Skycaddie SX500 Review: Is This Golf GPS Worth The Price Tag?

How do you calculate the distance between your ball and the desired target? Do you keep it old school and use the distance markers on the course? Or do you enjoy technology and employ the use of a golf GPS or rangefinder?

Although lower handicap golfers prefer the level of detail provided by a rangefinder. Golf GPS devices offer sufficient insight for the average golfer to get around the links. In this post, we are conducting a Skycaddie SX500 review. We intend to determine if this GPS product is worth the laser rangefinder price tag it carries.

Things To Consider Before Buying a GPS

Features

The features of a golf GPS device range from basic yardage information to digital scorecards and launch monitor features. It depends on what you are looking to achieve. If you want simple details such as the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green, you will not require deep pockets.

However, basic information will not paint the whole picture of what lies between your ball and the target. A step up from the entry-level option are devices that deliver yardage to doglegs, hazards, and various points on the green. These golf GPS constructions generally include a digital scorecard that provides a convenient approach to keeping track of your group’s score throughout the round.

Finally, premium products offer additional features such as launch monitor functionality, and virtual games, that allow you to take on your friends.

Accuracy

Once you have an idea of the features you desire, the next point to check is the device’s accuracy. Gauge how accurate to the yard the device is. A couple of yards difference could be the difference between a birdie putt or a tricky chip to get up and down.

Whenever you see the term PlaysLike distance in the specs of a golf GPS. It means that it factors in the angle of the slope between your ball and the target to deliver more accurate yardage.

Any device that does not provide PlaysLike distance will not provide accurate yardage because it does not factor in all the elements. 

Yardage

The majority of us average golfers will be delighted with a distance reading around the vicinity of the flagstick, as we intend to keep in play and not attack the pin. As a result, a GPS is well suited to our needs as it provides yardage to the front, middle, and back of the green and to doglegs and hazards.

However, if you want an exact measurement of the pin or a specific target on the hole. I suggest looking at laser rangefinder products, which will offer more detailed yardage calculations.

Preloaded Courses

Most golf GPS products require data on golf courses to be preloaded before you can take it out and use it on the links. Therefore, before you purchase a golf GPS, make sure that it works on your home course or the track you play the most on.

This should not pose a challenge as I am yet to use a GPS product that did not have a course preloaded. That includes courses in South Africa, Argentina, and The Caribbean.

Shot Measurement

Those of you who like to analyze your performance on the course may want your GPS to contain shot measurement functionality. This feature will measure the distance of your last shot to help you keep track of how far you are hitting each club in your bag.

Design

Now that you have identified your desired features, the next step is to settle on your preferred design. Golf GPS products are available as a clip-on device that you can attach to a wrist bracelet, a belt buckle, or your golf bag. Or they sold as handheld products, similar in design to your tablet.

While the clip-on devices are convenient and comfortable to use throughout your round, their screen is small. It prevents you from seeing the entire layout of the hole and planning your strategy from the tee box.

Green View

If your home course features numerous blind greens, it is worth acquiring a GPS with a green view feature. This displays the shape of the green, which helps you aim to send your shot in the right direction.

Skycaddie SX500 Review

Skycaddie SX500

Pros

  • Widescreen provides superior graphics and complete hole previews
  • Adjust the cursor to receive the yardage to your desired landing area
  • Displays the shape of the green and any hazards surrounding it
  • The big number mode is ideal for senior’s
  • Records the club used and distance for each shot.
  • Digital scorecard and statistics tracker
  • Factors in approximately 40 geo-references on every hole

Cons

  • It costs the same as some laser rangefinders
  • The SX500 is heavier than competitor products, but it will not take up much space in your bag.
  • You need to subscribe to SkyGolf 360 to analyze past performance data, which requires an annual subscription fee.

The SkyCaddie SX500 is a premium golf GPS creation designed to give golfers the freedom to choose the target they want to measure the distance to. Although it comes preloaded with 35,000 golf courses, this is still 5,000 fewer than Garmin claims to have.

The SX500 not only measures the distance to your desired target on the fairway or green. It also gives you the yardage to water hazards, bunkers, and doglegs. Thanks to the widescreen design, the entire hole is displayed on the screen to help you plan your attack from the tee box.

Added to the yardage data provided by the SkyCaddie product, it also tracks the distance of your shots and the club you use. This is beneficial for post-round analysis and a deeper understanding of how far you hit each club in your bag in different conditions.

And if the SX500 had not impressed enough, it features a digital scorecard and the sensible Big Number mode. Aptly named for the display of large font numbers. This makes it convenient for seniors to see their yardage, select a club, and play their shots.

Features & Benefits

Preloaded Courses

The SX500 comes preloaded with over 35,000 golf courses, which means it functions on most links in the world. SkyCaddie verifies the ground and updates any errors consistently to ensure optimal accuracy. 

Although the device contains fewer preloaded golf courses than most Garmin products, you will struggle to find a link where it does not function.

Yardage

What sets the SX500 apart from competitor products is the dynamic design enabling you to set the cursor to your desired target or landing area. This provides you with a more accurate measurement compared to a standard device that calculates to select points on the course, including the front, middle, and back of the green.

On top of its ability to deliver dynamic yardage, this golf GPS provides the distance to various hazards and dog leg points on the hole.

Display

SkyCaddie’s SX500 features one of the widest screens on the market, which enhances your experience. The wider screen displays a full view of the hole and the distances to hazards along the way, helping you to plan your strategy from the tee box.  

Furthermore, the widescreen results in the display of numbers in a larger font, making it easier for seniors and those with impaired vision to see their yardage. Finally, the size of the screen makes for a convenient way for you to move the cursor for the yardage to your desired landing area.

Intelli Green Feature

It is not uncommon to find the green view feature on golf GPS products. But, SkyCaddie has added a unique twist to the SX500. The green view displays the shape of the green and the trouble around it. However, it rotates to account from the angle that you are attacking from. 

Shot Tracking

SkyCaddie’s shot tracking feature measures the distance of your previous shot and records the club that you used. 

While this feature is handy to analyze your performance post-round, it offers insight into how far you are hitting each club on that day. Different conditions and the time of the day will impact your distance. As Phil Mickelson explains in this interview with David Feherty.

Scoring and Statistics

The final feature of the SkyCaddie SX500 is the digital scorecard and statistics tracker. Keep track of your Strokeplay and Stableford score, as well as your FIR’s and putts per round performance.

SkyCaddie SX500 Alternatives

1. Garmin Approach G80

The Garmin Approach G80 is a golf GPS equipped with launch monitor capabilities. A 3.5-inch color touch screen enhances your experience, showcasing the entire layout of the hole, providing an excellent platform to plan your approach.

Garmin states that the device is preloaded with data from 41,000 courses, 6,000 more than SX 500 features. The Approach G80 also includes an integrated launch monitor. It enables you to track your ball and clubhead speed, smash factor, and calculates the estimated distance of the shot.

Furthermore, this device caters to swing tempo training. This helps you identify the perfect swing for each club in your bag to optimize your launch, carry, and total distance. 

The G80 is not the most affordable on the market. But it is ideal for mid to low handicappers looking for more insight into their game without emptying their pockets for a launch monitor.

2. Izzo Swami 6000

Izzo Golf’s Swami 6000 golf GPS is one of the more affordable options out there. The screen is smaller and does not display the entire layout of the hole. A unique feature of this Swami 6000 is the magnet fitted to the back of it. This enables you to attach to the frame of your cart or onto your bag.

Furthermore, data is preloaded for more than 38,000 golf courses, meaning you will battle to find a course where you can’t use this GPS. Izzo is confident in the accuracy of this device’s measurements. However, it only provides yardage to hazards, doglegs, and the various points on the green.

If you are looking for a device that does more than just provide yardage. The Swami 6000 measures the distance of your shots and contains a digital scorecard function.

3. Garmin Approach G30

The Garmin Approach G30 is a compact design with a 2.3-inch screen equipped with high-sensitivity GPS. This helps it to communicate faster with satellites to deliver yardage in a reduced time frame.

Sticking with Garmin traditions, the Approach G30 contains preloaded information on over 40,000 golf courses and measures the distance to hazards, doglegs, and the back, middle, and front of the green.

The G30 is an excellent option for those of you looking for a mid-range GPS product with accurate yardage from a reputable brand.

Final Thoughts

So, based on our SkyCaddie SX500 review, is this advanced device worth the moderately high price tag? 

While I am happy with the features, I feel that a laser rangefinder would be a superior option at this price point. Especially for mid to lower handicappers. However, high handicappers who are serious about lowering their scores will extract solid value from the SkyCaddie by better understanding their distance abilities. 

Higher handicappers looking for an advanced GPS to gain better insight into your game can view the SkyCaddie SX500 here.

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