When I first heard that ZeroFriction had developed a GPS device that fits directly onto the back of the glove, I was intrigued. Why has this never been done before by one of the 'bigger' brands? So I was keen to get my hands on one and see whether it could help my game, as well as make the whole pre-shot routine a little easier.
So, when the Distance Pro GPS Glove arrived at Golfalot HQ, we posted an image of it on our social media channels to get an idea of the general golfing public's response, and I think it's fair to say it was a lukewarm reception. Some loved it, but it seemed others were less than convinced. Us golfers aren't always the quickest to embrace change though...
The Zero Friction Distance Pro GPS Glove is a premium quality cabretta leather glove that houses a removable GPS device weighing less than half an ounce and provides instant, accurate yardages to the front, centre and back of the green.
- One Size fits all, thanks to compression-fit technology
- Cabretta leather with spandex fabric
- 35,000 golf courses pre-downloaded on App
- Free Zero Friction App to accompany - which can also be used as a standalone product
- GPS Device waterproof to 10metres
- Device can be transferred to another ZF glove, weighs less than an ounce
- GPS/Bluetooth compatible with IOS and Android.
ZeroFriction Distance Pro GPS Glove Review
Straight out of the sleeve, I thought the glove looked pretty good. In an ideal world, the GPS device would've been as thin as possible so that it sat almost within the Velcro strap of the glove. But this isn't a James Bond film, so instead we have to settle for a pretty tidy looking unit which is like a small pager.
The Universal Fit concept really seemed to make sense in theory, as you want a glove to feel like a second skin anyway so if it stretches to fit your hand then perfect.
Even the packaging, which has its own swinging door containing more information inside, made this look like a real quality piece of golfing tech. This definitely appears to be more than just a gimmicky 'bit of fun' which would find its way into your Christmas present pile, from a distant relative who remembered that you play golf.
I'd never used a 'one-size fits all' glove before, but when I first put it on I found it comfortable and very breathable thanks to the spandex fabric sections, whilst the leather felt soft and lightweight.
We tried the glove on two different people's hands, both different sizes, and it seemed to fit both reasonably well. However I would estimate that this probably falls within the Small to Large sizes, and so if you happen to find yourself outside of that range then you could struggle. I can see why it makes things easier, especially for ZeroFriction in terms of manufacturing, but I think having just two sizes instead would ensure that all golfers are catered for.
Out on the course, the glove itself was almost too soft, to the point that it felt a little bit insubstantial. The leather was thin and smooth to the point that it felt slippy. Although it wasn't raining on the day I was out testing, there was a little early-morning dew around and so just picking up the ball/tee and touching a wet club head was enough to have me worried.
If there's any rain around at all I would be hesitant to use the glove and the fabric section could also present a potential issue too - no one wants the hand-equivalent of cold wet socks! Standing over the driver and a couple of other shots which I wanted to hit a little harder, I also found myself feeling slightly concerned about the club slipping out of my hand.
In terms of durability, I'm unsure how long this would last for a frequent golfer who is looking to play at least once a week during the summer months. After 18 holes there were already some signs of wear, particularly with the fabric section which seemed to pick up dirt and stains quite easily. If you're a white glove user, I wouldn't recommend this unless the weather is relatively warm and dry.
Considering that ZeroFriction are expecting you to buy their glove again if you want to keep using the GPS, I was a little disappointed by the glove quality. A quick look on their website showed that a replacement is going to set you back around £15 every time. This could then start to become a pretty expensive investment.
This is true especially when you consider that there are plenty of handheld GPS alternatives around for similar prices, such as the Bushnell Phantom GPS at £99.99, which are just a one-off purchase and would save you money in the long term.
The GPS itself looked good once when I put the glove on upon arrival to the first tee. The screen is extremely clear, a good size, and easy to read. There's two big buttons underneath the screen which can adjust your current hole forwards and backwards if you get lost. These also basically feature as 'wake up' buttons too, as the device will switch itself off after it has been inactive for a while to save the battery.
Once connected, the GPS yardage reading adjusts in real-time as you're walking down the fairway, rather than waiting until you've stopped to recalculate. I like this as it makes you feel more confident about the accuracy of the yardage being displayed when you can see it moving as you make your way down the hole.
On the screen, you get clear yardages to the front, middle and back of the green, as well as information on the hole number and its par. One good feature that has been added is the 'Chip Mode', where the front and back yardages disappear once you get within 30 yards of the green and just a middle yardage is shown, allowing you to be more precise with your calculations and get the ball as close to the hole as possible when around the greens.
Throughout the course of the round the device didn't feel heavy or hinder the swing at all. In fact, on a couple of occasions after hitting a shot I had to double check that it hadn't accidentally flown off, proof that once you get going you hardly know it is there. The magnet worked well on the Velcro strap of the glove as it kept the device securely positioned, giving you a good view of the screen every time you glance down.
The big problem I had however, was the connectivity from the app to the device during the course of the round. Despite having the phone in my left trouser pocket, no further than 12 inches from the glove at nearly all times, the device was just unable to retain connected to the app.
The first hole went well, as I actually had the app open on my phone as I walked down the first fairway so I could see the yardages adjust on both my phone and the device. But then I arrived on the second tee, and as it hadn't advanced me automatically, attempted to press the right button to switch holes. I was greeted by a 'Loading' screen. After giving it a couple of minutes, I caved in and unlocked my phone again to wake the device up.
From this point on, the same pattern repeated. The device was just unable to update the yardages itself, rendering it pretty pointless. I was getting my phone out on pretty much every shot to check the app for yardages, so there was no point in the device on the glove.
ZeroFriction Distance Pro App
Before I hit the course I'd done some research online and seen a couple of people warning that the app and Bluetooth connectivity really drained the battery of their phone - but four hours and 18 holes later I was happy to report that I had no such issue.
The App was comfortably the best aspect of the whole product as it worked really well, and was extremely easy to use. I can imagine that golfers of any age, of varying technical ability, could use it with no problems. Big tick for user experience.
The initial connectivity to the device was pretty easy. Simply turn on Bluetooth on your phone, load up the app, and press pair. Then tap either button on the device and it should show a connecting screen. You get 30 minutes before it times out but mine was done in a matter of seconds, and I was away. After that, tap Play Golf and locate your golf course, and you should see the map of the course with corresponding yardages on the device.
The App contains a number of handy features too, besides just giving yardages to the green. You can pinpoint a specified landing area, to see how far it would be to reach a bunker or hazard, for example. There's a timer in the corner which starts ticking as soon as you select to 'Play Golf', so that you can keep track of your pace of play too.
There's also a shot tracking feature, so you can see how far (or in my case, short) you hit it, along with a low-energy mode so that you don't use up too much of your phone's battery.
Would I Use It?
I would happily use the app, but I'm not sure I see too much benefit in the GPS glove. The glove itself just isn't the quality that I'm looking for unless it's perfect weather every day, and there's not much point having the GPS display if you still need to get your phone out of your pocket before every stroke anyway.
If it was rectified or improved upon however, I'd be keen to see a better version of this. Obviously ZeroFriction are one of the first, if not the first to come up with a glove like this so there are bound to be a few teething issues.
If you were able to create a glove which was fully leather (or at least synthetic), and make the actual GPS device capable of collating yardages itself, then I think you could be on to a winner.
The ZeroFriction Distance Pro GPS Glove Verdict?
Whilst the idea is really good and all the foundations are there, with a great app and clever device design, I'm struggling to see how the Distance Pro can warrant its current price tag when compared to other similar handheld devices.
I really wanted to like the product, as I'm usually a quick player out on the course and so if the Distance Pro was able to provide accurate yardages and save me from having to fiddle around with my phone or rangefinder on every hole, then I would have really considered it.
In summary, I'm disappointed to say that I just don't think a product like this is at the stage where I would be comfortable using it. A few improvements here and there and hopefully it'll be a smoother transition from normal glove to a ZeroFriction alternative some time soon.
- Great idea
- App works well and looks good
- GPS looks sleek and smart on the wrist
- GPS doesn't inhibit the swing at all
- Screen is clear and easy to read
- Struggled to connect to app consistently
- Expensive considering you have to replace glove
- Cannot be transferred to none ZeroFriction gloves
- Glove could have had more grip