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|The Voice Caddie T1 GPS golf watch provides precise yardages and even has practice and fitness functions. (Courtesy of Voice Caddie)|
GPS golf watches have proliferated, offering a wearable, multi-function alternative to more traditional reflective or laser rangefinders. Within the past year, I've reviewed GPS golf watches from Golf Buddy and Bushnell, both of which I found to be useful and relatively easy to operate.
Recently two more GPS watches came across my desk: the Pyle PSGF605 and the Voice Caddie T1, so I decided to compare them head-to-head at my local course on four consecutive days (two rounds for each).
Here's what I found.
Pyle is a large electronic media company, whose reputation was built on woofers and other home entertainment components. The company's line of sports watches includes several models of fitness watches, dive watches, and golf watches.
Starting the Pyle PSGF605 proved to be a challenge, and I had to wonder why Pyle couldn't have sprung for a proofreader for the instruction booklet -- there were numerous, almost comical grammar and spelling errors.
Just setting the time took a good 10 minutes, given that the watch couldn't seem to locate a satellite. So I had to set the time manually by guessing repeatedly how many hours Illinois is from the Taipei time zone that appeared to be the default. The buttons were not easy to press, and after finally getting the time set, it felt like my thumbs were nearly dislocated.
Before my rounds, it took a few minutes for the watch to locate a satellite and recommend a course, but eventually it started me on the first hole and I was off. The display shows a diagram of the green and yardages to front, middle, and back pins, which all were quite precise on the first hole.
Unfortunately, on both days, the Pyle watch didn't automatically proceed from the first hole to the next hole. I hit every button I could think of, in multiple combinations (as long as my thumbs would hold out), but failed to get the watch to move to the second hole. So I put it in my bag and found that it was still on the first hole when I got home. And the battery was nearly dead after each round to boot.
The Pyle PSGF605 promises to keep score and tell lay up yardages, too, but the last thing I needed on the golf course was the aggravation of figuring these out when I couldn't even get it to the second hole.
The Voice Caddie T1 is heavier than the Pyle watch, and a bit bulkier overall, but the buttons are much easier both to press and to operate. Setting the time automatically via the satellite proved to be a bit difficult again, as the watch couldn't lock in on a satellite signal. (In fact, the first day, the watch drained its battery trying to find a satellite.) However, there was a simple manual setting option that allowed me to just set the time, without any reference to time zones in Asia.
The display doesn't have the outline of the green, but yardages to front, middle, and back of the green are provided. Several times, I compared the yardage provided by the Voice Caddie T1 to exact yardage to the pin according to the Bushnell Tour V3 rangefinder and found them to be comparable within a yard or two.
Happily, once I moved to the second tee, the Voice Caddie moved to the second hole, too. In fact, the watch was a bit too conscientious about location at one point. My drive on the second hole landed in the third fairway, and in the middle of my subsequent swing to get back to the 2nd green, the watch beeped to tell me I was on the wrong hole. Gee, thanks.
The Voice Caddie has the capacity to store 40,000 golf courses, and is easy to work (I could even manually select holes, which I couldn't figure out on the Pyle). Other standard features and included functions such as shot distance, scorecard, and swing tempo (timing backswing and downswing) -- which is intended for practice sessions. There are also fitness settings to measure distance walked/run/cycled and calories burned.
For just over half the price of the Pyle PSGF605, the Voice Caddie T1 delivers excellent functionality. Most importantly, it is also easy to use, in terms of figuring it out and actually physically manipulating the settings buttons. Battery life on the Voice Caddie also seemed to be longer.
If you don't mind wearing a large watch on your wrist while you play, the Voice Caddie is a solid alternative to a laser rangefinder.
For more information visit pyleaudio.com and new.voicecaddie.com.
June 5, 2014
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.
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