SkyCaddie SG4 – Ultimate Golf Geekery

skycaddie1.jpgBack in the 17th century, golfers used to smack wooden balls around rough golf courses, walking every step of the way, lugging their crude bamboo clubs from hole to hole in full Sunday dress, and took your best guess as to how far you needed to hit the darn thing. We’ve come a long way baby.

Today not only do we have high-tech clubs and balls, power walk carts and heated drive carts, but if you really want to geek out on the golf course, you can dial up the nearest satelite and get your accurate distance information sent right to you. The SkyCaddie SG4 makes it all possible.

If you are a geek, and you like to golf, you owe it to youself to check this out.

From the SkyCaddie product page:

The SG4 includes SkyGolf’s patented IntelliGreen technology, enabling golfers to measure the full depth and shape of the green from any angle of approach and shows distances for all targets and hazards on any of SkyGolf’s many thousands of professionally mapped courses.

  • Large LCD screen for enhanced target display
  • Patented IntelliGreen technology provides the full depth of the green from any angle of approach plus the distance to any point on the green
  • Course Management features with ability to provide distances to hazards
  • Water resistance for play in all weather conditions
  • Powered by lithium rechargeable battery
  • Conforms to USGA/R&A ruling

In use, the SkyCaddie basically gives you a top down view of the entire hole you are playing. You can map any course you like by marking holes, or download your favorite courses from the SkyCaddie web site where many of the current golf courses have their information uploaded. An annual registration fee for accessing the courses is required, and range from $29.95 for statewide courses, to $59.95 for worldwide courses. Downloading courses and uploading to your handheld device is a fairly simple process using the included USB adapter, but it is worth noting that Macs are not supported on the SkyCaddie, so you’ll need a PC to interact with it.

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The SG4’s screens are bright and easy to read, and show the information most golfers love to have. From the iGreen view, you can always see how far it is to the front, middle and back of the green. You can also move the crosshairs around to any point on the green to receive the distance to that location as well. If you hit a great shot and want to know how far you hit it, you can push a button and start walking or driving to your ball, and the device will give you accurate distance when you arrive.

Another important and useful feature for golfers is the ability to see hazards on the course, and know the distances to those gotchas as well. What is the safe distance for a layup shot to the water? How far to carry the fairway bunker? How long is it to the end of the fairway cut? All of these items are mapped out and accessible via the SkyCaddie’s information displays. Knowing the distances to all the other crud on the course can help the smart course manager in you begin to shave strokes off your score.

Like any other handheld GPS device, the SkyCaddie can act a little funky in inclement weather. Under heavy clouds this past week, my device lost signal a few times during play, and I was forced to rely on old fashioned 150 yard markers, and sprinkler head distance markers! The manufacturer claims a 12 hour battery life, and I have experienced about 3 full 18 hold rounds per charge, so that seems about right.

Could I live without the SkyCaddie SG4? Absolutely. In fact, sometimes it feels good to ‘rough it’ and play without it when I’ve forgotten to charge it, or run out of the house without it. But on some rounds, especially at courses I haven’t played, it’s great to know the actual distance to the target, and to the hazards. Plus, it’s just cool to be able to mix the golf junkie, with the gadget geek!