Did you know that GPS (Global Positioning Systems) systems have been around since 1959? Not sure when they were applied to golfing but hole tracking systems have been around for quite a while now. I resisted purchasing one for quite a while because:
- I didn’t think I needed to know the EXACT yardage to the green, let alone a 4 1/2″ hole. I wasn’t that good.
- I was lucky enough to play on some fairly well marked courses.
- They were too expensive.
- Just one more thing to cart around in my golf bag.
- I was a bit annoyed when I played with people that had them. Seems like they spent extra time looking at the damn thing and deciding what to do. “Dude, you’re not good enough to have to know the distance to exact foot!”
- How was I going to hold my *umbrella, beer and now a hand-held GPS unit? (*when I lived in Washington state)
When I moved to Colorado, found a course I liked, joined the men’s club and got a little more serious about my game, I finally broke down and bought myself a birthday present … a $349.00 birthday present. Geez, I musta had some extra dough to burn back then, although I don’t remember ever having that much money to spend on something like that. It was all I could do to plunk down $200 for a new driver after mine cracked! Do you know how many beers you could buy with that? (About 270 bottles of a good micro-brew …)
Well, I found that a lot of the courses I played in Colorado were very poorly marked, especially the one I played the most – Red Hawk Ridge, Castle Rock, CO. [See YouTube video tour here] Geez, how hard is it to put a number on a sprinkler head or stick a barber pole in the ground! ‘Course playing through the ice and snow in the winter could have been part of the problem.
I decided on the SkyCaddie SG4. Color display for the SG5 was about another $100 so I cheapo’d out. Purchased at the golf-nut store, Golfsmith. I was in there so often, we were on a first name basis.
So after playing golf with the SkyCaddie for a couple years, I have discovered some good points and bad points, about a GPS system in general and also the SkyCaddie itself. Note that I have not played a round with my SkyCaddie since last April (more on that later).
- I love to be able to quickly know the approximate yardage to the green. You can move the cursor around to guesstimate the exact pin position but I’m STILL not that good to have to be that accurate.
- I never take it out of the cart or off the bag unless I have to hoof it across a “cart path only” fairway. I have a friend who has it clipped to his belt, takes it off and has to stand next to his ball and place the pin exactly on the green. See item number 5 above.
- The SG4 locates hazards. This is very helpful on a new course you’ve never played before. Also great for course management if you have to layup to a certain point. Just as important as knowing the yardage to the green.
- Seems like everyone had one. If others in the group had one, I usually didn’t bring mine out.
- I’ve really missed having one this last year. Can never find a sprinkler head, and when I do, there’s no yardage on it! Seems like the “older” people here in Arizona don’t have them. Technology gap?
- Rechargeable battery.
- Fits in the Crown Royal bag you get when you buy the really tiny size.
- Battery used to be good for 2 full rounds. Now only lasts for one round. (after 1 season).
- Takes all day to charge. If you forget (or pass out) and don’t remember until it needs charging until the next morning, you’re out of luck.
- Yearly subscription fee. $49 a year to access and download courses from the whole USA. Less if you only want your state, but GolfDawgg likes to travel. When I let it expire (more on that in another post) I figured I could use it with the courses I had on it. I was less than amused when I couldn’t even get to the main screen after expiring! (Can you see the steam coming out of my ears?!)
- Who the hell invented the interface for data access and power charging?!! A tiny little screw attached to a tiny piece at the end of cord where the belt clip is in the way. Guys with big (or fat/stubby) hands don’t have a chance for hooking this thing up! Why not just have a USB plug? (more steam …)
Read more on why GolfDawgg decided to bag his subscription here.