50 Words or Less
The SkyCaddie LINX GPS Watch is a solid GPS watch with functionality beyond the course.
The last few years have been tough for GPS makers, but a boon for consumers: smartphone GPS apps have forced SkyCaddie and its brethren to offer better products for less and less money. The GPS watch market is a stark example. When these were first introduced a few years ago, they were $400 and had only basic functionality. Today’s watches cost half that but do twice as much. The new LINX by SkyCaddie aims to be the high water mark in this segment. In this review, I’ll help you decide if it deserves a place on your wrist.
Set Up & Ease of Use
When you first get your SkyCaddie LINX, you’re going to want to pair it with either your computer or your smart phone. I’d strongly recommend going with the latter option as it’s much easier.
If you download the SkyCaddie app, you get step-by-step instructions on the pairing process. When your phone is paired with the LINX, you’re able to easily add courses, upgrades your membership, and you’ll also get notifications from your phone on your watch.
As for actually using the watch, I had very low expectations since the watch does so much and has six buttons. I was pleasantly surprised to find the buttons well-labeled and consistent in function so that, after a short time, navigating the menus is second nature.
Accuracy & Performance
Let’s start with the most important element: the accuracy of the GPS. Having long been a laser rangefinder user, I’m very particular about yardages, but I was pleased to find that the SkyCaddie LINX provides very accurate yardages. In it’s most basic mode, the distances are only to the front, back, and center of the green, but there are more options available (explained below). I felt so confident in the numbers that the LINX provided that I actually used it in a tournament.
Before we get into the deeper elements of the golf function, let me touch on three “small” things that can sink a product like this. First is comfort. As a larger human, my perspective may be slightly skewed, but I found the LINX to be very comfortable, light, and small enough that it wasn’t a distraction. Second is battery life. The battery on the LINX lasts about 6 hours in GPS mode, which should get you through even the slowest rounds, but it won’t get you through 36. If you’re taking this on a golf trip, do not forget the charger. Third is the speed with which it finds the course to start GPS function. This is one area where I was disappointed with the LINX as it took between 1 and 2 minutes to start working whether I was going for a walk or asking it to find a course. The GPS on my iPhone is nearly instantaneous most of the time, so I expected the same here. However, as Louie C.K. reminds us, it is going to space, so we could give it a second. Please note that the GPS updates in near-real time once it has a signal, it’s just getting the signal that takes time.
The LINX is accurate and solid in the basics, but it goes beyond that. On the course, the LINX can measure shot distances, keep score, and track stats. With all of these things, I think the LINX does a good job, but is not as good as the devices that are dedicated to these functions. If you want to know your shot distances and stats, GAME GOLF is the way to go. That said, these are nice bonuses for those who want the convenience and simplicity of a GPS watch.
Finally, the LINX offers some nice off-course functionality as well. If you’re a walker, biker, or runner, I think you’ll really enjoy the odometer. It tracks distance, pace, time, and speed, and is very simple to use. My only complaint here is that you can’t do much with the data you collect – there isn’t currently a way to build a database of your runs or track progress. The bottom line is that this is nice added functionality for the recreational exerciser, but serious runners & bikers will want more.
The SkyCaddie LINX retails for $250. This is among the most expensive GPS watches currently available, but that higher price is pretty typical for SkyCaddie products since they are the only ones who map the course from the ground for accuracy.
While the LINX can be used for free, you will need to buy a membership to unlock all the features. You can get the details HERE but the short version is that it will cost $50/year to have access to all the targets on each hole (bunkers, water, etc) and Intelligreen.
If style is critical for you, the color of the bezel and band can be changed. SkyCaddie offers individual band and bezel sets for $25 and packs of three bands and bezels for $50.
Golfers are spoiled for choice right now when it comes to knowing their yardages. It all comes down to finding your preferred device – hand held GPS, watch, phone, or laser – and then finding the device that does what you want. The SkyCaddie LINX is a great choice for those that enjoy the convenience of having their GPS on their wrist. It has lots of features, good accuracy, and a battery that will make it through even the slowest rounds.