When I first heard that golf's governing bodies had approved the use of GPS for use in tournament play I asked myself "Why would anyone want to play golf with a GPS?
My initial instinct was that it was against the "spirit" of the game. After all I thought working out the distances was a major part of the decision making process and a large part of the skill involved.
However over time I have come to realize that this was not true. In fact golfers have always been given the distances. From the moment you stand on the first tee your card tells you this is a par 4 and it is so many yards to the green.
In addition over time all golf courses have introduced some form of distance indication. In most this has taken the form of marking the tops of sprinkler heads with a number which indicate the distance either to the front or center of the green. At very least golf courses have "150 mark" prominently displayed on all holes.
The introduction of GPS is simply the natural progression of this but now covers distances from any parts of the course to different points on the green.
The original "150" markers and sprinkler head distances were always subject to human error. On rural courses these were often measured by the locals using string or even worse simply pacing the distance out.
GPS units have proved that these markers can be as much as 15 to 20 yards. It has also been found that the level of inconsistency itself is inconsistent. By this we mean that on one hole the "150" mark could be 10 yards short and on another whole on the same course it could be 10 yards too long. No wonder amateur golfers play so inconsistently!
Not only was the method of measuring likely to be flawed but the "string" never took into account slope of the ground. So when pacing either to an uphill or downhill green the actual yardage was quoted as the yards measured or paced - in other words every undulation of the slope. This could add up to several yards variance on similar slopes. Based on the shape of a triangle this was always the longer side - but never a straight line - and required the golfer to calculate how far he needed to hit the ball so that it landed on the green.
More club is needed for raised greens and less for lower greens or targets. This has not changed with the use of GPS except that the golfer is now given the "true" length to the target. Again using the triangle shape we are now given the horizontal distance which still means we have to work out how far the actual carry needs to be. But the horizontal length has no bumps or dips in it.
So why would you play golf with a GPS? Quite simply it is a far more accurate way of determining the exact distance that you need to hit the ball. This obviously will help with and improve club selection and therefore your overall golf. It will also dramatically speed the game of golf up because knowing the distance will save time and selecting the correct club should mean more greens in regulation. Almost all amateur golfers leave the ball short of the green and with the help of a GPS this should be greatly reduced. Sure a GPS can do nothing about your slice or hook but at least you will have the distance right.
Golfers from all over the world are reporting greater confidence when playing golf because they know they have the right club in their hands.
Golf technology has advanced a great deal in the past 50 years but has had no dramatic effect on the average golfer's scores. Nothing has changed as far as our playing ability (or lack thereof) goes but I think as more and more players start using a GPS the average golfers scores will finally start improving. This is technology that will change the face of golf in the very near future.
So why would you play golf with a GPS? Well why wouldn't you?
This article was written with the aid of Lawrence Bredenkamp. Lawrence Bredenkamp is a qualified golf coach and a mad keen golfer. He has several golfing websites one of which is dedicated solely to Golf GPS. This website has the most comprehensive comparison chart available on the web. It provides a full review of each of the most popular models and gives recommendations based on budget. Buy your GPS using this information and rest assured that you have bought the best available for the money you have spent.
Discover for yourself how a golf GPS can improve your game you'll wonder why you never thought of getting one before. To learn more about golf GPS units, how they can improve your game and the best units available, please visit out listings under iGolf_Australia.
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