The company no longer is responding to contacts and rumors are that they are moving out of the hardware business. Until we hear otherwise, we do not recommend purchase of the Golf Guru 4.

OVERALL RATING: 74. GRADE: C. The Golf Guru 4 is follows in the touchscreen footsteps of the Garmin Approach G5 and the OnPar. Unfortunately, it does not seem to have learned from the errors of its predecessors, and falls short of those devices in both user interface, look and feel (awful), and device design.

The Guru 4 is actually a multi-functional device – the golf functionality is just one of the software applications that can be utilized. The Guru 4 also serves as an MP3 player, a video player and, with additional purchased software, can even be used as a road navigation GPS unit. But then again, so can most mobile phones today. The unfortunate part from our standpoint is that if you’re looking for golf GPS functionality, the Guru 4, which comes with one of the highest 3-year total cost of ownership among the devices we tested, is not quite ready for prime time. (And in keeping with the “Not Ready For Prime Time Players”, we’ll use lines from our favorite Saturday Night Live skits to set the mood in each section.)

SCORE
74
GRADE
C
Setup/Syncing
91
Course Availability
81
Ease of Use
79
Course Details
91
Features
93
Accuracy
91
Cost/Value
76

Pros:

Cons:

Availability: Discontinued. Golf Guru is no longer shipping any of their golf GPS devices. The Golf Guru website in 2012 remained accessible to allow existing customers to download and update course maps. As of 2013, the Better Business Bureau indicates that Golf Guru is no longer in business, and, while available through some resellers, we DO NOT RECOMMEND THE PURCHASE OF THIS DEVICE.
Retail price: $399.95 plus per course fees
Three year total cost: $509.95
Amazon.com: Check price now


91 / A-

SETUP/SYNCING

“Welcome to Coffee Talk I’m your host Linda Richman. On this show we talk about coffee, dawters, dawgs, you know no big whoop just Coffee Talk. You’ll never guess who is in my apartment right now. I’ll give you a hint. I’m mad about her. That’s right it’s Helen Hunt. Come here bubala let me touch that ponnum. It’s like buttah. ” – Linda Richman (Mike Myers)

The Good: Straightforward setup process that takes only a few minutes. (That’s right…it’s like buttah. Talk amongst yourselves.)

The Bad: Mac support would be nice.

Details: Golf Guru has done a nice job of making the setup of the device simple and pain-free. Registering on the web is generally required, although if you purchased the device direct from Golf Guru, the e-mail address and password utilized at the time of purchase is already saved and you can skip the web registration process.

What’s in the Box:

As an introductory promotion, the Guru4 also included:

Required Downloads:


81 / B-

COURSE AVAILABILITY

“Guess what? I got a fever…and the only prescription…is more cowbell!” – Bruce Dickinson (Christopher Walken)

Critical Golf Test: While adding a significant number of courses since our initial review in 2009, the Golf Guru 4 still only covers 81 of the available 100 courses we surveyed. Ouch. Note that we only count a course as “covered” if an AerVu map was available. Our thinking is that if you’re paying nearly $400 for a device because it has nifty touchscreen maps available, we shouldn’t count when only basic text yardages are available such as you would find on far less feature-rich golf GPS devices. The Golf Guru 4 is still weak across most course types, most noticeably Best New courses, and geographic regions, particularly the Southwest. (C’mon Golf Guru. As Bruce Dickinson says…”Guys, y’ know…that…that…it doesn’t work for me. I gotta have more cowbell!”)

Manufacturer’s Claims: Golf Guru claims 20,000 courses in its database, though as mentioned above, the courses for which AerVu maps are available are somewhat lacking.


79 / C+

EASE OF USE

Great! That’s great. [ sits down at piano ] Well, these are just sort of works in progress, but, you know.. here’s one I call “The Lady I Know”. [ starts to play the piano ]
There’s a lady I know…
If I didn’t know her…
She’d be the lady I didn’t know.
And my lady, she went downtown…
She bought some broccoli…
She brought it home.
She’s chopping broccoli…”
– Derek Stevens (Dana Carvey)

The Good: A large, bright screen that is easily viewable in all types of light conditions. Nice on/off switch!

The Bad: We were extremely disappointed in the user interface. The touchscreen experience is actually worse than a traditional interface. (Like “The Lady I Know/Chopping Broccoli”, it seems to be a work in progress) Most of the navigation was menu based – for example, there was no simple scrolling by dragging a finger on the screen. Instead, the user must touch the menu button to bring up a menu, then press page up/page down. In addition, some of the touch “buttons” on the screen (such as the ones used to record score or statistics) often didn’t register when pressed with a finger. We achieved slightly better results using a tee or the stylus that comes with the device, but if you have to go to that much trouble, you might as well just write it down on your scorecard with a pencil. Oh, the text and images displayed have a terrible look to them.

Details:

Check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device features.


91 / A-

COURSE DETAIL AND MAPPING

“Wookin’ Pa Nub in all da wong paces. Wookin ‘ Pa Nub.” – Buckwheat (Eddie Murphy)

The Good: The Guru 4 provides text displays of distances to a pretty good number of points of interest on courses during the play of a round.

The Bad: The AerVu overhead map (the primary differentiator between the Guru 4 and the prior generation Color Guru) does not allow zooming, leaving the user to play a general guessing game as to whether the point they’ve selected on the screen (let’s call it “the nub”) is actually short of the bunker or in the bunker (that’s right – you’ll be left wookin’ pa nub).

Details:


93 / A-

FEATURES

“He’ll win you yet
And then he’ll forget
That he’s Mr. Short-Term Memory.”
– Closing jingle for Mr. Short-Term Memory (Tom Hanks)

The Good: The Guru 4 is intended to provide a nice set of features.

The Bad: Unfortunately, many of the features are either buggy or awkwardly designed.

Details:

Suggestion Box: If Golf Guru does fix the buggy statistics features, it would be nice to be able to view aggregated statistics on the web site, instead of only being able to see the stats for each individual round.
Check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device features.


91 / A-

ACCURACY

Well let’s hit up Yahoo Maps to find the dopest route
I prefer Mapquest
That’s a good one too
Google Maps is the best
Tru dat. DOUBLE TRUE!…
The Chronic (what?) cles of Narnia
It’s the Chronic (what?) cles of Narnia
We love that Chronic (what?) cles of Narnia
Pass that Chronic (what?) cles of Narnia (Narnia, Narnia…..)
– Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg (as themselves)

Device Accuracy: Our test of device accuracy found the Guru 4 to be on par with its competitors, with our checks of the Guru 4 against sprinkler heads and a laser rangefinder coming well within the acceptable margin of error of three to four yards.

Mapping Accuracy: We played multiple rounds on a variety of different golf courses and found no glaring problems with mapping accuracy, although we noted that the Guru 4 was off by 2-3 yards (which we usually dismiss as white noise) much more than some of its competitors (so perhaps it won’t show the dopest route). Admittedly, this could be purely random to the courses on which we tested the device (Tru dat. DOUBLE TRUE!) . One improvement over the Color Guru is that the Guru 4 always shows a distance to a reference point no matter how close the user is to that reference point. The Color Guru would not display distances once the user was within 50 yards of a reference point.


76 / C
COST/VALUE

“[Franz:] Hans? Are you sleepy? [Hans:] No, Franz. I was just thinking: if the universe is never-ending, that means, if we took our properly pumped-up muscles and lay them end to end… still they would not reach the end!” – Hans (Dana Carvey) and Franz (Kevin Nealon)

Retail Price: The retail price of the Guru 4 is $399.95 (although it is being offered on Golf Guru’s web site at an “introductory” price of $359.95), right at the median among the devices tested.
Fees for Access to Course Database: Golf Guru provides the Standard maps for free, but AerVu maps cost between $7.00 and $9.50 per course (depending on whether the user buys in bulk).

Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: The Guru 4 comes in with a pricey three-year total cost of ownership of $509.95, one of the highest for devices tested. (No, we’re not going to say that the cost is “pumped up”. Too obvious. But we will say that it’s so many dollar bills that if you lay them end to end…still they would not reach the end!)

Value: The bugs we encountered and overall lack of fit and finish, combined with the sky high three-year total cost of ownership, leave us questioning the overall value of the Guru 4. Hear us now, believe us later – there are other devices that provide more bang for the buck.