GPS and Golf
Golfers are constantly looking for something that can help the game and save a couple of shots here and there. Over the last couple of years, Golf GPS systems and software have become more widely available. Basically, a golf GPS device or mobile application uses preset points to give the club/casual golfer the type of information that a professional has access to via their caddy’s notebook. Distance from ball to carry hazards, to centre of green etc. That can be golden advise to the golfer, and can definitely save a couple of shots if used well.
Sureshot GPS 8850 Review
I was lucky enought to get a Sureshot GPS 8850 for Christmas. This compact handheld golf GPS device can store up to 100 course layout details providing distance details to hazards and front, centre and back of greens. The device can also measure driving distance, and record stats during the round including score, putts, greens in regulation, fairways hit and sand saves. The Sureshot GPS 8850 comes packages with USB cable to download courses, charger, clip and protective cover.
Course details are downloaded from the Sureshot website to the device. Coverage for Australian courses is excellent, I havent found a course Ive played yet that wasnt available. There are over 14,000 courses available worldwide. Of note, although the device can hold up to 100 courses, only 3 courses can be downloaded initially. A Sureshot Membership needs to be purchased to download more courses, this can cost between $30 to $100 annually. This is essential if you plan on playing more than 3 courses!
On course, the Sureshot GPS 8850 is easy to use, and very accurate*. On the tee, the display can show up to 15 hazards including bunkers, water, mounds etc noting distance to and carry for each hazard, the display also shows distance to front, middle and back of each green. The device can then be read from anywhere on the hole providing distances to hazards and green. Ive found that approach shot distances are extremely helpful, particularly on deceptive distances.
The statistics are a nice to have, but generally I have been just saving my score and not worrying about the additional stats. These details can all be downloaded as a spreadsheet after the round.
* A note on accuracy – The distances are only as good as the initial course measurement. Each distance to hazard and green is initially manually entered, Ive noted a number of holes where hazards havent been included at all. The Sureshot website clearly notes whether a course has been professionally measured or player mapped. In some cases, a player mapped course may be better as the player has spent more times adding hazards and reference points.
The use of measuring devices has historically been illegal in golf competition, even though detailed yardage guides and manual distance notes could be used. Recent changes in the rules of golf by the R&A now allows the use of Golf GPS devices whilst playing in competitions, providing a Local Rule has been approved by individual Golf Clubs. The measuring device can measure distance only and must not be able to measure other conditions such as wind speed or direction, slope of the ground or temperature. This therefore allows GPS devices and mobile golf GPS applications.
So ensure you check with the local club rules before playing competition with a GPS. My local club, the Growling Frog Golf Club has a local rule allowing GPS devices in all competitions except for Monthly medal.
The Sureshot GPS 8850 is a good golf GPS device, the battery life is more than enough for 36 holes of golf, distances are accurate and the GPS connectivity is very good. The device is also very robust, Ive dropped it a couple of times, and in an extreme road test, had it bounce out of a golf cart and then driven over by the cart, apart from a small scratch, the Sureshot kept working!!! There should be no problem finding the course you need to play, especially in Australia. The GPS unit is an allowable aide and any assistance to the game of golf is worth taking!