It’s fair to say that distance measuring devices (DMDs) have revolutionised the amateur game of golf. It’s not that users of DMDs now hit shots with pinpoint accuracy. After all an amateur will never hit an iron shot with the same consistency of length as a professional golfer. It’s more that DMDs provide the amateur player with greater confidence, taking the guess work out of distance to hazards and sections of the greens.
Research by Sports Marketing Surveys Inc, shows that nearly 30 percent of all golfers still don’t use a DMD, which represents a huge sales opportunity for pro shops especially as we head into the Christmas gift season. Of those that do use a purpose-made DMD over a third have chosen a hand-held GPS. Overall GPS based devices take nearly 90 percent of the market. Laser range finders – the alternative technology to GPS – only account for 12 percent market share.
Smart phone GPS apps, some of which can be downloaded free, take an 18.8 percent market share – the same as GPS wearable ‘watch-style’ devices. It will be hoped that advances in technology will diminish the appeal of free GPS downloads. The latest audio GPS devices have a small market share but this is bound to grow.
Another couple of interesting facts from SMS show that the older the golfer the more likely they are to own a GPS watch, while the better the golfer the more likely they are to own a laser device.
Armed with the facts let’s hope you can practice your ‘sales by suggestion’ skills with the members and visitors in the coming month.
Voice Caddie – www.voice-caddie.com
Voice Caddie has a voice guided GPS and a watch-style GPS in its range.
Claimed to be the world’s smallest and lightest GPS rangefinder, the VC300 is a voice-guided rangefinder giving yardages to the front, centre, and back of the green. A sensitive touchpad responds to slight fingertip touch and the required yardage is determined by the swipe of a finger. The VC300 automatically recognises the course being played from its constantly updated database of more than 30,000, all with no additional fees. Measuring 45 by 45mm and weighing 25 grams, the VC300 clips onto a cap, shirt or belt and is ready to work as soon as it is attached. RRP: £109.
Wearable watch-style GPS with in-built ‘oscillation sensory technology’ to help golfers achieve the optimum 3:1 swing ratio. Golfers can see yardages to the front, centre, and back of the green and the T1 also combines all the essential features of a fitness watch including running and cycling modes measuring speed, distance and calories burned. RRP: £149
TomTom is a new entrant to the DMD market. The TomTom Golfer is a GPS sports-style GPS ‘watch’. It displays graphics of key golf course data from more than 34,000 golf courses across the world on its extra-large screen. Course updates are delivered wirelessly via a smartphone app, so golfers can trust they are playing with the most up-to-date course information. The TomTom Golfer is available in white/green or dark grey/green priced £199.99.
SkyCaddie – www.skygolf.com
Sky Caddie has two handheld GPS devices and a watch-style GPS.
Said to be a next-generation GPS rangefinder, the main competitive advantage enjoyed by SkyCaddie Touch is the ability to link via Bluetooth to the free SkyGolf 360 app on a mobile phone, to instantly download the very latest golf course maps to the Touch before each game. Product highlights also include a feature-set giving golfers the ability to use SkyCaddie’s exclusive golf course information database for course management, including up to 40 target points per hole. SkyCaddie Touch users pay an annual membership fee. RRP: £329.95 with free box of one dozen Bridgestone B-330RX golf balls at launch.
New this month, this GPS micro-handset is the lightest and most affordable SkyCaddie. Pre-loaded with 35,000 SkyCaddie maps. Features Dynamic Distances to green and layup targets with digital scoring and fitness functions; Upgradeable for extra features including IntelliGreen and TrueGround targets. No annual fees and RRP: £129.95.
Watch-style GPS with Bluetooth connect to free SkyGolf360 App. Features Dynamic Green Distances, detailed hole stats including fairway and layup targets. Also includes watch and fitness functions with colour personalisation options. No annual fees and RRP: £199.95.
GolfBuddy has five DMDs in its range with one hand-held GPS, two watch-style GPS and the new VS4 an audio unit which can be worn or attached to other equipment.
Commenting on the DMD market John Ennis, GolfBuddy global head of sales and marketing says, “The GPS market is ever more competitive, with new brands entering the market every year and 2015 will be no different. But the retailer is faced with a lot of ‘me too’ products rather than bespoke GPS products designed specifically for golfers – which is fundamental to GolfBuddy.
“We have an outstanding new wearable GPS in production now which has never been seen before in the golf market and we expect this to have a significant impact next spring.”
GPS audio device designed for golfers looking for a small, light, easy-to-use golf GPS that can be worn in a variety of ways. It comes supplied with a bespoke designed wrist strap for use as a ‘watch’ style GPS. The VS4 clicks in place, leaving the user to either view distances on screen or press the facia button to hear it talk. It also comes supplied with a hard clip-on case so the VS4 can be attached to a belt, shirt pocket or cap. Two optional accessories are available: a retractable cord and mount to clip the unit to a golf bag karabiner and a flip-up leather case to see the screen when it’s clipped to a belt. RRP of £159.95
A handheld golf GPS with an enlarged 4-inch high resolution LCD and slim body design. The capacitive touch screen improves control with a responsive interface. Pre-loaded with over 37,000 global courses and replaceable battery. RRP: £299.
Sports-style wearable GPS ‘watch’. RRP £159
Classic-styled ‘watch’ with Dynamic Green View and Moveable Pin Placement. RRP: £179
GolfBuddy’s laser device has three distance measuring options: ‘Normal’ picks up any target, including bunker edges; ‘Flag’ hones in on the pin and factors out tree-lined backgrounds for supreme accuracy; ‘Scan’ picks up all targets in a 10-second panoramic scan. RRP £215
Garmin – www.garmin.com
Garmin offers two watch-style GPS wearables and two handheld GPS devices
Watch-style GPS also measures swing consistency and synchronisation giving golfers an accurate insight into their game and the ability to really improve their technique. A dedicated CourseView button allows golfers to quickly and easily preview hole details like doglegs, bunkers and water hazards on its full colour, high-res touchscreen – a feature previously only available on Garmin golf handhelds. RRP: £349.99.
Handheld GPS comes with a wide three inch touch colour display, giving a full picture of the game and offers extra functions such as Pinpointer, which provides blind shot assistance by pointing player in the right direction when unable to see the pin. Other features include Playslike Distance, Smart Notification, Club Advice, Big Numbers Mode, and Garmin Connect.RRP: £369.99.
Handheld GPS with rechargeable battery, featuring a glove-friendly, colourful touchscreen, with two buttons for instant access to Green View, Shot Measure and Digital Scorecard. Said to be waterproof. RRP: £259.99
Watch-style GPS with a high-sensitivity GPS receiver giving precise distances to the front, back and middle of greens. Also shows layup and dogleg distances and a digital scorecard. RRP: £179.99.
Nikon – www.nikongolf.co.uk
Nike has three laser range finders in the current range.
Laser range finder said to be the lightest and most compact in its class, weighing 125 grams without battery. Coolshot 20 has six times magnification for yardages up to 550 yards with a single button operation. Also features First Target Priority mode, which displays the distance of the closest subject meaning golfers don’t need to worry about distractions such as woods in the background. RRP: £179.99.
Automatic light sensitive laser range finder with LED illumination for clear viewing of the display in dark conditions. The six-times magnification multicoated lenses and large ocular dioptre offer a wider field of view which ensures easy flag/object acquisition. RRP: £239.99.
laser range finder that also features Nikon’s angle compensation technology which takes into account the height of the target, and instantly provides both the actual horizontal and slope-adjusted distance within a range of eleven to 600 yards. The Target Priority Switch has two measurement modes: First Target and Distant Target. The First Target Priority mode is ideal for golfers because it offers a precise measurement of the distance to the flag with the push of a button. RRP: £399.99.
Bushnell – www.bushnellgolf.co.uk
Bushnell offers three laser range finders and a wearable GPS watch-style device.
Pro X7 JOLT
Laser range finder features seven-times magnification with JOLT Technology to zero in on the flag and second generation ESP2 to provide accurate yardages. RRP: £439. Also available with slope technology, RRP: £499.
Tour Z6 JOLT
Laser range finder with six-times magnification, acquires flags up to 450 yards away with ESP2, PinSeeker with JOLT Technology. RRP: £349.
Tour v3 JOLT
Laser range finder with five-times magnification features 1000 yard range finding capability. Uses Bushnell’s PinSeeker with JOLT Technology to zero-in on the flag up to 400 yards away with accuracy to one yard. RRP: 279. With slope RRP: £299.
Said to be the lightest and thinnest watch-style golf GPS in the world with a battery life that is claimed to be 50 percent better than the nearest competitor, the neo XS comes preloaded with over 33,000 courses. Available in three different colours. No download or membership fees. RRP: £159.