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SkyCaddie annual fees


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#1 dgn

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 05:21 AM

I have an SG 2.5 that, although somewhat basic, works well for me.  Like a lot of SkyCaddie owners, I begrudgingly renewed my yearly membership for my state, for $30.  Got me thinking... can SkyCaddie still compete with so many "no fee" options on the market?  Between smart phone apps, the new Callaway uPro MX and others, I'm not sure.  

This is not to bash SkyCaddie.  I think there's something to be said for on-site course mapping.  Since this is the only GPS unit I've owned, I can't compare it's accuracy to others.  But I still believe they'll have to make some fee changes... maybe soon.

Thoughts?


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#2 Ping33

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 07:11 AM

I looked at the SkyCaddie and other units, I love gadgets. But honestly, the yearly fees and the initial upfront cost I could not justify it. I play a few courses locally and maybe one or two odd ball courses now and then if I'm lucky, so I could not pull the trigger. And the yearly fee just killed the SkyCaddie in my book.

So, what I have done is this, for around $50 I have Golfshot GPS on my iPhone and a small secondary battery that will keep my phone running for a couple of days without recharging. Updates are free, does all of the scoring and handicapping, etc. And I picked up a GameFace Sports laser range finder with pin/flag seeker for $194 delivered, should be here today, seeing as the guy that sells them is right around the corner from me in my old neighborhood. So, for $244.00 I should be set for quite awhile, and no yearly fees.

Here is the link to the range finder http://shop.thegamef...finder-1002.htm

Golfshot ap http://golfshot.com/

And battery with adapters http://www.amazon.co...duct/B0013G8PTS

#3 WishICouldPlayMoreOften

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 08:42 AM

They'll keep charging the fees as long as people keep paying them.  That's the advantage of being early and big in the market, but it's also the ground they have to lose.  I don't think the uPro MX will be the real threat.  I think it will be if Callaway allows ProMode course access to all courses for a one-time fee.  There will be just as much opportunity for SKG to lose customers to uPro sales and resales as their will be to new MX units.

I have a uPro because it had no annual fees, but I've balked at the ProMode course pricing packages.  If it's one-time for all ProMode course, I'm in instantly.

I have a smartphone with some of the golf apps others recommend.   They work, but I simply don't like using my phone for golf - it's too heavy and big (has a 4.3" screen which is great for most things but just too much for golf and sporting activities).  What they're most useful for is that one time when I'm travelling and have an unplanned round on an unfamiliar course.   But let's see, that's never happened yet.

I've never considered SKG because that ongoing annual fee doesn't make any sense given that most courses don't do annual wholesale layout changes.  I'll bet they lower fees before dropping them though because they probably don't sell enough units to make money on the hardware.

#4 dgn

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 08:47 AM

I have an iPhone 4 with Golf Shot GPS.  It's a good app, but I've just never warmed up to using my phone as a rangefinder.  I prefer a dedicated unit.  But it seems to work well, and makes my point that yearly subscription fees may be on the way out.

#5 dlygrisse

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 08:52 AM

I have a 2.5 and renewed this year again....I tried some phone apps but they are a pain to use on a Blackberry, the battery goes dead quickly, however they seem to be about as accurate.  If I had it to do over again I would NOT get a Sky Caddie, too many other good devices without fees.  If most people are like me when their Sky Caddy breaks or they just want a new one Sky Caddy will have to rethink their business model.

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#6 Tanksfurnutin

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:26 AM

I had my SGX stolen at the beginning of the season.  Since I didn't want to shell out $300 for a new one I decided to try the Skydroid GPS app on my smartphone.  It cost me $1.99 for the app with no recurring fee.  It's not as spiffy as my SGX but it gives me yardages quickly and accurately.  To top it off no more $50 yearly fee.  I don't know how much longer Skycaddie can continue to charge the yearly fees but I don't see myself going back.

#7 DeadlyShortGame

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 10:01 AM

Exactly why I got a laser after having a SG5.  Loving the rangefinder much more!

#8 Spumoni

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 10:17 AM

That is the reason I sold my 2.5 and bought the Garmin Approach S1 watch. I got $80 for the 2.5 with accessories and paid $200 for the S1 and avoided the $30 renewal cost in Janurary.  So I figure saving the $30 year will pay for the Approach S1 over time.

#9 TM_HOYER

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 10:58 AM

I have a SGX. With the quality of the yardages and information I get from my Skycaddie, the yearly fees are worth it. I will pay extra to get the information from someone walking the course vs. a computer geek calculating what they think the yardage is based on a satellite photo. Also others charge extra to get information close to what the Skycaddie provides.  When I looked at the uPro, it would have cost me the price of a three year membership to buy the pro level courses on the uPro in just one year. So if you are going to complain about the yearly membership fee, you also have to complain about those that charge extra to get full course information.

#10 Solutions Etcetera

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 11:10 AM

I think that if folks find the hardware compelling, they would have no problems with the fees as they're pretty insignificant compared to what folks spend on golf… but it is still a checkmark in the 'Con' column when folks are deciding what unit to buy.

With that said (and I have no idea how well SkyGolf is doing), their hardware seems to have been behind the competition ever since the color, whole hole view units (such as the uPro) started shipping. I think they rushed the SGX out the door in an almost unfinished state, and the move to Windows for the OS a bad decision (but maybe a necessary one due to their current software being unable to support a competitive feature set, and not having the engineering resources to start from scratch).

Then there is the "we walk every course" line that folks may believe makes a difference… but not me. And as previously mentioned, the smart phone apps are taking a bite out of all standalone GPS unit sales.

I think there are too many players in the Golf GPS market for all of them to sustain themselves. Obviously a company like Garmin already had the hardware and software… it was just the leveraging of existing technology to enter this market and I think they have done a fine job so far and will continue to. And no one can discount the success of the uPro. I 'think' Call'y has the smarts and the resources to sustain that as well… at least they seem to as the MX appears to be a worthy followup.

I see SkyGolf as really the only other major player here. But like Sooooooo many industry founders/leaders, sat on what they had way too long rather than continuing to innovate, and found themselves looking up at the competition. It will be interesting to see how and if they recapture the leading edge they once had. But based on other CE companies in a similar boat (TiVo, Sony Walkman, Palm, Polaroid/Kodak, even Nokia) the odds are against them.


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#11 Tanksfurnutin

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 11:34 AM

View PostTM_HOYER, on 20 April 2011 - 10:58 AM, said:

I will pay extra to get the information from someone walking the course vs. a computer geek calculating what they think the yardage is based on a satellite photo.

I was a loyal Skycaddie user like you before my unit got ripped off.  Like you I was dubious about the accuracy of someone using a satellite photo to tell me correct distances.  But for 2 bucks I figured what did I have to lose.  I have compared the readings off the app I use versus my friends SGX and they only tend to differ a by a couple of yards at most.  I always liked my SGX but it always bothered me a little that Skygolf would still charge me a yearly fee.  

I guess someone stealing from me has actually saved me money.  Go figure.

#12 spoonhead

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 11:45 AM

Just curious, did you report the stolen Skycaddie, and did they deactivate it?  I always think that if a lose my SG5 that someone would turn it in, and if they stole it that it would be useless to them.

View PostTanksfurnutin, on 20 April 2011 - 11:34 AM, said:

View PostTM_HOYER, on 20 April 2011 - 10:58 AM, said:

I will pay extra to get the information from someone walking the course vs. a computer geek calculating what they think the yardage is based on a satellite photo.

I was a loyal Skycaddie user like you before my unit got ripped off.  Like you I was dubious about the accuracy of someone using a satellite photo to tell me correct distances.  But for 2 bucks I figured what did I have to lose.  I have compared the readings off the app I use versus my friends SGX and they only tend to differ a by a couple of yards at most.  I always liked my SGX but it always bothered me a little that Skygolf would still charge me a yearly fee.  

I guess someone stealing from me has actually saved me money.  Go figure.


#13 Mizgoodie

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 11:51 AM

all i know i have had a skycaddie for 3 years, my friends use iphone and others,  the course in my area have been updated yearly rewalked and new features for the course each year...  started the the real nice course had all the features but as time has gone by to the lesser course now have the ridges in greens mapped ..  depending on when the sat picture were paid for a taken things change and who knows how often they are paying for new pics to map with..

#14 the_saint_siwa

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 11:57 AM

Here is my personal opinion.  Once again, it's my personal opinion.  Golf is an expensive game.  I own an SG2.5  as well.  The way I see it, $30 per year = $2.50 per month.  Divide that amount by 30 days, it equals to roughly 8.4 cent per day.  I paid roughly $47 per round on the weekend.  I'm not a member on any course.   Yeah, I'm poor but I think I can afford $2.50 per month.

I mean guys, economy is tough but cmon, how much you spend on your lunch alone per day?  How much you spend on your clubs/bag?  When was the last time you tip $2.50 assuming dinner for two in the restaurant?  I hope you tip more than that.   My point is don't be too cheap :drinks:

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Edited by the_saint_siwa, 20 April 2011 - 11:59 AM.


#15 Tanksfurnutin

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 11:58 AM

View Postspoonhead, on 20 April 2011 - 11:45 AM, said:

Just curious, did you report the stolen Skycaddie, and did they deactivate it?  I always think that if a lose my SG5 that someone would turn it in, and if they stole it that it would be useless to them.

Yes I did.  When I searched on the Skygolf website all they said was that after I reported it stolen the person would not be able to sync the Skycaddie.  Now I'm not sure whether that means they won't be able to sync with the satellites or only if they plug it into a computer.  They specifically say that the unit will get an error message if plugged into a computer but nothing about using it on the course.  On top of that the SGX has preloaded course information so I don't know if they could still use that feature.

Sorry, didn't want to hijack the thread.


#16 SOONERMAGIC

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 11:59 AM

laser, dumped my sg5 after i got one.  The nikons can laser trees/bunkers etc... and are never off..



i have had some luck with the free iphone aps too...

#17 Sweet Baby J

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 12:20 PM

I've owned 2.5, 4, 5 and now the SGX.  I also own an iPhone 4.  SGX is just far more superior then the Golflogix app on my phone.  I rains here in the PNW, I don't really want to get my iphone wet either.  With the SGX, I don't mind it bouncing around in the golf cart or moving around in my push cart.  I've played with the other GPS rangefinders, just not the same.When you look at the different plan costs, it averages out to be a few dollars a month.  I mean, that's like the cost of one beer at the course!

#18 WishICouldPlayMoreOften

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 12:43 PM

I don't need every inch detail on a course so satellite imagery is acceptable.  Though with different standards as our military, it's the same satellite images.  If they can be within 1-2 yards from a photo from space, exactly what is some poor dude schlepping around going to do that's worth the difference?  There's more value paying mathmeticians to tweak correction algorithms than having someone hoof these courses.

No one, not even SKGs Pres/CEO can convince me they walk every course every year.  I've asked several golf courses I've played on if they've had SKG out to walk them every year, and I haven't yet come across one that says they do every year.  Some say they only come around every 3-5 year or unless the course asks to be remapped based on changes the course self-identifies.

I spoke to someone from SKG once and specifically asked why the annual fee if they don't do anything at the courses I play every year.  The answer was they add courses all the time and it's a part of that operating costs?  What?  So I'm subsidizing walking courses I'll never play.  That's where the disconnect is for me, especially since those same courses can be imaged.

Annual fees just aren't my thing.  Heck, I only got Sirius satellite radio in my car because they used to offer a one-time, lifetime (of the radio unit) subscription.  Took less than four years to cover it compared to monthly fees, but it's been well worth it to just pay once.  I have the same programming monthly subscribers do so no advantage there either.

To the OPs point, I think SKGs going to be in big trouble soon.  The time to re-up is at hand, and seems like a lot of people on this forum are looking elsewhere.  It's just that now elsewhere has so many viable options that the formidable dominance SKG enjoyed is being chipped at from almost every angle (hardware, fees, UI, software, etc.).

#19 TM_HOYER

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 12:46 PM

View PostTanksfurnutin, on 20 April 2011 - 11:34 AM, said:

View PostTM_HOYER, on 20 April 2011 - 10:58 AM, said:

I will pay extra to get the information from someone walking the course vs. a computer geek calculating what they think the yardage is based on a satellite photo.

I was a loyal Skycaddie user like you before my unit got ripped off.  Like you I was dubious about the accuracy of someone using a satellite photo to tell me correct distances.  But for 2 bucks I figured what did I have to lose.  I have compared the readings off the app I use versus my friends SGX and they only tend to differ a by a couple of yards at most.  I always liked my SGX but it always bothered me a little that Skygolf would still charge me a yearly fee.  

I guess someone stealing from me has actually saved me money.  Go figure.


There is one very important problem with smartphone apps. They are not conforming to the USGA. You cannot submit a round shot using a smartphone app for handicap calculation. For tournaments that allow GPS, you cannot use a smartphone app. Until the USGA changes their decision on smartphone apps, they are a road to nowhere.

Edited by TM_HOYER, 20 April 2011 - 12:46 PM.


#20 Solutions Etcetera

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 12:58 PM

View PostWishICouldPlayMoreOften, on 20 April 2011 - 12:43 PM, said:

No one, not even SKGs Pres/CEO can convince me they walk every course every year.
The GM at my home course has been there for over 5 years. Small staff with only two salaried employees, GM and Super. Sky Golf has never contacted them.


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#21 WishICouldPlayMoreOften

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 01:02 PM

View PostTM_HOYER, on 20 April 2011 - 12:46 PM, said:

View PostTanksfurnutin, on 20 April 2011 - 11:34 AM, said:

View PostTM_HOYER, on 20 April 2011 - 10:58 AM, said:

I will pay extra to get the information from someone walking the course vs. a computer geek calculating what they think the yardage is based on a satellite photo.

I was a loyal Skycaddie user like you before my unit got ripped off.  Like you I was dubious about the accuracy of someone using a satellite photo to tell me correct distances.  But for 2 bucks I figured what did I have to lose.  I have compared the readings off the app I use versus my friends SGX and they only tend to differ a by a couple of yards at most.  I always liked my SGX but it always bothered me a little that Skygolf would still charge me a yearly fee.


I guess someone stealing from me has actually saved me money.  Go figure.


There is one very important problem with smartphone apps. They are not conforming to the USGA. You cannot submit a round shot using a smartphone app for handicap calculation. For tournaments that allow GPS, you cannot use a smartphone app. Until the USGA changes their decision on smartphone apps, they are a road to nowhere.

Your info on smartphone GPS and USGA rules isn't correct.  USGA ruled in November 2009 that smartphone GPS fall under local rules same as standalone golf GPS apps.  The clarification pointed out that no other features, such as weather reporting, slope, wind conditions, or additional info, are allowed.  If you call the USGA in Far Hills, NJ, that's what you'll be told.

You can, in fact, use your smartphone to check email, receive calls, do non-play related internet searches, or anything else you want to do.

As to submitting scores from your smartphone, that's allowed too.  It just has to be submitted through an accepted handicap association such as Diablo Golf GHIN app that's officially licensed by the USGA so people can post and lookup info via smartphone app.

#22 TM_HOYER

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 01:09 PM

View PostWishICouldPlayMoreOften, on 20 April 2011 - 01:02 PM, said:

View PostTM_HOYER, on 20 April 2011 - 12:46 PM, said:

View PostTanksfurnutin, on 20 April 2011 - 11:34 AM, said:

View PostTM_HOYER, on 20 April 2011 - 10:58 AM, said:

I will pay extra to get the information from someone walking the course vs. a computer geek calculating what they think the yardage is based on a satellite photo.

I was a loyal Skycaddie user like you before my unit got ripped off.  Like you I was dubious about the accuracy of someone using a satellite photo to tell me correct distances.  But for 2 bucks I figured what did I have to lose.  I have compared the readings off the app I use versus my friends SGX and they only tend to differ a by a couple of yards at most.  I always liked my SGX but it always bothered me a little that Skygolf would still charge me a yearly fee.


I guess someone stealing from me has actually saved me money.  Go figure.


There is one very important problem with smartphone apps. They are not conforming to the USGA. You cannot submit a round shot using a smartphone app for handicap calculation. For tournaments that allow GPS, you cannot use a smartphone app. Until the USGA changes their decision on smartphone apps, they are a road to nowhere.

Your info on smartphone GPS and USGA rules isn't correct.  USGA ruled in November 2009 that smartphone GPS fall under local rules same as standalone golf GPS apps.  The clarification pointed out that no other features, such as weather reporting, slope, wind conditions, or additional info, are allowed.  If you call the USGA in Far Hills, NJ, that's what you'll be told.

You can, in fact, use your smartphone to check email, receive calls, do non-play related internet searches, or anything else you want to do.

As to submitting scores from your smartphone, that's allowed too.  It just has to be submitted through an accepted handicap association such as Diablo Golf GHIN app that's officially licensed by the USGA so people can post and lookup info via smartphone app.

This thread is about GPS. And when it comes to smartphone apps, it should be easily understood to mean apps like Golflogix and Golfshot. A thread about GPS is not going to talk about email, phone, and texting and what the USGA ruling is.

#23 Solutions Etcetera

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 01:27 PM

View PostTM_HOYER, on 20 April 2011 - 01:09 PM, said:

This thread is about GPS. And when it comes to smartphone apps, it should be easily understood to mean apps like Golflogix and Golfshot.
I think you missed his point. In 2009 both the USGA and R&A put smart phones in the same local rules category as dedicated golf GPS devices.

#24 TM_HOYER

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 04:14 PM

View PostSolutions Etcetera, on 20 April 2011 - 01:27 PM, said:

View PostTM_HOYER, on 20 April 2011 - 01:09 PM, said:

This thread is about GPS. And when it comes to smartphone apps, it should be easily understood to mean apps like Golflogix and Golfshot.
I think you missed his point. In 2009 both the USGA and R&A put smart phones in the same local rules category as dedicated golf GPS devices.

I did not miss the point. You can use your smartphone for all of your non-golf uses. But smartphone golf GPS apps are non-conforming because smartphones can give you access to information that is not allowed while playing. This is no different than lasers with slope. Just because you can turn it off does or choose to not use it does not make it conforming.

#25 Tanksfurnutin

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 04:41 PM

View PostTM_HOYER, on 20 April 2011 - 04:14 PM, said:

View PostSolutions Etcetera, on 20 April 2011 - 01:27 PM, said:

View PostTM_HOYER, on 20 April 2011 - 01:09 PM, said:

This thread is about GPS. And when it comes to smartphone apps, it should be easily understood to mean apps like Golflogix and Golfshot.
I think you missed his point. In 2009 both the USGA and R&A put smart phones in the same local rules category as dedicated golf GPS devices.

I did not miss the point. You can use your smartphone for all of your non-golf uses. But smartphone golf GPS apps are non-conforming because smartphones can give you access to information that is not allowed while playing. This is no different than lasers with slope. Just because you can turn it off does or choose to not use it does not make it conforming.

I don't know how this thread got here but you are incorrect in your statement that you can not use smartphone apps.  From the horses mouth.

In the case of multi-function and smartphone devices that can run golf GPS apps,  such as the iPhone and BlackBerry, the ruling is more complex, but it  is clear. Some have interpreted the 2009 USGA/R&A Joint Statement to  mean that multi-function devices that may include phone, Web-browser,  and weather app capability, are not permitted for competition under any  circumstances.   That is not the case, says Carter Rich, equipment standards  manager for the USGA Test Center, based in Far Hills, New Jersey. For  example, use of a conforming golf GPS app on an iPhone or BlackBerry is  allowed when the local rule permitting use of such apps is in effect,  with some qualifiers.


these fall into two categories:
1. Resident functions normally found on smartphones, such as web browsers, and calling capability.
2. Golf-specific apps or other apps that might assist the player in making a stroke or in his or her play.
  

Even though a golfer could potentially open a weather site via a Web  browser during competition, Rich says, the rules do not prohibit the use  of a Web browser-equipped smartphone in competition. There are other,  permitted uses for a Web browser, such as checking e-mail, for example  (don't do that in my foursome, though!). As with many rules of  golf, it's up to the golfer to stay within the rules with these  capabilities on devices in his or her possession during competition.


#26 rickpal14

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 04:44 PM

View PostTM_HOYER, on 20 April 2011 - 10:58 AM, said:

I have a SGX. With the quality of the yardages and information I get from my Skycaddie, the yearly fees are worth it. I will pay extra to get the information from someone walking the course vs. a computer geek calculating what they think the yardage is based on a satellite photo. Also others charge extra to get information close to what the Skycaddie provides.  When I looked at the uPro, it would have cost me the price of a three year membership to buy the pro level courses on the uPro in just one year. So if you are going to complain about the yearly membership fee, you also have to complain about those that charge extra to get full course information.

+1

#27 bigblue

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 11:36 AM

View Postrickpal14, on 20 April 2011 - 04:44 PM, said:

View PostTM_HOYER, on 20 April 2011 - 10:58 AM, said:

I have a SGX. With the quality of the yardages and information I get from my Skycaddie, the yearly fees are worth it. I will pay extra to get the information from someone walking the course vs. a computer geek calculating what they think the yardage is based on a satellite photo. Also others charge extra to get information close to what the Skycaddie provides.  When I looked at the uPro, it would have cost me the price of a three year membership to buy the pro level courses on the uPro in just one year. So if you are going to complain about the yearly membership fee, you also have to complain about those that charge extra to get full course information.

+1
I have used several of the leading gps units. I have found from personal experience that on a flat course all the units do a good job, but on a course with elevation changes the skycaddie is right on while the other units were way off, so much so that the readings were irrelevant on the units that use satellite imagery.

#28 sompin2do

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 11:47 AM

Have had my SG5 for over a year and have no plans to change, except maybe to the SGX.  Don't care about the fees as it has everything I want.  Have an app on my droid phone but they drain the battery too fast and for me the satellite imagery isn't good enough.  Whenever I've contacted their customer support I get fast results also.  So far I don't know that they have a reason to drop the fees.  To each his own....



#29 Solutions Etcetera

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 12:33 PM

View Postbigblue, on 21 April 2011 - 11:36 AM, said:

I have used several of the leading gps units. I have found from personal experience that on a flat course all the units do a good job, but on a course with elevation changes the skycaddie is right on while the other units were way off, so much so that the readings were irrelevant on the units that use satellite imagery.
I can't agree with your conclusions as I see no difference in accuracy based on elevation changes with three image mapped devices I have used, and my home course has plenty… here is a plot from one of my last rounds:

Posted Image

While there may indeed be a reason why you observed what you did, the correlation between elevation and image based maps being the cause across all devices is a pretty wild guess that does not prove out on my image mapped device.

#30 meroj

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 12:57 PM

I have used a sg5(?) for two years now and have never had an issue. However i travel monthly for business and like to take my clubs along to squeeze in a round when possible. In an effort to reduce the number of things I carry when traveling I decided to try the golf logic ap on my iPhone.
First chance to use it was this week at WeKoPa in Az. I have to say that the features are impressive, many more than the sky caddie, BUT on at least four occasions, the distance was off by a considerable margin. A par three read as 198 o. The ap while the scorecard and marker on the tee box said 173. The other times the reading differed from sprinkler heads by twenty yards or more. The round was just for fun, no money on the line but if there would have been.....

Convenient and less expensive yes, the smart phone ap.s are that, but not better. IMO


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