I’ve had my eye on the SkyCaddie for a few years since I saw an earlier generation model featured on an infomercial on the Golf Channel. Today, I finally went ahead and bought one and gave it a 9-hole test run this afternoon.
- The SkyCaddie uses GPS satellites to give accurate yardages to the green from anywhere on the course.
- There are thousands of pre-mapped courses that can be downloaded (with a paid subscription) to the unit by connecting it to a PC with the supplied USB cable. On each hole, you can get yardages to front, middle, and back of the green from anywhere.
- Yardages continually update as you move around each hole.
- Measure the distance of any shot by pressing two buttons prior to the shot and then one button when you arrive at the ball.
- IntelliGreen feature shows an outline of each green with an arrow indicating your angle of approach.
- Cursor can be moved around the IntelliGreen display indicating the yardage from where you are to any pin placement on the green.
- Courses not available for download can be manually entered. The process is simple and takes just a few seconds on each green.
- Courses in the SkyCaddie database that are “Four Star” were professionally mapped and have additional yardages to targets like hazards including the distance to clear. It can show lay-up yardages, trees, mounds, and other course features. Also, the SG4 tells you the distance left to the green from these targets.
- Courses that haven’t been professionally mapped can be shared with others online through the SkyCaddie course database.
After one round, I’m absolutely thrilled with the SkyCaddie SG4. I’ve had my eye on one for a long time, and I wasn’t disappointed. Since one of my goals is meticulous stat keeping, I’ve been struggling trying to document my shot lengths for each club manually, and now the SkyCaddie comes along and does it without any trouble whatsoever. I’m also thrilled that I don’t need to wander around looking for sprinkler heads to get approximate yardages anymore. The actual SkyCaddie unit itself feels well-made, but obviously I haven’t had it long enough to comment on it’s durability. After I give it 6 months of heavy use, I’ll post a follow-up. But right now, it’s a thumbs up.
- Accurate yardages from anywhere, so far as I can tell. None of the yardages the unit gave me seemed off. But I intend to do some cross checking with my laser range finder next time out, and will report back if there are any discrepancies.
- The added target information on the “Four Star” courses is great. Even without that, though, the yardages to front, middle, and back of each green plus the ability to measure shot distances is a huge benefit.
- If you don’t want to pay for a subscription to be able to download course information from the online database, you can manually add your own custom courses
- Getting up and running out of the box was a breeze. I had no problems whatsoever. The unit is extremely easy to use. After playing around for a bit at home and after playing a few holes on the course, I was pretty familiar with most, if not all the features.
- Yardages continually update so when you need a distance, you get it instantly. I was a little worried that getting readings would take a few seconds each time, but it turned out that wasn’t the case at all. I was even wearing it clipped to my belt a little to the right of my buckle with my shirt over top of it and when I unclipped it to get a reading, there was no loss of communication at all and the yardages were instantly waiting for me.
- The unit is a very manageable size. It’s got no protruding antenna like it’s predecessors. The unit measures 4.7″ x 2.2″ x 1.3″ (about the size of one of the modern cell phones with all the e-mail and other capability, though maybe not quite so wide).
- The price is steep. I paid $349.99. That’s pretty high, and for many people it would be hard to justify that price. I was in that boat myself, which is why I’ve been coveting it for two or three years. But I came into a few extra bucks recently, and given my overall golf goals, it seems like a good investment.
- There is a subscription fee. While it isn’t required, not subscribing deprives you of some nice features. For instance, you wouldn’t be able to download any course information from the web. You’d be forced to map out your own courses (minus the IntelliGreen capability). Aside from that you can use it to measure shot distance, but that would be about it.
- There are three tiers of membership. The lowest tier includes only courses in your state (for people in the U.S.). The middle tier includes courses all over the U.S. and the upper tier includes courses all over the world. I’m not sure how it’s delineated for people in other countries. Also, the tiered memberships vary in the number of user-defined coursed that can be stored online in the “SkyVault”. I chose the lowest tier membership because I typically play in New Jersey. That was $29.95 per year. The middle and upper tier memberships are $49.95 and $59.95, respectively.
So far, I have to say that the good definitely outweighs the bad. If you’re a serious player who relies on yardages but is sick of having to hunt down sprinklers and then pace off to your ball, then you’ll love this thing. The cost is the only real down side that I can see so far. If that’s not an issue for you, then I’d say definitely give it a try.