GPS or laser rangefinder – that is the question

Decades ago, life was easy. Golf life, too. There were distance poles on the side of the fairway, indicating 100, 150 and 200 meters or yards. It was measured towards the front of the green and you would add a good portion to the green center or the flag, whatever you were aiming for.

In between poles you would either roughly estimate or pace out manually. These measures were of course very rough but fine for most golfers nonetheless for hundred years.

Then modern technology hit the golf course as well. Nowadays it’s common to ask for exact distances, and when I say “exactly”, I mean exactly. A margin of three meters doesn’t seem to be OK anymore – you need exact figures.

I couldn’t resist myself either, as you can imagine, so in the end I use both a laser and a GPS device. But let me explain what I think of both devices and what I believe these are targeted at. Because not every style of player would be equally happy with both devices.

Generally I truly appreciate the technology that made its way to golf as well. I also believe that, correctly used, it can drastically improve your game. But it does require some thought process and less ego—yes, I’m talking to you, middle aged male golfer.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we:

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score analysis of the easter weekend tournament

as i already explained in another post, i use the golfshot GPS tool on my iPhone/iPad and the golfshot online tool to assist in my swing and scoring analyses. of course i entered as well my latest tournament, where i played an 86. the most interesting thing about that round was, that i solely used my irons. so i haven’t hit one single stroke with one of my hybrids, my 3-wood or the driver. and that just to be as precise with my tee shots as possible. it worked out very well, i’d say!

now let’s do some number crunching! i shot an 86, as already mentioned. i needed 36 putts exactly, what leads to a rate of 2.0 per hole. speaking of putts, i had three 1-putts and three 3-putts, the rest 2-putts. the greens were in horrible condition and i guess i could have done better, but that is really no excuse.

overall i played 9 pars, 5 bogeys and 3 double-bogeys and 1 triple-bogey. the triple resulted from a drive which i could’t find in the rough and where i had to continue with my provisional ball: 4th out of the rough right at the green side fringe, one chip onto the green, two putts: that’s an ugly triple-bogey! but the good news is, that this penalty shot for not finding my first tee shot, was the only on the entire round.

sand: i had only two bunker shots and on both holes i could save a bogey, what is quite fair.

now to the most important figures: i’ve hit 57% fairways on both front and back nine and as i can remember, the ones that missed the fairway were in very good and playable position. regarding GIR (greens in regulation) i earned a 67% on the front nine and only 22% on the back nine, which leads to the overall figure of 44% GIR. that’s not perfect but not bad at all. i can remember some nice shots, e.g. some 2nd shots on par-4s, that were shot with 4-iron or 5-iron and beautifully and softly landed on the green. smile on my face, mental fist-pumping, 2 additional putts: boom! even par. what else could i expect?

i had 2 or 3 real birdie chances but to be honest; my putting wasn’t really good that day. it wasn’t even close. please have a look at the charts:

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golfshot GPS, the one-and-only golf accessory

to be honest, i like it pure. i’m not the kind of guy that is buying all stuff on the market to cure a slice, to create a higher launch angle or any other kind. if i play a draw and don’t intend to do so, then i’m doing something wrong. that’s my approach! it’s my duty then to make everything possible what’s going wrong and to try hard to improve.

that’s including all kind of accessory that people should use to sharpen their game. i don’t need a ball marker to align my ball, i don’t need a belly putter to find the right tempo… i like it pure – just the good old game like our fathers played it.

but… recently i got a hint by a friend to check out some golf apps for my iPhone. i’m an apple fanatic and i already have a bunch of golf apps on my device, but these are more on the news side or to calculate the handicap. that was all, so far. last week i downloaded the golfshot GPS app (in combination with the golfplan app from paul azinger) and boy, this app is huge!

from the first glance it is an iPhone-compatible rangefinder that facilitates the GPS function of the phone. only and the second view it shows the golfing beauty, that’s so interesting about it.

30,000 courses all over the world are fully integrated and once you downloaded the app, registered free of charge and chose a course, you’re ready to go:

1. imagine you’re playing the st. andrews’ old course, you’re searching for that course and decide what tee boxes you play.
2. beginning with hole 1, you get the information about the most important distances on that particular hole: to degleg, to fairway bunker, to end of fairway bunker, to green, … and so forth. you can switch to a bird’s eye view and tap the screen to move the target and to receive the exact measurements. that function is perfectly working as i could test it and gives you brilliant information about the course, especially when you play it the first time!
3. after every hole you’re asked to insert the main stroke information: overall shots, putts, fairway hit, bunker shots, penalties… all that to create quite intelligent statistics with which you are able to identify your strengths and weaknesses. multiple charts, tables and figures give you an idea about your current game.

all that is extremely helpful in my point of view and this is even not the end. the statistics are not only transferred to the online application, it’s as well possible to link that data to the golfplan app, where paul azinger is referring to your main weaknesses and tries to explain in professional video footage what you are asked to practise.

i really ask myself why i haven’t downloaded that earlier! as you can imagine, the app itself is not free of charge: it’s 24 EUR but worth every cent.

for further details check out this website: and watch these videos!

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