Monday, February 19, 2007

Playing metro with GPS

I had a very enlightening 9 holes the other day. I played with Metro's SkyCaddie GPS demo unit.

The device uses global positioning satellites to give you target yardage (to various parts of the green, to hazards, etc.) It can also calculate the distance you hit shots. I came away mighty impressed, and am seriously considering acquiring one next time my golf budget allows.

Several observations:

1) SkyCaddie gave me more confidence in my swings, because I knew the exact yardage. Club selection doubt is bad for my swing.

2) SkyCaddie made me choose smaller targets -- the front right of a green, for example. More precise information helps narrow my target focus. That's a good thing.

3) SkyCaddie confirmed Metro's yardage markers as being accurate. I never found more than a one yard disparity. It also showed me that my own judgements on yardage aren't too far off -- I usually eyeballed yardages within 5 to 8 yards accuracy. That's good to know. I can make a good guess most of the time, and that gives me a little more confidence as well.

4) I think most of us overestimate our driving distance prowess. I measure the best drive I hit through 9 holes. Felt like 250-260. SkyCaddie pegged it at 235 yards. D'Oh. But hey, soft fairways! Give me some of that PGA Tour roll, baby.

5) I loved what the device did for me, but I'm not sure I like the bother of checking some fancy digital doodad all the time. Feels inorganic, and a little like cheating.

I shot the front 9 in 37, pretty good for me. I could make an argument the SkyCaddie saved me a stroke or two. You can demo the unit yourself. Ask about it in the pro shop.

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