“ Manufacturer: SkyCaddie / GPS Type: Automobile / Form Factor: Handheld, Fixed / Input Method: Keypad / Trip calculator: Route Recalculation, Trip Timers / PC Interface: USB / Antenna: Built-in, External Antenna Hookup / Battery Type and Quantity: Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery / Battery Life: 14 Hours / Warranty: 30 Days „
* Prices may differ from that shown
For those golfers out there who want a bit more precision on the course then a GPS unit is an essential tool. It is not the case that only low handicappers or professionals need to know exactly how far it is to the green, or hazards on the course but this unit will benefit everyone who plays golf and give them a better indication of how far they can actually hit the ball.
So to the Sky Caddie SG5. The unit itself is very compact and comes with its own belt clip but the majority of people will fit it to their caddy car as it will more often than not get in the way on your belt!
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
Sky caddie SG5
Quick start guide
Quick set-up overview
Installation CD (note that mac users will need to download the software via the sky caddie website as the included CD is not mac compatible)
Shot tracking which measures the distance of your shots
Scores and statistics which has newly been added with the latest software release. This feature not only tracks your score but can record putts, fairways hit, although I would have expected a bit more here like greens in regulation, sand saves etc.
Caddie sync and club SG is available but this is very much a work in progress where up to 10 rounds can be saved and synced to a website. I have to admit that I was not impressed with this feature as I had numerous problems uploading score and there were several error messages and To be blunt this feature should have been omitted until it was perfected.
Auto advance which means the device automatically advances to the next hole when you get there.
Preferences: The sky caddie has a whole host of settings which can be adjusted depending on personal preference like using the centre or the front of the green as a reference, what distance to switch to green view and whether a detailed green view is required.
IS IT EASY TO SET UP?
It is extremely easy to set up the device, given the detailed instructions provided although you still need access to a computer to create an account.
Firstly, once you have set up your account, you will need to purchase a membership plan, the cheapest being £29.95pa right up to £79.95 every 3 years.
Once this is done you can install the course management software (caddie sync) on your computer which will then let you search for and select your courses (up to a maximum of 15 courses, 10 standard and 5 mapped by yourself).
Once this is done then you connect the usb to the device and sync your courses.
Sky caddie claims 100% coverage of courses in the UK but it is closer to 98% as a few courses are actually user mapped.
ON THE COURSE
Well I hear you say, what's the sky caddie actually like to use on the course? Well let's get one thing straight for starters as you will need to be aware that the device is water resistant but NOT waterproof so the first thing you might want to do is ensure you have some sort of transparent waterproof holder like the aquapac case which can be bought at www.aquapac.net.
The device is rather chunky and although I started off with it in my pocket I soon transferred it to a waterproof case attached to my bag. The screen is a decent size and very clear to read but you might want to spend some time acquainting yourself with the user manual before you take it out on the course as there are 7 separate buttons as well as a scroll pad. You have a centre scroll pad, left and right soft keys, an information button, a menu button, a hole button and finally a mark bal button.
Having said that the layout is very intuitive and it's easy to pick out reference points at a glance like front, middle and back of the green or how far to a hazard.
As regards to accuracy I have had no issues here and standing beside set markers on the course, the sky caddie is spot on and I have found it to be accurate to up to about +/- 4 yards.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
The cheapest I have seen the skycaddie sg5 sell for is about £180 if you can get it in stock but it is usually around the £200 mark.
While the SG5 is a good range finder I can't help but feel a tad disappointed at having to pay extra for the courses, the glitches in the software and the lack of extra features for such a high price.