“Don’t call it a comeback… I’ve been here for years.” LL Cool J’s assertion might as well be Callaway’s slogan moving forward for its laser rangefinders and GPS units.
On Dec. 31, 2014, Callaway made the decision to discontinue support of the uPRO line of products. With that decision came a lot of questions and some hard feelings from customers who felt left a bit in the lurch. But as with all technology, the only constant is change and products that require ongoing third-party support are more susceptible to market fluctuations than those where the technology simply becomes outdated. More or less, this is current state of affairs with Callaway as the uPRO platform is firmly in the rearview mirror and the road ahead is marked by a partnership with Izzo on two new GPS products — GPSync Watch and Eclipse GPS — and the new 300 Laser Rangefinder
With the 2015 line of laser rangefinders and GPS products, Callaway is back in the conversation, even if they weren’t gone all that long.
300 Laser Rangefinder
What you need to know: The Callaway 300 is solid in every respect and provides the player a clean and functional optical experience. The 6x magnification places it right in line with competing products at similar price points ($249.99 with current $30 rebate) and the overall range (1,000 yards to any target) is more than anyone reasonably needs. Distances are displayed in yards or meters and the 300 can lock on a single target or scan across multiple targets seamlessly.
Why you should buy it: The optics provided by Nikon on the Callaway 300 are top notch, and it has what Callaway calls P.A.T. (Pin Acquisition Technology). This helps to lock the laser onto flags quickly and displays precise yardages (+/- 1 yard up to 300 yards). If you’ve ever struggled to hit the flagstick instead of the trees behind the green, this is for you.
Why you might keep looking: Currently, this is the only model in the lineup and because Callaway has a price point targeted at the middle, players looking for higher-end features (read: more magnification, varied display colors, slope features, hardshell case) will need to look elsewhere.
Final Thoughts: If you’re looking for a rangefinder, chances are you want a product that locks onto pins easily, gives accurate yardages with point-shoot ease, is durable and user-friendly. The Callaway 300 is all that. Nothing more, nothing less.
What you need to know: There’s a whole lot going on with the GPSync Watch from Callaway. It’s a lot more than a watch, and it’s something beyond your standard golf GPS. It provides basic stat tracking, shot distance measurement, an odometer as well as text/email/call notifications from your bluetooth enabled smartphone. Basically, it’s the seven-layer dip of wearable golf technology. While it doesn’t excel in any one particular area and carries a fairly hefty price tag ($299), there’s enough here to garner a fair bit of attention.
Effectively, it’s a golf GPS wrapped in watch clothing. The standard functions of distance measurement to the front/middle/back of greens as well as hazards and doglegs are accurate, albeit with simple graphics — if a hole has multiple hazards, it’s tough to decipher which distance is associated with which hazard. That said, distances were always within 1-2 yard of my rangefinder and if accuracy is your bottom line, you’ll be pleased with the performance.
The GPSync Watch comes preloaded with 30,000 courses which should be sufficient, but you’ll want to check the database before you purchase just to make sure. Furthermore, Callaway’s partnership with Izzo means tapping into a greater database of information without any concern of subscription fees moving forward. If you’re going to use this primarily as a GPS on the course, the 10-12 hours or expected battery time might be a bit optimistic. In my experience, 8-9 hours was more realistic.
Why you should buy it: I can’t lie, there is some “cool factor” here. The integration of smartphone technology is appealing and for golfers who routinely wear a watch to the course and/or use a GPS, this sets the GPSync Watch apart from competitors. Not all of us can just ditch the phone for 4+ hours and pray no one calls, texts or sends an urgent email. Thankfully, you can leave your phone in your bag and the GPSync Watch will alert you when this happens. Just hope it’s not in the middle of your swing at a critical juncture in a match against your brother — hypothetically speaking, of course. The distances provided are spot on and the device navigated from hole-to-hole and screen-to-screen with adept agility.
Even though the graphics are a little “meh,” the overall user experience is intuitive and pleasantly easy to learn. If you can send an email, you can work the GPSync watch without frustration.
Why you might keep looking: The first generation of any technology has its risks, glitches and room for improvement.
The accompanying free app provides a nice starting point for stat-tracking, but it would be better if you could review past rounds and examine aggregate playing data. Finally, for those wanting an enhanced graphic experience, course mapping imagery leaves quite a bit to be desired. If I’m dropping three bills on a watch-GPS, I want it to blow my mind in at least one area and the GPSync watch, while entirely functional, is a bit underwhelming at this price point.
Final Thoughts: I like this product at $299, but would love it somewhere around $100 less, where comparable products reside. The other option is to bump the price up a bit and offer a product that competes directly with the creme de la creme of GPS-watch hybrids. The ability to get notifications of texts, emails and calls is nice, but you still need to reach into your bag and find your phone if you want reply. The GPS is solid if not unspectacular, however, the robust list of features and options is substantial and attractive. Ultimately it comes down to what you want. If it’s an Apple Watch with GPS functionality, this isn’t it. However, if you want a GPS and watch in a single package and like the idea of bluetooth integration, the GPSync Watch is certainly worth a long look.
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What you need to know: The Eclipse GPS from Callaway is the GPSync Watch minus the watch.
The foundational GPS technology provided by Izzo gives you access to 30,000 courses without any annual subscription fees. Syncing and updating your device is relatively simple, although it is a multi-step process. Distances to front/middle/back and hazards are precisely measured and the unit is remarkably easy to use. Added features for basic stat-tracking (putts, GIR, fairways hit) and shot distance measurement put the Eclipse GPS right in line with similar products from competitors.
In a word, the Eclipse GPS is about convenience. From the handy bag clip and diminutive stature to the auto-hole advance and satellite set time/date, there’s nothing about this unit that is complicated or difficult. Wouldn’t it be nice if the rest of the game were this easy!
Why you should buy it: At $199, there’s enough performance here to justify the cost. While many companies have focused on embedding GPS technology into watches or creating handheld GPS units, the Eclipse GPS stands alone. Sometimes less is more and in this case, the smaller size of the Eclipse is a good thing. Attaching and removing the Eclipse GPS from your bag or belt loop is a fluid and simple process, although players might prefer to use the Eclipse as they would any handheld GPS. I was pleased with the convenience of simply glancing at my bag to get distances, although if you have bag tags, towels, keys or anything else already on there, it’s easy to for the Eclipse to get lost in mix.
Those seeking convenience and function over form are going to find a whole lot to like in the Eclipse GPS.
Why you might keep looking: If you’re looking for a handheld GPS device or the idea of clipping a GPS onto your person or bag seems a bit awkward, you may want to opt for a full-size GPS or the GPSync Watch. If you are going to clip the Eclipse onto your bag, I’d love to see something more substantial with a locking feature. I never could get on with the idea of latching it onto my belt loop, but if that’s your thing that is an option. As with the GPSync, the Eclipse GPS is more graphically basic than you’d think for a device released in 2015. At its core, this product is about providing information, not aesthetics.
Final Thoughts: The Eclipse GPS by Callaway is a no frills, all business, straightforward golf GPS. It does precisely what it proposes to do and if you’ve been waiting for the functionality of a full-powered GPS, but don’t want to wear a watch or operate a hand-held device, the Eclipse is an intriguing option.
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GolfWRX Spotlight: Crossrope weighted jump rope & app
An 18-hole round of golf averages out to just under five miles of walking, which on its own is a good workout. Once you throw in some potential uphill trekking you get some serious cardio too, but if you all looking for a quick workout between rounds of golf look no further than Crossrope.
Crossrope – The details
Crossrope is a system of the weighted jump rope that allows you to quickly switch the weight of the ropes you are using to boost your workout—they range from 1/4 lbs all the way up to 2 lbs depending on the kit you start out with. There is an accompanying app that helps you go through multiple workout routines and is available free, or you can upgrade to the entire library of workout routines along with more workout tracking options.
This is NOT your middle school jump rope
The handles are heavy duty and feature precision bearings to allow the rope to move smoothly around as you go through a routine. They are also ergonomic and fit into your hand naturally, which making gripping easy, something that is really nice when you’re swinging a 2 lbs coated steel cable around. The handles also come with a fast clip system to make changing cables depending on your selected workout easier too.
The ropes themselves are made from braided steel and are almost impossible to tangle, allowing them to be easily transported and stored when not in use. All in you are getting a premium piece of workout equipment that is effective and easy to store—hard to same the same thing about a treadmill.
When it comes to a workout, skipping rope is one of the most effective cardio workouts you can do, and with Crossrope, you can get both cardio and low impact weight training when using the heaviest ropes, and follow along with the guided workouts.
As someone that hadn’t used a jump rope in over a decade, starting out lighter was a nice way to ease in before moving up, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy and fun some of the workouts in the app were. If you are looking for a fun way to add something to your workouts, or you just want to try something new to get you into golf course walking shape, this could be right up your alley. To learn more check out crossrope.com
WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of
One of the coolest parts of being in this part of the golfing world is being able to shed light on smaller companies that typically get overshadowed by their bigger corporate brothers.
So, this post is about one of those products that is definitely competitive against top golf shoe companies, and it’s made by a company called Athalonz, which is based out west in Arizona. Typically known for its innovative baseball cleats and insole packages, Athlonz newest addition takes the patented design to the world of golf with the EnVe golf shoe.
These have started appearing on the world long drive circuit due to the amount of traction they get, allowing players to swing harder. So for the last few months, I have gotten to wear them and see if they are as good as the company claims.
Athalonz EnVe: Living up to claims
The main selling points of these shoes are focused on two things
- Design that delivers more power and stability
- Custom comfort that lasts all day
These are somewhat difficult to combine into one shoe, and though they are on the heavier side, Athlonz are completely worth it for the benefits. It is obvious that they made strides to hit each box on the list for a great shoe. The patented design has been adapted from their baseball cleat and introduces a spikeless golf shoe with a circular design that allows the player to gain traction through the golf swing. This gives a player the chance to swing harder and faster without losing their footing. They also offer insole packages that help with correct bodyweight placement to help add an extra layer of consistency.
Secondly, it’s very noticeable that there was plenty of thought given to comfort with a roomy toe and custom insoles to fit your style. Additionally, ankle padding helps to provide more stability and comfort.
On another note, they have a good sense of style with a more classic, casual take. In addition to the pictured white/brown color, there’s a black/grey colorway as well.
After multiple months of wear in all types of conditions, these shoes have performed great for me with all the traction I need and while feeling great throughout the round.
I am a person who tends to support smaller companies when I can if they make good products. Any support for them goes a long way—especially in the golf business. Since these shoes will set you back about $150, I wanted to be sure they are worth it for the money and they absolutely are. Seriously, for anyone looking to boost their shoe game and help alleviate aching feet and ankles, give these a shot.
GolfWRX Spotlight: Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII
Every golfer should have an accurate, reliable, easy-to-use rangefinder. With the new Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII, you get all of that and more in one of the smallest, lightest packages on the market.
Not only do you get a ton of features, but when you consider these devices start at only $199.99 for the 20 G II and then $229.99 for the 20i GII ( slope adjusted version ), you get one of the best values in a rangefinder from one of the most well-known consumer optics companies in the world.
Review: Nikon CoolShot 20 GII and 20i GII
First Target Priority and 8-Second Continuous Measurement: “First Target Priority” is Nikon’s way of making sure you are picking up the flag and not a tree behind your intended target. There is nothing worse than thinking you have your distance dialed in to then have a shot fly over the green. With how quickly it lets you know the ranger finder is locked, getting that distance and double-checking can happen remarkably fast.
In the eight-second continuous measurement setting, the rangefinder will continuously measure the field of view as you scan the target area for approximately eight seconds. This setting is great when playing unfamiliar courses or trying to figure out the exact spot to a dogleg, tree, or hazard on your intended line.
Bright, 6x Monocular: Nikon is known for its glass and multi-coating technology, from telephoto camera lenses to rifle scopes, if it’s Nikon glass, it’s going to be clear, fog-resistant, and high-contrast for easy viewing. From a viewing experience perspective, the Coolshot 20 GII’s 6x monocular has an adjustable diopter for sharp focusing, along with long eye relief—meaning you can keep your glasses (or sunglasses) on when acquiring your target.
Slope-Adjusting ID Technology: With the 20i GII you have the option to get the slope-adjusted distance for any shot thanks to Nikon’s ID Technology. The mode can be turned on and off by the user to comply with USGA rules to make it legal for tournament rounds. Having tested it out on hilly terrain it’s easy to see why so many golfers mis-club going into greens when elevation changes become a lot more dramatic.
The Nikon Coolshot 20 GII’s size and weight make it ideal for anyone who regularly carries and wants the benefit of knowing distances but without having to worry about weight—it weighs about the same as a sleeve of balls.
The size allows you to hold the units stable. However, I could see for those new to the rangefinder space, it could take some time getting used to when first getting acquainted with it. The best bet for this is to take it to a range or just step outside with it on your next walk and get used to hitting targets before you take it to the course—plus it makes for a fun game to see how good you really are at estimating distances.
Overall, for the price and size, it is one of the best rangefinders on the market. Plus, with a five-year warranty, you can be assured of years of use with the Nikon CoolShot 20 GII rangefinders.
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