A new laser rangefinder to further improve the game

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Today I hit the range with a goal. The initial idea was to just go 18 holes today and then head back home. But I reconsidered and thought I do some very useful stuff for a change.

So I packed my clubs, left my trolley at home and made my way to the club in order to do some serious training. Usually I combine a quick range session and some chipping/putting with a common round of golf. No question I look forward to the round and need the range session just for a warm-up. I think it’s fair to say that I rarely just go practicing rather than playing.

Today was one of these days though!

Very recently I got a new golf toy in my hands. And to give you a quick background, usually I use a Garmin GPS watch on the course for my measurements. I’m playing a 15 handicap so the accuracy was absolutely fine for me. Goal is to get the ball on the green, 2 metres or 5 metres next to the pin, I didn’t care.

Well, I should! Putting is currently not my strength and every stroke that I can save is well played. More and more players these days use these golf lasers, or DMDs (Distance Measurement Devices) as you call them. Some of my golf mates use them for nearly every shot. I don’t think that’s necessary but I started to understand why DMDs can in some cases really be much better than GPS devices like my watch.

(1) is the accuracy: once the device tells you the flag is 148 metres away, you most likely use another club than if your GPS tells you the green centre is at 140.

(2) is the flexibility as you not only have the chance to measure the distance to the (front and back of the) green or a layup distance but also measure the distance to a bunker, a water hazard, a tree, a dogleg, etc. You just get so many more options to play save, because you can trust the yardage and then the only thing is to trust your swing too.

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Laser rangefinders are not new to the market, brands like Bushnell have sold their products for quite a while now but as I said I never saw any value in it as I was pretty happy with my GPS watch. What I learned today is that a laser rangefinder can really benefit the game.

On the range, I was able to precisely choose my targets, pins for example, and then practice on hitting clean shots to come up as close as possible. Usually I just focus on being straight but since earlier today I might change my range behaviour because I felt this really makes sense: you act the same being on the course, why should we practice different from what we need.

So, if you ask me, I’m sold. I’ll now carry my new toy with me on all rounds to come. And by the way, the device is super easy to use. It just needs two buttons and some minutes to get used to it. It features a pin seeker system which automatically detects that you’re trying to measure a pin and gives exact distances.

I have to admit that I have very little comparison but I can absolutely recommend the GolfLaser brand. Design is slick, it’s not super heavy, works correct and the price is much less than most of the big brands as you just order via their website. Give it a try.

By the way, just yesterday I saw an article on the internet that the pro tours might think about allowing DMDs during pro tournaments. Currently they are just allowed in private rounds, amateur tournaments or the practice days of pro tourneys. This might change soon and we potentially see Rory, Tiger and Bubba use their tool during whole of Thursday through Sunday. The Senior Tours will start making a move already this year.

More information:

Quick course update of the Garmin Approach S2

It’s over a year ago that I bought my Garmin Approach S2 golf GPS watch. I mean I have plenty of watches but this one has so much functionality which I really love. It had GPS data for 30,000 golf courses around the world already stored when I bought it and just today I made a quick 15-minute update: new courses, new GPS data, new course layout, etc. – easy as that.

After the installation of the Garmin Express application it was a simple plug and install process, very easy to handle. I guess once a year is enough for an update of course material.

There is no round in which I don’t wear the watch, I literally wouldn’t leave the house to go golfing without this device. The GPS information it provides is truly inevitable. It’s a complete different way of golfing: go to your ball, check the yardage (front of the green, middle of the green, back of the green), check for specialties such as wind and then chose a club, do your normal swing and there you are: on the green (well, theoretically). But it seriously totally changes your game and takes out the guessing and unclarity of exact distance to the target. Just a simple glance on the watch which displays all relevant data (even layup distances) and there you go.

I don’t want to praise it too much, but after a while you feel you can’t play without it anymore. Truly a great device that I’m happy about having bought it. Definitely recommend it!

Update: I just finished the course update installation. Apparently there is not enough space on the device to store all world-wide courses anymore. Therefore I had to pick 2 out of 3 packages that I liked to have installed. I chose “Americas” and “Europe, Middle East, Africa” and had to delete “Asia, Australia, Oceania”. So next time I’m traveling to Australia, could please someone remind me to install that again? Thanks! #FirstWorldProblems

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: www.golfshot.com and watch these videos!

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