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iGolf GPS

Pa Jayhawk

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Nov 15, 2005
7,101
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I got this Monday night. Since we are supposed to get about 4" of snow today, and it has already started, I will just give initial thoughts here and update it later when I have a chance to use it a little more. Price: $229, $10 for 5 belt clips (came with 1), $5 for 2 screen Protectors (came with 1 installed).

Best I can tell, the membership is $29.99. I initially thought this was yearly, but am under the impression now it is permanent for a couple reasons. It is not unlimited but instead for 50 courses. They have a "Accessory" list for 25 additional courses for $10 for members. Initially I was on the fence about joining. I then found out this will also increase your warranty from 3 months to one year. It also includes one mapped course. So I will join it shortly, once I test the device and am convinced I will not be sending it back for a refund, which at this point is highly unlikely. I also searched the 65 courses I have played and may possibly play again. Out of the 65 they had 57 with GPS Pages. The reason I did not buy the Skycaddie is they had only 1 of the 23 I checked mapped. So I guess this must be bigger in this area. Again though, not sure the quality of the maps yet. But I will be doing my own for my favorite 3-4 courses so that it has my own points.

Software and Course Creation:
The software installed just fine and is simple to figure out. They do have a Newer Beta version of the software on their site, it has a better system to create your own sites, however it lacks some of the functionality of the old software, but contain a better course creator. So I simply installed both versions and use the one to create courses and the other to sync. You could do the same for the course creation by simply going to the site. I would assume once it is out of Beta, it may run resident on your PC. One little bug I noticed the one time I tried. It will sync courses, as well as backup to a separate directory. On the Backup, it at least appeared the one time I tried that it would not overwrite existing courses in the backup directory. I had to delete on the PC and then backup my modifications.

The creation process is quite simple. You either enter the Scorecard info, or download it from the site if you are a member. If you know what you plan to map on the course you simply go in and plug in the names for the 8 additional points. You save this to the PC, then load it onto the GPS. All the backups and file storage are on your PC. You are permitted 5 text characters for each point and they provide an abbreviation list that is consistent with the courses you download or you can type your own. This can also be done directly on the unit at the course, but is easier for me on the PC. If you pay attention to how the points display, you can set it up so all the left points are on the left of the screen and all the right are on the right, although blanks will change this, so you need to put none in if you do this.

Mapping course:
As mentioned, you can do the points on the PC, or on the unit. I did it on the PC. To map you just tell it you wish to map the course. Select the course based on name. Go to the first hole. You can then scroll to any point you have entered or enter one from a digital keypad or saved list of Abbreviations. Simply enter register and it takes about 2-5 seconds to log the point. Repeat for all 8 points as well as front back and center of green and hit save for that hole. Go to next hole and repeat. Actually it is simpler to use than I expected.

Unit information:
When I got this, it took a little tinkering to get it working to my liking. I have owned numerous GPS systems, and have two others right now. Although this is my first golf one. Out of the box, I popped in the batteries, turned it on and started playing around. Though I would go out and initialize it to my area. At first I was slightly disgusted at the time it took to initialize until I figure a few things out. At this time it is 20* outside and 20mph winds. I'm standing in my front yard freezing my @$$ off, which added to the aggravation. Anyways, I turn it on the satellite screen comes up. With most GPS's, you can go about your business why it initializes. I start playing around with it. After a couple minutes the thing is still not initialized, I've had enough of the cold and go back inside. I put it on the satellite screen and stick it in the window. 20 minutes pass and I am pissed, no initialization. I know, I am indoors, but my other GPS's will initialize from a window. It has only found 1-2 satellites, and best I can tell it looks like an old serial scan, only tracking 1 at a time and about 20-30 seconds in between satelittes, where common units track up to 12. I am convinced the thing is likely going back for refund. I figure read the book, play around and deal with it in the morning. I did not find anything in the manual, but figured I would play with the unit. I turn it on and notice it is scanning each satellite at 1 second interval. I thought this was funny, and maybe it needed to initialize prior to playing. Turned it off, went back out, turned it on, shivered for about 30-45 seconds and it was initialized. All was well, it was tracking all the satellites at once, as a parallel GPS will do 12 at a time, It had a lock on 7. Knowing a little about it, you require 3 for Triangulating location and 4 if you require elevation.

Yesterday I played around a little. Going in I saw review of a couple things. The most common that the accuracy would vary if you set at a point to long, maybe up to 15 yards. The numbers bounce around. Mine did this, and actually logging points in my yard they were off by 5-15 yards. Hardly good for a GPS. Although, I had read the manual the night before and was somewhat convinced from the reviews I read, the people needed to play with the settings. There is a WAAS control, which is common in the US to help out. Once I disabled this in the settings and logged points it was listing everything to within 1 yard when I stood at the point I logged, moved, and came back. I am not sure that 0 was an option. Close enough for government work, close enough for me. The Stabilization's with slow the counting and jumping of numbers. I doubt I will use this. I am also convinced the people who reviewed this about the jumping needed to disable the WAAS. They took the initial number. Knowing a GPS tracks every couple seconds, they were likely better taking the last number as it caught up after a few seconds. I put two rechargeable batteries in, have used it for a couple hours and it is still at 100%. Make sure to turn the battery setting to rechargeable if that is what you are using. Originally read 53% prior to doing so.

It has a backlight that can be toggled from the power button. Strangely, you cannot toggle the back light from the initial satellite screen, but can do so from any other point. The belt clip does seem cheap as I heard, but I got 5 extras. It will do yards or meters. It has a Trickle GPS mode, I assume to save batteries, but it really didn't explain too much on this. One important thing. It sets up as a com port device on USB. This is never touched on in the manual, outside of saying it takes several minutes to load a course. It was extremely slow to my liking for how USB will operate. After thinking about this, I checked the baud rate on the port, which defaulted to 9600 as I expected. I bumped this up to 128,000 and it worked more closely to how a USB port should operate, but still slow for the size of the file. Certainly acceptable for how few times you will likely transfer files. They may be worried the data will not transfer completely accurate at that speed, although I would doubt this to be an issue from my experience.


Again, I am getting 4" or more of snow today, so I likely won't play around with it too much until tomorrow or the weekend. At which time I will likely join the site and see how thorough the courses are set up from the site. It will likely be the end of March before I can make it on the course. In the mean time I will kind of test it out compared to my Range Finder, although it will likely be a month before I can provide a real accurate review of the device.

Just based on my familiarity with GPS systems, ease of use, and the fact you can easily add and edit your own points and store on PC, I am inclined to believe this is a keeper. Time will tell.
 

Bravo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2004
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Super detail on your review....thanks.

I'd like to decide between your unit and the SkyCaddie fairly soon. Maybe I should wait for your courses to open and let you play a few rounds with it before deciding.

Both of the guys I play with who have GPS' use the SkyCaddie and they like them. FWIW - the yardages on our markers and sprinklerheads are within 1-2 yards of what the SkyCaddie says...when our course was last redone the Golf Committee said the markers and sprinklerheads had been laser measured to the green centers...so the SkyCaddie (if anything) is accurate...
 

Eracer

No more triple bogies!!
Oct 31, 2005
12,405
8
Really great review (I mean that...)

Here's mine:

I look through the viewfinder at my target, push a button, and it tells me the yardage to the target.:beach3:

Maybe I'm stupid, but I just don't get the appeal of these GPS units. At all.
 
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Pa Jayhawk

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Nov 15, 2005
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Really great review (I mean that...)

Here's mine:

I look through the viewfinder at my target, push a button, and it tells me the yardage to the target.:beach3:

Maybe I'm stupid, but I just don't get the appeal of these GPS units. At all.
For the longest time I have only seen the positive side to the Range Finder. Having played with this for a couple days, I am starting to see more positive sides to the GPS that may come into play. A couple that immediately came to mind while toying with it is the ability to quickly see 3 distinctive points to aim at or between at one time. Not just front back and center of green, but cases like left, center and right of fairway on doglegs. Another is possibly seeing other options on the screen I would not even think of if a comfortable distance strikes my eye on the eight points. Then the obvious, being blind shots and shots to uphill greens.

Just kind of thinking aloud from what little I have seen. Only time on the course will tell. It is still unlikely I will use it over the Range Finder on all courses, specifically those that I play infrequently. I think it may be a little too absorbing, when alot of the fun for me is enjoying the scenic part of newer courses that I don't often see. Where as I would rarely use even the range finder, except on really questionable distances.

We'll see. I did play around with it a little more yesterday. There seems to be a variation of about 3-5 yards between the Range Finder and the GPS, or even on previously marked spots. I am also not sure the WAAS setting was as important as I maybe initially thought. I actually think alot may have to do with not giving it enough time to lock on prior to registering the points, as it appeared the 3-5 yard variation would always be short of the target from the direction I was walking. May have something to do with the fact that it was 20 degrees and I wanted to keep moving. Still a little to cold out to spend a great deal of time testing it out, and I actually wonder if this affects the device somewhat. I know when using the range finder it seemed the digital displays were somewhat weak, likely because of the batteries in the cold.

It is supposed to warm up a little in the next few days, assuming the expected showers for the weekend are not to bad I will test it out a bit.

I did find that if I wanted to play the closest hole to our house on our course, I could play the Par 3 as a long dogleg par 5 down the street, or cut the corner over some houses. :D
 

warbirdlover

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After reading your review and looking at their website I might consider this instead of the SkyCaddie. The price is better and it looks like a nice product. :)
 
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Pa Jayhawk

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After reading your review and looking at their website I might consider this instead of the SkyCaddie. The price is better and it looks like a nice product. :)
If you want a more up close look at the features to compare, on the tech support part of the website, they have all the User manuals and information in PDF files. You can also down load the software
Technical Support
... also check out the filemaker section, to see how you can enter the points from the PC.
Welcome to iGolf.com's custom filemaker
 

sssmokin

Retired and loving it
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Great review.............now I see the major differences between these and a Range Finder.
posted by warbirdlover: After reading your review and looking at their website I might consider this instead of the SkyCaddie. The price is better and it looks like a nice product. :)
Maybe you should get one before our Kentucky trip, WBL. (hint, hint):)
 
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Pa Jayhawk

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Just updating the information on this. Still will likely not make it on the course to test out the accuracy until likely the 1st of April.

I did join the site and received my extended warranty, 50 download credits, and 1 free mapping credit. I downloaded 10 of the courses in this area to check it out. They each took only a few seconds to download to my PC. Out of the 10 courses I download, none of them contained any further information other than Front/Back/Center of the green. So in comparison to maybe Skycaddie, this is still better for my needs, as they did not have any of the courses up here with any more detail, and furthermore, had a lot smaller selection of the courses I play. Although, as the key to why I bought this model, I can enter my own points assuming I intend to play the course more than once, and will not need to interact with the site in doing so.

Should Skycaddie have alot of 4 star courses, which designate they have been mapped with additional points, you would need to base a decision on which you feel to be a better value.

They have an option for updating information for the courses by e-mailing the file. Unfortunately upon viewing the site, there is never any indication given on whether the course has been updated, so in order to find out you would need to waste a credit to find out. This prompted me to send the following e-mail, to which I will update with their response.

One of the big advantages I initially saw to iGolf over other brands is the value of being able to send you updates to unmapped or minimally mapped courses. This will allow you to build a database that may exceed that of your competitors.

Unfortunately there currently appears to be no way of knowing if a course has ever been updated outside of spending a credit to check. Out of the 10 courses I have downloaded, none of them include anything other than Front, Back and Center of the green. In time I will likely update these with advantageous points on the course.

Do you foresee ever including the dates that a course has been updated. Without this information I would find little value in ever purchasing additional credits over simply using the scorecard and doing my own points. Furthermore, I honestly see no benefit in sending you updates that I do, when it is clear the only benefit is to your business and not the end user.

Are there any additional benefits that I am missing for sending you more in depth updates?
 
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Pa Jayhawk

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I did get a more lengthy and friendly response to my e-mail today, but I think this portion will pretty much sum up the answer I asked and how it may relate to people interested in this product.
We currently do not offer custom points with a download, as you mentioned in your email. Our reasoning for not including these is that each person will consider some hazards in play while others will not. One person may not consider any bunker within 250 yards of the tee as something to consider, while another user will want to know this location.
Granted, this would not likely change my mind in the decision I made, but it certainly may impact the decision for other that may be interested. Certainly not what I expected. They did however mention that it is something they are considering doing in the near future, however it remains to be seen if that will stand true, or is just vaporware. I guess my question would be, why not include the points and people that do not have the same values regarding hazards can change them as they see fit. I certainly see no incentive in sending in courses I map, as their response in relation to that matter was:
therefore it is a definite benefit to all customers.
Yeah, not to mention that it is in the best interest of iGolf. Kinda makes me feel like I purchased their product therefore I should feel inclined to work for them to assure their success. Guess what, the self centered person I am, I don't really care if your customers are happy. That is your job, not mine.

So in a nutshell, I still think this is the best option for me based on what I saw on the Skycaddie site, and in being able to enter my own points, however I no longer feel that the ability to upload will provide a possible better option in the future if they only list front~back~center of green.

Again, not to trash this as a viable option, as I am still yet to even use the device on the course, but I think this is something they should mention on their site to allow people to decide on their own whether it meets their needs. Had I known this to be the case before, I likely would not have purchased the product simply out of principle based on something that would clearly be of interest to perspective buyers for which they fail to mention.

That being said, if I chose to do so I could return the product at this point for a full refund, however I still feel it is the best option for my area and the courses I commonly play. Just giving a fair review of my experience thus far. May seem a little pessimistic at this point, but if the unit performs on the course, the verdict is still out. I will again update this once I get it out on the course.
 
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Pa Jayhawk

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Actually, no sense in not posting the entire e-mail. Here is the e-mail in it's entirety, minus names and addresses
Hello ***********,
My name is ****** ***** and I am a project manager at iGolf. I apologize for the delay in responding to your questions. First, let me thank you for choosing our product and for being willing to map courses. Our product is different in the fact that we do allow the customer to personalize a file by adding their own custom points or even changing the front, center and back that we provide. We currently do not offer custom points with a download, as you mentioned in your email. Our reasoning for not including these is that each person will consider some hazards in play while others will not. One person may not consider any bunker within 250 yards of the tee as something to consider, while another user will want to know this location. This is why we allow you to enter your own custom points. This being said, we are considering adding a certain number of custom points in the future along with the front, center and back of the green, but no final decision has been made as of yet. We have received requests from members to add these, so it is something we are researching.
We do not foresee placing a course update date on our site, and let me explain the reasoning behind this. When a course is mapped, it is rare that the actual green locations will change. Therefore approximately 98% of our course files are accurate. We do realize there may have been mistakes made during the mapping process, and when a member notifies us of an error, we will credit their account for the download and correct the error and notify them when the updated file is available for download.
Courses may change the tee location, but this will not effect the accuracy of the GPS Caddie since the greens were not moved. In these cases, when a member notifies us we contact the course and request a current scorecard and update the information in our database. We then send an email to the member that notified us that the new information is now available online. When a course does undergo a major reconstruction, we will get an email from a member that regularly plays that course to let us know that our information is now incorrect. At this point, we will remap the course or ask a member to remap if they are interested.

For this reason, we have chosen not to institute the placement of an update date for each course. However, this does not mean that the updates you may choose to send us are not helpful to our customers. If you were to send in a file for a course that we previously did not have mapped or was partially mapped, we will upload the data to our site so other GPS Caddie users will now have access to the course - therefore it is a definite benefit to all customers.

Most of our customers download a file and go play. If they find an error, they inform us and we will rectify the problem. I understand that the course update date is very important to you, therefore in the future, if you would like to send an email to me with a course name and location (city and state) I will be more than happy to research the course for you to let you know when it was last updated. By doing this, you will not have to spend a credit and find out the the course has changed and our GPS data is no longer correct.

I hope I have managed to answer most of your questions, however please feel free to contact me anytime if I can offer further assistance.

Kind Regards,
********
 
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Pa Jayhawk

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Got a chance to map 4 of the holes on my course today. Pretty simple stuff, and seems fairly accurate. If the course were not so spread out, I could have done more, but I mapped the 4 closest to my home and only had to walk about 3 miles.

It is very easy to figure out, but does take a little time and doing the first time. I am not sure I would recommend doing it the first time while playing, but the course opens on Sunday and I should be able to hopefully map the rest during my round and maybe try to get a couple more holes mapped before that time.

Hopefully have some kind of initial course review by next week. I also downloaded the 34 courses I may likely play at some point.

I would say that if you map your own, I am not sure I would keep the 40 courses it holds on the GPS, as when you back up the device it does all of them. So I deleted the others until I get the 2-3 I most commonly played mapped, and can upload the others should I need. Then after the mapping is done, I'll fill it up.
 

warbirdlover

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Let us know the bottom line... Does this help lower your score?? That's my big question. If it doesn't appear to help, send it to me and I'll test it for you for awhile.... :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
 
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Pa Jayhawk

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O.K. I managed to completely map my course and play a round. Certainly a pleasure using the device and well worth the money. A couple notes about the iGolf, as you have read you get the convenience of mapping your own points, great feature, easy to use. The thing to consider is if you want to spend the time doing so and play enough courses repetitively to benefit from this. I will tell you it likely takes as long to map a course thoroughly as it does to play a round. Plus you will likely walk twice as far if you are thorough. I doubt I would want to do it during a round as I would likely not concentrate on the golf part. I am also very meticulous in doing so, to make sure it is exact and saving and double checking the points afterwards. I found that out of the 11 total points per hole, I would need to remap 2-3 to assure perfection. Now I guess the question is, how perfect do you want it to be? When there was a variance to correct, it was almost always within 5-6 yards, usually 3-4, rarely 7 or more. So if that is acceptable, or if there is a course you don't want to spend time with, you could map it during a round but expect that you will have a couple points off by up to 5 yards that you may need to correct latter. Probably good enough for many and for my game, but again, I want it to be perfect for commonly played courses. The device is extremely accurate, works well, maps easy. I would probably recommend thinking of most of the custom points at home and uploading the blank course, as I imagine doing this on the course would be a pain in the butt to say the least.

I am happy I got this over the Skycaddie, but if the Skycaddy has all your courses and you know they are the points you want, then it would probably be a better option. On the other hand, if you don't mind spending the time and prefer your own points and assurance they will be accurate and meet your precise needs, this would probably be the better option. I guess what it really comes down to if you want to spend the time, personally it was somewhat enjoyable, but I did alot of it while the course was closed. Had I known I could spend that time on the course, I don't know if I would feel the same. I think I may map my second most played course over the course of a couple evenings and walk the course. Between the 2 courses, it likely accounts for 90% of rounds played in our area.

Others I will likely just map as I play, and then simply correct them if I run across errors in future rounds.
 
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Pa Jayhawk

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Something else to note on this. I had read alot of reviews that the battery life was short on the iGolf. It says 14 hours I believe. The reviews say maybe 6-8. Didn't really matter to me as I use rechargables, take a couple extras on the course and even if I have to replace every round or in the middle of a second round who cares. I have likely played with it for about 3-4 hours at first and spent about 7-8 hours mapping and playing. So after about 12 hours it is still at 86%. Not sure if it is going to go from 50-0 in 6 seconds, or if it has a much better life..

Could also be that I use 2650 mah rechargables? Again, you need to change the setting to rechargables or it will start out at like 50%, and the battery case is a little more difficult to take off as it has a twist and rubber connections to deal with. No big deal. If you find it to be difficult, remember this is supposed to be water resistant. Which for about 2 hours yesterday, I did have it out during a light sprinkle mapping, and it held up well.
 

sssmokin

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WBL..............WHEN you get one of these, be sure to put my two local courses on it..........ah, for when you come up here, of coursel.:)
 

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