Now that I have your attention, let me confess that time travel is not available through GPS…not yet anyway. I thought about this today, though, as I was contemplating what to write regarding the new futuristic GPS products available from both Garmin and Bushnell.
If you’re old enough, you’ve seen any number of science fiction movies, or even old commercials, that predicted the technological marvels to be made available in the future. These were unintentionally hilarious, although only in retrospect. At the time, we watched those movies and commercials, awestruck by the imagined possibilities of the future. By and large, though, these predictions and imaginings were way off the mark. Time travel, as far as I know, is not yet available. Neither is a host of other promised cool future stuff. I’m still waiting for my robot that will mow the yard; my personal jet pack (the one that doesn’t cost $1,475,000.00 and involve imminent risk of death); my cloak of invisibility; my x-ray vision glasses (the ones I ordered when I was 12 DID NOT WORK AS ADVERTISED!); and, my George Jetson treadmill. Ok, so I have that last one, but it is so not fun.
It’s fun to make fun of this stuff with the benefit of hindsight. More fun still is to look back at things predicted not to happen, and then laugh at how anyone could’ve been so wrong. For instance, Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment Corp., predicted the following way, way back in 1977: “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” The ridiculousness of that statement is so obvious as to require no further comment, particularly when I found that little nugget of information in about 30 seconds by using my smart phone and Google. He was kind of right though, in that I no longer really want a computer in my home. I want it in my pocket.
Just as wrong, and as silly in hindsight, was the statement of then FCC Commissioner T. Craven who opined in 1961, “There is practically no chance communications satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States.” Now, I’m sure you are wondering, “What does the” T.” in T. Craven stand for, and why didn’t this goofy blogger bother to use the guy’s actual name?” I can tell you that I did try to find the guy’s name, but my research uncovered only that his full name was T.A.M. Craven. And because that factoid seemed weird enough and further because I have a strict policy that internet research should take no longer than 60 seconds-- unless it involves viewing Youtube videos-- I gave up the search for Mr. Craven’s first name. You might also be wondering, "What the heck is a telegraph?" The answer to that requires no research. A telegraph was an old-timey device used to send coded messages in Western movies--think Twitter for cowboys. The bad guys would frequently clip the wires used to transmit these messages, making this form of communication only slightly more reliable than cell phones. The customer service was better, though, as clipped wires were usually repaired within a month. You need know nothing further about the telegraph. And I digress...
What then is the point of all this future-talk in a golf blog, you ask? Just this. Not only was Mr. T. Craven horribly wrong about the commercial use of communications satellites, he probably could have never conceived that satellites would be used to help us play better golf. That would’ve been beyond imagination in 1961. In 2012, of course, GPS availability is taken for granted at most every course we can play.
While some golfers prefer laser range finders, with which you can hone in and then laser the target for relatively exact yardage, others like me prefer to do no work whatsoever while playing golf, so we opt for the instant and constantly updated information available through the Global Positioning System (GPS). With GPS, you just turn your receiver on and it does all the work, telling you where you are and how far you have to go to your target. All you have to do is look at the receiver. And this year, we can order up our satellite information via totally new receivers that would make Mr. T. Craven, formerly of the Federal Communications Commission, freak out. The future, in short, is here, and it is full of gadgets beyond that which could’ve been imagined not so long ago.
Both Garmin and Bushnell have introduced new models that make GPS yardages more convenient and readily available than ever. They did this by placing the receiver in a watch. That’s right. You can now receive signals from outer space with your wristwatch! The new Garmin S1 and S3 GPS Golf Watches and the Bushnell Neo+ GPS Golf Watch are the size and shape of sports watches and feature odometer functions, programmable alarms and, oh yes, they keep time too. The yardage measurement features vary depending on which model you choose and which price you wish to pay.
The Bushnell neo+ GPS Golf Watch is the least expensive of the three models, and as might be expected, offers the fewest features. Even so, this is a fully-functioning GPS with all the information you need, right in your hand, er, on your wrist. It comes pre-loaded with 27,000 courses.
The Garmin S3 GPS Golf Watch is the most costly and has the most features. For the extra money, it includes additional yardage options and customizable distance features. It is pre-loaded with 25,000 courses.
The Garmin Approach S1 GPS Golf Watch, priced in between the others, is pre-loaded with 18,000 courses and measures precise yardages from anywhere on the course.
All three are ready to use out of the box, carry no membership or annual fees and are waterproof.
No longer will you forget your GPS, or leave it in the cart, or forget it in your bag only to find the batteries dead. Now, you can have GPS measurements during every round and on every shot. Just look at your wrist.
I wonder what Mr. T. Craven would think of that? As soon as my time travel machine arrives, I’ll let you know.
In the meantime, check out and compare the new GPS Golf Watches at DGW today.