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Category: GPS

June 26, 2013

New GolfBuddy VT3 GPS watch

Posted at 12:54 PM by Robert Sauerhaft

GolfBuddy-VT3-GPS-watch_160More and more GPS devices are coming in smaller, lighter packages. The 1-ounce GolfBuddy VT3 wristwatch is a sporty option due an easy-to-use touch screen and audible yardage readouts (in choice of eight languages).

The 1.5” display projects distances to the front, middle and back of greens. The VT3 comes with a 10-hour rechargeable battery and 36,000 pre-loaded courses.

The GolfBuddy VT3 wristwatch is available for $250 at

January 29, 2011

Callaway UPro gets the picture

Posted at 8:08 PM by Gary Van Sickle

Upro ORLANDO, Fla.--According to one bit of research, 32 percent of all avid golfers already own some sort of rangefinder device, whether it's GPS based or laser. Rangefinders have been the hottest selling item in an otherwise down golf economy, and the competition is fierce.

Bushnell leads the way in lasers, SkyCaddie has ground-measured GPS that has a new function to pinpoint flag positions and Callaway's UPro MX is an interesting GPS competitor. The UPro MX comes in a slim, small three-ounce body. The UPro is different because it uses actual aerial photography. One of its features is a flyover of each hole, kind of what the TV networks use during their telecasts. It's a great way to get a bird's-eye view of a hole and eliminates the excuse of, gee, I didn't know there was a fairway bunker over that mound. No other GPS product offers that.

Each fairway bunker or hazard on a hole automatically comes with a yardage to the front and back--no extra mouse movement necessary. It is very easy to use, very easy to zoom in on a part of a hole and you just can't get enough of the graphics.

The UPro can keep track of your on-course stats and record the distances and clubs used. The device can store 50 rounds of stats, its website has unlimited storage.

The UPro MX has a suggested retail of $199 for 25,000 courses in basic mode. ProMode, which includes complete photographic hole layouts and video flyovers, is available for a one-time $29.99 fee for 25 course downloads or $59.99 for unlimited downloads.

(Photo: David Walberg/SI)

January 28, 2011

SkyCaddie raises its game again

Posted at 8:01 PM by Gary Van Sickle

ORLANDO, Fla.--The battle between laser rangefinders and GPS units is a lot like the old war between VHS and Beta video formats. Neither side is perfect, both sides involve a bit of compromise. But the laser-GPS stakes have been raised.

I wrote earlier about how Bushnell, the big player in laser rangefinders, introduced the Hybrid, its laser rangefinder with a GPS unit attached so players can get some kind of yardage even when they can't get a line-of-sight reading with the laser.

Sky Caddie, the best of the GPS outfits because it measures golf courses step by step on the ground instead of relying on generic satellite photos, has introduced another significant upgrade to its line. SkyCaddie's SGX unit has a couple of nice tweaks. One is its Pinpoint technology. At courses that provide the day's pin positions--like the pin sheets given out at most amateur and professional tournaments--SkyCaddie has a function that allows a player to quickly and easily punch in the pin location data. For example, if the sheet shows that a pin is 10 steps from the green's front and eight steps from the left side of the green, you input those numbers and the Pinpoint technology is able to precisely locate the pin. So now you've got a GPS with exact yardage to those pins.

Another step forward is SkyCaddie's IntelliGreen capability. It's a way to get a better, more detailed look at the green. As you look at the green from over your approach shot, you simply take the SkyCaddie and turn it so it's horizontal and the unit gives you a view of the green and the pinpointed pin. This look at the green provides yardage to the front and back and also highlights green contours, like false fronts.

That information is vital to better players, who not only want yardage to the pin, but yardage to carry to the correct tier and, just as important, their max yardage to the back of the green. A laser rangefinder will provide exact yardage to the pin but not information on the distance to the front or back of the green.

It's also an edge over printed yardage books, in which the distances are measured from the fairway. As any caddie will tell you, it's much tougher to get an exact yardage to the pin from the rough because the angle has changed and now, unless a caddie steps it off, the yardage from a different direction isn't quite as exact.

The SkyCaddie course library now includes more than 15,000 courses and is expected to hit 20,000 later this year. The suggested retail price of the SkyCaddie SGX is $349 ( and its battery should be good for 14-16 hours before recharging.

With the SGX in the laser versus GPS battle, it's advantage, SkyCaddie.

January 28, 2010

SkyCaddie SGX: Learn More About Your Game

Posted at 10:47 PM by David Dusek

SkyCaddie-SGX_600 ORLANDO, Fla. — I have been a huge fan of laser rangefinders and golf GPS devices for a long time. Anything that helps me play faster and make better decisions on the course is welcome on my bag.

SkyGolf, maker of some of the most popular GPS units, is set to release the SkyCaddie SGX, and I think I'm in love.

The SGX is about the same size and weight as a cell phone, comes pre-loaded with about 30,000 courses, and has a vivid 3-inch color screen that's easy to read in bright sunlight. It has an omnidirectional antenna, which locks onto multiple satellites and works even when you're under trees or dense foliage. The rechargeable battery lasts up to 14 hours. As you approach a green, the screen rotates itself to your position and provides yardages to the front, middle and back.

But the coolest new feature developed by SkyGolf is SmartClub Tags, a set of three-gram plugs that attach to the end of your grips. Sold separately in packs of four or 14, the tags wirelessly communicate with the SGX and let the device know exactly which club you've pulled from your bag.

This technology makes tracking every shot almost effortless. After your round is complete, you will have a digital scorecard; tour-caliber stats including greens in regulation, fairways hit and total putts; and a very accurate gauge of how far you hit each club.

SkyGolf has created a new Web site, Club SG, designed to let golfers share the information gathered by their SGX units.

The SGX will be available starting in April for $399, plus an annual fee that covers course updates. The price for the SmartClub Tags was not available.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter

(Photo by David Walberg/SI)

July 01, 2009

Golf Buddy GPS keeps it simple

Posted at 3:20 PM by Gary Van Sickle

Golf-buddy-tour There's only one thing you really need to know about the Golf Buddy, and it is Golf Buddy's biggest plus. You don't have to do anything to use Golf Buddy except turn it on. I took an immediate liking to it for that reason, having just dueled with my home PC trying to get set up on a competitor's model that required downloading files and then, when I finally slogged through that, discovered I needed to cough up another $35 to access course maps.

The Golf Buddy keeps it simple, stupid. Which works for me. All I do is turn it on once I arrive at the golf course I'm playing, the Golf Buddy uses GPS to figure out where I am, and the course is loaded into my system.  The company claims to have 20,000 courses on tap worldwide. The graphics are relatively rudimentary, but that's immaterial. It's the numbers that matter. The view screen serves up the back, middle and front yardages to each green. If you want to know how far it is to a certain target, like a fairway bunker, you just hit the toggle switch and you get a list of yardages to the pertinent targets. That's really all there is to it.

I can't swear to the level of accuracy that Golf Buddy provides but in five rounds of use (I used the Tour edition, with color screen, above right) I haven't had any what-the-hell moments. Its yardages have always been in line with the numbers I've gotten off the 150 stakes or sprinkler heads on the courses I've played. Also, I was able to get two 18-hole rounds in before having to recharge the Golf Buddy unit.

The Golf Buddy,, $429.99

January 31, 2009

Navigating GPS for golf

Posted at 6:39 PM by Gary Van Sickle

With the world economy sinking into a tar pit and dragging the golf business with it, one bright spot in golf equipment has been GPS yardage devices. At the moment, GPS units look like the only growth market in golf.

It appears that 2008 may have been a jump-the-shark year for GPS devices, which outsold laser rangefinders by almost a two to one margin. In the past, rangefinders had held a similar lead over GPS units. It’ll be interesting to see if that trend continues.

Laser rangefinders have an accuracy that is difficult to beat. Their drawback is targets can be hard to hit, and targets that can’t be seen can’t be measured. How far to that hidden lake over the hill? Sorry.

GPS devices, which use satellite technology, aren’t as precise and can’t factor in pin locations. Either way, grown men tend to have a thing for gadgets, which makes GPS and laser rangefinders  the hot gift of choice.

The GPS market is getting crowded. Here’s a brief look at some of the GPS devices that were available at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando:

SkyCaddie: This is the granddaddy of GPS, the top product. All you really need to know to make an informed purchase is this: SkyCaddie is the only outfit that charts courses by ground-mapping — that is, having a foot-solder meticulously walk the courses with electronic measuring devices that provide precise yardages.

All other companies use satellite mapping, which can be (but isn’t always) nearly as accurate. No matter how you slice it, SkyCaddie has a smaller margin of error than the others and it displays a fervor and dedication to accuracy for its customers that the other companies don’t. You have to respect a company that won’t include a course’s map without that course’s approval.

Three models: SG5, five-inch color screen, up to 40 targets per hole and IntelliGreen technology (the image of the green rotates to match your line of approach), $399; SG3.5, three-and-a-half inch gray-scale screen, $259; SG2.5, two-and-a-half inch screen, $199... Automatic course recognition... 23,000 courses in database... Requires an annual membership to retain access to the database--$29 for every course in your state, $49 for entire U.S., $59 worldwide, which includes continuous updates to course library to keep current with changes.

Sonocaddie: Four models available ranging from V100, relatively Spartan 1.2-inch black and white view screen, to V300, with full color 3D, and new Auto Play model... Regular models have 18,000 courses worldwide in database, 11,000 in the United States... One-time membership fee is $29.95 for unlimited downloads, or you can get your first five courses free and then pay $5 per each additional course. With Auto Play version, all courses are pre-loaded, no membership fee... V100 lists up to six hazards or targets per hole, premium models list up to ten... V100 stores 10 courses in memory, V300 stores 30... A scorecard function is available, can keep score for one player and retain stats, up to 100 rounds worth... V100 suggested retail price, $199; V300 $399.

GolfBuddy: This is a true GPS unit that automatically recognizes what course and what hole you’re playing from pre-loaded database of 15,000 courses. If your course isn’t in the database, company will map it and include it for you within a few weeks... No annual subscription fees... Comes in two models, the Pro (black and white screen), $379, and the Tour (color) $459... Graphics are limited, focus is on the yardages. For example, a list of hazard yardages may look like this: “Tree 125, LtBkrEnd 115 (yardage to clear left bunker), LtBkr 103 (yardage to left bunker), HzdEnd 35 (yardage to clear hazard), 100 LayUp 52 (yardage to 100-yard lay-up—or you can program it to your favorite layup yardage).”... A scorecard function allows you to track and record up to 1,000 rounds.

Bushnell: A big player in laser rangefinders, Bushnell has partnered with iGolf and uses its GPS software. Four models include Neo, a basic black and white unit that delivers distance to front, middle and back of green, $149; Yardage Pro GPS, 2.1 inch LCD screen and storage for ten courses, $199; Yardage Pro XG, 2.2-inch LCD screen with stores up to 20 courses and has custom green maps, $249; Yardage Pro XGC, 2.2-inch high resolution color screen that stores up to 100 courses, $349. XGC model displays overhead view of hole with golfer’s location and distances to any other point on the hole.

Garmin: GolfLogix model is very easy to use, nearly button-pushing free... No frills, just provides yardages to greens, hazards and layup areas, up to six hazards or targets per hole... Totally weatherproof. A unit was submerged in an aquarium at Merchandise Show booth and it was still functioning... Over 22,000 courses available worldwide, GolfLogix model stores up to 20 courses. You have to download the courses you want, unlimited downloads for $29.95... Endorsed by Gary McCord and Peter Kostis of CBS... Suggested retail price, $299.

On Par: Easy viewing, nice 3.5-inch, full hole maps, user-friendly touchscreen technology — one touch to any location on hole map provides the yardage... Tracks each stroke location, distance and club used, provides stats... Course database of more than 4,000 courses, no membership or course map fees... Suggested retail $479. 

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