Swimming against the GPS golf tide


I know I’m going to eat these words sometime soon.  So I want to put them out there now, before it’s time to retract them.As we head into the 2012 golf season, I’m among a vanishing breed. I am one of the last dedicated golfers who play golf happily without a GPS.My reasons are many. Since I began caddying at 14, I have been skilled at gauging distances, so I don’t feel the burning need for satellite-aided information. Put me on a course with little red, white and blue flags at 100, 150 and 200 yards, and I’m very happy.Second, my favorite rounds of golf involve walking among friends while carrying my bag. The last thing I want to do is fumble around with a gad 

get spewing stats; as a sportswriter, I get enough of that. That’s especially true if the graphics are small and require the pair of cheaters I routinely use for reading.
Third, I don’t hit the ball consistently well enough to know what club I’m going to use. From 150 yards, I might use anything from a cut-and-run 7-iron to my celebrated high-fade knockdown 5-wood. It all

depends on the conditions, the hazards and what mood I’m in.
That said, I know we GPS-less golfers are a vanishing breed. A year ago, I remember an early-spring round with two other minimalist friends. As we walked down a fairway, we looked at each other and realized we were probably one of the last groups of dedicated golfers who didn’t have a GPS in our group. (By dedicated, I mean people who play a minimum of 50 rounds, and have handicaps of 15 or better.)
By the end of last season, my two Luddite friends had put away their sledgehammers and downloaded GPS apps for their iPhones. This was understandable; they are both more precise golfers than me, and stood to benefit from GPS distances. At $29.95, the cost was a non-issue. And the type and simple design were solid enough that I could read the information without glasses.
So why wouldn’t I avail myself of that opportunity?
For one thing, I am blissfully unaware of an easy-to-use golf GPS for my company-issued Blackberry.
For another, now that everybody else has a GPS, I really don’t need one. All I have to do is ask, “How many yards have you got?’’


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