He loved the product so much they gifted one to every contestant in their Invitational, and it was a huge hit.
After he showed me the affiliated GPS and rangefinder capabilities, I was sold and had to get one. I put it on my wish list, and my wife bought me one for my birthday in July.
The Wingman is an awesome product, and one I’ve been looking to review for quite some time.
The first thing you notice about the Bushnell Wingman is that it’s sturdy and well-built – extremely well-built. I’ve accidentally dropped this thing a lot of times, including from about 10 feet up when trying to get it off our metal gutters over the patio. The surface scuffed a little, but I’m convinced it will survive just about anything I can throw at it.
There are two key pieces when unboxing the Wingman: The speaker itself – a black cylindrical unit about 7-1/4″ long x 2-3/4″ wide with four soft, inline buttons and a 3-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ BITE magnetic strip – and the releasable magnetic button.
The integrated BITE magnet is really strong. This is not a light piece of equipment, and it takes a pretty extreme bump to dislodge it from the golf cart’s frame. It has happened several times, though, so when I’m out for a golf cart ride with my kids I tend to attach it to the metal frame behind the seat to completely alleviate those concerns (we have to go over some rocks/off-road to get to/from our home). For a regular 18-hole round, though, this should never be a concern.
The magnetic button is used in conjunction with the Bushnell Golf App, which you can log in to prior to your round and use for GPS-powered shot distances, 3D hole flyovers and scoring. Because I already use Arccos Caddie for those features (and I like building my database of shot history), I admittedly tend to use my Wingman only for music and so don’t need to run the app. That alone makes it worth the $149.99 MSRP if you ask me, though.
The nice thing about the GPS on this unit, though, is that the magnetic button can be detached from the speaker and walked out on the course. If you’re playing somewhere with cart path only rules, for example, simply take the button with you, click it from where your ball lies and audibly (through the speaker) hear the GPS distances to the front, middle and back of the green. This feature is really sharp.
The Wingman is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery that lasts about 10 hours – typically enough for about 36 holes. It plugs in with a standard power cord and charges quickly, and the sound quality and volume are what you’d expect from a high-end product like this.
Using the Wingman
Pairing to your phone is done intuitively through the Bushnell Golf App, which enables Bluetooth and allows you to run your music program of choice during the round. I prefer Spotify, personally, but you can use whatever you like.
To turn on the Wingman, simply hold down on the power button until you hear the startup chime, which will include a 2-ding (is that a thing?) ring to indicate it’s successfully paired via Bluetooth. To turn it off, hold the same button until you hear the wind-down sound. (rhyming is fun, eh?)
While this is the perfect Christmas or holiday gift, there are three total issues I’ve had with it in a year and a half, and none are prohibitive to its use or keep me from loving it:
- The GPS button is secured by a less powerful magnet than the BITE one that attaches the actual unit. It’s necessary that this magnet is less powerful – otherwise, how would you ever get it off without removing the entire speaker? However, when coming home from the clubhouse late on a Friday night, for example, one time I accidentally rode over a pretty deep hole in the rough and the speaker fell off the front cart bar, in the process dislodging the button somewhere in deep rough in the pitch dark. This is a very small accessory (a shallow 1-1/2″ diameter circle) and it took me about 15 minutes to find it using my iPhone’s flashlight. So, if you’re like me and use your own personal cart to transfer to and from a clubhouse bar while rocking out to Matchbox 20, I recommend leaving the magnetic button at home or putting it in your pocket while driving so you don’t risk losing it on such an occasion. I know, that situation’s probably a bit of an outlier 🙂
- I know you can change this setting, but I never think of it until someone calls me and it rings on the speaker (even if my phone is set to mute), and then I don’t have time to look up while playing how to make it so that my phone rings only on the phone (not through the speaker – obviously not ideal if someone’s hitting when a call comes through)
- The magnet is so strong that I have to make sure it’s in my bag any time I use my drone to avoid interfering with the signal between the controller and drone
Overall, the Bushnell Wingman is an incredible holiday gift idea for any golf enthusiast who doesn’t abhor music while playing. In fact, last year when my wife’s boss asked me for a golf-related gift suggestion for her husband (a member at Hidden Glen in Cedarburg), I put my 100% backing behind the Wingman and have been commended on that recommendation every time I’ve seen them since. He loves it, and she looked like a genius (which she is).
If you’re like me, and love having some tunes on in the background during your round of golf, you will love the Bushnell Wingman, too. And if you want to look like a gift giving star like my wife and her boss, you can’t go wrong letting the golf enthusiast in your life open this on Christmas morning, their birthday or other gifting occasion. At $149.99 MSRP, there are certainly cheaper options you can buy, but the quality and features of the Wingman honestly put it head and shoulders above any of its competition.
Get your own Bushnell Wingman (or the new Wingman View, reviewed here) through Bushnell’s website, here.
The Wingman is also available via Amazon, linked below:
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