The Microsoft Band may not be the most versatile, ergonomic, or cheapest fitness tracker on the block, but Microsoft continues to make compelling headway on its software side. The newest addition to hit the wearable? Golf tracking. Thanks to a partnership with TaylorMade, the Microsoft Band and Microsoft’s back-end health service, Microsoft Health, are gaining a new mode that’ll record your shots, keep track of your score, and calculate your calorie burn completely autonomously.
Automatic golf tracking is thanks to a little algorithmic magic. Enhancements Microsoft’s made to the Band’s sensors make it accurate enough to differentiate between a practice shot and actual swing, the company says. That improved sensitivity, in tandem with GPS positioning, lets the band make unassisted additions to a virtual scorecard.
The golf tracker will also show the distance to the front, middle, and back of the current hole’s green. If you have TaylorMade’s myRoundPro app installed, you’ll be able to view each of your shots plotted on a map, of the course. And should you eschew the club cart in favor of more physical mode of transportation, the Band will record the usual menagerie of activity stats by hole as you play, including steps, calorie burn, and heart rate.
That’s not the only golf-related feature the Microsoft Band’s gaining. At the conclusion of play, you’ll get a post-game analysis with your score, longest drive, number of pars or better per round, and pace. Should you feel a little rusty, the update will come with guided workouts that Microsoft says will help loosen up your golf stance.
Golf-tracking apps are nothing new, but Microsoft notes that most of them require a lot of fiddling to get right. “This year, more than 80 million golfers will spend their summer on the course, chasing birdies and hoping to perfect that fade,” a spokesperson writes. “There’s a lot of thought that goes into the game of golf […] but, as anyone who steps onto the course with a club knows, it’s all about being able to focus on the game.”
Microsoft’s packing a few non-golf improvements into the update, too. The Microsoft Band and Health will now show guided workout and biking performance summaries, and you’ll be able to compare workouts over time to identify trends.
The updates are available for free to Band users in the U.S. and U.K. starting today.
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