SkyCaddie SX500 Handheld GPS Review

By: Zack Buechner

50 Words or Less

The SkyCaddie SX500 is a handheld GPS all-in-one system that can be your own personal forecaddie.  The 5-inch touch screen provides a wealth of information including distances to landing zones and greens.  Tracking for every club in your bag.

Introduction

The SkyCaddie SX500 is the newest product from SkyGolf, makers of many tech products in the golf space.  The SX500 is the largest and most detailed GPS in their lineup.  It has the ability to be customized to any individual’s skill level and preferences and can be especially useful when playing courses for the first time.

Set Up & Ease of Use

The SX500 is user-friendly and won’t need much review of the instruction manual to get started.  The navigation is similar to that of a smart phone.  The major shortcut icons are visible from most pages which makes it easy to maneuver.  The ability to promptly jump from the map view to the scorecard then back to the green makes it convenient, particularly when your foursome is waiting on you.

The screen measures 5 inches which is about the size of an iPhone “Plus” model, so it fits easily in one hand or even a pocket.  I was able to connect to a GPS signal in a matter of seconds, and using the large icons, I was able to get a round started within just a few minutes of turning it on.

Accuracy & Performance

Accuracy never was an issue.  I tested most approach distances against my Bushnell laser rangefinder and each number was within 1-2 yards.  Of course there can be other variables in play for both devices but the bottom line is that you can trust the distance the SX500 gives you.  The device is quick between screens and only takes seconds to calibrate distance once you arrive at the tee or your ball.

There are plenty of features to customize to each users liking.  It can track individual shots by using a simple “Mark” button or you can use it as a full-blown shot tracking system.

The minor issue I had was having to carry the device to each location to mark my ball.  As long as you don’t mind it sitting in your pocket during a swing or a putt, it shouldn’t be a big deal.

The slopes and tiers of the greens can be incredibly useful for club choice on par-3s and approach shots.  The system also allows for a variety of scoring systems such as a stroke play, Stableford, or even scramble or tournament mode.

The graphics on the SX500 were impressive.  The screen was extremely well lit and had no glare problems even in direct sunlight.

Value

Why not just download a GPS app on my phone?  Isn’t it the same thing for a lot less?  These were my initial questions too, but there are good reasons to invest in the SX500.

First, the battery won’t drain your phone.  In fact, the SX500 battery is efficient enough to last at least 2 rounds.  Second, the screen is lockable without it going dark which is nifty for glancing down at the GPS and getting quick info.  Third, the speed of navigation and features far outperform any other application I have ever used on my phone.

The unit by itself is $400.  To use the device, you do have to purchase a yearly membership which ranges from $19.99 to $49.99 per year.

The biggest value in this device is more than just the unit itself, it’s the entire SkyGolf 360 package both online and through their mobile app.  SkyGolf 360 gives individuals their own account which tracks rounds, putts, handicap, photos, and more.  It also gives you the ability to link all of your SkyGolf products together.

Conclusion

The SkyCaddie SX500 is impressive.  It has all the bells and whistles that you could want in a high-definition GPS tracking system.  It’s easy to use, customizable, and, with the ability to better understand each course and your game, it can help lower scores almost instantly.

8 Comments

  1. T.Ramm-Schmidt

    Great review Z, one thing that I have read in other places is that the USB port design is not the best and can easily break. Did you have any problems with this?

    • Matt Saternus

      Per Zack:

      “The USB and micro-cable is similar to that of other electronics such as digital cameras and non-iPhones. The port itself is well-protected with the durable casing that also protects the device. I never had any issues charging or plugging/unplugging the cord several times. After speaking directly with SkyGolf, they assured me that if you were to have any issues with the port, they would certainly help to repair or potentially replace the device.”

  2. Interesting for sure and a lot more accurate than expected. Does it come with a holder that attaches to a trolley? Or yiu have to pay extra for that too.

    I hate the idea of having to pay a subscription to use your $400 item. Like buying a house but still paying rent to someone.. What will that $50 a year get me? Updated pin position on Augusta’s 5th hole? (go Tiger btw!) No such thing at the Honiara golf club.. Oh wait, they planted some flowers around the first tee, maybe that will show up on the update.

    Not for me therefore unless i can choose to pay for an update. I don’t want to pay for a yearly unlock code.

  3. I love the products from SkyCaddie, been using them since 2002…. they are “thee” most accurate products on the market bar none. Like one of the posters mentioned, that yearly payment is a little tough going down.. but when you’re playing tough elevated courses 125/135 times a year, that stone cold accuracy makes up for any cost — especially when your golf partners keep asking you for a yardage check every 10 minutes because their Rangefinder has been 4/5 yards off the mark for the last 10 holes… but who’s counting, right.?

  4. Joseph Sanchez

    Hi Matt another great review. I’m in the market and just got rid of my Nikon coolshot 40i and am tosses between the Garmin g80 vs the SX500. What do U prefer and have you compared by any chance

    • Matt Saternus

      Joseph,

      This review was actually written by Zack Buechner, but thank you nonetheless.

      I am working on a review of the G80 right now. I’m hoping to have it up some time in June.

      Best,

      Matt

      • Joseph Sanchez

        Gotcha, sorry Zach lol. I think I’m going with the SX500 the resolutions are much better. The Garmin g80 I heard launch monitor is ok but the GPS side looks cartoonish to me. Still can’t wait for the review

  5. Hi. I ordered my SX500 a few months ago. I used it only once because the cable and the charging port would not fit. SkyCaddie replaced right away. However, again the usb port and the cable were not compatible. I expect that Skycaddie knows about the problem and that’s why they agreed quickly to refund the purchase price.

    Its possible that my hands are incapable of connecting these devises despite having success with too many devises, including two previous SkyCaddie devices.
    The kicker. My inbox has a renewal offer for the course subscription. Hmmm. Another device!

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