If you have not had a chance to try out a Golf GPS unit, now is the time. It seems as though every time you turn around now, a new GPS unit is coming out for golfers to better their game. Some are full of features such as a color screen and come with a big price tag, while others are smaller and affordable. But the most important thing to consider when buying a unit, is just how accurate the GPS is. There is really no reason in purchasing a device that is made to make your golf game better by giving you yardages if the measurements are not accurate. I have always thought of IZZO as a company that produced some nice golf bags and some very popular training and fitness aids. When The Hackers Paradise got a call from them saying that they had come out with a GPS and asked if we would review it, we jumped at the chance.
SWAMI is everything a golfer needs in a GPS unit. Featuring Insta-Lok Technology & powered by the latest SIRFStarIII chip, the SWAMI instantly calculates distance to the Front, Center and Back of the green of 12,000 US courses*. SWAMI stores up to 10 courses at a time and automatically recognizes the course you’re playing, on power-up. Easy to use buttons and a large display allows you to quickly cycle from hole to hole for quicker play. The rechargeable Lithium Ion battery holds a charge for a minimum of 12 hours at a time for extended play.
About a week after speaking with them a box arrived and in it was the new tiny little GPS that we had been waiting for. The IZZO SWAMI GPS is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, however has nice big numbers on the LCD to make it easy to read. One of the issues that a few of our senior testers have is that they have had trouble reading the LCDs that some of the other units we have tested have built in.
The box comes with everything you need to get started. Charger, USB cable, instructions, software CD, and belt clip. We decided to jump right in and get everything setup for the testing to begin. We must note here that there is a yearly fee of $35 for unlimited course downloads. While THP has always been on the fence about annual fees with GPS units we understand that there are two sides. If you play a ton of courses, the annual fee GPS units work great, due to unlimited downloads. We still prefer the no annual fee units for our personal use though. According to IZZO, they have about 12,000 courses in their catalog right now and are adding more all the time. (more on that later)
The software is a breeze to use and we had no problem setting the unit up. Our first test was my local club. This would be our accuracy test in some ways since my club has the GPS units built into the carts and we could compare the accuracy of the two units side by side. Once out there we powered up the device and noticed a really cool feature that is built into this little guy. No more fumbling for what course you are at. The GPS unit automatically figures it out for you. We even tested it out at a club with two 18 hole courses and the SWAMI had no problems figuring out where we were. That feature was well liked by everybody that tested it. Out on the course, the GPS accuracy was dead on. For 5 rounds of golf we compared it to both a SkyCaddie and our built in GPS at the club and each and every time it was within 1 yard. One issue we had with this device though is that it DOES NOT give any other information other than measurements to the green (front, center, and back). We would have liked them to include a few of the other things on holes such as bunkers or carry distance over water. We played a course that we did not know and struggled a bit off the tee due to not having those readings.
Conclusions after a few weeks of using the device differed a little bit. The IZZO SWAMI is by far the easiest GPS to use on the market. You really only use 2 buttons while playing. One is to get the different readings to front, center, and back of the green and the other is to move to the next hole. We mentioned earlier about more courses being added all the time. Well, this company is FAST. One of the courses we were playing was not listed, so we put in a request. With in 3 days it was mapped and on our device and ready to use. However the downfall of this unit is that it just does not give you enough info per hole. If I am going to invest in a GPS I want something that gives me a little more. Without more info per hole, I think the $35 annual fee is a little steep. However our senior testers that tried this unit out raved about it because they play the same course most of the time and really just want distances into the green and simplicity. For the cost of only $150 it is a solid device if it has the features you are looking for. You can read all about it at IZZO SWAMI.
Till Next Time