Golf Cart GPS Systems Offering More Features


Funny how many of us play golf now. We spend so much time at work staring at computer screens, then when we finally find some peace on the golf course, we spend a part of that time staring at … a computer screen.

We can’t resist the GPS.

Forget wandering every which way from our ball in the fairway to find a sprinkler head; now we’ve got yardage to the front, middle and back of the green via satellite to a smartphone, watch or, most often, our golf cart.

Competition is fierce in Florida among golf courses and resorts, and one way to get a leg up is to have the latest and greatest GPS. And that means more than just yardages and a hole diagram.

From some units, you can order food for the turn. You can enter scores and, if your friends in another group do the same, have a live match going. You can track the whereabouts of the group in front of you (or at least their carts), which can prove useful if you’re thinking of challenging a par 5 in two.

At Tiburon in Naples, the GPS (pictured) can beam live sports scores. I’ve seen others with stock tickers. The units at Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast have a smart feature where if you lose or find a club, you can push a button and alert the staff at the clubhouse.

Screens can be mounted from the top of the windshield at eye level just off the steering wheel. One ingenious model I saw a while back had a small window on the rear of the cart above the golf bags, allowing you to see the yardage while pulling a club – alleviating the need to crane your neck back inside the cart to get the number.

Not all courses have joined the GPS arms race, TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach doesn’t have them at all since caddies are available. I enjoy the screens but also try to get a yardage book anytime I play for distances and to have a reference guide at home when I write. (If I’m fortunate enough to keep this gig for a few years, I should have a nice collection.)

If you're trying to avoid the technology altogether, take note that courses aren’t ripping up the sprinkler-head markers if their carts have GPS. Many still have poles marking 150 yards or plates at 100, 150 and 200 yards. Those come in handy. too. when the -- gasp -- satellites go on the fritz.

What do you prefer to use on the course to get your yardages? Tell us Facebook or Twitter.

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