WHEN I jetted back home from my first-ever PGA Show in Orlando earlier this year, friends, family and excited @Golfmagic twitter followers wanted to know my favourite new products for the season ahead.
Okay, I made a list of about 50 but one of the first names down on the team sheet was GolfBuddy's brand spanking new PT4 - the market's only superfast 4" touchscreen handheld GPS device.
To paint a picture of what it was like when the PT4 device was unwrapped and attached to its roster on the GolfBuddy stand back in January, it was like being in the gallery at a Ryder Cup and following the final match. Amateur golfers and golf fans alike were peering over heads and jostling for position. There was a buzz and something exciting was about to happen.
Expectation meet reality.
Several months on and having used the PT4 for real out on a golf course on multiple occasion, I honestly couldn't be more impressed with what GolfBuddy has designed. Staying true to its reputation as the world's most innovative DMD brand, the most striking aspect of the new GolfBuddy PT4 is just how much sleeker, slimmer, lighter and faster it is than any other GPS handheld I've experienced before.
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Now I love a good GPS watch because I find it quick and easy to use and it dials in front, middle and back yardages at a glance, and the laser rangefinder is growing on me despite the fact it's a slower process with regard slipping the product out of its casing, waiting for a buzz to lock in yardage and then placing it back in its casing. In terms of a handheld, however, I've never been much of a fan. Until now.
The next generation of the successful GolfBuddy Platinum device, the PT4, carries a design that is both user-friendly and easy to use. The current model has been upgraded and now features the slimmest design, highest resolution and largest screen when compared to other major competitors in the handheld device category.
Boasting the largest screen of any golf GPS on the market (33% larger than anything else) with a 4" LCD touchscreen, it has enabled GolfBuddy to add even more advancements to the award-winning GPS technology which saw the PT4's predecessor twice named the best golf GPS in the UK.
So what features really turn me on? Well for starters, GolfBuddy's proprietary dynamic green view technology, see image right, provides me with what I look for in a GPS device with precise front, middle and back of the green distances, directly from my angle of approach. Comprehensive target and hazard information is also included and that provides me with complete confidence and knowledge of a course, even if I've never played it before.
Other important aspects of the PT4, and something I don't get with my current watch or laser, is fixed lay-up point settings. This feature allows me to select a point on any hole and the 'blue pin' which appears will always give a distance to that point. Perfect for when I hit the occasional loose shot and need to get back on track.
First Look: GolfBuddy PT4
The blue distance arcs you also see on the top image right are clearly labeled from the tee and to the green to provide instance visual distance reference points, and to lock in the exact pin placement, you simply touch and drag the flag to any point on the green. In Hi-Contrast green view, an additional grid overlay assists with the placement.
You also have automatic, manual and sequential hole settings available at your disposal. The PT4 will always pick up any hole in 'automatic', but on tight courses, where its sensitivity may switch holes if the golfer gets wayward, selecting 'manual' means the golfer can select each hole as they play it. In 'sequential', which is great for shotgun starts, the unit will stay on a hole until the green is reached and then automatically move to the next tee.
Another nice characteristic is the safe storage mode where the PT4 can be turned 'face-in' in the free bag mount provided. This prevents the device from being banged or scratched, and smooth-on screen protectors are also supplied.
GolfBuddy's accuracy is unrivalled. Around the world, GolfBuddy uses teams of expert mappers to walk courses and create ground-verified data maps that give supreme accuracy. This dedication to accuracy gives golfers the most reliable distance readings available.
As I mentioned earlier I do love a good watch because it gives me everything I need at the glance of my wrist, and laser rangefinders are slowly growing on me because of the accuracy on offer, but I now have a third option to help take my game to the next level.
PT4 is sleeker, slimmer, lighter and faster than any previous handheld device I've experienced before. It's incredibly quick and easy to use despite being a handheld. I would just recommend that you view the device and the hole in question while your playing partner is playing his or her shot as to avoid any unwanted slow play.
As with all GolfBuddy products, there are no expensive annual membership fees and no hidden costs to download courses or access premium features - which can cost up to £45 a year extra with other brands. The PT4 is ready to go right out of the box with access to over 8,000 courses in Europe and North Africa and over 37,000 globally in more than 130 countries.
Not exactly cheap at £300 but this is certainly the most impressive handheld I've seen fly out of GolfBuddy Towers. Well worth getting stuck into should you be looking for a brand new premium golf GPS device.
Click here to visit the GolfBuddy website