the Apple Watch, and while an annual subscription to Golfshot Pro costs $69.99/year, customers who are interested in trying out the app’s expanded features can get a feel for the experience with a seven-day free trial. All things considered, for the avid golfer who already owns an Apple Watch and wears it for its health and fitness tracking capabilities, an annual subscription to Golfshot Pro might be worth considering, as it promises quite a lot of functionality for less than the price of a premium box of golf balls. For more information on the Apple Watch, please visit the the brand’s website.

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