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A timepiece that keeps track of your golf game
Testing this Nautica golf watch was quite easy really. We strapped it on the ScottishGolf wrist and, after several weeks, could happily report that it keeps excellent time.

And then we realised it does quite a lot of other things as well. For example, you can key in the par figures for up to three different courses and then record your scores, including putts. The watch can also calculate results for front nine, back nine and match or totals and you can even put in the handicap index of different players.

After figuring all this out, and with a number of false starts while we tried to work out the instructions (which we downloaded from the website and were also sent by the company - but in both cases they weren't too easy to follow), we marched happily onto the course to show-off our new toy. We told our playing companions that we didn't need scorecards as the secret to golfing efficiency was on our wrist. Unfortunately, on the 5th hole we must have pressed the wrong button because we couldn't get the display we wanted, so it was back to pencil and paper.

After one of those frustrating evenings trying to read minsicule instructions, and remember which of the five buttons was A, B, C, or D (the fifth sets the time - probably in eight languages) we were ready to try again and this time it worked. However, both to make an accurate comparision and to ensure no repeat of the first-round problems, one of our fourball also kept a traditional scorecard. He was considerably quicker than the Nautica, and there's the rub.

There is no doubt that, once you learn its many intricacies, the Nautica golf watch is efficient, adaptable and accurate - but so is a scorecard, and the latter is not only considerably quicker but it doesn't 'beep' every time you record some information. The other problem for us is that the watch is quite bulky, and considering the amount of data it stores this is hardly surprising, but that also meant uncomfortable. This is especially true as it has a rubberised or vulcanised strap (it's extremely water-resistant and might be worn by divers) because such straps tend to grip your wrist, so adjusting the watch once in position can be a bit awkward.

The families of golfers love giving them golf-related gifts but so many of them are naff. Think of all those gadgets you can dangle from your golf bag that are meant to hold tees, spare balls, pitch-mark repairers and so on, and then imagine why you might possibly want one when both your bag and trousers have an adequate supply of pockets. This watch doesn't quite fit into that category - it is, after all, an accurate timepiece and, if you like the bulky macho look, is attractive as well - but it's difficult to see that anyone other than the devoted gadget anorak would continue using it for golf scores. Frankly, life's too short and at £155 it's not exactly cheap.

The watch is available, according to the manufacturer, from 'all leading department stores' [and probably a few garbage ones as well] 'and Nautica stockists'. The company website lists Springcolour Limited, a Northampton based company, as the UK distributor, and Springcolour can be reached on 01372 747734.

©    8 - SEPTEMBER 2003

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