Ditch The Caddy, Grab The Golf GPS
There is perhaps no other sport that embraces the use of technology to help augment a participant’s experience like golf. The next wave of innovation is upon us, as improved laser and GPS technology has put a number of new tools in the hands of golfers.
Since the advent of the game, players had only rudimentary tools to help them get pin high. A teebox marker, a fairway-embedded yardage plate or perhaps an experienced caddy’s yardage book were all a player had to help him in selecting his club. When in doubt, the naked eye may have become their only judgment tool. These days, however, there is almost no excuse for not knowing correct distances from anywhere on the course.
That all changed in 1999, when GolfLogix revolutionized the game of golf with the introduction of the first handheld golf GPS made especially for the game. The system first appeared at only the most prestigious golf courses throughout the world, embedded in a Garmin GPS system that was developed by both corporations. The units were typically mounted to the cart, some were handheld, and gave just basic information based on the location of the unit and the programmed pin placement.
While that option provided golfers a much better solution than previous methods, they also leave a bit to be desired. Being mounted to a cart meant that in order to get precise measurements, you had to be properly aligned with your ball. Once you leave the teebox, chances are your cart is not criss-crossing the fairway to give both golfers in the cart the advantage of accurate distance, meaning it becomes largely irrelevant sometimes when you need it most.
Further, small screens with low resolution could not accurately represent much more than how far you were away from the pin. The first handheld consumer units made it to market by 2007, giving golfers greater freedom and improved technology, but meant finding space for the unit in the golf bag.
Attempting to address both those issues are the relatively new golf GPS watches. They combine the accuracy of the cart-mounted GPS unit with the portability of a handheld unit. They are still limited, however, by the inability to display much more than the distance to front, middle or back of the green.
Many companies have realized the ubiquity of GPS-enabled smartphones, and ditched the need to develop hardware solutions for their golf GPS applications. A quick glance at the iPhone or Android app markets have a number of applications to help golfers without needing to buy extra equipment.
These apps have the advantage of displaying not only the distance to the hole via GPS, but also wind and weather information that can affect a golfer’s decision of club choice. High-resolution screens can also show a hole’s layout, along with any hazards that may lay between a player’s lie and the hole.
Keeping an app up over the course of 18 holes however, can really drain a phone’s battery life. Your buddy’s custom cart may have a charging port, but if you are stuck with the typical rental cart you better hit the first hole with 100 percent battery life if you want enough battery to call your wife when you wrap the round.
That is why revolutionary apps like Birdie Apps represent a golfer’s best choice when it comes to golf GPS options. It is web-based, meaning once you hit that first teebox, you simply fire up your iPhone or Android smartphone, point your web browser at gps.birdieapps.com, and start your round. There is no download needed after the website is initially opened up, meaning that there is no battery-consuming network requests.
Birdie Apps offers an ever-growing list of mapped courses, represented with detailed hole and green views right on your smartphone’s screen. It utilizes your smartphone’s GPS technology to give you accurate distance information from anywhere on the course. There is no need to remember to download an app before you hit the course. Perhaps the best part, Birdie Apps is completely free, without any other hardware to buy besides the smartphone you already own.
Playing better golf means playing accurate golf. Next time you hit the course, go prepared to put one of the latest golf GPS innovations to use for your game.