A brief history:
Back in 2012 when we started TheGrint, golf wearables didn’t even cross our minds. And now, while it is not yet used by everyone, it is such an important piece of interface for so many of us.
When we built our first Watch interface some 7 years ago, we had one priority: “The ability to get distances to the center, front and back of the green”. And it was such a game changer. But back then the Watch had so many limitations, starting from the fact that it did not have an integrated GPS and that the battery life was pretty bad.
As some of those limitations began to improve, our ability and willingness to add features increased. As you can imagine we didn’t want to build features that the hardware could not support, because; whether it is fair or not, we were getting blamed with bad reviews if something didn’t perform perfectly, not Apple, even if it was hardware related. So ultimately it was our responsibility, so we would release features only when the hardware was ready.
What has changed? (from a hardware standpoint)
Processing power has increased for wearables, and that helps a lot. But most importantly, having independent devices with cellular and GPS signal is the ultimate game changer for Golf Wearables. Combined with extended battery life, especially for premium devices like the Apple Watch Ultra.
Having independent devices is important because our phone is not with us all the time when we are playing golf. Maybe because you left it in the cart and walked to your ball, or maybe because you are in a private golf course that does not allow for cell phone use on the premises. So having an independent Smartwatch that can calculate distances and track scores or shots becomes pretty useful.
- Now that smartwatches have increased capabilities
- And more and more golfers own smartwatches and want to use them on the course
We invested a LOT into our 2023 Smartwatch releases!
We usually spend most of the Winter season working on features that we’ll ultimately deploy for the upcoming season. For 2023 our focus was the Smartwatch for both iOS and Google Wear OS, and I am so proud of what our team was able to pull off. Here is the list of features and improvements that we worked on:
1. Improved interface of our GPS Distances screen (Released in April 2023)
The old design was outdated. We listened and learned from you all, and redesigned the app to be more modern and usable.
2. Added Green Maps to the smartwatch (Released May 2023)
Now in addition to the phone, they are available on your wrist. Raise your arm, tap one button, and sanity check your approach shots, or long lag putts. While I was testing the early versions of this feature from our team, it was mind blowing how useful it is to have green maps on your wrist. Give it a try, and you’ll see what I mean.
3. Improved Interface of our Score Tracker, Scorecard, and Home Page (to be released soon)
The scorecard got a major design overhaul. Only the right info, at the right time, in a modern interface. And the score tracker makes collecting your stats after each hole SUPER easy. When I’m playing golf, I find myself entering my scores from the watch more than the phone. While I’m waiting for my playing partners to finish out, or as we’re on the teebox on the next hole, I spend less than 10 seconds entering my scores and I’ll leave my phone in the cart.
Helpful tip – if you enable “Advanced Tracking” from the phone, the score tracker will prompt you with additional questions like first putt distance and tee club. It’s so simple to add that info in the moment right after the hole, and it makes all of my stats modules WAY more powerful. If you haven’t tried score tracking on the watch, you’ll be blown away.
4. Shot Tracking and Auto-Shot tracker from smartwatch (to be released soon)
Shot tracking exists on the phone. Mark your start location, select your club, hit your shot, drive to the ball, and mark your end location.
We’re now enabling that on the watch to match the phone capability. This is great when you want to track certain shots. Then, if you want to track all your shots and put things more on “auto-pilot”, you’ll love Autotrack. Using the accelerometer and other variables available from the watch, we are releasing Autotrack so that all you have to do is swing, and the watch will prompt you when it recognizes a shot. These enhancements make it significantly easier to get shot by shot analytics, and gives you additional data in your stats pages.
5. Aerial Maps of hole from smartwatch (to be released soon)
Spray your drive far right? Is it cart path only today? Or maybe you just left your phone in the cart… Now you never have to hit a blind shot again with aerial maps on your wrist.
Frequently asked questions
What do you get if you are Free or Paid… and why? As a free Grinter the smartwatch allows you to get GPS distances (independently or from the phone) and have important information like the hole par and yardage, hole stroke index and your current score total.
The PRO member features include Score Tracking and the upcoming features Shot Tracking, Green Maps and Aerial Maps.
NOTE: We did make an important change: The previous version of our smartwatch allowed you to track scores free. However, score tracking from the smartwatch is now a paid feature.
Why do we need to charge? The reason is pretty obvious, we are ultimately a business and to be able to support our team of UX/UI designers and developers we need to make some money.
How do we decide what goes into free and what doesn’t? Every company does it differently, and finding a good balance is pretty tough. Ultimately we want to give you the ability to do all the basic stuff in at least one way. But then any advanced features that give you an advantage or comfort are paid.
For example: Score Tracking can be done free from the App, but if you want the comfort of doing it from your watch then it is a paid feature. Same as Shot Tracking.
Why not have the ability to add multiple scores from the smartwatch? Well the answer is, we developed it and tried it, but frankly it was too time consuming and cumbersome. So until we find a good solution, we would rather keep that from the phone only.
In my opinion, the smartwatch features that we are releasing are a game changer and will make us the best smartwatch app on the market. I find myself using it more and more, and I can’t wait until all of you get a hold of all these new features.