Golf Gadgets for the Holidays

asiseeit_fayette_headshotGolfers all around the world are constantly looking for that newest golf ball to give them added distance or that latest club to give their game confidence and control. Walk into any sporting goods store or browse golf items on Ebay and you will see that there are dozens of tools and gadgets to make your golf game that much more enjoyable. Like the ball retriever or the adjustable loft iron, many of these items come and go as fast as a Tiger Woods tee shot. However, over the last few years course GPS and range finders have made incredible leaps and bounds, both technologically and price-wise. The neatest thing about many of these new items is that they’re available on your Android or iPhone.

Here are five of what I think are the best golf apps and gadgets available this holiday:

Golf Logix– This free app is able to be used on just about any smartphone and boasts nearly 35,000 golf courses in its library. This app not only provides you with accurate tee to pin distance, but it also has features that will give you distances to hazards or lay up locations. One of the neatest things about this Golf Logix app is its “fly over” feature. One touch of your smartphone and you get to see a tee to green birds-eye view of the hole you’re about toGolfLogix play. This feature is extremely helpful when playing a new or unfamiliar course. Golf Logix also has built in features to allow for not only scorekeeping, but shot by shot record keeping and even post-round video lessons on the areas your game needs work on. Golfers can even book future tee times at thousands of courses through Golf Now on the Golf Logix app, with daily updates and discounts. It’s pretty obvious why over 3 million golfers have chosen this app as their go-to golf app.
Swing By Swing- This golf GPS range finder and scorecard ups the ante a bit on other golf apps by also offering wind speed and direction on every hole. The unique “Plays Like” feature takes into consideration wind and elevation to give the golfer a more realistic distance that the ball needs to carry. Claiming to have every golf course in the world in its library (by the way, I didn’t check each one) Swing By Swing also offers a website community where golfers can share theirs scores, stories, and even pictures from their round. The scorecard feature not only keeps track of every stroke entered, but will also help organize various betting games such as Skins, Stableford, Nassau, and more. Swing By Swing is free for life and available for download on most platforms.

 
Golf Pad GPS– Don’t be fooled by it’s name, this handy little golf caddy is available for smartphones as well as iPads and tablets. Featuring over 30,000 free golf courses, Golf Pad GPS has taken the best features from the industry’s top apps and 81D-BiffmtLmade them even better. The GPS range finder gives distances to the front, middle, and back of every green, while also giving distances to course hazards. The 4-players scorecard tallies the shots, putts, and even penalties of every player playing in the round. Hole by hole fly overs, round by round playing history, and accurate game-improving statistics are just some of the reasons why Golf Pad GPS is quickly gaining in popularity in the free golf app category. And by the way, if you find a course that this app doesn’t have a simple visit to their website allows you to map the course in about 20 minutes.

 

SkyCaddie LINX Golf GPS Watch– For those not wanting to constantly be fidgeting with their smartphone while playing golf, one of the GPS industry leaders, SkyCaddie, has introduced its new Golf GPS Watch. While this isn’t designed to have all the colorful bells and whistles of the smartphone apps, it does get the job done unite well. For around $150 this versatile and sporty watch can be worn on and off the course. It skycaddie-linx-front-black-white-400cwfeatures not only the time, but also a built in odometer which users can then download onto their own profile on the computer. With regards to the GPS range finder feature, this SkyCaddie watch gives a large display of the distance to the front, center, and back of the green. Distances to various hole hazards can also be displayed with a click of a button. This watch is water resistant and durable. It comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery and includes mini-USB cable for charging. For me, this SkyCaddie Golf GPS watch could be my next acquisition. A simple glance to the wrist will provide me with more than my next golf shot will need.

 
World Golf Tour (WGT)– For those days when your golf game gets rained out WGT comes to the rescue. Escape the local thunderstorms by playing a round at historic St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, or any other spectacular course around the world. World Golf Tour is truly the most realistic online golf game ever. This virtual golfing world allows players to connect with one another and play amazing golf courses regardless of the weather outside, day or night! Whether you play from your computer, smartphone or tablet, WGT offers realistic play which even the pros have claimed adds to the improvement of your golf game by working on your course management and decision-making skills. World Golf Tour simply requires a one-time sign up (username and password) and within minutes you’re playing with friends that you’ve invited in, or others from halfway around the world.

worldgolftourRemember that while these golf apps and gadgets are on the cutting edge of technology and offer never before applications for one’s game, nothing will ever replace the need for practice, play, and the occasional lesson from a PGA professional. But with that being said, those looking for a slight competitive edge, or just some plain fun to add to their game, the download of any of these five will surely not disappoint the inner Jack Nicklaus or Natalie Gulbis in all of us.

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5-stars for iPhone 3Gs

If you’re a techno-gadget freak like me, you have surely heard about the new Apple iPhone 3Gs. I have never been one to ‘need’ a new piece of technology; that is until I tried out the iPhone 3Gs. This device has everything one could ever want from a phone/PDA.

The first generation of iPhone came out a few years ago to much acclaim. However with the fanfare came glitches and criticism. Now, after more than two years of refining, and two generations of devices later, the folks at Apple have cut the cost in half, upped the capabilities, and doubled the speed of accessing information. Priced now at $199, the Apple iPhone 3Gs comes with 8GB of memory (the 16GB is priced at $299), which is more than enough space for even the above-average networker. The new 3Gs technology makes obtaining webpages or downloading information much faster than before.

The iPhone’s size and power are amazing. Weighing in at a measly 4.7 ounces, and sizing up at 4.5 inches high and 2.4 inches wide, the iPhone’s barely noticeable, until you see what it can do! Its 3.5 inch diagonal touch screen provides brilliant clarity and color with its 480 x 320 pixel resolution. And it’s the “touch” part of the screen that has everyone talking. With just one tap of the phone, mail, internet, or ipod icon on the iPhone’s main screen, the user is instantly engaged into whatever application they were looking to use. For example, one touch of the phone icon immediately sends the user to a screen to access a phonebook, recent calls, voicemail, or the keypad. A nice feature with the iPhone is the ability to sift through your voicemails before listening to them. As you recognize a number of importance, you can listen to that voicemail first. Then, the other voicemails that you are tired of seeing show up on your phone, well there is a handy little, red delete icon.

From the Safari internet icon, users are taken to their last page viewed, or they can also check sites from their bookmarked favorites. Most of the webpages are just like you would see from your desktop or laptop computer. No more watered-down, text-only pages. The iPhone even has a built-in mechanism that allows you to tip the device 90-degrees to view things with a wide-screen effect. I am still patiently waiting for Apple to come up with an update to allow for viewing sites that have Java-enabled content.

Cleverly built into the new iPhone is a hidden keyboard that appears with a tap of the screen when in an application that would require the use of typing. Though it seemed slightly clunky during my first few days, I now fly through an email or text message that even makes my son and daughter impressed. And speaking of email, this now puts every email account that you have at your fingertips 24/7. The iPhone mail works with Microsoft Exchange, Mobile Me, and many of the web-based email services. The folks at your neighborhood AT&T or Apple store can easily help you set up your accounts if you provide them with your email address and POP-server information.

Though I only store my ipod music on my iPhone, and keep my ipod fully loaded with music, movies, and more, my 8GB iPhone is extremely sufficient. I can only imagine that the 16GB would be more than you would ever need. On the new iPhone the music I download comes with album art and artist info. And like the family of ipods, everything can be managed from Apple’s iTunes on your home computer. This new product even comes with the classic ipod earphones, that produce a nice sound when being played aloud.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the iPhone 3Gs is its capability of its application use, known as ‘Apps’. These ‘Apps’ can be downloaded from the www.Apple.com  website, iTunes, or directly from the iPhone itself with its 3G technology. ‘Apps’ are actually pieces of software that range from GPS software to the latest video game. They also range in price from a few dollars to, my favorite, Free! With one tap of the ‘App’ icon on the iPhone’s main screen, I am able to view and download the latest apps available. And believe me, they are being created and marketed at, well let’s call it “3G-speed”! Nearly every week I check out the latest free apps, and actually come across a several interesting new ones. Some that I currently find useful on my iPhone are Stats Pro Football, AOL Radio, and White Pages. The Stats Pro Football app shows me gameday scores of all the NFL teams, play-by-play results, and fantasy football updates. AOL Radio is basically like having nearly every type of music available in the palm of your hand. From Pop to Smooth Jazz, Rock to Country, AOL Radio covers all the bases. The White Pages app allows me to place the name of someone into its search engine, then within seconds I have their phone number and sometimes even address. It works well for businesses too. This is a pretty handy app seeing that most don’t walk around with a phonebook in their back pocket. Other apps include popular video games like MonkeyBall, Madden football, or MotoChaser racing.

SMS texting, Microsoft Outlook or Exchange-compatible scheduling, and world time and weather are all standard on the iPhone 3Gs. Now I’m not much for texting, but with the iPhone’s SMS texting, I could be. Easy to read and easy to reply messages pop up on your iPhone in a chat-like format when in use, and again, the use of the built-in keyboard makes replying very easy. Infact, I just used it recently to text my son at college to inform him that I thought I had found his missing sunglasses. I attached a photo of the glasses, that I took with the iPhone camera. He texted me back with ‘Thx, ur the bst’. (Ahh, such heartfelt words from a child). I must admit that the one thing I haven’t changed over to yet is the iPhone’s scheduling capabilities. I still use my Franklin Planner for my daily scheduling, but I am attempting to become ‘paper-free’ when it comes to scheduling for 2010. And the iPhone’s scheduler is be perfect. I know of a colleague who actually has his iPhone color-coded for work, home, and play scheduling. (Remind me to take this guy to lunch this spring). Perhaps, surprisingly, one of the features I find myself using the most is the iPhone’s world weather icon. In a ‘tap’ I can access current weather anywhere in the world, along with six-day weather forecasts.

A camera, calculator, notepad, and GPS mapping are also standard on the iPhone 3G. Nicely placed on the devices main screen is also a You Tube icon. With one tap users can access the worldwide phenomenon known as You Tube;  a nearly infinite library of video clips ranging from politics to stupid-humor. (Come to think of it, doesn’t  politics fall into the ‘stupid-humor’ category anyways?) Simply select the one of the Most Viewed videos of the day, or search for a specific topic you are interested in. Again, this new iPhone truly does bring the world to the palm of your hand.

With all the positives of the iPhone 3Gs that I’ve mentioned, believe it or not I do have a couple complaints. One, the battery life is not long enough. Though they have added an update from iTunes, so once you hook up for updates through iTunes, Apple sends something to your iPhone that does extend the battery life a little bit more. I’ve found that clicking the upper left sleep-mode button does help with the battery life too. I also recently got a battery-charger case. This nifty little accessory adds about 3 days to your iPhone battery. The other slight problem that I see with the iPhone is … you know what, I don’t have a second or third problem. This new iPhone 3Gs is spectacular in its applications and ease of use! Apple.com has a terrific tutorial for users to teach themselves the countless things the iPhone can do.

Having been one who thought he’d be satisfied with a standard, typical cellphone for the rest of his life, I have seen the light; literally….the iPhone even makes a nifty night light if you are ever fumbling for your keys at night. But seriously, to me this is one of the biggest no-brainers I have come across in quite some time. This iPhone is changing the communications world, and more importantly, perhaps it will change your personal world by providing ease of use, and instant informational access wherever you may be.

For more information on the iPhone, visit www.Apple.com, swing by your local AT&T retailer, or stop by an Apple store. Maybe the best way to judge the power of the new iPhone 3Gs is to ask someone who has one. My guess is that they’ll quickly give it a 5-star review, and you will too, after just spending minutes seeing what it can do.