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A Fun Way to Improve Your Game with Golf GPS

handheld golf gps

There are two main ways one can have a golf GPS system. One is for the player to have her or his own unit. The other is for the course to provide the system. From the golf course's point of view, a GPS system that the course owns can be beneficial in many ways. An integrated system can allow players to order food and drinks, allow two-way communications, and give weather alerts. The system can even be a revenue generator by being an advertising medium.

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Some golf GPS systems are stand-alone units. They can be in the form of a dedicated device (meaning the the unit's only function is golf GPS) or they can be attachments to a PDA. PDA attachments are either a sleeve or a Compact Flash (CF) card. An advantage to a PDA type unit is the one can have various golfing software (in addition to the GPS distance function) available - such as score keeping and other useful functions. And with a PDA, you also have all the conveniences like a notepad, calendar, etc.

Other systems are cart-mounted units. The advantages of these are the golfer does not need to invest in her or his own receiver and it is not necessary for the golfer to carry a device. However, many cart-mounted units do not allow accurate measurements due to the fact that they are usually not removable - causing an error in distance between the cart and the golfer's position.

View the short video about Garmin's golf GPS below

Garmin's golf GPS video

click the triangle to play

Examples of available systems

SkyCaddie by SkyGolf is a stand-alone unit that can be used on any golf course. You can subscribe to their membership service and get the information on courses in their database. If the course you're playing on is not listed or you don't want to pay for the service, the SkyCaddie can be used to gather the information for use the next time you play.

GolfLogix - a course-owned system that uses Garmin eTrex-based units calculate distances to targets and obstacles as well as display pro tips.

Inforemer by GPS Industries is an integrated system for golf courses that provides many features. The main player benefit is, of course, that it allows players to display distances to targets. Other functions include the ability for players to order food and drinks, use the golf course for high-speed wireless Internet service provider, and for the management to broadcast messages.

StarCaddy software displays a digital map of the golf course on your PDA, using GPS to give you the exact distance to the green, doglegs, sand traps, water hazards or any other course feature. StarCaddy is available for Palm OS and Pocket PC devices.

Suunto G9 Watch - After you download or program the course into the watch, it tells you the distance to the targets and obstacles as you play. As you mark the ball's position, the G9 calculates the distances you are hitting with each particular club, and after a couple of rounds can recommend club selection. After the game you can download and view your results on your home PC.

The G9 is rather large so I don't think you will be wearing it as a daily watch. A day of golf with the GPS on will deplete the battery which means recharging before use again; a battery meter is included on the watch. There are still quite a few courses not mapped for GPS usage, so plan on the time necessary walking and programming the course you want to play.

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