I was not one of the first to buy a GPS unit for my car: I like maps, sometimes even getting lost. But my family staged an intervention one Father’s Day and I’ve been a confirmed GPS-user ever since. Can’t live without it.
The same thing is now happening on the golf course, thanks to a little device called UPRO MX+, from Callaway.
There are numerous features to extol in the MX+, as you’ll see. But the one I can’t get over is its size: four inches long, two inches wide, about a half-inch deep, with a full-color touch screen. Best of all, it weighs only three ounces: I put it in my pocket and forget it’s there. No kidding.
Out of the box, MX+ is loaded with more than 25,000 courses from around the world; updates come through a website. The unit operates in a choice of three modes: Basic, which provides simple yardages to green (front, back, middle) and hazards on each hole, but no maps; Go, which shows renderings of each green and still more yardages; and Pro, which features a video flyover (below) of the course and the ability to find yardages between any two points on the hole you select, called AnyPoint Technology (left).
Honestly, I’ve been perfectly happy with Basic and Go modes, which are fast, simple, and, based on two months of testing, very accurate. I’ve tried the flyover and AnyPoint, and while very cool, are almost overkill unless you’re totally unfamiliar with the course, in which case it can help to see that there’s a pond over the hill or get a better idea where to lay-up and how far.
Which, again, would be more than enough, but that isn’t the end of the story. There’s a built-in digital scorecard, which tracks stats like fairways, greens, and putts per round, and the website not only manages new-course downloads but can keep track of your scores and stats, preview courses, offer tech support, and put you in touch with a community of similarly inclined golfers. Plus other things I haven’t discovered yet, I’m sure.
And once you’ve bought the unit, which lists for $250, there are no annual fees or subscriptions. Download as many courses as you like for as long as you like. (There aren’t many in ProMode yet, but more are coming.)
A few minor complaints. The screen can be too sensitive: I occasionally miss or overshoot what I’m trying to click. And the unit goes to sleep after just a few seconds, so needs to be punched back on for every new shot—it’s only one button, but it still bugs me. Minor quibbles, and powering down probably saves battery life. (A full charge is supposed to last two rounds, about what I’ve found.)
To those with moral qualms about GPS and other such devices, I’m sympathetic. Does it really matter if you’re 143 or 147? Isn’t the sprinkler head good enough?
But don’t give me the anti-technology screed unless you’re still using persimmon woods, forged irons, and a balata ball. Determining yardage is within the rules, so why not know as much as you can? And with a little practice, the MX+ actually is quicker than walking to the sprinkler and back. Plus, with the different modes, you choose just how much data you get.
Upro MX+ is going to be in my pants pocket for a long time. I just hope I remember it’s there.