If you’re an automatic watch fan, you might have been inclined to wear it anywhere, even to play golf. As someone who owns automatic watches and plays some golf, its something that I’ve done before.
So can you play golf with an automatic watch? You should not wear an automatic watch to play golf because this can cause damage to the automatic movement inside it. In addition to that, wearing a heavy automatic watch is being known to throw off your swing.
In this article, I’m going to share with you what could go wrong with it based on my experiences with my watches. Also, although in general automatic watches are not recommended for sports activities, there are exceptions to this list which you’ll soon find out. Finally, if you really can’t play a game of golf without wearing a watch, I’ve listed some of the best types of watches for golfing that you can wear instead of the typical automatic watches.
Playing Golf (Or Any Other Sports) Could Wreck Havoc On Your Automatic Watch And Its Case
In general, automatic watches are not that robust. It’s made of very delicate mechanical moving parts that can be damaged by sudden and quick movement such as golf swings and other sport.
Most of the components in an automatic watch rotates, which means these components/gears need to be pivoted inside the watch.
Currently, most watchmakers use jewels (originally made out of gemstone but now is usually synthetic minerals) as the pivot as it has very little friction which helps to lengthen the watch’s life and increase accuracy.
So if your automatic watch were to be impacted suddenly, the impact force could cause damage to these jewels as they are the ones that hold the gears in place.
One of the main components that keep time in automatic watch is the balance wheel. This wheel is constantly rotating at a high speed and is the main item that ensures the accuracy of the watch is in check.
Due to this, its jewel is quite big and usually has a shock impact protection mechanism (such as incabloc) to prevent from sudden failure during impact.
Now, there are some watches that were designed with impact resistance in mind. Most diving and sport oriented automatic watches have more robust impact protection design that helps to lessen the damage to a minimum.
This is why I love dive watches – its a bit more expensive but its robust and won’t break just from a few swings of the golf club.
I have a Seiko Sumo & Seiko SKX013 (dive automatic watches) and both have accompanied me to various sport activities such as swimming, jogging, weight training and so on. Heck, even Tiger Woods wear his Rolex Sub to the PGAs.
But I want to highlight that even if these diving watches will be fine for golfing, it does not mean that it will work perfectly afterwards.
In the case of my Seiko Sumo, I found that its accuracy had worsened after using it for 3-4 years of lots of sport activities (read my experience with my Sumo in this article here). So yes, you can wear your diving automatic watches for golf or other sport, but beware that it will have an impact on its accuracy.
Another issue that I want to highlight is the effect to the exterior of the watch. Most automatic watch have beautifully polished stainless steel case & bracelet, and in my experience, this case can be scratched quite easily unless your watch has special coating on it.
You might think that golfing won’t really expose your watch to that danger but when you’re dealing with golf clubs made of steel, how sure can you be that you won’t accidentally scratch your watch? (plus, I’m sure Tiger Woods can easily replaced his Rolexes if its found to be scratched LOL!)
Automatic Watch Is Also Heavy And Can Disrupt Your Golf Swing
If you speak to many amateurs, they will admit that wearing a watch will disrupt your golf swings. The reason for this is because the watch adds some weight which will throw you off your usual swing pattern.
Not to mention that some people wear their watch a bit loose so when they swing, the movement of the watch along their wrist will tend to disrupt their concentration.
That is for a normal watch. An automatic watch is typically heavier than a normal watch due to the many moving mechanical parts inside it which means the effect will be more pronounced.
With that being said, I should also highlight that many pro golfers wear watches while golfing. Now, you might be thinking that if Phil Mickelson wears a watch and plays fantastically, then you should be able to do so right?
The fact is these pro golfers are training every day so much so they have perfected their swing with the weight of the watch strapped on their wrist. They have and will be able to account for the extra weight, and still manage to give a perfect swing.
If you’re just playing for a few hours a week, chances are you won’t be able to replicate the same thing and golfing without wearing your automatic watch will definitely give a more satisfying experience.
What Other Watches Can You Wear To Play Golf?
But if you really need a watch while golfing to keep track of time, then other types of watches can be considered. Below, I’ve listed two of the best types of watches that you can wear to play golf:
1) Diving or Sports Automatic Watch
If you really can’t live without wearing your automatic watch, then I suggest wearing a dive watch for your golf game. Dive watches are made with a higher performance standard than normal automatic watch (such as water resistance, impact resistance, etc.). If its good enough for diving to hundreds of feet below water, then its good enough for a game of golf.
One problem with dive automatic watch is its heavy weight (because its case needs to be sturdy enough to withstand the water pressure) so it will definitely impact your swing. I recommend going for lightweight titanium versions of the watch which is much lighter to be worn.
2) Lightweight Quartz Watch
The other watch that comes to mind is the quartz watch with lightweight case and strap. Quartz watch is different than automatic watch as it uses electronics and quartz crystal to keep time.
As a result, it has way lesser moving parts and is quite robust to sudden movements. In addition, quartz watch is also generally lighter and coupled in a lightweight case made from platic, it can be very light and perfect for golfing.
Another advantage is quartz watch is cheaper than an automatic, so you won’t feel very regretful if you somehow accidentally nicked a bit of the watch!
3) Smartwatch With GPS or Fitness Tracker
The next type of watch is the smartwatch that have become more popular nowadays. Since you’ll be walking a lot, I recommend getting one with fitness tracker or GPS so that you can track the steps or distances that you’ve walked during a game. Some of the more popular ones are Apple watch, Huawei GT watch and Samsung S gear watch.
Smartwatch is actually a great companion for golfing as you can also sync it with your smartphone so that you can be kept updated all the time, even when you don’t have your phone with you.
Just remember to select the sporty variant so that you can get the sport functionality as well as other useful features such as extra battery life and water resistance.
What watch does Phil Mickelson wear? One of the most celebrated golfers of all time, Phil Mickelson is widely known to be Rolex brand ambassador. On the field, he likes to wear Rolex Cellini Danaos, a dress watch.
Supposedly, the lightweight nature of the watch thanks to its manual winding characteristic makes it a comfortable watch for him to be worn while golfing
What watch does Bubba Watson wear? The 40-year old professional golfer is another story altogether. Bubba Watson is known to be a Richard Mille ambassador, and the luxury watch brand even designed a watch specially for him – the RM 38-01 that has manual winding, tourbillon and a g-sensor to detect how heavy his swings are. And just like Phil’s, his watch is a light one as its made of titanium.
So what can you learn from these top golfers? If you want to wear a watch while golfing, make sure it’s not too heavy and comfortable to be used =)