Among the most popular and useful innovations to hit the sport over the last decade are hand-held GPS units and laser range finders. These highly-capable devices arm golfers with the ability to locate how far they are from any given point on a course, so if results disappoint they can no longer blame the caddy. The following are among the best in what has become a fiercely competitive market.
SkyGolf SkyCaddie SG5
Featuring SkyGolf's patented IntelliGreen technology, the SG5 enables golfers to measure the full depth and shape of the green from any angle of approach. It also shows distances for all targets and hazards on any of SkyGolf's many thousands of professionally mapped courses. The brilliant, outdoor-readable color display with automatic backlight makes the device is easy to use even for the technologically challenged.
Garmin GolfLogix GPS-8
Perhaps the most simple-to-use GPS rangefinder on the market, the GolfLogix GPS-8, automatically displays the features of each hole without any buttons or complicated operations. It shows the front, center and back of every green as well as hazards and bail-out areas of every course on an easy-to-read screen. It even calibrates how far you hit your last shot to help keep track of club distances.
UPro Golf GPS
The UPro provides golfers with aerial and satellite photography of the course on a high-resolution, color screen that looks sharp even under direct sunlight. With GPS technology, it illustrates the hazards, distances and layouts of each hole and even updates views based on your location. Users can easily download maps online from the UPro website.
GolfBuddy GPS Pro
Be confident in your club selection with this GPS rangefinder that presents exact distances to greens, bunkers, lakes, lay-up points and hazards from anywhere on the hole. Golfers enjoy access to an expansive, pre-loaded database of golf courses without paying an annual fee or extra charges for downloading maps. It even allows players to store data for up to 20,000 courses.
Bushnell Pinseeker 1500 Series
Bushnells low-maintenance laser rangefinders are preferred by many PGA Tour players ' including Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk ' and the Pinseeker 1500 series is the latest example of why. Available in two models, they accurately calculate distance to within one yard of any point from up to 1,500 yards away. The Tournament Edition is in all amateur and professional competition. The Slope Edition, very useful when competing against your weekend foursome, has a built-in slope compensator to help golfers figure out exactly where to place any shot.
Editor's note: Bill Kliewer is Senior Equipment Advisor of The Golf Warehouse (TGW.com), the worlds largest online golf store.