PING's Golf Workout: Golf-izing Apple Watch's Fitness Tracking

It’s technology like this that makes me want to own an Apple Watch. Golf equipment manufacturer PING has launched the iPING app (free) for the watch that includes the Golf Workout ($5 in-app purchase) that’s engineered to capture and track fitness data, swing tempo and on-course statistics. Believe it or not, golf can be fantastic for your fitness.

Yes, there are some apps already out for the watch and smartphones that kind of do the same thing. In my experience, however, many of them are invasive in that I constantly need to be pushing a button, synchronizing devices, double-checking to make sure my swing is being registered, and other tedious tasks that take away from the natural flow and enjoyment of my golf game.

The PING app promises to eliminate a lot of that by working seamlessly with Apple’s fitness tracking system. This also isn’t PING’s first foray into Apple’s mobile devices: Five years ago, the company debuted a putting-improvement app for the iPhone that’s still popular today: Golfers simply snap a separately-sold iPING Cradle to their putter shaft and the app tells them everything they want to know (and some things they don’t) about their putting stroke.

But it’s the workout element that’s key in this new product. “Our Golf Workout for Apple Watch presents a tremendous benefit for golfers without disturbing the tranquility that so many of them seek through the game,” says David Solheim, vice president of PING. “We’re strong believers that electronic technologies can play a positive role in the future of golf, but they need to be delivered in the most organic and unobtrusive way possible. By utilizing the power of Apple Watch, we have taken an already desirable device and crafted an experience that renders the inherent appeal of golf more accessible and helps golfers improve their game via sensor data.”

In this particular case, PING’s in-house app development team focused on bringing more visibility to golf’s health benefits by using key exercise metrics that were already being gathered from the Apple Watch. Golf Workout records heart rate, step count and calories burned — in both the practice or play modes.

“One of the benefits of Apple Watch is the ability to monitor your fitness activity,” says Solheim. “This has led to the popularity of Apple Watch owners challenging themselves to close their Activity Rings on a daily basis. With (our app), you receive workout credit during your round or while you’re practicing. It’s a great way to bring the fitness element of golf into the general conversation of the many benefits golf has to offer current and future players.”

In practice mode, you can time your backswing and downswing, or measure your tempo. The play mode lets you track fairways hit, greens in regulation, putts per round, and your score.
When PING first debuted the putting cradle, it was an instant hit with amateur golfers and professionals alike. Many of the latter began using it during putting lessons, to show students quantitative data about their putting stroke. It was a real eye opener. And I really believe that technology like the Golf Workout has a place in golf’s future — especially because of the game’s health benefits. Kudos to PING for bringing it to our wrists.

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