Dedicated Golf GPS device or just use your phone?

Malcolm Schulstad from Gold Coast Golfer joins us once again to deliver today’s guest post on Golf GPS devices.

by Malcolm Schulstad

A few months ago I came across an article in the July edition of the Australian Golf Digest comparing dedicated Golf GPS devices to programs you can get on your mobile phone. In a nut shell, the article effectively states that a Golf GPS program on a mobile phone is “not designed to offer the precision that golf requires.” It’s a statement I disagree with.
How well a Golf GPS device works depends on both the hardware and software in your hand held device.  Better hardware allows your GPS to more easily find more of the 30 satellites roaming the globe to pinpoint your location.  The software allows the necessary calculations to be made to figure out where you are and compare you to pre-defined positions stored on your device.  In a nut shell, the better the hardware and software on your GPS device, the more accurate it is likely to be.
In the case of both phones and dedicated Golf GPS devices, there are both high end and basic devices.  If you have a high end phone with a high quality GPS receiver and good battery life, you’ll find plenty of Golf GPS programs up to the task of matching the functionality and accuracy of a dedicated Golf GPS for a fraction of the price.  However, if you have a cheaper, less capable phone (for the record, I classify Apple iPhones in this category), you may find you have issues with accuracy and battery life.
Think of your mobile phone as an SUV, designed to cater for a variety of situations. You have your cheaper SUVs that just get the job done. Or you can opt for your European SUVs, built for practicality but often combined with high end performance on the road.
Then there are the dedicated Golf GPSs which are like the sports cars of golf. Again, there’s your cheaper sports cars, and then there are the Ferraris with all of the bells and whistles. At the end of the day, the SUV is more than adequate for the majority of people. But there will always be a market for Ferraris.
And it is the same when it comes to Golf GPS devices. You’ll find a good mobile phone with the right program is a more than adequate to tell you how far you are from a pin or hazards. But if you want the course map with the video fly overs to show you the whole layout of the course, you’ll probably want to buy the Ferrari.
As someone who’s been playing with a Golf GPS for a number of years now, there’s one final point I’d like to make. When I needed a Golf GPS to tell me how far an object was, I couldn’t hit a particular distance with any degree of consistency. Now that I’m at a point in my golf where my shots are more consistent, I’m finding I no longer need a GPS to figure out what I need to hit. Keep that in mind when you’re making your investment in a Golf GPS device.

One thought on “Dedicated Golf GPS device or just use your phone?

  • October 21, 2010 at 05:18
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    Excellent review about using a dedicated golf device or just using a cell phone. Thanks for your valuable information.

    Reply

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