The Best of...GPS Devices

By: James A. Frank

This article appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of LINKS.

Small Wonders

NOW THAT GOLFERS are accustomed to handheld GPS devices providing pinpoint yardages, manufacturers are taking the next step. If it seems like a small step, that’s because these information-packed marvels are shrinking and losing weight. But as their size goes down, their features go up, making them more technologically savvy and helpful than ever (although also easier to lose). Here are five that might make you think GPS stands for “getting preposterously small.” 

Callaway upro MX+
At four inches long and two inches wide, this is the big boy of the bunch yet still weighs only three ounces. It shows yardages and hole/green schematics, and in the Pro mode displays video flyovers of holes and can calculate yardages between any two points. Comes with 25,000 courses, gets updates through a website, and can track stats like fairways hit and putts per round. No fees for updates. $250.

GolfBuddy VT3
Don’t want to read yardages? Touch VT3’s screen and the young lady inside calls out the distance (in eight languages) to the front, middle, or back of greens on 36,000 courses. The touchscreen also allows moving the flagstick to the day’s pin position, measures how far your shots have traveled, and keeps track of scores. It can be worn as a watch or clips onto a visor or pants pocket. No fees for updates.

Bushnell NEO-X The newest Bushnell watch is the thinnest and lightest yet, following the company credo “distance made simple” by making most functions one-button operations. Besides front-center-back yardages to greens, it tracks playing time and distance traveled. Loaded with 30,000 courses, updates come through a computer link. And if your ball takes a swim, Neo X is waterproof to more than 30 meters. No fees for updates. $200.

Garmin Approach S3
The high-resolution touchscreen is bright and easy to read, even in direct sunlight, and displays a caddy’s-worth of data. Along with front, middle, and back yardages, you can see the shape of the green, move the flagstick, check lay-up distances to doglegs and hazards, measure shots and how far you’ve walked, and keep a scorecard in stroke play or Stableford. Preloaded with 30,000 courses, no fees for updates.  $350.

SkyCaddie Aire
This compact unit displays just the information that company research shows golfers want. Front, center, and back yardages are big and easy to read, and synced to more than 30,000 courses mapped exclusively for SkyCaddie. Other features include an odometer and calorie counter, plus clock functions (timer, alarm, and pace of play). Membership required.


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