Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by. This past November, I was able to get away to Phoenix for 10 days to play some golf with the old man and work on my farmers tan. I was excited to test out my new SkyCaddie Breeze that was recently delivered to my New York home. While I’ve always been a fan of range finders, (or at least checking my distance from friends who have them) I have never owned one personally. Pacing yardages is just as good right?
This new model is the latest and greatest from the SkyCaddie team, and I was pumped to test it out. We set up rounds at the ASU Karsten, WeKoPa, Papago and Longbow golf clubs and a few others – at this time most of these courses don’t have GPS on the carts, and we were playing during the “cartpath only” time a year, so having a rangefinder was extremely helpful. Let’s get to the review…
The SkyCaddie Breeze was designed to be one of the simplest, most accurate Rangefinders available on the market today. They position the SkyCaddie Breeze as a “virtual sprinkler head” wherever you are on the course. At its most basic membership level (more on this later) it offers golfers with front, middle, and back of green distances from anywhere on the course without aiming or touching any buttons. Of course, the Breeze incorporates the SkyCaddie yardage system that “performs more accurately than any other (device) on the market”. It is out of the box ready for 30 days, and after that you have to subscribe to be able to continually use the product (much like any other device out there). SkyCaddie also offers downloadable add-ons that enhance the SkyCaddies performance, and provide more details on yardages, hole layouts etc. for golfers in need of that information.
Ease of Use
The Breeze’s claim to fame is its unrivalled simplicity and performance. When I first took it out to the ASU Karsten course, I will admit, I didn’t even read the manual. I first tried to tell it to find courses near me, but after about a minute I gave up, and selected the course manually. I later read that it will take about 5 minutes for this feature to work, and they recommend turning on the device when you first arrive at the course. Oops! Anyway, selecting my course was just as easy, and took very little time. A couple of clicks and we were setup on the first hole and ready to go. Now coming from a rangefinder noob like myself (albeit a tech-savvy noob) this device was pretty intuitive and very easy to operate. Yardages were shown to the greens, so you had to a do a little shot planning based on how the hole was shaped or what was in the way along the way.
The device really only has 5 buttons to choose from, the main scroll tool, ball marker (which allows you to find out the distance of your drives or other shots – a basic point A to point B rangefinder), a hole button (which allows you to select your hole), a menu button and an info button. Being an iPhone user I found myself often touching the screen to select certain options… only to my embarrassment as this operating system is not touchscreen. Blackberry users who are familiar with the scroll button will feel right at home.
Finally, a cool included feature is the backlight that automatically comes on in low light situations (which included our cart cubby holes). This feature can be turned off if need be, but it didn’t seem to drain the battery quickly enough to cause any issues during the round.[nggallery id=10]
This rangefinder is deadly accurate, and it provides golfers with more than enough information to make the right club choices no matter where they are on the course. One thing golfers should keep in mind is that rangefinders provide “straight line” distances from A to B, where sprinkler heads often follow the contours of the fairways. On some severely doglegged holes at ASU Karsten, I was sitting off the fairway in line with the 200 yard marker, but my SkyCaddie was saying 140 to the front. For straight holes, I found that the SkyCaddie matched up perfectly with the sprinkler heads on the course, but more importantly matched up with my club distances on the course. If I was at 155, and nailed my 8 iron, I was pin high.
If there was any complaint about the SkyCaddie is that it does not take into account elevation changes, but most golfers in need of a range finder can do this in their head easily enough. It was nice to be able to take the device out of the cart and set it on the ground next to my ball to get accurate yardages every time, no lasers, no buttons to press, just immediately giving me the information I needed to make a confident swing.
At only $229, the SkyCaddie Breeze is one of the best deals out there. There isn’t many rangefinder that can match its ease-of-use and accuracy for this price. Of course this doesn’t include the annual memberships that you must purchase to continually use the product after the first 30 days. The memberships range from $19.95 to $59.95 per year depending on your needs, but also include some pretty awesome add-on feature packs. Currently you can buy two years and get the third free. Here are the details in a nutshell:
$19.95 gets you a basic membership without any of the add-on packs. $29.95 gets you one year on the birdie package, which gives your “State” access to courses (meaning your home state/province only). $49.95 gives you one year on the eagle package that includes country access to any and all golf courses. Finally, $59.95 gives you worldwide course access (for the frequent traveler).
Here are some of the add-on feature packs, which you get at any of the level described above, with the exception of the basic package… they include:
This feature allows you to customize the placement of the pin by displaying an exact layout of the green from your angle of approach. This gives you yardage to any point you want on the green, and includes major contours and false fronts.
This feature gives you yardages to key locations on each holes, so you can determine the distance to the waters edge, a bunker or a layup area in an instant. Based on certain shots, this feature can even provide you with a distance you’ll have left to the pin, so you can play to your 150-yard club or 100 -yard club easily.
See a bird’s eye view of the hole you’re playing and get distances to prime landing areas, hazards and more to help you play smarter golf from tee to green.
The SkyCaddie Breeze is a well-built, solid unit that looks slick and easily fits into drink holders on carts or can snap on to your bag with its handy clip. Smartphone users will feel right at home working this unit that easily fits in your palm and can be operated with one hand. Switching views is as easy as tilting the unit on its side, and you can get instant access the most popular play screens that include – Digital Scorecard, Green Yardages and Jumbo View.
Since the entire unit is computer friendly, just like smartphones the SkyCaddie can be constantly updated and upgraded with the latest and greatest software. So even though SkyCaddie offers a trade and upgrade program, I bet SkyCaddie Breeze owners will likely hang on to their units for some time. With that’s said if you already own a SkyCaddie – feel free to trade up and get a discount on your new Breeze.
It’s hard to beat the price, technology, ease-of-use, and accuracy of the SkyCaddie Breeze. It really is like having a virtual caddy with you on the course. We used it for 5 rounds out in Phoenix, and never had an issue with a yardage being off, or distance that was questionable. Batteries could easily last for 36 holes or more, even though they recommend charging after every round. If you’re in the market for a new rangefinder, we definitely would recommend you give the SkyCaddie Breeze some serious consideration.
More details: www.skygolf.com