Golfers at this year’s Open Championship got a helping hand during their practice rounds with the addition of a Global Positioning System distance guide on a Fujitsu Siemens Computers Pocket LOOX N520 PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). CaddyAid, a specialist golf software package that will be available only on a Fujitsu Siemens Computers handheld, is a GPS distance guide that offers golfers an immediate readout of not only their location on the hole, but also distances to key points on the hole. All of which help the golfer make a better and more informed shot.
Fujitsu Siemens Computers is now the exclusive partner of CaddyAid and will be the only supplier of the hardware technology via a bespoke Pocket LOOX N520 PDA. Golf clubs will be able to purchase and rent out the devices to visiting golfers, much in the same way they would have sold a paper- based distance guide previously.
The difference is that now the golfer sees a detailed photograph of the hole and GPS distance measurements and the club professionals can promote their stock by interactive messaging whilst the golfer is on the course: functions that paper-based guides simply cannot offer.
The Pocket LOOX N520 with the CaddyAid software built in will be available to buy from leading golf retailers or directly from the CaddyAid website www.caddyaid.com from 29th September after its official launch at Golf Europe in Munich.
The retail price for CaddyAid is £380, which includes not only the golf software, but also all the functionality of a PDA (including applications such as Word, Excel, internet and email). Golf clubs can also purchase or lease the CaddyAid hand held allowing them to rent out the device to corporate clients and visiting parties for a suggested price of £10 per round.
The inventors explain that CaddyAid uses state-of-the-art technology which means when the golfer is on the course they simply look at the PDA’s screen to view a detailed photograph of the hole being played. The GPS clearly shows the user their position and then a readout automatically shows them distances to the front of all points such as bunkers, ponds etc, but also the distance to carry those hazards. Should the golfer just wish to get the ball back in play, all they have to do is select where they want to go by touching the screen on the desired point, from which the distance is clearly shown. Whichever way the CaddyAid is used, the inventors continue, the readouts are highly accurate and immediate, which will not only help the golfer but also speed up play.
CaddyAid also encompasses a secondary product called ‘Fairway Flyover’ which allows the golfer to see a low level movie of the hole they are about to play. This enables golfers to see every hole on the course in its entirety by physically ‘flying’ the length of the hole, just as if they were in the helicopter themselves. The Fairway Flyover movies are all created from still photographs of the golf course and can also be installed on golf club websites.
The David Morris Corporation (DMC), which created CaddyAid, has aerial photographs from over 3,000 golf courses in the UK in its library. This means virtually every golf course will be available to be downloaded by golfers who wish to use this technology to help their game. A testament to how good the software is that it won last year’s British Invention Show, beating competition from across the world.
David Morris, inventor of CaddyAid said, “The Open was an ideal opportunity for the CaddyAid software to make its debut and we had many top professionals trying out the product. We have had some amazing feedback from players and caddies alike. Indeed after one day there were two players on the main leader board who had used it during their practice rounds.
“The common response from the caddies was that they were very impressed with CaddyAid and it allowed them to do essential homework on Hoylake whilst providing precision distances to the front and the back of key areas. In fact, so useful was the device, a lot of caddies took it to their hotels and continued to do individual distance measurements well away from the course, which until now simply has not been possible.
“People were enthused by the product as it provided them the ability to analyse distances automatically, quickly and accurately from all parts of the course. After speaking to many caddies and players at the Open, I am glad to say all persons clearly appreciated that this technology is the way forward, when compared standard paper-based products currently used – not only for accuracy but also speed of play.”
Gary Fowle, marketing director at Fujitsu Siemens Computers said, “There are over 3,200 golf courses in the UK, with approximately four million golfers. This increases to 7,000 courses and eight million golfers, if we include Europe. The market size for this product is significant and is a great opportunity for Fujitsu Siemens Computers handhelds.”
DMC has every golf course in the UK photographed, complete with its associated height data, terrain model and all-important GPS data of which allow the golfers position on the golf course to be accurately shown. It has an exclusive partnership with BlueSky International, the market leader in aerial photography.
BlueSky International provides a library of aerial images, which are continuously updated both within the UK and also Spain and Portugal, which gives DMC a distinctive edge. The software has already been shown to the European Tour Caddy Association, and DMC is now looking at the possibility of providing CaddyAid at the 2007 European Tour events as well as for caddies at the forthcoming Ryder Cup.
David Morris said, “The amazing library of golf course imagery allows us to provide both the photograph and its respective GPS points. We believe that no other company in the world can offer this amount of information to the golfer. We are confident that, in time, CaddyAid will become the leading brand for GPS golf distance guides across the world. We fully intend to capitalise on the extremely positive feedback from the Open Championship when we launch immediately after the Ryder Cup has finished in September.”