GolfBuddy World Platinum

OVERALL RATING: 88. GRADE: B+. GolfBuddy has made large strides with the release of the GolfBuddy World Platinum, which incorporates full hole graphic layouts and the ability to target any point on the course for distance readings. The device is extremely easy to use – turn it on and it will find the course and hole and you’re off. Information is presented in a clear manner, and the menus are well organized. On top of that there are no additional subscription fees or other charges for accessing the golf course database – users simply pay for the device. Earlier concerns about course availability have been allayed, as GolfBuddy has made a serious effort to improve the course coverage.

Our biggest complaint is on the hardware itself – there is a noticeable (and frustrating) delay in touchscreen sensitivity. In addition, the screen on the GolfBuddy World Platinum isn’t as bright as we would like. Our experience has been that manufacturers take much longer to fix hardware-related problems, and thus we worry that these are issues that purchasers will be stuck with for some period of time (if not for the entire life of the unit). Our middle-of-the-road rating reflects this concern.

SCORE
88
GRADE
B+
Setup/Syncing
100
Course Availability
100
Ease of Use
89
Course Details
93
Features
94
Accuracy
92
Cost/Value
88

Pros:

Cons:

Retail price: $399.99
Three year total cost: $399.99
Availability: Discontinued. Replaced by the GolfBuddy Platinum


100 / A+

SETUP/SYNCING

The Good: The GolfBuddy World Platinum scored a perfect 100 for setup, because you simply open the box, remove the device and power cable, charge it for 4 hours, and head to the course. No software installation is required, and with courses pre-installed on the device, you don’t have to worry about loading courses from your computer.

The Bad: Now that they have added Mac support, we can’t complain!

Details: Yes, there are times when you want to actually sync the GolfBuddy World Platinum to a PC, such as to add new courses as they become available or to update a course already on your device. To sync for these reasons, you will need to register for a free web account, install GolfBuddy management software on your PC, and sync your World Platinum via the included USB cable.
We should mention that GolfBuddy released a software update package in the fall of 2010 that contained corrupted files and required contacting their technical support to repair. This issue can be fixed, but it seems GolfBuddy needs to improve their software release process.

What’s in the Box: The GolfBuddy Platinum golf GPS device comes with the following:


100 / A+

COURSE AVAILABILITY

Critical Golf Test: The team at GolfBuddy has clearly been busy adding new course maps, as they have risen from an initial 46% coverage in our course coverage analysis to a perfect 100%! We only count a course as being covered if full hole maps and green information are offered, so you can rest assured that these are maps that take advantage of the full array of the GolfBuddy World Platinum’s capabilities. Fantastic-

Manufacturer’s Claims: GolfBuddy tells us that they have 34,500 courses available worldwide in their course database, the largest number of any of the GPS devices tested. What we don’t know, however, is if this number is restricted to maps that take full advantage of the Platinum’s premium features (overhead hole maps and green maps), or if it includes courses for which they provide only basic information.


89 / B+

EASE OF USE

The Good: GolfBuddy has delivered easy-to-use products in the past, and the GolfBuddy World Platinum continues that legacy. The device is extremely automated at startup and is easy to navigate, from selecting target points to entering scores.
The Bad: A bit unusual that multiple methods can be used to track scoring and statistics, and the fastest method to enter both is to select to “Enter Stats”. The GolfBuddy doesn’t automatically advance to the green view, so users have to somehow intuit that this is accomplished by pressing the displayed distance to the center of the green (the “349” number in the upper right hand corner of the image below).
Details:

GolfBuddy Platinum Front View

Click for details

Suggestion Box: The touchscreen seems to afford the ability to create much more user-friendly ways to navigate some of the more advanced features, such as accessing the preference settings or advancing through different views. Here’s hoping that GolfBuddy will quickly push out a software update with that in mind!

Check out our chart comparing ease of use across different GPS devices.


93 / A-

COURSE DETAIL AND MAPPING

The Good: The GolfBuddy World Platinum usually provides a large number of pre-mapped targets and hazards, and there is always the ability to add your own custom points.

The Bad: A few course maps, however, suffered from a dearth of pre-mapped targets, so adding additional custom points wound up being critical. We also weren’t able to determine how GolfBuddy selects the number of pre-mapped targets to display, and often would have rather seen more pre-mapped target distances in the hole view than GolfBuddy provides.
Details:

GolfBuddy Platinum Hole Graphic View

Click for views

92 / A-

FEATURES

The Good: The GolfBuddy World Platinum provides a varied feature set that should cover the requirements of most golfers.
The Bad: Data junkies may find that that the set of statistics that can be tracked is still relatively basic.
Details:

GolfBuddy Platinum Scorecard

Click for feature views

92 / A-

ACCURACY

Device Accuracy: As is the case for most units tested, the device accuracy of the GolfBuddy World Platinum operated within the standard margin of error for GPS devices.
Mapping Accuracy: The illustrated maps generally portrayed the holes and the greens accurately, and we found the plotted locations of the different targets to be accurate. We did find some instances of missing bunkers that were in play.


86 / B+

COST/VALUE

Retail Price: The GolfBuddy World Platinum retails for $399.99, which places it on the higher end of devices tested.

Fees for Access to Course Database: Zippo. No additional annual fees or course download fees. Sweet!

Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: With no additional annual fees or course download fees, the GolfBuddy World Platinum winds up being less expensive than a number of its competitors when it comes to the three-year total cost of ownership (which is a much better indication of the actual cost to the user).

Value: The reasonable cost of ownership, broad feature set, and much improved course availability make the GolfBuddy World Platinum worth considering. What gives us pause is the clunkiness of the hardware itself.