Pros: Lightweight and comfortable to wear. Instant yardages from anywhere on the golf course, and functions as a normal watch and pedometer. Waterproof and long-lasting with a rechargeable battery. USGA tournament legal.
Cons: No exact yardage to the hole. The three-button interface can make cycling through the different modes and distances tedious. The charging port can also be frustrating to attach.
Who it’s for: With more than 35,000 courses, any golfer can find the device effective due to its fast, easy yardages.
I recently had the opportunity to test the Precision Pro GPS Golf Band ($189), although I normally don’t use GPS-style rangefinders on the course. I usually prefer to use a laser rangefinder, because it gives precise distances to targets I choose rather than specific targets already chosen for me. However, the features on this band proved very useful and provided distances that were right on par with a laser rangefinder. The band is also very compact and light enough (about 1 oz.) so that it didn’t interfere with my swing.
Starting the Round
One of the features that can be used off the course is Tee Time Notification. It allows you to set a tee-time reminder up to one week in advance and will then alert you 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time.
Once you arrive at the course, select the “Play Golf” mode, which will activate the GPS signal to find the 1 of 35,000 courses available (no downloads or purchases are required). This can take a few minutes, but only lasted about 45 seconds for me. The band will list several nearby courses, starting with the one closest to your current location. After you select the course you’re about to play, the GPS will automatically start on the first hole. If the starter sends you off the 10th hole, or you have a shotgun start, you can manually change holes using the small buttons on the side, which is done quite easily.
During the Round
Once you are on the tee, the band shows the full length of the hole when outside of 250 yards. When inside 250 yards, the band has the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green. These yardages update instantaneously as you move closer or farther from the green. The band also shows the distance to/distance to carry any bunkers and water hazards in the fairway or by the green. This is, however, where the band’s compact design has some issues. The face is too small to fit whole words like “bunker” or “water.” It can only fit a max of 4 letters across the screen. Therefore, there are 21 abbreviations used to communicate the distance to/carry distance of all the hazards on the hole (ex. Left Fairway Bunker = LFB; Right Fairway Water Cary = RFWC; Middle Carry Water Layup = MFW). This can take some getting used to, and you should probably take the instruction manual that lists all 21 abbreviations with you on your first few times out wearing the band.
The only other drawback with this feature is cycling through each list of hazards. There is only one hazard per screen, so if there are three bunkers in the fairway, you need to cycle through three times. If you keep pressing the button to get to the next hazard, you may press it one too many times and enter into a different mode. I have accidentally cycled out of golf mode many times trying to figure out all of the distances, only to have to re-enter Golf Mode and have the GPS find me again, which it does very quickly and to the exact spot on the course. Again, this just takes some getting used to.
The band also has a Shot Distance mode, which reveals how far a shot traveled. It is very simple to use. Simply cycle to this mode and press the middle button, hit the shot, and drive/walk to where the ball landed. The band will begin to count the yards as soon as you start moving toward the ball (the tricky part then becomes cycling back to get the distance of the next shot).
Once you finish 18 holes, the band has a time summary of how long your round lasted. You can then exit Golf Mode and enter back into the Watch Mode, which will keep the battery from depleting while you are recapping your round at the 19th hole.
According to Precision Pro Golf, the band’s battery can last 8 hours while in GPS/Golf mode and more than 6 months while in Watch Mode. The band comes with a USB charging adapter, which may require some patience and a steady hand when first attempting to re-charge the band. It requires aligning the adapter’s clips with the band’s small ports, which is not always easy.
At $179.95, the GPS Golf Band is on the affordable side for a GPS Golf Watch, but there’s plenty of competition in the category from names like Bushnell, Garmin, Tom Tom. Still, Precision Pro holds its own for golfers in search of a simple, lightweight and comfortable solution to on-course yardages.
The sleek design gives it the look of a small digital watch, so it can be worn on and off the course. While you can’t get the exact yardage to the pin, it still give you extremely accurate yardages to all aspects of the course. As long as you know the pin placement, you will have a very close approximation of the correct distance.