(Written By: GolfSpy Frank) There's a new trend starting in the GPS market...and it's all about simplicity. Up until recently you had only a few options when it came to knowing your yardage. There was GPS and there were Laser Rangefinders...and then there was Bob your playing partner giving you yardage within an amazing 3-15 yard accuracy.
So I already knew to expect with the Voice Caddie, something simple. I would press the button and it would tell me how far I was from the center of the green. My question going into this was the same that many of you posted when GolfSpy X posted the first pictures of "The Voice Caddie".
Would only the yardage to the center of the green be enough? Well, it is time for you to find out.
The Voice Caddie GPS
According to the Voice Caddie website, the Voice Caddie was the first voice-guided golf GPS in the world. It is designed to give you the distances to the center of the green in a simple and faster way. Clip the lightweight GPS onto your hat and press the one button on the GPS. When the button is pressed, the Voice Caddie speaks to you, telling you what hole you are on and how far you are from the center of the green. Simple, right?
Looks & Feel
The Voice Caddie GPS comes in small box with four items. It comes with instructions, the Voice Caddie GPS, a USB cord, and an outlet adapter to plug the USB cable in to. Set-up is rather simple. You go onto the Voice Caddie website, register, download the program, and then download the courses you want onto the Voice Caddie. If you do it one by one, it takes a very long time. A great aspect of the Voice Caddie is its memory. So, when uploading, I recommend checking the states you usually play in instead. I was able to download every course in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Arizona in a matter of minutes. That's over 2200 courses!
The Voice Caddie is even easier to use. Clip it onto your hat, turn it on 2 minutes before your tee time, and then play. You will know it is ready because the GPS tells you. When on the course, it's as easy as pushing a button; literally. Push the button, it tells you how far you are from the center of the green, and then continue playing.
There is no question that the Voice Caddie does what it is designed to do. It tells you how far you are from the center of the green without any effort on your part. Like I mentioned before, everyone that saw this product on the forum was concerned about the simplicity of that. Well, I am not a scratch golfer like some of you, but I am here to say that sometimes just the yardage to the center of the green is enough. For all of you golfers who play the same course over and over again, there is nothing wrong with getting the Voice Caddie GPS. You already know what clubs to hit to carry bunkers or to reach hazards. For example, I did not need a GPS to tell me how far I have to hit the ball to reach the hazard on the first hole of my home course. I know if the tees are normal, I hit 3 hybrid. If the tees are up, I hit 4 hybrid, and if the tees are back, I can still use my 3 hybrid. If you are the golfer who plays the same course(s) over and over again, this GPS is perfect for you.
The same argument is in effect for the yardages for the back and front of the greens. If you know your course, you will know how you will have to change the distance of your shot depending if the flag is in the front or the back. I know that some GPS systems nowadays allow you to drag where the flag actually is on the green to make their reading even more accurate, but as you will see in the value section, those GPS systems are a lot more expensive than the Voice Caddie.
Another argument against the Voice Caddie is layups for par 5s. DO THE MATH. If the Voice Caddie says that I am 297 away from the hole and I know I want a pitching wedge into the green, I subtract 297 from 125. I know I am 172 from my layup area and I can hit my 7 iron to get there.
The problem with this GPS compared to other GPS units with detailed screens is when you go to new courses. If there are no yardage books, you are basically on your own. This is just a matter of knowing your tendencies. If you are Mr. Predictable, playing the same courses over and over again (like me), then it’s great. If you are the Traveling Golfer, I might not recommend this model.
Another aspect of the Voice Caddie GPS that I think is important to discuss is the voice. It is a sound that you will hear for 18 holes, so you have to be comfortable with it. It took me exactly one hole to get used to. Think Wii Golf. The first time I heard the high-pitched, immature feminine voice, I laughed. After that first hole, it grew on me. It adds something to your game. When you are standing behind your ball and staring at the flag, you do not have to look down at a screen. You keep your focus on the flagstick, thinking about your shot the entire time while the Voice Caddie tells you how far you need to hit it.
The most important aspect of the Voice Caddie GPS is that it is accurate. I did not have any yardage problems throughout any of my three rounds with it. Besides that, you do not even feel it. Since you cannot feel it and cannot see it, it does not distract you at all. Add that to the fact that the battery lasts 9 hours and it equals a very effective product.
Small, lightweight, keeps me focused, accurate, and has nine hours of battery life. Add that to the fact that I play the same courses all of the times and I know I will continue to clip it onto my hat for a long time. Did I mention that there is no annual fee? All of the courses in the Voice Caddie database are free to download forever. Plus, it does not look bad at all. It is not big and obnoxious. I first wore it with a white hat, which makes it barely noticeable unless you are my playing partner. The only time I would not use it is on my vacation trips to Myrtle Beach. For that, I am going to need find some other way of navigating around the course.
The Voice Caddie GPS is sold on the Voice Caddie website in 2 different colors and models. The one tested is the VC200 and retails at $139 and the VC100, which is bigger, retails at $119. Both come in black and white. A lot of GPS systems are a lot more than that, which is why I consider it a good value. Again, before you buy it, know your tendencies. If you are like me and play the same courses all of the time, take a chance. I do not think you will be disappointed at all.
The Voice Caddie GPS is a great product. Yes, it has some shortcomings that some of you are not going to like, and that influenced its score. Although, in the end, it still received a good rating. As I have repeated several times throughout this review, know your tendencies before you buy something, and that goes for everything you buy. Remember, this is the perfect product for the golfer who plays the same courses over and over. If you are that golfer, I don’t think you will be disappointed. You will save some money too!