GolfBuddy GPS Rangefinder Review
19 Mar 2009
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Equipment Reviews

-even here, Golf Buddy knew my yardage
-even here, Golf Buddy knew my yardage

by Pete Wlodkowski, amateurgolf.com

I’ve been testing a gps distance measuring device called the “Golf Buddy” lately – you may have seen it advertised on the Golf Channel.

The other day, I finished my round at Tijeras Creek in Orange County and pulled into Starbucks down the road a ways for a quick pick-me-up. Realizing my wallet was in my golf bag, I popped the trunk, reached in my bag, and noticed I left my Golf Buddy on. It still had a picture of the 18th green at Tijeras Creek on screen, and in bold letters said “7 MILES.”

While that got a laugh from me, it actually represents one of the cool things about Golf Buddy. It is seemingly self-aware. When you arrive at a course you turn it on, and it figures out where you are within a couple of minutes.

Remember when the first cart-mounted gps devices came out, and you crossed an adjacent fairway (not to find your OWN ball of course) and completely screwed up the computer and it would say something like: “Are you SURE you want to play the 9th hole?” The Golf Buddy doesn’t do that. Seldom, if ever, does it display the wrong hole and force you to manually reselect during the round.

As for accuracy, Golf Buddy is within a yard or two of the yardage plates at most of the courses I have played with it so far. That should be good enough for most players, especially those who don’t want to mess with a laser device and have to point and aim. In addition to the “front, middle, back” yardages that are displayed on screen, a simple right motion of the little joystick takes you to a menu of common points such as layup to water, bunker, etc. and I have found those helpful. I haven’t, however, used a feature that allows you to move the position of the pin (which defaults to middle, naturally) because the time it takes doesn’t seem worth the potential benefit. You’re basically guessing where the pin is with such a manual movement anyway, so if you’re good with math it’s just as easy to do a quick calculation based on the given yardages.

The size is not much bigger than a cell phone, it’s light, and the provided belt clip is stable.

With no need to download courses, no monthly fees, and a “charge it, then turn it on and play” technology, Golf Buddy is perfect for golfers who know they need a distance measuring device but don’t want to “deal” with another piece of hardware.

So now, for the fun of it, I leave Golf Buddy on until I return home. The distance from the 18th green at The Crossings at Carlsbad to my house? 1678 yards. Not bad for proximity to golf, but I'm still dreaming of a house on the fairway.

To view a video review featuring interviews with several gps and laser device manufacturers, click here>

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