Dan Parker takes the SkyCaddie SX550 GPS on golf courses across the UK for a thorough test of the accuracy, detail and user experience
SkyCaddie SX550 GPS Review
Have you ever seen the yardage and green books used by Tour professionals and thought, I want one of those?
The SkyCaddie SX550 aims to be your personal, digital yardage book out on course, providing you the same level of detail professionals get week in week out on Tour.
The SX550 comes preloaded with 35,000 courses which have all been walked and mapped by one of SkyCaddie’s half a dozen or so trained course mappers.
Using professional grade satellite equipment, the team at SkyCaddie have personally walked every hole on every course loaded onto the Sx550, mapping out the exact size of fairways, shapes of greens and distances to hazards.
You can feel this extensive course mapping at play as soon as you load the device and the range of information on offer gave us the clearest and most detailed picture of a golf course as we have seen on a GPS device.
We tried the SX550 out on a number of different courses around the UK and were seriously impressed with the accuracy of yardages, outlines of greens and fairways – especially on our home course which we know like the back of our hand.
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This accuracy was especially useful when we played courses we weren’t so used to and the full hole map and yardages to almost every nook and cranny on the golf course allowed us to plot our way around with confidence and clarity.
It can also be used pretty much touch free from the first hole to the 18th green as the device automatically switches holes as well as switches from fairway and green view automatically when you have 150 yards or less into a hole.
We tried to go a round without actually touching the screen and – apart from using it occasionally to reposition the pin on the green – we found the SX550 was intelligent enough to switch views just as we approached the green and every time we moved to the next tee box.
The other stand out feature of the SX550 is its 5.5″ colour HD touchscreen. Versus the previous SX500 model, the device is larger and thinner and feels great in the hand – it’s also a little lighter too.
The screen itself is bright, clear and operates with almost no lag giving it the feel and responsiveness you’d expect from a premium smart phone rather than a conventional golf GPS device, such is the impact of the new faster processor versus the SX500.
While a 5.5″ screen might be excessive for some, it allows the SX550 to display a myriad of yardages as well as a large display of the entire hole with incredible detail.
Most impressively, SkyCaddie’s Dynamic HoleVue means no matter what angle you are approaching the green from, the device will re-orient itself from your position on the hole.
Whilst its size is arguably its biggest plus point, it can be a bit difficult to use the SX550 without a carry case or trolley mount.
While we used it effectively on a carry bag and on our trolley when testing, we found it a bit cumbersome when taking it in and out of our pocket.
Due to this we’d highly recommend investing in the carry case (pictured above) or trolley mount available from SkyCaddie (both £25) in order to have the most enjoyable time using the SX550.
The device comes with a year’s free ‘Birdie’ membership, which entitles you to course updates throughout the year, and this will then cost £29.95 per year afterwards. It’s one of the few devices that still use a paid subscription plan, but with it comes peace of mind that your yardages and maps will remain accurate, which is especially useful if you travel around a lot.
The SX550 is one of the most detailed and accurate GPS devices we've used out on course. With its 35,000 courses mapped out with such accuracy this will be a great companion on golf courses globally. Invest in the carry case or trolley holder to get the best user experience.