Top critical review
229 of 247 people found this helpful
Better GPSs are out there
on August 26, 2009
I was one of their early adopters (way before USGA and R&A made them legal) and had their original SkyCaddie. Back then, it was a technological breakthrough and I benefitted (and my buddies) on the course. And last year I started my quest to find the latest golf GPS. Of course, the first place to look was at SkyCaddie. SG5 was their first color display, improved GPS reception, bigger display...but nothing really new in terms of features. I guess they figured they had the market cornered as their competition was range finders. Meanwhile, I was starting to get tired of their limitations such as I can only load 10 courses at a time, their customer service (or lack of) and their annual membership.
However, while they sat on their rear, this product sector evolved and other competitors jumped in. This year there are whole suite of new GPS with next generation features. I looked at uPro Golf (now owned by Callaway). Cool flyby like what you see on TV, but noticed from other users that it had several common issues mostly with their display and battery life. So my search continued. I then looked at OnPar Golf. It looked like my iPhone with the similar touchscreen and icons. That UI works for iPhone, but not for golf GPS. Then I looked at Bushnell Yardage Pro XCG. I thought this was it. It had everything I wanted, no major issues mentioned by other users/reviewers. One of my buddies bought one and I had a hands-on experience on a course. I was actually one click away from owning it (from Amazon, of course) and I decided to make one last google...and then I found Garmin's Approach G5 unit. Yup, it's most expensive GPS unit but it's made by Garmin, the GPS expert. I've been very happy with their Nuvi GPS units. They currently have 9,400+ courses and they're FREE. NO ANNUAL MEMBERSHIPS! You simply download new courses from their web site and you can load all those courses on your unit so no more shuffling courses onto my unit. Best of all, it's waterproof! Unlike Skycaddie, you're not limited to the 40-targets on each hole (though,I typically only see a handful). You just drag a circle with your finger on a birds-eye-view and it will tell you how far you are to that. It also keeps scores up to 4 and you can download it to your PC afterwards. I also like that you use batteries instead of rechargeable. I lost count of time I forgot to charge my SkyCaddie and when my buddies call me last minutes I couldn't use it the whole round. Now, I just keep spare batteries in my bag.
So, the bottom line is before you consider SkyCaddie units, research the other GPS models before plunking down your hard earned money. I'm confident that you'll find one with much better features for a similar price. If you're interested in the Garmin G5, there are ton of videos on YouTube so check them out! If money is not an option, then definitely go with Garmin Approach G5. Otherwise, the Bushnell Yardage Pro XCG is your best bet.
Also, for those that own iPhone 3G/3GS there are quite a few apps you can use to make your iPhone into Golf GPS. I've been tinkering with Golfshot (the $29.99 version. Don't bother with their 99 cent version) and I have to say it's damn good app. It even comes with statistical report so you know which part of your game you should be working on. But I'm sticking with my Garmin G5, because the Golfshot depletes my iPhone battery like crazy. My iPhone is not rugged and waterproof either so I'll use it as my backup, but not as my main golf GPS.