By Jim McNaney

Location, as most business people can attest, is everything. Knowing a good place to put your company really does make business better. Same thing holds true for your golf game.

In business, you can do demographic studies and rent reviews to make sure you are in the right spot. It’s just good business. Doing your research in advance allows any business owner to avoid making poor choices or “gut” decisions. Doing this research in the 21st Century is a heck of a lot easier now that we are in the information age. What used to take weeks of crunching data now takes only a matter of moments. With the right software, you can rule out or include any area you are thinking of placing your business. Modern technology makes things easier.

I know what you’re saying…”wait…you are praising the use of modern technology? Aren’t you the guy last month that said ‘everything in moderation?'”

Yep…that was me. But this is an area where if the information is available to you easily, use it. I’m talking about GPS or yardage devices. These little gadgets have come a long way since the first Bushnell range finders came out. Those things used to look like sideways field binoculars left over from the military. Not only were they big and bulky, they were hard to operate. If you didn’t get exactly what you were aiming at, you could end up measuring someone’s back porch. Then, leave it to that time for you to make your best swing and actually break a window.

The other problem with the old ones was if you knew there was a chance to target the wrong thing, people would stand there and take 3 or 4 tries at getting a number. This would slow down the game even further than it had been going. Say hello to 6 hour rounds.
Nowadays, these devices are extremely accurate and come in a variety of formats to make it easier for anyone to find out yardages. There are apps on your phone that use the GPS already present. There are watches that also use GPS. There are improved range finders that are smaller and more accurate using laser technology. Heck…most courses today are even installing GPS on the carts so you don’t have to buy one.

When it comes to apps, a quick search on Google Play Store or Apple Apps Store will pull up literally dozens of choices. In my experience, it’s best to stay with the known brands. GolfLogix has a very popular and easy to use FREE app. SkyCaddie (probably the most well-known brand in this category) also offers a free app. Both will offer you upgrades like score tracking and stats but the free versions are really very good if all you are trying to do is get a yardage. Other companies like Golfshot Plus offer GPS, scorecards and even Tee Time reservations for $29.99. If you like keeping everything in one place that one might be for you but, personally, I just want yardages. Many of these phone apps are also offering smart watch compatibility as well.

That brings me to the GPS watches. Garmin, SkyCaddie and Bushnell all offer these products. Garmin pioneered the watch GPS devices for exercise so they are the leaders in this segment. Some people really like the convenience of just having to look down like you’re looking at the time and knowing how far out they are. Others have said they really don’t like waring a watch on the course so these are not an option for those folks. Most of these watches also come with a corresponding computer app that can crunch the data on just about any possible stat. My biggest complaint with these is the price. They can go anywhere from $100 to $300. If I’m going to spend that much on a watch…I’m buying something I can wear out to dinner.

Why bother with all this? Location…location…location.

One of the best ways to improve your score is to know where you are and then pick the right club to get you where you want to go. Having the convenience of instant information at your fingertips will actually speed up play as well. How many times have you hit a shot and thought, “it looks like a 9 iron” based on just looking at it, only to find out when the ball lands in the water short of the green that it really was an 8?

So if you want my opinion, start with the free apps on the phone and get used to knowing how far you really are. If you’re like me (that old curmudgeon) you’ll probably find these do all that you need them to do. If you’re more of a techie, then you might find the more expensive watches with all their stats the way to go.

In the end, doing a little research goes a long way to improving your business…um…golf game!

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