WHAT WE THOUGHT
THERE’S no question that SkyCaddie GPS devices contain the most information and I think it’s probably fair to say they also offer the most accurate readings.
Their latest device is the SGXW and the first thing to make clear is that it is exactly the same as the SGX apart from allowing you to download new courses via WiFi rather than having to plug it in to a computer.
That’s a big development, because for many, GPS devices are just a bit too much of a fiddle – by the time you remember you need a new course you’re either in your car or standing on the 1st tee.
The SGXW doesn’t necessarily solve either either of those problems, of course, because you still need to connect to WiFi, and the places you can do that (like home or office) are probably where you would have a computer to hand anyway. Still, at least you don’t need any wires and if you’re resourceful then you can often get free WiFi at a clubhouse, cafe or hotel.
The good news is – it works. Downloading a new course is pretty easy and takes less than a minute.
So that brings us back on to the SGX itself. If it’s a yardage to front, middle or back of the green, there is no problem and it’s very simple.
If it’s a yardage to front, middle or back of the green, it’s very simple.
Personally, I find it less intuitive if I want to know how far away a bunker is or what the run out is until the fairway ends (for example at a dogleg). Perhaps I should have spent more time reading the instructions. Perhaps I just need to be more patient.
Just like you would see on a yardage chart, the SGXW offers an overhead view of each hole. In practice, I tried to utilise this feature at Holyhead and Bull Bay in North Wales. I hadn’t played either course before and both have several blind shots. I would pull the SGX out on the tee in the hope of getting a feel for the hole and more often than not was none the wiser. It’s not a fault – I’m just not sure it’s possible to give an idea of a line from the tee or how severe a dogleg is or where the bunkers are, just in the same way that anyone lucky enough to visit Augusta will tell you it is not at all what they were expecting.
More impressive is the Intelligreen feature. This means that the green automatically rotates to face you, so the front measurement is always to the nearest part of the green. Play a dogleg or (more likely, let’s be honest) go wildly offline so you are coming in from a funny angle and the SkyCaddie is still telling you exactly what you need to know. It will even alert you to a green with a false front.
Behind the scenes, there is so much more to do and see.
I suspect there are those who want only the simple, basic information of yardages to the front, middle and back. If this sounds like you, then there’s no need to invest quite as heavily.
Equally, for those who want to get the very most out of a GPS and will take the trouble to learn how to use it, SkyCaddie is the obvious, if not only, choice.
TESTED: March 2012
TESTER: Dan Murphy
SRP: £329.99. Membership plans allowing you to download new courses start at £29.95 per year
t: 0800 883 0505