Satellite technology and golf

It’s now legal for amateur golfers (in Victoria at least – I’d be surprised if all Australian states didn’t have the same ruling – not sure about the rest of the world) to use satellite navigation units (GPS) in competition. I think it is a good thing – making getting the exact meterage (or yardage) quickly and without fuss.

This must speed up play, which is always a good thing. Looking for sprinkler heads or distance markers can be time consuming, especially when you’re playing on an unfamiliar golf course.

These navigation units don’t provide an unfair advantage. If you don’t have one you can still find the distance to the green by using course guides or distance markers, so I think it is a positive step for golf.

The other thing to consider is these devices can’t play for you. You still have to choose the club and hit the shot. Golfers skill will and should always be the most important factor in golf. But anything that speeds up play should be adopted and encouraged to be used.

These units aren’t particularly cheap. I priced one at AUD$549. But like most things I’m sure if you shop around you can find a better price. Also, it’s highly likely that the prices will drop significantly in the next year or so.

I think I’ll shop around a bit and see if I can get a cheaper one. I’ve also heard that Ebay have some good deals.

If you’ve been using one I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

Good golfing,


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  • Paul Marrington

    Reply Reply May 26, 2008

    $549 is a pretty expensive dedicated device. I used another that provides a bluetooth modem and you use your phone. It cost less than half that. I am in the process of developing a product that will do the distances as part of a larger training aid. It will allow you to use a bluetooth GPS that costs well under $100 and either a phone or a PDA.To just measure distances to the hole it will be free to use. That point is still a few months away, but if you are willing to wait…

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