SkyCaddie SX400 GPS– Official MGS Forum Review by DBDORS
Basic amateur golfer, I practice once a week, play 9 or 18 once a month, if I can. I sometimes play more in the summer. Live and mainly play in the Houston area, but love to play other cities and states (working on playing one course in every state). So I play a lot of new course and one-off times.
Been playing for 20 years, but only seriously for about 13 years. I’m about a 12-15 hcp and need all the help I can get on course.
The Golf Questions
● Weakness, inconsistency and poor judge of distance.
● WITB, Rogue SZ driver, TM M5 fairway, TEE 3/4H, TM M6 irons, Cleveland CBX wedges and Evnroll ER1.2 putter. Complete bag fitting last spring with exception of hybrids and putter (but putter was re-validated on SAM)
● And I am tech savvy, use lots of devices and work with software every day and in IT in the past. And being an engineer makes me want to look at the numbers!! Numbers junkie!
● I have been using a Garmin G8, Nikon RF and testing Arccos (for shot tracking and score only, not in play distance). Since I play a lot of new to me courses, I tend to use the GPS for lay of the land and RF for distance to flag. Don’t spend time with front-back, etc. My game is not that good, just get on the green.
The unit is great. The size is not too big and not too small. The screen has great clarity and sufficient brightness to overcome the brightest day. As I get older I’m having difficulty seeing small print. Having the larger clearer screen is a big help. Compared to the Garmin G8, the screen is much clearer and easier to read. And the map graphic is much nicer, showing details like trees. The larger size does cost you a bit of weight, 181g vs 112 of the Garmin, but not much to notice.
Looks & Feel (10 out of 10 points)
● Overall size of the unit and screen are perfect, not too big in the pocket.
● Not had it long enough to judge durability. But it feels and looks to be quality built and should hold up for a long time.
● Skycaddie has been known for quality maps and the graphics on these is excellent
Setup (14 out of 15 points)
● Getting it setup and running was very easy. I downloaded a number or courses that I play or plan to play. Are the instructions clear and easy to understand?
● The wired sync was confusing initially, and wireless syncing is the easiest to do. But once figured out, no issues.
● Battery life is excellent. After a full round, there was more than 50% left. So it could easily play 36 in a day, (my body can’t however, so the Skycaddie beat me on that one).
● Also SkyGolf tech support is very good and very responsive. I have had to pull out a lot of hair dealing with Garmin Tech Support when I came to their software. But these guys are a pleasure. There is a practice course that I play, that is 3 holes. And for some reason the device only sees 2 holes. After a couple of updates, the issue has not been fixed, but when I ask they are prompt to let me know what the status is.
Accuracy (15 out of 15 points)
● Again, Skycaddie is known for their map quality. They are accurate, I made two test and both check out. IMO a GPS is good for giving you a layout of the land. Where there’s a hazard, front to back greens, etc. But not exact distance to the flag. But this device can give you a good idea of flag distance, assuming you make a good guess of where it is.
● In the screens below, these two greens, one has been chopped off at the course. I moved the flag where I thought it was and used a Nikon Stablized to shot the flag. It was on the money (again, based on my guess of where it was on the green). On the second screen, I did not move the flag, but shot the front and back of the green. This is not easy to do, but still got some accurate distances.
On-Course (27 out of 30 points)
● This is where I struggled a bit. I’m new to the device and it will take time to learn all the buttons and get used to fast use. I refuse to allow a device to prevent me from playing ready golf. I want to have my club be ready to go with it’s my time to swing. So I’ll need more time to learn the device.
● You can do everything you need on the main screen. No need to change unless you want.
● One simple thing that is missing is a hole detail. I need to look down and see what I need, distances, hazards, and hole par. 3, 4 or 5. The Garmin’s use simple dots. But I shouldn’t have to go back to the hole marker or score card to see Par 4 or 5. You can see it on other screens, but I want it on the main screen for a quick read. Again, ready golf, not fumbling with a device.
● The one thing I have done with the G8 is check distance after a drive, so that I can see how well I am doing, and let the device learn my distances. This device ball mark but I am still not quite sure how it works. I can mark the ball, and see the distance after I get to the shot. But not sure how to record it. And will is be kept to average to give me my distances per club. And the manual is not clear. I don’t know if learns the distances over time. You can pre-enter the clubs and distances, but do they change as you capture shots?. This may not matter much as I have been experimenting with Arccos on an Apple watch and may go this route for longer term shot tracking.
Miscellaneous (8 out of 10 points)
The issue I have is the shot tracking function. It’s not clear in the manual and I’m sure I’ll figure it out. I just don’t know how to capture the shot distance. There seems to be prevision to capture penalty shots and OOB/Lost ball, but no explanation in the manual.
Play it or Trade it? (19 out of 20 points)
If you play a lot of different courses, like I do, than a GPS can be very helpful. I can’t remember hazards on courses I play a lot, and on a new course it’s invaluable. And if you like to keep your scores for later use, the GPS score card makes keeping up with your score very simply (I can’t tell you how many times I have kept detailed score cards and then left it in the cart). And you can edit the score afterwards and during the round. And even with the Arccos, I don’t want to use my phone and the Arccos map is not user friendly. So the GPS will stay. IMO it’s great for a new golfer learning the game.
The only downside is the annual cost (1 point off score). This would have bugged me when I first started golf, but truthfully I have wasted 10X the annual cost in a year on golf stuff that I didn’t need or that wouldn’t help me like a GPS does. And with the cloud storage on SkyGolf 360, better tech support, it’s worth the cost alone. You can see your scores and performance anytime from anywhere from SkyGolf 360.
If you are considering a GPS, this unit will do the job. Great graphics, accurate and tons of features.
Final Score: 93/100. It might move to 99/100 after some time and use. You have to factor that Garmin does not charge for service so no annual fee.