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GPS and Golf

Updated 1515 Sunday 2nd September 2007

Golf Buggy Robin Most of this page dates back to April 1998, and now it is even easier and less expensive to appy GPS technology to golf. Over the years I've had several enquiries from people wishing to track golf buggies with GPS. These vary between simply knowing where each buggy is, from a PC in the Clubhouse, to ideas such as the buggy computer using GPSS to provide the golfer advice on how best to play the next hole ! In May 2000 the Americans switched off the "deliberate error" which limited GPS accuracy, and meant a DGPS system might be needed. Now, any low cost GPS on a golf course is probably accurate to one or two metres. Also, the required software might run, not only on the clubhouse PC, but on a handheld pocket PC providing expert assistance - such as a clip of video triggered from the GPS, where the resident golf expert provides tips from that position and weather conditions.

Golf Map Golf Hole Technically this is already simple to do, and the GPS Software will support it. The issues are more what sort of system is needed, and if the cost can be justified on business grounds of improved course efficiency, or higher rental fees from the golfer.

This page has been created to describe some of the basic concepts, and provide a focus for other businesses interested in this use of GPSS - even if it is 'yet another publicity angle'.

I'm happy to give my free support to anyone pioneering use of my GPS software into the golf market - but they will need to follow the path laid out on my business page.

Robin Lovelock, Sunninghill UK, February 2006.

Hardware on the Buggy - or even the Bag

Golf Cart The simplest system might consist of a small device, not much larger than a mobile 'phone, which clips onto the Buggy, trolley, or even the Bag of clubs. You can see an example of such a product on the right, taken from the AVL page. The rechargable battery inside the device has plenty of capacity for the few hours around the course before it returns to the clubhouse for recharging.
The device, which transmits the position to the Clubhouse, might include : GPS/GSM AVL hardware

These devices, or 'GPS Bugs' would be kept in the Clubhouse, charging the battery, then clipped on to the Buggy or Bag before starting the course. GPSS software running on a PC in the Clubhouse, will know where each is at any time, and the expected time back.

Options to this basic package include the introduction of DGPS to provide more accurate tracking, or even a small computer running GPSS, within the package, to provide information to the player, such as advice on how to play the next hole from that position. GPS Software on a Mio Pocket PC GPS

Pocket PC GPS, like the Mio P350 on the right, are more than capable of providing expert help to the golfer, by running GPSS for the Pocket PC to give spoken and displayed advice on playing the next shot. Just a matter of collecting the right information such as recorded speech from your club expert. This would be done after putting in an accurate map of the golf course(s).

Design Considerations

For those of you designing solutions, here is some food for thought :