Customer Reviews: SkyCaddie SG5 Golf GPS (Black)
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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.
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on March 13, 2009
I'll admit it...I tried a cheaper product made by Garmin. It locked up every three or four rounds. After trying three units I gave up and bought the SG5. It works great. The color screen is very easy to read in the sun. The charge lasts longer than I expected, usually three full rounds at least. My only complaint is that it's a little bigger than some of it's competitors. You can't slip it into your pocket to take a swing. But I've used it for six months and it's performed flawlessly. If you are thinking of saving a little money, I would not recommend any of the models with black and white screens (SG2.5, SG3, SG4). They are very hard to read in the sun; you have to constantly rotate the screen around to catch just the right angle. Although it lacks the features of the higher models, the SG2, with it's black-on-green screen, is easier to read. If you are thinking of buying anything but the SG5, I'd strongly recommend that you find someone who has the model you're considering, and check out the screen in the bright sunlight.
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on April 24, 2008
Highly recommended. I read the previous comment and can not understand why he had any problems.

This unit is wonderful. Loaded like a charm. The Subscription was about $40 for a year and you can load 10 courses for this rate. There are higher subscription rates if you'd like to have more courses or even international courses. Change courses as often as you like.

This even had the specs for my favorite "remodeled" course which was finished in February. Very up-to-date info.

Accurate! Will measure to the center of the green and will even measure your drive distance. Problem is, when other people on the course see my skycaddie that all want to "play" with it. It can slow down the game.
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on December 19, 2009
I had an SG3 that served me well for 2 years, but I wanted to upgrade to the color SG5. I have been using it now for about 4 months and really can't say anything bad about it. Lately the foursome I have been playing with 3 of us have a GPS unit and 1 has a Laser System. I'm the only one with a SkyCaddie, the other 2 GPS units are different brands but are new color models in the $300 to $400 range, and both have the touch screen features. I won't name those brands,since I don't own them, and to be honest I'm glad I don't own them. What we started to notice is that about 75% of the time the 3 GPS units all had different yardage, anywhere from 3 yards to up to a max of 14 yards. The one constant was that my buddy with the laser always had the same yardage as me with my SG5. What was also interesting is that when we all used our 3 different GPS units to mark the distane of one of our shots, we all got the same distance for the shot, no variance. The other 2 GPS units don't charge a yearly fee for their course database, I do pay an annual fee of $29.95 for all the courses in CA. The other 2 guys started to do some investigating why their units seemed to be inaccurate at times. The conclusion that we all reached is that SkyCaddie is the only manufacture that actually has people out there walking the courses and recording the data based on where they are standing in relationship to the GPS readings they get. Seems the other companies base their measurements on ariel data and mapping programs. Here is a quote from one of those manufacturers in their FAQ section regarding how they collect their data: "The (product name) golf course data is collected from aerial and satellite imagery from various vendors. We then use that imagery to digitize the course feature. Once complete, course routing and scorecard information is assigned for each hole". Also if you read the fine print that free course data without a fee could someday have a fee, "At the current time, we are offering map updates to include new and updated courses at no charge. At some point in the future, it is possible that (company name)will begin to charge a nominal fee for course updates". Again they aren't saying you will defiantly be paying a fee someday, just that it is possible. Probably the lawyers had them throw that in just to cover their butts, so its probably not a concern. Last Saturday the other 2 guys both showed up with a new SG5 (bought on Amazon), their other units are now listed on Ebay. And we all have the same yardage now all the time. Our buddy with the laser gets his measurement to the pin and it takes in account the slope, nice if you can see the pin. Also my hands shake too much when using the laser. The SG5 won't improve your game if you don't have consistent distances nailed down with your clubs, but if you do you will see more balls on the green, not short or off the green.

One other thing is all these guys that complain about how the SG5 won't load up on their computer or freeze up and have too be returned. I don't pay attention to those reviews, some of these folks have messed up or old systems or aren't computer literate to follow directions. And yes calling SkyCaddie support is not a pleasant experience, if you do more talking then listening. I have found that if I email in my question support gives me a detailed and accurate answer within anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple hours.

My experience and that of my friends is that free course data may not be as accurate as the information from SkyCaddie, it's worth $29 a year to get accuracy.
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on March 30, 2009
I have owned my SG5 now for about a year. There is no comparison. I work in a local golf shop here in Colorado and we have brought several of the competitors into the store and eventually sold them on eBay because of the inferior performance.

Easy to read, easy to use, durable, all the info you would ever want for your game. And with the updates coming out throughout this year, it will be even better. The new score keeping upgrade is great, and when the 3d fly-over views of the holes come, that will be just awesome!

Don't wast your money on a "wanna-be" like uPro, Golf buddy, etc. Spend your money wisely and get a SkyCaddie!
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on February 8, 2009
My sky caddie is a little over a yr. old. Other than the significant annual cost for downloading courses, it was OK. It should also be noted that they will delete all courses from you sky caddie if you do not pay your annual "dues"!!! This also happen to one of our bag boys @ our club as he was playing golf with his sky caddie. My wife's sky caddie was also "turned off" and all courses deleted!!!.
Recently they completely changed software that was easy to use and simple to download courses. The new software (I downloaded the sofware three times after deleting the original before redownloading.)does not even begin to work. E-mails to tech. support go unanswered. So if you are thinking about buying a sky caddie be careful
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on May 27, 2008
I have used the sky caddie at my home course, and on several away courses. It seems very accurate, based on yardage markers on the course, and gives instant easy to read distances. I have kept it clipped to my golf bag, walking or riding, and it is getting to be second nature to check it on a regular basis. One must load the proper courses on away trips, however, and beware of using an incorrect course name when playing at a resort with four different courses -- there is no time to get to a computer to download the correct course when you are teeing off on number one. The display is clear, the size is right, and I am happy with this purchase.
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on December 20, 2008
We all know that this thing works OK & gives reasonable accurate yardage to the green. BUT-the customer support is pathetic! Difficult software that works marginal at best, requires yearly fees and when I upgraded my service & paid $20 only to find out it was only good for 2 months. When I call "customer support" "if you can get through", they are very argumentative & condescending.
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on June 2, 2010
Given my experiences with SkyGolf, I can never recommend SkyGolf/SkyCaddie to anyone. SkyGolf's customer "service" is among the worst I have ever encountered. Its agents are unskilled in handling non-technical issues (the only type about which I have contacted SkyGolf). One agent in particular was rude and unprofessional throughout both of the calls I made to SkyGolf. The supervisor to whom that agent connected me was dismissively uncaring regarding the manner in which the agent had handled my contact with him.

I have had to wait as much as 45 minutes before "the next available agent" even initially answers my call and an additional, excessively lengthy time even after that initial answer. For example, when I asked to speak with a supervisor during my June 1, 2010 call to SkyGolf, the agent took ten minutes to connect me to her.

The SG5 I purchased in late 2008 required repairs ($75) in May 2010 - less than two years after I purchased it! The issue was with the unit not holding a charge, even after I replaced the battery with one from SkyGolf. The repair did not result from anything I had done to the unit. It was from a technical flaw from SkyGolf.

Based on my experience, then, I absolutely do not endorse SkyGolf as a company with whom to do business, given the abysmal customer "service" and lack of professionalism in that regard. In addition, I recommend that you not even consider purchasing their products, given their flaws and need for repair.
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on July 13, 2010
I bought this unit SG5 a year ago and have really enjoyed using it, especially when not near a yardage marker it certainly helps to speed up play...One big CAVEAT to potential buyers that was not clear when I bought it, it is the same as a cell phone, without an annual service plan it is a useless hunk of plastic sitting in your bag. Be prepared to re-up every year for at least $29.95 and if like me you live on the border of 2 states and want to use it in both it will be at least $49.95....What do they care which states??? Its just a download to them anyway...would much prefer a 6 course plan, 12 course plan etc. Mine expired and when I renewed they took my renewal date back to the date it expired, even though it wasnt usable like charging for a hotel room that wasnt used last week. On line technical service was unsympathetic..."Thats the rules"...I will be looking for an alternative for next golf season. I also asked for help in getting some scratches off the screen was told to send it back and for 89.95 they will take care of it...thanks Ill take the scratches!!!
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