Apple Watch Overview

What you need to know before using the Apple Watch for the first time.

Hamish Mitchell avatar
Written by Hamish Mitchell
Updated over a week ago

Please note that our Apple Watch App is currently in a public Beta release. We encourage your feedback to continue to improve this new feature.

Please send any feedback either by messaging our support team from the messenger on the bottom right of your screen, or by emailing us at [email protected]

For those of you with access to an Apple Watch, you're able to use our GPS shot collection method while out on course. We recommend that you read this guide before you use the watch for the first time.

Purpose of the Watch

The Apple Watch provides an alternative option for collecting shot data. By understanding your GPS data for each shot, and the resulting pin position, the Watch will calculate your shot data including par of the hole, lie, and distance remaining to the pin for each shot.

To ensure accuracy, you must click the watch when you are at your ball, so that we can record your location. You also need to mark the pin position on each hole after you have holed out, so that the Watch can calculate distance back from the pin. Below we have some guidance on how you can best do this through the round, and what to do if you make any mistakes.

Downloading the App

To download the Apple Watch application, you need to download Circles Golf on your mobile device that is paired with your watch. Downloading on your phone will automatically download onto your watch.

Getting Started

To login to your account, open Circles Golf on your phone. Enter your Circles credentials and this will log you in both on your phone and your watch. Once you've done this, you're all set to start entering shot data from your watch.

Circles Apple Watch is compatible with all Apple Watches on the latest OS.

Starting a Round

If you're using an Apple Watch that does not have cellular connectivity, you need to ensure that you're within range of your companion mobile which is connected to cellular. You will also need to ensure you're connected to cellular when you complete the round, else your results will not be available immediately. Check back once you're in connectivity and your round will show on your Circles dashboard.

Selecting a Course

Once you arrive at your course and open Circles on your Watch, we will automatically detect which is the closest course to your location. If you're at a location with multiple course options, you can click "Change Course" to select the correct course you're playing. Click "Start Round" any time after you arrive, before you hit your first tee shot.

Adding shot

We will use GPS to identify the lie of the ball, with your Watch providing you with your distance to the center of the green. Once you're at the green and have holed out, you will mark the pin on your watch and Circles will recalculate your correct "to the pin" distances for each shot.

Shots are added by clicking "Take next shot" on your watch, once you're at the location of the ball. We suggest taking this action when you first arrive to your ball, before starting your pre shot routine. For example:

  • For a tee shot, once you place the ball on the tee, click "Take next shot", then "Looks Good". Go through your full pre shot routine and practice swings if appropriate. You do not need to do anything until you reach the resulting location of your tee shot.

  • For your second shot, let's assume you've hit the fairway. Once you arrive to your ball, click "Take next shot" and confirm that the lie is correct. If the lie is incorrect, you can edit this by clicking "Change Lie". Once you've done this, go through your process of club selection and pre shot routine. You do not need to do anything until you reach the resulting location of your shot

  • If you hit your ball into a penalty area, instead of clicking "Take next shot", you can click "Record Penalty". You can click this at any time before taking your next shot, for example while walking down to the penalty area to drop, or after your shot while standing on the tee box. When you get to the location that you'll be dropping (e.g. on the tee box, at the drop zone, or at the penalty area), select "Take next shot" and begin your routine.

  • When you're on the green, we suggest you click "Take next shot" when you first get to your ball and position your ball marker. You can then go through with your full routine, and will not have any impact on pace of play.

The Circles Watch app does not automatically detect swings to mark your location. This allows you to go through your full pre shot routine without impacting the number of strokes recorded on your device. For this reason we strongly recommend that you mark the location of your ball as soon as you are at the ball, before you begin your club selection and pre shot routine.

Once you've holed out

To mark the locations of each shot accurately, and relative to the pin, we need you to mark the pin when you hole out. When you're picking your ball out of the cup, click "Hole Out". For accuracy, we suggest you click this while your Watch hand is holding the flag stick in the hole.

You can click "Hole Out" any point after your shot. For example if you holed a long putt and one of your playing partners passed your ball back to you, you can wait for all players to complete the hole before you mark the location of the pin. As you're walking to your bag, stop past the pin and mark its location.

If you make an error

At any time you're able to select "Edit Shots" from the watch. You can move between holes allowing you to add and edit historical shots. You can drag the order of the shots so after you add a shot you can move it to the correct place.

Our thoughts on accuracy

GPS accuracy is based on the hardware on your device, and the connectivity at your selected course. Recent smart watches have introduced Dual Band GPS which allows more higher rates of precision, however there remains an error rate. This error rate is variable based on your level of connectivity, atmospheric conditions, any signal blockages, and the location of the nearest satellites.

For those players who demand the highest level of accuracy and recommendations, we suggest you continue using a distance measuring device (e.g. rangefinder) to capture shot data.


Q: My watch keeps locking and goes back to the clock screen. How do I stop this from happening?

A: Your watch will lock when it detects that it is no longer on your wrist, which can occur if it is loose fitting. Ensure it's secured to your wrist and does not have a long-sleeve shirt between the sensors and your wrist. Tattoo's are also known to cause issues with Apple Watch loosing connection.

Q: I made a mistake on a hole, how can I edit this on the watch?

A: You can click "Edit Shots" and move to the hole you wish to edit. Add or delete shots, change the lie, or change the distance remaining to the pin.

Q: There are no nearby courses showing when I try to start a round.

A: Ensure that your GPS settings for Circles on the Watch is set to "Allow While Using". If you're still having issues, please reach out to our team and we will investigate for you.

Q: I'm playing a composite course and the distances are not correct

A: Circles does not currently support composite courses or playing the course in a random order. You can start your round on any hole (for example in a shotgun start), then must play the following holes in order for Circles to calculate distances.


We want to know how you find the application, and what you'd like to see next! Drop us a line either by messaging our support team from the messenger on the bottom right of your screen, or email us at [email protected]

Happy golfing!

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