The Local Knowlege

Gear & Equipment

Live scoring for your weekly grudge match? Oh yeah!

By Ryan Herrington

We're all for the entertainment that arises when gathering with your buddies after a round, adding up your scores and figuring out who beat who in the myriad of games that were being played. What if, though, all those calculations took place in real time, allowing for the drama to play out on the course over the last final few holes?

Blog-Vpar-scoring.jpgVPAR, a London-based company, offers a phone app that can create a live-scoring experience for anything from match- or stroke-play tournaments to your regular four-ball grudge match. The app's latest version can track up to 32 golfers and monitor multiple games simultaneously. (The company also offers a tournament management system for clubs hosting larger events.)

You can share live leader boards on Facebook and Twitter to keep others away from the course up-to-date on all the action.

The VPAR app, available on iTunes, has a $8.99 yearly subscription fee, but also offers other features, notably GPS distance measuring capabilities and stat tracking functions. For more information go to

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SkyCaddie Linx watch isn't your ordinary sundial

By Ryan Herrington

The upside with SkyCaddie watches has always been they are more than distance-measuring devices. They also feature fitness functions like a stopwatch, pedometer and calorie counter. The downside, though, was that to take full advantage of its course-mapping features, you had to pay an annual fee.

STIX0226.01.01.linx.jpgWith the SkyCaddie LINX ($250, available in March), there are no charges for access to basic distances on more than 34,000 courses (yardages to the front, center and back of greens via its GPS technology). Users can upgrade their LINX ($50 for a year) to track stats and view green shapes and distances to up to 40 additional hazards/carries per hole.

The LINX comes in seven colors and is Bluetooth-enabled to sync with a complementary app for iPhone and Android.
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Gear & Equipment

Laser Link has new consumers in its sites with XL1000

By Ryan Herrington

New-product launches often involve companies touting how they bucked "traditional" designs to entice new consumers. The opposite is the case with Laser Link's XL1000.

Offering a range finder that golfers hold up to their eye to use a magnified viewfinder is hardly unusual. But, according to company VP Dan Steiner, the new model supplements the company's brand of pistol-shape devices and appeals to a broader audience. "It's a departure for us, but it adds a new dimension to our line," Steiner says.

The XL1000 ($300, available the first week of March) uses Laser Link's distance-measuring technology to let golfers get yardages for more than just the flagstick. It's waterproof, weighs less than eight ounces and complies with USGA/R&A guidelines for tournaments that allow use of range finders, which now includes both governing bodies' amateur events.
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Gear & Equipment

Rangefinder watch receives texts, email

Garmin S4.jpg

By John Strege

The evolution of GPS rangefinders has not abated, to wit the new Garmin Approach S4 golf watch capable of pairing with an iPhone and receiving text messages and email.

Of course, it also provides the pertinent golf information -- yardages to the front, middle and back of greens and layup yardages to hazards and doglegs. It also has a digital score keeper, can track statistics and provide shot distances.

The S4 comes pre-loaded with more than 30,000 courses internationally and has a high-resolution touchscreen that is sunlight readable. It has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that will last up to 10 hours in golf mode.

The Smart Notification technology allows the golfer to stay connected while leaving his iPhone in the golf bag.

Technology comes with a price, and this one is $350. But there are no annual subscription fees and course updates are free.

It also tells time.

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Gear & Equipment

Bushnell Golf's Wingman Pack for a worthy cause

Bushnell Wingman Pack.jpg

By John Strege

Are you in the market for a laser rangefinder and want to support a worthy cause in the process? Bushnell Golf is offering the Tour Z6 Wingman Pack and is donating a portion of the proceeds to the Folds of Honor Foundation.

The Wingman Pack includes Bushnell's Tour Z6 laser rangefinder, the smallest and most technologically-advanced in its laser line. It includes the company's E.S.P. (extreme, speed, precision) technology. Also included in the Wingman Pack is a carrying case and battery, as well as a Bushnell Golf/Folds of Honor Foundation embroidered microfiber towel.

The Wingman Pack retails for $399 and is available at a variety of golf stores.

Major Dan Rooney, a former F-16 pilot and a PGA of America professional, founded the Folds of Honor Foundation to provide scholarships to the spouses and children of military service members killed or disabled.

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Gear & Equipment

Bushnell's newest golf GPS rangefinder watch

By John Strege

The market for GPS rangefinders worn on the wrist is a rapidly growing category, for good reason: Simplicity. There is no need to reach for a rangefinder.

Bushnell Neo-X.jpg

Bushnell already had entered that market with the Neo+ Golf GPS Watch, but it is introducing the next generation, the Neo-X Golf GPS Watch. It comes pre-loaded with more than 30,000 courses, features automatic course recognition, and in addition to providing yardages to the front, center and back of greens, it also provides yardages to hazards, a function to measure shot distances, tells time and has a stopwatch and an odometer.

The popularity of wrist devices is reflected in the number of companies offering them. In addition to Bushnell, others offering them are SkyCaddie, GolfBuddy, Garmin ane Expresso.

The Neo-X will be available May 1 and will retail for $199.95.

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Gear & Equipment

SkyGolf introduces SkyCaddie Sport Series

Skycaddie Sport Series.jpg

By John Strege

SkyGolf has expanded its universe of rangefinders with the introduction of the SkyCaddie Sport Series, featuring four offerings, each under $200 and designed to appeal to a greater variety of golfers. Each comes pre-loaded with up to 30,000 courses.

The SkyCaddie Watch (with an introductory price of $199) provides yardages to the front, center and back of greens and is a multi-purpose device that comes with an odometer, calarie counter, clock and stopwatch.

The SkyCaddie Gimme ($169) is a compact device that features a high-resolution 2.2-inch color display.

The SkyCaddie Aire ($129) is a mini-hand-held device that can be clipped to a push cart or golf bag or worn on the belt.

Finally, the SkyCaddie Voice ($150) offers yardages vocally with the tap of a button. It can be clipped to a hat or visor and worn on a belt.

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Gear & Equipment

Garmin Golf upgrades its wristwatch-like rangefinder

Garmin Approach S2.jpg

By John Strege

Rangefinders continue to evolve, even in packages already small and functional, like those worn on the wrist in the manner of a wristwatch. Garmin Golf joined that fray with its Approach S1 and now has improved upon it with the Approach S2.

The S2 comes preloaded with more than 30,000 courses world wide and can be used right out of the package. It provides distances to the front, middle and back of greens, and features layup and dogleg distances. For those walking the course, it even inlcudes an odometer to chart your mileage.

The S2 comes with a digital scoreard feature that enables golfers to save their scores via a web-based program from Garmin.

Oh, and it really is a wristwatch, too, providing the time and the date.

The Approach S2 will become available in March, with a suggested retail price of $250.

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Gear & Equipment

Bushnell Golf adds JOLT tech to its laser rangefinders

Bushnell Tour v3.jpg

By John Strege

One issue with laser rangefinders has always been the uncertainty that you've zeroed in on the right target and not, say, a tree behind it. Bushnell Golf has taken steps to eliminate any doubt with its new Tour v3 laser rangefinder.

The Tour v3 features a new technology that Bushnell calls JOLT that provides short vibrating bursts to help reinforce in the user's mind that the target has been isolated by the company's existing PinSeeker technology.

The Tour v3 is accurate to within one yard, according to Bushnell, and has a range up to 1,000 yards. It will retail for $299 and will be available in February.

There also is a Tour v3 Slope Edition, which features the additional benefit of Slope Technology -- distances that take into account elevation changes, removing the guesswork. It will retail for $399 and also will be available in February.

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Gear & Equipment

'First watch built for 21st century' includes golf app


By John Strege

Once the exclusive province of the watch, the wrist has begun to make way for technology. Already we've seen the introduction of GPS rangefinders worn on the wrist.

Pebble Rangefinder.jpg

Now a company called Pebble is preparing to introduce a device that includes a rangefinder app, but does so much more. It bills it as "the first watch built for the 21st century."

Pebble's device features a 1.26-inch e-paper screen. It connects via bluetooth to an iPhone or Android and can show the time in a variety of watch faces. It can alert the user to incoming phone calls, text messages or email and can be customized with a host of apps, including a rangefinder app that delivers yardages to the front, center and back of greens.

Pebble is working with FreeCaddie for its course information. The app is free and provides just the yardages to the front, center and back of greens. For $5.95, it offers the FreeCaddiePro, which includes distances to hazards and bunkers and allows for downloading courses.

The device is not yet available, though it is taking pre-orders and is expected to ship early this year. The cost is $150.

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