Most golfers these days couldn't get through 18 holes without the use of some sort of distance measuring device, but if you're in the market for a new device, it can be a bit of a minefield.
By Beck Gee
Nowadays we often need simply to glance at our watch or trolley handle to know exactly how far we have to the pin, and while some will argue that technology has taken some of the fun out of the game, it’s safe to say that the way we calculate our yardages has changed immeasurably over the last few years.
After all, it wasn’t too long ago that the golf aficionados among us would purchase a course planner from the pro shop and pace out our yardages. For the rest of us, it was more a hit and hope sort of affair. Ok, so perhaps not everything has changed, but when it comes to choosing a DMD, the pace of advancements can often leave us feeling perplexed.
When purchasing a DMD it comes with a never-ending stream of questions? Should I go for a GPS watch, would it be more beneficial to buy a laser rangefinder, or
should I go all out and purchase a new trolley complete with an integrated DMD built into the handle?
Of course, not every GPS has to be so extravagant and there is now a selection of fabulous apps that can be purchased for a fraction of the cost.
With so many options its little surprise it can be hard to know where to start.
Luckily, we are here to help.
GPS OR LASER?
When you begin to consider a new DMD purchase, the first question that often springs to mind is whether you should go for a GPS or a laser rangefinder. While both sit at a similar price point there are some pros and cons to each option, and there is an array of factors to consider before making your final purchase.
Those looking for more accurate yardages to the flag should consider a laser rangefinder, which providing you have a clear view of the pin, has the capability to give distances to the nearest yard. While obviously not providing you with details of the green surrounds, users can zap yardages to bunkers, trees, and hazards and can also elect to go for a model that factors in slope. The problem comes when you have no view of the hole or when you need accurate yardages to hazards around the green.
Meanwhile, for a more holistic view of the hole and for serious players which prefer to see the hole from above, a GPS is often the best route to go for. They are also highly recommended for players who travel extensively and wish to see what’s in front of them on each new hole. Of course, within the GPS bracket there are several models and price points to consider and it’s worth factoring in whether a yardage to the middle of the green will suffice or if you need more accurate details on your approaches.
HANDHELD OR WATCH?
GPS watches are among the biggest innovations in golf technology over the past few years. Nowadays many of the latest models not only include basic yardages to the centre of the pin but also details like doglegs, bunkers and much more. You can also pair the device to your phone to receive information and stats. They’re great if you simply want to glance down to receive quick yardages but pale to the advanced handheld devices if your focus is receiving detailed hole maps.
GPS SMARTPHONE APPS
These are a great choice if you are looking for something cheaper while still offering many of the functionalities that come with a handheld GPS device. It’s worth pointing out most smartphone apps aren’t as accurate as there DMD equivalents, and a purchase will come with plenty of caveats, such as ensuring you have enough battery on your phone, as they tend to drain battery life at lightning speed. It’s also important to check whether they are
permitted on your course, as the rules around smartphone use vary widely from club to club.
Nonetheless, there are several pros, including a movable cursor function and the ability to input your score. It’s worth bearing in mind that the performance of GPS golf apps differs massively from brand to brand so be sure to do your research before making a purchase.
Bushnell’s Hybrid rangefinder combines the latest laser and GPS technologies in one device, allowing golfers to see distance measurements like never before.
Last month GolfBuddy launched the WTX+ watch with an improved antenna strength which speeds up the time for it to find a course and work out distances.
Featuring PinPoint and Dynamic HoleVue technology and a sharp 5” full HD touchscreen, the brand new SkyCaddie SX500 gives comprehensively one of the best views in golf.
Motocaddy’s free GPS app has over 40,000 courses loaded in and gives precise GPS yardages to the front, middle and back of greens.