Will Google meet GPS on the golf course?

Will Google meet GPS on the golf course?

Summary: If Google really is serious about "organizing" all the world's information, the "Universal" search engine needs to start searching for ways to help golfers "organize" all the information they need to successfully master the links.Just days ago, I "reminded" Google CEO Eric Schmidt of his assertion one year ago that GPS fueled personalized car radio ads would be a next big Google thing.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Google
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dm52607gf.jpgIf Google really is serious about "organizing" all the world's information, the "Universal" search engine needs to start searching for ways to help golfers "organize" all the information they need to successfully master the links.

Just days ago, I "reminded" Google CEO Eric Schmidt of his assertion one year ago that GPS fueled personalized car radio ads would be a next big Google thing.

SEE: Why Google CEO is ‘harmless’

While Google is most concerned on the radio advertising front these days with simply trying to launch a viable old school radio ad product, GPS is making the rounds of golf courses.

I inaugurated the golf season yesterday with a round in the majestic Catskill mountains in upstate New York.

I also spoke with the head golf pro at Tarry Brae Golf Course, PGA Professional Glenn Sonnenschein, to find out about new technologies golf courses are exploring in their search for the next big golf tech thing. He showed me the SkyGolf SkyCaddie, touted by the manufacturer as "the advantage of a tour caddie in the plam of your hand":

Golf is more than a game of skill. It is also a game of strategy and course management. And the key to managing the course is your caddie – Your SkyCaddie! Unlike other rangefinders that depend on line-of-sight to calculate distances or use unreliable mapping, SkyCaddie combines state-of-the-art GPS technology with a network of precision-mapped golf courses to provide you with the information you need to play every hole like a PGA Tour professional. The SkyCaddie gives you the same information that a Pro would receive from a top PGA Tour Caddie — all in the palm of your hand.

Is it really that easy? Can a single, handheld commercial device actually mimic the live insights of experienced golf professionals?

According to SkyGolf:

dm52607gf2.jpgNo aiming, no missing. You don't need a clear line of sight or reflective target with the SkyCaddie. Because the targets are pre-programmed, the SkyCaddie eliminates the need to aim through a lens, accidentally hitting the wrong target on a hole, or trying to hit a pin with a laser beam at 200 yards.

More time to focus on your game. Since distances are automatic with the SkyCaddie, you can quickly select the right club and think only about your swing.

Avoid hidden trouble. Get accurate measurements over hills, trees, and obstructions to any target. Play confidently and knock strokes off your game.

Measure the distance of your shots. Learn how far you hit your drive, 5-iron, 9-iron, or wedge with a touch of a button on the SkyCaddie.

Use it on any golf course. With a SkyPlayer membership, you can choose from thousands of available SkyCourses to download to your SkyCaddie. Or you can record the front, center, and back of each green on the courses you play using the built-in SkyCourse Setup module.

PLUS, SkyGolf ptches to golf courses that SkyCaddie will speed up course play, a perpetual wish of open to the public golf courses.

Sonnenschein has not been "sold" on the SkyCaddie, however, literally and figuratively. Moreover, who needs GPS on the golf course his experience may even suggest.

The device costs a hefty $300, with a membership subscription content upgrade. The product is not new to the market. TheSandTrap.com gave it a thumbs up when it first came out:

The SkyCaddie is easy to use and deadly accurate. It's shaved strokes off my game and may pay for itself in bets won before the season is through. You can use the SkyCaddie on any course in the world so long as you're willing to put in the center/back/front data yourself.

Why doesn't Sonnenschein SkyCaddie enable his course then? Because at $300 an electronic caddie, a big upfront investment would be required and the institution of golfer rental fees to recoup the cost would be needed.

What's more, Sonnenschein is not convinced that the technology would enhance the quality and speed of play.

As with all well run golf courses, Tarry Brae makes a considerable effort to equip the course with reliable course distance markers. By adding a piece of electonic equipment to golfers' routines, the pace of game play could actually slow, rather than quicken.

On the accuracy front, Sonnenschein shared stories with me about the inadequacy of in-golf-cart GPS positioning systems. In one round, two GPS enabled carts were positioned virtually on the same spot, but showed significantly different stats . On courses that Sonnenschein knows like the palm of his hand, GPS technology has been off the mark.

Sonnenschein recounted the not on the mark story of one golf course that had installed GPS within the roofs of their golf carts, only to have the weight of the systems lead to the roofs caving in.

Is it time for a Googley solution? Can Google really "organize" all the world's information, of all the world's golfers?

Will iGoogle get into the golf game? SEE:  Google plays mind games with personal search

Google already has a Googley Golf Umbrella!

Not all links are hyper. Hit the back nine, rain or shine, with this handsome golf umbrella. Boasting a 58" arc, 16mm wooden shaft, fiberglass ribs, and wooden handle, this umbrella features navy and white alternating panels with a full color Google logo.

dm52607gf3.jpg

MORE ON GOOGLE'S LOGO "STRATEGY"! SEE: MICROSOFT VS. GOOGLE: WAR OF THE TEE-SHIRTS?

Topics: Hardware, Google

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