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Using a Golf GPS

By on August 18, 2013
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Do you need a Golf GPS ?

Using a golf GPS gives additional information that can help your game such as the distance from wherever you are on the course to the green.  It will typically show the distance to the front, middle and back of the green. Therefore, by using the distance and the flag position on the green, you can accurately assess the distance to the flag, especially on a unfamiliar course.

Most models also give distances to bunkers and water hazards.  This allows you to determine if you need to lay up or can carry the hazard with your next shot.

The distance provided by current GPS units, by regulation, does not allow for any uphill or downhill shots or wind speed. They provide a base distance allowing you to adjust manually for these factors.

When a hole is undulating or it is across gullies and hills,  it is harder to estimate distance as our visual perception can fool us.  Also, on adjacent fairways and there are no distance markers or familiar landmarks, it is difficult to know the distance to hit a shot.

Golf GPS Short Shot 400They are not only useful for full shots but also your pitch shots where knowing the  distance will allow you to determine whether you need a half or three quarter shot.

A golf GPS takes the guessing of distance out of your game. It allows you to focus solely on the shots and gives you the best chance to get closer to the flag and ultimately improve your game and lower your handicap.

Also prices of the golf GPS are becoming more affordable increasing their popularit.

Can I use a golf GPS in competition ?

The dedicated golf GPS is legal to use in all golf competitions as it only gives distance information.  The use of smart phones with golf GPS apps are not legal to use as the device can provide other information such as weather information with wind speed and direction. Also, some can calculate slope which is deemed to be of external assistance.

How does a Golf GPS work ?

The GPS unit uses the same technology as the car GPS. It locks on a number of satellites and by triangulation gives you the exact position to the meter.

The golf GPS also contains a map of your golf course with all the features e.g. the green, bunkers and water hazards mapped with their GPS location (longitude and latitude).  For each hole it calculates your position to the features on the golf course.

Most courses are now mapped by the GPS companies.  This involved people taking readings of locations at all the features of your golf course. Check if your regular course is mapped before your purchase a GPS.

The signal from the satellites is a radio wave and will travel through an umbrella or a cloudy sky. However, it will not work under solid objects, heavy tree cover or the veranda of the clubhouse.

What to look out for when buying a Golf GPS

Most brands have maps for most golf courses but it is still advisable to make sure that your golf course is listed, just in case it may be off the beaten track.

Screen brightness is important as the golf GPS is typically used in bright sunlight. If possible see how they perform in the sunlight, i.e. outside the shop.

Screen size is important but, more important, is the size of Golf GPS Pictorial Viewthe text and the readability.  Some have distances in large text sizes so they can be easily read.

Some provide different views of the golf hole, from a simple graphical representation to a pictorial view of the hole showing all features of the hole including trees and hazards.

Golf GPS Tough Point PositioningTouch point positioning is available on a number of models.  This allows you to point at a spot along the fairway e.g. the corner of a dogleg or bunker and both the distance to that point and the green is shown for you to determine your best lay-up distance.

Most golf GPSs have a clip that can simply clip onto you bag but some have buggy mounts that maybe more convenient and secure.

Typically, the golf GPS is waterproof as golf being an all weather sport. It is still worth while checking prior to purchasing. It is important to close waterproof covers after charging to maintain their waterproofing.

Most units have a  rechargeable battery which will last at least 2 rounds before requiring a recharge.

There are many other features provided on a golf GPS e.g. scoring and drive distance.  You can evaluate these yourself to see if they are useful to you.

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