GolfBuddy is recognised as the largest golf GPS rangefinder brand in the world, with sales operations in over 37 countries worldwide, including the giant American, Korean and Japanese markets.
Founder and CEO is Harry Jung, the man who invented the GolfBuddy GPS and now heads of this innovative, global company.
When we reviewed the GolfBuddy Voice and we wondered what other audio options - alternative voices/ accents/ personal downloads - there might be in the future.
It’s something we are exploring but it’s not a simple process; it’s quite technical. We can certainly go down this route but we wonder how much demand exists for these add-ons.
Will there be different colour options, other than white?
Customisation is something that we are looking at - whether we produce individual colour units like Apple who were famous for with the iPod Shuffle or just different coloured cases or skins that fit around the Voice. Golf fashion is a global business and we recognise people want their accessories to match their outfits.
Will you extend audio GPS to identify hazards such as bunkers, water, OB, as well as green positions?
The launch of GolfBuddy Voice created the first category in the world for talking GPS rangefinders. It has really struck a chord with golfers so the potential to expand the audio functionality is something we definitely want to exploit. It's a question of finding the right technical solution - but based in Korea gives us a definite edge.
You must have made hundreds of thousandths of units?
For the launch of the Voice our factories were at maximum manufacturing capacity to satisfy a huge demand worldwide. GolfBuddy Voice is the first talking golf GPS to be sold outside Korea and as we are the No.1 brand in so many European countries it has been a major feat to keep up with demand.
tell us about the feedback feedback from other countries.
We have translated the Voice into Spanish, French, Italian, German, Korean and Japanese. But GolfBuddy operates in more than 37 countries and everyone wants their own language version - we have plans to expand even more. It's a big job!
What other information might future versions include?
You can already personalise the display screen on the Voice with your name, but with a small screen it’s limited in what can be displayed. With the larger touchscreen GPS models like Platinum and World, we’re looking at ways to improve the user experience with additional information and benefits.
We have to abide by R&A and USGA rules on what information can be given but the primary function of a GolfBuddy is to give accurate distances andwe don’t want other things to get in the way.
What other technical innovations can we expect in the golf GPS market?
Similar to other consumer electronic markets, we want to display the information on brighter screens with faster response times. Mobile phone and tablet computer companies will influence the shape of golf GPS so I expect thinner and lighter units with larger ‘full face’ screens. There will also be a race to see who can display course maps better ways for golfers.
What are the major challenges?
Making handheld golf GPS rangefinders means marrying the new electronic technology that’s available with the knowledge that can be treated roughly and fit for purpose outdoors - often in bad weather.
How important is it to walk courses to create maps?
It’s very important. GolfBuddy employs teams of mappers around the world who walk courses and collect data which is fed to our map drawing teams, who create unique and accurate GolfBuddy maps. You can create golf course maps from satellite images alone but walking courses ensures the best accuracy.
You’ve always operated a fee-free policy for maps without subscription. Why?
We don’t believe golfers should pay for readily-avialable information. Asking our customers to pay an annual fee on top of the cost of the device is against our principles. Buy a GolfBuddy unit and you get a lifetime of free course maps and updates.
In 2011 you introduced touchscreen GPS followed by audio GPS for golf. What's next?
I hope our product launches have shown us to be the most innovative golf GPS brand nd we'll continue to build on that. Innovation is key to our business and we'll always look for new ways to present essential distance measuring.
There is some incredible technology available now for displaying information in many ways using many materials. Our goals is to identifying what works in golf and then build it.