Kicking Tires on a New GPS System


Dont watch while youre driving. But make sure to drive where you watch.
As global positioning satellite technology matures in non-military applications, systems are naturally becoming easier to use. The latest development in golf GPS involves the kind of integration weve been expecting for some time: a GPS provider and a golf car maker working together to make GPS standard equipment.
Club Car, one of the golf car industrys two dominant companies, will include the Inova dash-mounted GPS system in the 2006 models of its Precedent cars.
UpLink GPS
UpLink's new GPS screen will be mounted on the dash in Club Car's 2006 Precedent model.
Inova is a brand of UpLink Corp., which is based in Austin, Texas. UpLinks founders claim to have developed the patent that got GPS onto golf courses. The company also has exclusive rights to the patents covering the technology that allows advertising and marketing on golf car GPS screens. UpLink considers that technology the single biggest untapped revenue stream in the golf course business.
GPS systems have gradually evolved to this point, but Inova represents a revolutionary leap in technology, said Glenn Pierce, president and CEO of UpLink. It reinforces GPS as a critical course-management tool that improves course profitability.
And while GPS itself is still pretty elevated technology, Club Car is pushing the idea of dash positioning (instead of on the canopy) as a refreshingly low-tech way to improve the presentation.
Inova positions GPS as an integral part of the golf car, said Phil Tralies, president and CEO of Club Car. Its a complementary system that improves both the golfers experience and course-management capabilities.

Club Car says the dash-mounted screen is easier to see from anywhere, especially outside the car. Theres a leaderboard feature, as well as a zoom function to show more detail of certain parts of the course. The satellite technology also allows the pro shop to control all carts from one location.
UpLink started testing Inova in the fourth quarter of 2005. The system will be available in 2006 on any course that uses Precedent cars.
The October rounds played report shows the overall number of golf rounds played in the United States to be tracking last years play level pretty closely: Year-to-date rounds are down only 0.1 percent versus 2004. U.S. rounds were down 0.2 percent in October.
The survey, which is provided by golf metrics firm Golf Datatech, measures monthly and year-to-date rounds numbers against the same period a year earlier. In some regions, October 2005 was anemic: Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts were down 26 percent as a group for this latest October; New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont were down more than a third. Much of the northeast suffered double-digit percentage declines, a trend some in the industry attribute to changeable fall weather.
Big gainers included Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, whose rounds were up 18.6 percent this October, and California, which enjoyed a 10 percent jump. But a busy tropical storm season cut a swath across golf participation as well: Florida rounds were down 14.2 percent in October, and rounds in the West Palm Beach area itself dropped more than 37 percent in the month because of the devastation of Hurricane Rita.
Canadian rounds in October were down in Ontario (-6.7 percent), Quebec (-15.7 percent), the Maritimes (-11.4 percent) and British Columbia (-6.6 percent), but both Alberta and the Saskatchewan/Manitoba region had a good autumn: Alberta rounds were up nearly 37 percent and the Saskatchewan/Manitoba pair saw an increase of nearly 33 percent.
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