Golf GPS devices are getting more popular. More people at your golf club are using them, and these days there are lots of devices to choose between. Generally all golf courses have 150 yard markers and most I have played have markers for 100 yards. With these available is a gps device really going to make a difference to your game?
I have been using my SkyCaddie 2.5 SG now for around 18 months and I feel I'd be lost without it. There is the membership fee that comes with owning a SkyCaddie if you want to download and use their courses but we'll come onto that issue later. So where do I feel having a gps device has helped me?
1. Knowing front, middle and back yardages
The markers on the golf course only give you the yardage to the front or middle depending on each course. I could be standing there waiting to play my approach shot in at the 150 marker thinking this is a good seven iron. With a gps device you get to know the distance to the front, middle and back of the green which could cover as much as a 30-40 yard distance! With this information and knowing the back of the green is 170 yards you can much more easily take a 6 iron and swing smoothly.
2. Distances inside 100 yards
If you want to play well, you've got to have a great short game. This doesn't just mean chipping around the fringe, but all shots from 100 yards in. I carry a pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge and I have 3 different distances I can hit each club with different length back swings. Knowing the exact distance to the green from 100 yards in then becomes very important when selecting which club and shot to play. I think this is where my SkyCaddie has made the biggest difference to my game and allows me to play short game shots with much more confidence.
3. Yardages from odd places
Even Tour players have the odd shot that bounds onto a different fairway to the hole you are playing, so it is bound to happen to us mere amateurs! When you are on a different fairway and the angles you are playing in at are completely weird to you, your gps device can save your ass as it'll still give you an exact reading to the front, middle and back. You don't know how many times this has saved me and allowed me to walk away with a par from a terrible tee shot!
You may have decided that you need a range finder right now, but with so many to choose how can you decide which is right for you? 18 months ago there weren't so many choices and so SkyCaddie seemed to be the best one to go for. The great thing that SkyCaddie does is send people round with PDAs and GPS units on their backs in rucksacks to mark out the course and all the hazards. To cover the cost of this there is an annual fee to be able to use the SkyCaddie courses - but spread out over a year I feel this is a minimal cost. The rumour is that other GPS manufacturers use something like Google Maps to map out the course which would seem to be a very error prone way of doing it. I have compared distances with other players who have different devices and it seems there can be up to a 10 yard difference (and I'm pretty sure my SkyCaddie was giving the correct distance!)
Overall I am very happy with my SkyCaddie SG 2.5. Have you considered getting a gps device, and if you have one do you feel you benefit from it?