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Review: Callaway’s 300 Rangefinder, GPSync Watch and Eclipse GPS

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“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ongoing third-party support are more susceptible to market fluctuations than those where the technology simply becomes outdated.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 

CallawayLaser_SideFront2

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.

[wrx_retail_links productid=”43″]

GPSync Watch

CallawayGPSWatch_Angle1_play

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.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.callawaygolf.com/accessories/gps-rangefinders/spr4452433.html” oemtext=”Learn more from Callaway” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S6T0DLS/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00S6T0DLS&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=UU4BGKNVE6SI4FF6″]

Eclipse GPS

eCLIPse_Angle2_play

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.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.callawaygolf.com/accessories/arccos-gps/spr4452434.html” oemtext=”Learn more from Callaway” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S6T0G4W/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00S6T0G4W&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=TBKEZ54735LQN4UK”]

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I didn't grow up playing golf. I wasn't that lucky. But somehow the game found me and I've been smitten ever since. Like many of you, I'm a bit enthusiastic for all things golf and have a spouse which finds this "enthusiasm" borderline ridiculous. I've been told golf requires someone who strives for perfection, but realizes the futility of this approach. You have to love the journey more than the result and relish in frustration and imperfection. As a teacher and coach, I spend my days working with amazing middle school and high school student athletes teaching them to think, dream and hope. And just when they start to feel really good about themselves, I hand them a golf club!

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Jeff Carlson

    Sep 14, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    The best rangefinder I have ever used. It is light weight, waterproof, and compact. The pin seeking and scanning modes are great for the average golfer. The yaradages appear very accurate, even from long distances. Callaway 300 is ready to use right out of the box. Hands down 5 stars. I am very pleased with this purchase and highly recommend it!!

  2. jamessaylor

    Sep 8, 2015 at 4:54 am

    Thanks for nice posting !

  3. dscvrrstl

    Jul 31, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    300 Rangefinder works really well. Quick lock on the pin and other targets. Best feature, after you lock on one target, just hold button down and shift to any other targets within 8 secs and it keeps reading those distances also. Don’t have to keep hitting button over and over like other range finders.

  4. Darwin Howard

    Jul 30, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Paid for unlimited used of the Upro, now what there some G.P.S. with Callaway name on it NO THANKS. Still have credit I have not use on the Upro.

  5. Upro owner

    Jul 28, 2015 at 1:49 am

    The above poster is spot on I purchased a upro with Mitch excitement just to have battery issues ( callaway did send me an extra battery ) and to have the up and stop supporting the device . Had callaway not burned me on my upro I would buy the watch quickly but I know they will stop supporting and leave me out in the cold AGAIN NO THANKS !!

  6. IZZO Golf

    Jul 27, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Please don’t confuse Callaway’s past history with uPro with the newest Callaway distance measurement devices. The source is entirely different as the newest offerings are manufactured and supported via a licensing relationship with IZZO Golf. IZZO has been in the Golf Electronics category for 7+ years and its solid track record of product quality and support should speak for itself.

    Thank you,
    IZZO Golf

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Accessory Reviews

Top-3 men’s golf polos at the 2018 PGA Fashion Show in Vegas

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GolfWRX’s fashion expert Jordan Madley picks her top-3 favorite men’s polo shirts from the recent 2018 PGA Fashion Show in Las Vegas. Enjoy the video below!

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Accessory Reviews

I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went

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Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.

Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.

It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.

The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.

But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.

Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.

“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”

“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.

On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.

The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.

We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.

Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)

Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.

Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.

But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.

Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.

Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.

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Accessory Reviews

Review: The QOD Electric Caddy

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If you want an electric golf caddy that doesn’t require that you wear a sensor or carry a remote — one that will be reliable and allow you to focus on your game, and not your cart — then the Australian-manufactured QOD is worth checking out.

The QOD (an acronym for Quality of Design and a nod to its four wheels) is powered by a 14.4-volt lithium battery, good for 36 holes or more on a single charge. It has nine different speeds (with the fastest settings moving closer to jogging velocity) so the QOD can handle your ideal pace, whether that be a casual stroll or a more rapid clip around the course.

The QOD is also built to last. Its injection-molded, aircraft-grade aluminum frame has no welded joints. Steel bolts and locking teeth take care of the hinging points. The battery and frame are both guaranteed for three full years. If you need a new battery after the three-year window, the folks at QOD will replace it at cost.

Its front-wheel suspension gives the QOD a smooth ride down the fairway, and the trolley is easy to navigate with a gentle nudge here and there. The QOD is always in free-wheel mode, so it is smooth and easy to maneuver manually in tight spaces and around the green.

The caddy also features three timed interval modes for situations where you might wish to send it up ahead on its own: when helping a friend find a lost ball or when you will be exiting on the far side of the green after putting, for example. The clip below includes a look at the caddy in timed mode.

When folded, the QOD measures a mere 17-inches wide, 15-inches deep and 12-inches tall.

Another area where the QOD excels is in its small size and portability. When folded, it measures a mere 17-inches wide, 15-inches deep and 12-inches tall, making it the smallest electric caddy on the market.

Folks Down Under have been enjoying the QOD for some time, but it wasn’t until a few years ago when Malachi McGlone was looking for a way to continue walking the course without putting undue strain on an injured wrist that the QOD found U.S. fairways. After first becoming a satisfied customer, McGlone convinced CEO Collin Hiss, who developed the product and oversees its production in Australia, to allow him to distribute and service the QOD here in the states.

The QOD has no self-balancing gyroscope, bluetooth sensor or remote control. Bells and whistles just aren’t its thing — though it does have a USB port for cell phone charging that can come in handy. However, if you are looking for a no-fuss workhorse to move your bag down the fairway, the QOD should be on your radar.

The 2018 model has begun shipping and will be on sale at $1,299 for a limited time. It normally retails at $1,499.

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