Top critical review
41 people found this helpful
on 22 March 2010
I spent a fair bit of time over choosing the Sonocaddie, my first foray into golf gps systems.
Lots of positive points about the Sonocaddie, as mentioned in the other reviews, particularly the cheap or, for the UK courses, free subscription.
But I just need to redress the balance slightly by highlighting some negatives that aren't obvious from the product description or the reviews:
1) The course are mapped only from satellite photos, and only tend to include bunkers and some (not all) water hazards. The hole overviews are very generic, and the examples I've seen make no mention of out of bounds, aiming points, layup distances etc.
A particularly bad example of this was playing the well known Oxfordshire Course recently. The feature hole is the par 5 number 17, with a big fairway to the right of a huge lake, and a smaller fairway as an option to go left. Yet on the hole overview no mention is made of the left fairway at all.
2) Accuracy - Claims about 7 to 10 yards, and from my laser measurements on level ground (slope makes a difference) I would say this is true, the error measurement gets up to (but not more than) 10 yards.
Some reviews elesewhere claim gps is within 3 yards accuracy, so for the better golfer I would maybe suggest checking out (maybe borrow a mates system) some other devices and see if they can improve on this accuracy figure.
3) 3D - For some reason the course overviews are described as 3D. In no sense is this the case. The pictures are completely 2D.
4) Specific measurement. I had hoped it would be possible to position crosshairs on the screen to identify distances to specific targets, particularly useful for layups. No, you can't.
5) Editing. To be really useful and reliable you need to edit the courses - pretty easy - as you walk round them, adding landmarks etc. Yet I would have thought the PC software would enable you to do a more comprehensive editing job at home with some 'painting' options to add plantations, no go areas, buildings etc. But no, you can't. You can't even draw a new course and add it from the pc. The Sonocaddie online site seems very good so I hope this functionality could be added in the future.
Of course this need to check and add features, even to well known courses, limits the usefulness the first time you play a new course.
Conclusion: My prejudice about gps before buying this system was that it was great for holiday golf, but not accurate enough for serious play. I would tend to stick by this assessment. I enjoy using the Sonocaddie, and I will carry on doing so, but I will always carry a laser as well for accurate measurements.