Golf gps units have been one of the major changes in the way the average golfer approaches his game. Whilst some will tell you about the good old days of judging everything by eye, the rest of us are enjoying the game much more. I mean, how much fun was it really seeing your ‘perfect’ shot fall into the water/sand because the flag was ten yards further than you thought?
There are plenty of options now for distance measurement, but a golf gps watch is certainly one of the easiest.
What are GPS Golf Devices?
Many people use a gps device in their car. It has made paper maps all but obsolete. These gps systems are now standard issue in many models because they are close to indispensable. You might not appreciate exactly how they work. They actually use satellites that are orbiting the earth to calculate position. The more satellites they can access, the more accurate your reading should be.
Exactly the same principle applies on golf courses. The course is either already in the gps receiver or is available as an in-app purchase or download. It then calculates your current position and tells you how far you have left to the green, usually giving yardage to the front, middle and back.
A Golf GPS Watch is Making the Game Faster
This might not seem that useful, but really, it can be a game changer. There are lots of reasons why so many golfers swear by their skycaddie watch,neo gps watch or golf buddy, but here is one that you might not have considered: speed. Slow play is killing the game and as rounds head beyond 5 hours gold becomes less of a pleasure and more of a pain. So how does gps technology speed things up? Well, think about how you found your distance before. Either you had a course planner and calculated yardage off distances which took time (and a bit of maths!) If not , you used the distances marked on sprinkler heads and the guesstimated. Now you just look at your wrist and you are good to go.
Not Just for Golf
Nowadays, you can actually find something that will work just as well off the course as on it. It serves as an everyday watch, but can do lots of other things besides. How about:
- Hear rate monitors
- Calories burned
- Steps taken
You can use one watch for everything.
Battery Life-A Problem?
Of course, one drawback of this type of watch has always been battery life. Keeping the watch in gps mode constantly will run a standard lithium-ion battery down pretty quickly. Whilst performance is getting better with every generation, there are also a couple of simple things that can make sure you get the best out of your gps units.
Firstly, make sure that you disactivate the gps when you don’t need it. This is usually fairly straightforward, either through the various menus selected with the control buttons or by using a touchscreen display in more recent versions.
Secondly, it can be tempting to flip constantly through the options on the touch screen when you are out on the course. This is especially true the first few times you use your device. It is like a new toy! In fact, this is one reason why some golfers (including me currently) actually prefer a rangefinder.
You will want to go from the green view to your next booked tee time to your digital scorecard. After all, you want to record all those greens in regualtion and fairways hit, don’t you? You might even have a programmable version that reminds you when your membership fees are due! Try to limit this if possible, both for battery life and because it will actually slow things down rather than speeding them up.
Finally, don’t wait until the charge has run all the way down before plugging in. A modern rechargable lithium-ion battery doesn’t need to be completely empty to be recharged (this was the case with any first generation lithium ion battery.) Keep topping it up in your car or at home and you shouldn’t have any nasty suprises when you could do without.
What is the Difference between a GPS Watch and a Range finder?
For many golfers, there is a choice between this and a laser rangefinder. Both have their advantages and disadvantages-we go into far more detail about this here. Both have their advocates. Happily, some of the top-rated products on the market are actually combined golf gps rangefinder. This is really useful because you can get a yardage to the green or wherever very quickly and also fix something specific if necessary.
This is really good if you are playing a course that you have never seen before or a course that isn’t recorded in your gps. A fellow golfer took his unit with him to the United Arab Emirates on vacation. He played a couple of courses, one of which wasn’t mapped and thanks to his device, he could get all his distances without a problem.
It can also be handy when testing new clubs or trying to get your distances figured out. I used both gps and rangefinder when reviewing the pinhawk single length irons on course, for example.
Which Models Should you Look at?
If you are interested in buying this sort of wearable technology, you are going to be interested in checking out some of our golf gps watch reviews. There are many different models with a range of features from something fairly basic to a top of the range model that has everything you could wish for.
Something like the golfbuddy voice gps rangefinder is a great unit for a first buy, giving all the important information in an affordable and compact package, especially when fitted onto the wrist strap.
The skycaddie gps range has several models that suit different budgets and all offer solid quality and features all the way up to the skycaddie linx.
You can even try out a mobile app like golfshot gps or golflogix gps. While these might seem more like a golf game than something to help lower your scores, they are a good introduction to the area and let you try before you invest in something better.
Getting a gps watch can really change your game for the better. It makes things faster and easier and should increase your enjoyment of the game as ell as lowering your scores.