Dan Murphy has recently upgraded to the SkyCaddie SX550 GPS and offers his verdict on the performance of this top-of-the-range model, which has the look and feel and intuitive use of a smartphone.

In the world of GPSs, one brand dominate when it comes to the handheld sector. The discerning golfer looks no further than SkyCaddie. Dan Murphy has recently upgraded to the brand’s top-of-the-range SX550 model and offers his verdict on its performance.

SkyCaddie SX550 GPS review: NCG Summary

NCG SUMMARY

At its core, this is a market-leading GPS. It also offers you the ability to plot your way around the whole golf course.

PROS

  • Numbers that you can trust – and the ability to calculate lay-up distances and run-outs
  • Brilliantly clear, at-a-glance visuals from the big screen
  • The battery lasts for at least two rounds per charge and in practice much more

CONS

  • An annual subscription is required to access all the features

SkyCaddie SX550 GPS

Now: £379.95
SkyCaddie SX550 GPS

Check out the best deals on the SkyCaddie SX550 GPS


First Impressions

I should start by declaring that I know and respect SkyCaddie’s handheld GPSs and have done for several years. I am looking for more than just a number to the centre of the green so I love the visuals and the large screen on the SX550. It’s really easy to work out, for example, how far away a certain hazard is or what the carry is to clear it. The touchscreen is intuitive and behaves in much the same way as a smartphone.

SkyCaddie SX550 GPS

I carry my bag so I have got my SkyCaddie SX550 in a case which is attached to the bag via a retractable cord. If that sounds a little complicated then it is, but it allows me to grab my SkyCaddie while I am walking towards my ball and begin to assess the numbers I will need on arrival. It also means I can return the device to my bag pocket without being in fear that it will fall out and not be there come the next hole.

On-course testing

I’ve already played several rounds with my SX550. Because I like to have a full picture, I also carry a Bushnell laser. The two devices work perfectly together for me. They allow me to triangulate information. I don’t see one as being better than the other – I see them as being complementary. I suspect I use my SkyCaddie more often per round than I do my laser. That’s down to gradually gaining trust in its numbers couple up with the ever-growing awareness that the middle of the green is plenty good enough for me in many more situations than it is not.

SkyCaddie SX550 GPS

The bread and butter of a GPS is that distance to the middle of the green and whether you need a 7-iron or an 8-iron. However, I very often get my SkyCaddie SX550 out on the tee, especially when playing a course I am not overly familiar with. It really helps to know that a fairway runs out at a certain distance on a certain line, or that a visible hazard is actually not in play.

The 19th hole

On a full charge, I reckon I could get two days of full play from this device, which is great.

While charging, you can also perform a sync over wifi to make sure the device is up to date.

When you arrive for your round, power on the SX550 and give it a minute to work out where it is. A couple of verifying taps through various menus and you are ready to go with the 1st hole shown. Thereafter, you shouldn’t need to touch it again all round if you don’t want to. It automatically updates to the hole you are playing.

There is a wealth of additional functionality that the SX550 offers, including the ability to score on it. And if you happen to play in certain high-profile events, the pin positions of the day can be inputted and, once synced, that allows your device to give you measurements to the flag.

For most of us, though, it’s the accuracy and clarity of the information that makes the SkyCaddie SX550 GPS such a winner.


About the SkyCaddie SX550 GPS

Now: £379.95
SkyCaddie SX550 GPS

Check out the best deals on the SkyCaddie SX550 GPS


The Details

Available: Now
RRP: £379.95
More info: SkyCaddie website

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Dan Murphy

Dan loves links golf, which doesn't mean he is very good at it. He is a four-handicapper at Alwoodley. A qualified journalist and senior editor with 25 years’ experience, he was the long-time editor of NCG. His passion is golf courses and he is the founding editor of NCG Top 100s course rankings. He loves nothing more than discovering and highlighting courses that are worthy of greater recognition.

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