What Does a Golf Buddy do ?
Gps devices have changed the way that we play golf. This is true for everyone from the weekend hacker to the pga pro. In fact, the impact has probably been greatest for average golfers like you and me. If you have a caddy who has spent days making a yardage book, you don’t necessarily need a satellite device. If you are a 5,15 or 25 handicapper, you don’t have this luxury. Step forward, the golf buddy.
Click the items below to get the answers to your questions or continue reading for the full review.
Options for Every Golfer
Actually, maybe we should make that ‘buddies’ As with some of the other big players in the golf gps space, there are a range of options to choose from.In fact, I have actually got a Golf Buddy Rangfinder in the bag right now and you can find out just why I chose it here. You should be able to find something that is perfect for your needs as well as your wallet ! For this review, we are going to look at what we think are the best options from the www.gpsgolfbuddy.com range.
We will look at some of the key features and help you decide just which model might be right (or not for you) as we answer some of the key questions about performance, use and features. Let’s take a look !
Handheld Devices-Which Golf Buddy is the Best ?
Something that you can keep in your pocket or easily accessible in your bag is perfect for most of us. You might want the basics, like distant to the front, middle and back of the green. Or maybe you are looking for more detail, whether it is distance to hazards, pin position or a visual representation of the course. There are smart choices for each of these situations.
Golf Buddy WT5-What are the Advantages of a GPS Watch for Golf?
Using a watch to give you on-course distances has a few advantages. You don’t have to find it in your bag for every shot, it takes no time at all to check yardage and it has all the practical aspects of any other wristwatch.
The latest addition to the golf buddy range, the wt5, really does a nice job it ticking the boxes for this sort of device. The first thing that has improved over previous iterations is the comfort factor. This is definitely a slimmed down version. Many golfers find that a gps watch can be bulky and uncomfortable and you actually see some golfers who have hung the watch on their bag or stored it in a pocket because wearing it becomes so annoying!
This takes away all the convenience and simply gives you a handheld unit with a small screen. If you are going to do this, you would be better off choosing one of the other models in the range.
This really shouldn’t be a problem here. There are many fashion watches that are actually bigger.
So what else are you getting for your money? Let’s start with the basics. You get the standard distances in yards or meters to the front, middle and back of the green. If you have been working hard on your putting over the Winter, this might be all you need.However, you can also find out how far you are away from up to 11 hazards per hole! This is really handy when you are looking for that safe shot and will certainly lead to better scoring.
For a watch, the screen is actually quite big and is certainly easy to read. Navigation is intuitive enough and works by scrolling through the menus with the side buttons.
Golf Buddy has integrated a dynamic green feature which allows you to move the pin placement around. As someone who is pretty happy shooting for the middle of the green, I didn’t find this to be essential most of the time. However, it was good on a couple of very long greens on my home course when the pin was right at the front or back. It didn’t stop me missing, but I really couldn’t blame the watch!
Finally, the price point is really very good for all this. There are enough features here to satisfy most golfers and actually have a positive impact on scores (which isn’t always the case with technology!)
Disadvantages to a GPS Watch
So is this the perfect choice? As always, it depends. Personally, I play with a regular watch and so don’t mind having this at all. It might be worth trying a few rounds with a bulky watch to see if it is something that you will mind.
The other thing to think about is what exactly you are looking for. If you are really going to be using things like dynamic green view, you are also the type of golfer who will probably enjoy the visual hole layout given on models like the GB3, reviewed below.
The last thing to bear in mind is battery life. The WT5 is one of the better-performing gps watches in this respect and you will last a round (maybe two) comfortably, but it isn’t going to match up to a larger device (with a larger battery) like the…..
Golf Buddy Voice
This is in many ways the most basic model in the range but don’t rule it out because of that. If all you want is a distance and you want it now, this might be worth it. Lots of people immediately see the key feature of this as being the voice technology.
Whilst this is certainly pretty cool (the gps will actually say your distance), it wasn’t what I preferred. I like the clear screen with one number on it. For a friendly round, I like to know more or less where I am, but don’t need a lot of details.
The other thing that I really enjoyed was the fact that I could clip this to my belt or hat. I didn’t lose any time at all looking through the pockets of my golf bag or scrolling though menus. Unclip, check yardage, hit, admire a the ball flies straight at the flag (or cringe as I thin it over the back f the green…again!) The clip is pretty robust too and won’t fall apart after a couple of weeks.
What Courses are on Golf Buddy Voice ?
The basics are done very well. The voice is clear and certainly loud enough and the two button control system doesn’t take a long time to figure out. Battery life is good too, as you would expect in a smaller screen, black and white version. You will easily get a round done and more than likely have enough charge for a full second round too.
Updating is straightforward via the usb cable included and the 33000 courses already stocked should cover most peoples’ needs. If it doesn’t, there is space for another 7000 via free download too. No monthly fees are necessary.
Given the huge success of the original version, golfbuddy updated and the newer versions are solid steps forward in terms of features and usability. The voice plus is worth considering and the vs4 even more so, with its tough, waterproof build quality.
There are other features here too. For example, you can press a button and get the distance to the front or back of the green. You can also see the shape of the green and even rotate it. You can also measure shot length, a standard element of any gps device nowadays. Overall then, this seems like a really solid package and when you look at the price, it represents an excellent entry point into the world of golf rangefinders and gps devices.
Surprising as it may seem, these extras are actually where I feel that the Buddy Voice isn’t the best choice. It is not that this stuff is useless, far from it. It makes a round of golf a whole lot more enjoyable, faster and better in my opinion. Simply, if I am going to use all this extra information, why not get a device that is really built for it ? Something with a larger, color screen for example ? What about the….
The GB3-PT4-An Updated Golf Buddy Tour
When you look at the list of features, it might not be immediately obvious what you are getting for your extra money. I mean, you still have distances and shot measurement, right ? Actually, this is a far more complete piece of kit. Firstly, take the screen.
While the black and white screen on the voice is perfectly readable, it is small. This makes the green rotate feature a little fiddly. Here you can see the entire hole layout in color and it is a piece of cake to calculate things like lay-up distances and simply plot your way around a course.
How useful is this ? Once again, it is going to depend on you and your golf. If you always play the same course, you might be better off with a more basic version like the voice. However, if you play several courses or are planning on playing somewhere new,perhaps on vacation, the GB3 really is awesome. You can actually plan out your round before hand.
Rather than hitting and hoping, you can see where those wide landing areas are. Is it worth taking on the water hazard ? Is this course going to work with your horrible slice/Nicklaus power fade ? A 4″ high resolution screen is perfect for this stuff and an absolute joy for the typical golfing addict !
For me, this really does build on the one of the best gps devices from a year or two ago, the golf buddy tour. The tour was an innovative product that actually proved its worth on the course for thousands of golfers. This model is just the same but obviously takes things to a whole new level.
You have everything that you might expect in terms of features, like replaceable batteries and waterproof build. It also has nearly 40 000 courses included and is free of all monthly fees like the rest of the range.
Downsides to the PT4
Are there any downsides here ? As with any such product, it is important to keep the firmware updated. Nothing is more frustrating than a frozen screen when you are in the middle of breaking 80 for the first time ever ! This is easily done on the golfbuddy site. The touchscreen is fairly good overall, but don’t expect to have the same responsiveness as the latest iphone. Even with my big fingers, it really isn’t that hard to click where you need to get the job done.
The larger, color screen is also going to drain battery life. This isn’t a problem getting through one round, but it will struggle to get two complete rounds without a recharge, especially if you are using a lot of the features. If you are someone who likes to play 36 holes in a day, a spare battery is a good option.
The two things that worked really well for me on this model are the distances to hazards (I spend a lot of time in bunkers!) and the dynamic green view. This last one was actually something of a surprise to me because I had cataloged it as a gimmick. I mean, the middle of the green is the middle of the green, isn’t it ?
Actually, no it isn’t and it definitely isn’t if you are like me and tend to pepper your approach shots all over the place. When you are aiming for the putting surface from twenty yards off to the side, the shape of the green becomes far more important ! It really does save shots, at least for this particular hacker.
You can also record your stats as you go. If you want to analyse everything from putts taken to average driving length, and fairways hit to average score, this will do it. I tend to be a bit of a golf obsessive as you might guess, so I like to record these things (and then spend endless hours poring over the results, but that’s another story!)
There have been some pretty big strides forward over the last couple of years with on course yardage devices, either gps or rangefinders. Whilst before you could either have simple and straightforward, but perhaps a little basic, or feature-packed and sometimes difficult to use, now you can have both. Doing things like converting from yards to meters is a piece of cake and you are no longer tearing your hair out because you can’t work out how to update your golf buddy.
Really, you can’t go too far wrong with any product from the range. You will find all the features you need to play better golf and have more fun out on the course.