SkyCaddie today welcomed the PGA’s groundbreaking decision to sanction the use of GPS rangefinders in its professional events this year – including the Irish PGA Championship, Scottish PGA Championship and the Glenmuir PGA Professional Championship.
The market-leading distance measuring device was made official rangefinder of the PGA earlier this year and was used to monitor pace-of-play statistics during the PGA’s prestigious Glenbrae Fourball eight qualifying rounds and final at Fulford Golf Club in October.
Now, following positive results, the forward-thinking PGA has agreed to allow GPS use across its tournament calendar in 2008 – a decision taken at its executive committee meeting on 15th January. Other leading golf bodies are now expected to monitor closely the success of the scheme.
Jackie Hitchcock, MD of SkyCaddie in the UK, said, “The PGA is to be congratulated for making this groundbreaking decision and we are naturally delighted. This is not just great news for SkyCaddie. It will give impetus to the entire golf GPS market as people will see handsets in use more often, on TV, and realise they are a very important piece of equipment.
“The PGA has taken the extremely forward-thinking view that GPS rangefinders will play a significant part in the future of golf. SkyCaddie was made their official rangefinder because of its ease of use and the speed with which players can use the product, play the shot and move on.
“Clearly, these benefits have struck a chord with the PGA and their decision is a landmark one for amateurs and professionals. Our goal is about getting more people to play golf and to enjoy playing golf and we firmly believe using rangefinders does this by making the game easier and faster.”
SkyCaddie combines state-of-the-art GPS technology with precision-mapping by foot to give golfers the vital information they need to reduce their scoring through improved course management.
The meticulous mapping process involves physically walking courses and marking all hazards, their ‘to’ and ‘carry’ points, as well as all run-outs and ends of fairways. They also mark ‘Fairway Targets’ – a safe area off of the tee – and on longer and more difficult holes they also give another safe ‘Lay-Up Target’.
Rangefinders were approved as a condition of competition by the R&A and USGA in January 2006 and currently devices can only be used in club competition if a Local Rule allows them.
Announcing the landmark decision today, PGA chief executive Sandy Jones, said earlier, “I’m aware a number of traditionalists might well be appalled by this decision, but the evidence suggests that using rangefinders really helps improve pace of play so it is difficult to see why such a decision should be detrimental to the game.”
The SkyCaddie, developed by SkyHawke Technologies, is used on over 16,000 golf courses in 45 countries around the world. Weighing less than five ounces, the SkyCaddie uses military-precision global positioning technology – but in a portable handheld device, about the size of a mobile phone.
Each handset uses the SkyGolf GPS system – professional, high-performance GPS engines, satellite-based accuracy augmentation, and proprietary accuracy enhancements – to provide golfers with the distances needed to play smarter, faster and have more fun.