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hanalei

GPS inaccuracy fallacy

67 posts in this topic

I see so many posts about golf apps for smartphones claiming one is more accurate then another, by users and developers. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the apps ALL using the data that is provided by the "phones" GPS system? So they are as accurate as the data your phone is providing the software, or how many GPS satellites are currently above.... Provided some apps use satellite photos from google maps, or some will add score cards, editable maps, etc.. they are all the same in accuracy!?
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I have the golfshot gps app for my iphone 4, and I really like it.  However ...

I was playing a couple of weeks ago and 3 of us in the group had the exact same golfshot app and we all have iphone 4's.  On the ninth tee, we all were standing within 6 feet of each other and two of us got a reading that was 20 yards shorter (20 yards!!!) than the third one.  And based on the course markers, the third guys was the correct one.

FWIW ...

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I was playing a couple of weeks ago and 3 of us in the group had the exact same golfshot app and we all have iphone 4's.  On the ninth tee, we all were standing within 6 feet of each other and two of us got a reading that was 20 yards shorter (20 yards!!!) than the third one.  And based on the course markers, the third guys was the correct one.

FWIW ...

That is why I use a laser rangefinder
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While all apps use the phone's GPS, different apps and devices use mapping data to locate the landmarks like the green, etc. So all apps use the same signal but different maps, I'd guess. The person who programs the courses can be sloppy or inconsistent, even if the GPS is the same.

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

I have the golfshot gps app for my iphone 4, and I really like it.  However ...

I was playing a couple of weeks ago and 3 of us in the group had the exact same golfshot app and we all have iphone 4's.  On the ninth tee, we all were standing within 6 feet of each other and two of us got a reading that was 20 yards shorter (20 yards!!!) than the third one.  And based on the course markers, the third guys was the correct one.

FWIW ...

I should elaborate that this was no big deal at the time, but only because we had the extra gps to make us wonder and then do some re-checking with course monuments.  However, if I am the only one with a gps, and I'm in a fairway somewhere, not on a tee with a marked yardage, if the gps was to spaz out like that I'd have no idea.  That seems pretty problematic to me.

I still like the app, but I have a little less trust in it after seeing that happen.  Now each chance I get to calibrate it, I try.  (Compare it with tee markers, sprinkler heads, etc.)

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Originally Posted by onesome

That is why I use a laser rangefinder

I totally get you on this.  I'll probably get one someday ... But the price is right on the phone gps.  (something like 30 bucks)

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Im not convinced that ANY smartphone gps apps are all that accurate.  I use Skydroid and theres sometimes that it gives me a yardage that is waaaaay different than what the hard marker on the tee box says.  If you can afford it, a laser rangefinder is the best.

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

I have the golfshot gps app for my iphone 4, and I really like it.  However ...

I was playing a couple of weeks ago and 3 of us in the group had the exact same golfshot app and we all have iphone 4's.  On the ninth tee, we all were standing within 6 feet of each other and two of us got a reading that was 20 yards shorter (20 yards!!!) than the third one.  And based on the course markers, the third guys was the correct one.

FWIW ...

My friend's GPS golf app on his phone is usually on the money, but there was one time today it was really off. I have a laser and I check his yardages when they are questionable.

Originally Posted by GaijinGolfer

Im not convinced that ANY smartphone gps apps are all that accurate.  I use Skydroid and theres sometimes that it gives me a yardage that is waaaaay different than what the hard marker on the tee box says.  If you can afford it, a laser rangefinder is the best.

The tee box markers, especially on par 4s and 5s, are not always accurate. They are not to the pin and many times have been moved by landscaping crews.

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I'm sure he was referring to the "plates" on the tee boxes, not just the yardage on the card.  But yes, I have golflogix and skydroid.  both seem to be within 5 yards of the plates, I use it only when I am clueless( in the trees or other fairway).

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the markers in the fairways (blue, white, red) may not be exactly right either. different courses use different measures. Some to front, most to the center. I played a course in Ireland that, after 9 holes, I needed to buy the 'yardage booklet'. It seems that every hole had a different yardage for the various markers in the fairway! White might have been 150 metres on one hole, but a completely different yardage on another. Those Irish are real tricksters, I tell ya... At least a couple of courses I play have had major redesigns of a few holes, but the ground markers at the tee haven't changed. All these things can lead to those discrepancies between card yardage and actual gps measured #'s
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Lasers don't lie, and you can get a reading to anything, from anywhere.  No need to download anything, and never buy another yardage book.  It's the best golf equipment I have.  FWIW I used to hear people say that and think, "I've been playing golf for 25 years without a laser, and have been doing just fine."  You don't know what you don't know until you get one.

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I'm glad I purchased a laser. It confirmed my ability to estimate/measure distances by sight and by pacing are more than accurate enough for a typical casual round.

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my Tour V2 routinely goes up against a friends Neo+ and the readings he receives don't seem to match the actual distances, at all.  For example..he'll get a reading of say 168 to the back of a green and I'll shoot the flag from the same spot and get something like 165 even though the flag isn't even close to being just 3 yards off the back.  I just don't trust GPS units because sometimes you're still guessing at what its reading.

With a laser, you know the number is right.

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Originally Posted by sean_miller

I'm glad I purchased a laser. It confirmed my ability to estimate/measure distances by sight and by pacing are more than accurate enough for a typical casual round.

I am finding the same thing. I have the Leupold 4GXi and I love it, but I don't love it a whole $499 worth. It's dead nuts accurate, and it confirms that I've developed a talent for guaging distances in 40 years of golf. The slope, altitude, temperature features are pretty lame really for something that costs so much. For club selection it will only give you recommendation for pitching wedge through 2 iron and I carry 3 other wedges below my P wedge and the longest iron I carry is a 4 iron.

It doesn't really sense barometric pressure or temperature, you have to input that into the unit....what a PITA.

I have no experience with the other GPS based units but an iPhone app for $30 sounds pretty damn good to me after dropping $500 on the Leupold.

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Originally Posted by sean_miller

I'm glad I purchased a laser. It confirmed my ability to estimate/measure distances by sight and by pacing are more than accurate enough for a typical casual round.

Classic.

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I've had the SkyDroid app on my phone for a while, and while it was accurate (within 3 yards or so) on most holes, it did occasionally go haywire and give me yardages 20-40 yards off. I thought about buying a laser, but felt that the GPS was just easier/quicker to use. Over this past labor day weekend, I picked up a brand new Garmin G6 for nearly $100 off. I've had it on the course a few times so far and its been dead on accurate at each yardage marker, even tested side by side to a Bushnell Laser and was within 2-3 yards.

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Originally Posted by Laws of Woo

I picked up a brand new Garmin G6 for nearly $100 off. I've had it on the course a few times so far and its been dead on accurate at each yardage marker, even tested side by side to a Bushnell Laser and was within 2-3 yards.

That has been my experience with the Garmin G5. When paired up with someone using a laser I have found it seems to be in the +/- 3 yard range which is good enough for me. When comparing to some of the phone apps there is sometimes a 20 yard difference.

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