Matrix, best known for its golf shafts, shouted its entry into the golf GPS market at the 2012 PGA show with the Matrix SHOTMATE Voice GPS. We aren’t sure whether there was a sudden technological leap that enabled the development of voice golf GPS, but it will be interesting to see how consumers take to this new category of devices.

Relying upon sound as the sole method of communicating with the user is a bold gamble. We found it pretty simple to get accustomed to this new interface mode. One thing we didn’t miss was staring at a screen during our round – we get more than enough time staring at computers from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday.

The SHOTMATE stands out with the pleasant voice of a woman with a British accent that announces distances to the center of the green as well as shot distances. (Click the play button below to hear a sample.)
[powerpress url=”″]There is no screen on the device, so all interactions takes place through one main button and two arrow buttons. We found it easiest to use the SHOTMATE when it was clipped to the bill of a cap, though it can just as easily be attached to a bag, belt or shirt collar. Note that while the SHOTMATE is only about the size of a matchbook, it’s still pretty noticeable and nerdy looking attached to your cap (as would a matchbook), so you might want to slip it into your pocket when you head over to hit on the cart girl. You might expect the sound to be distracting to other players, but the volume is adjustable, and we found other players couldn’t even hear the distance readings when the SHOTMATE was clipped to our cap.

The SHOTMATE comes preloaded with 22,000 courses in the United States and Canada and does not charge annual or per course fees for maps updates. Matrix claims up to 9 hours of battery life.

At only $150 retail and with no additional fees, the Matrix SHOTMATE is one of the least expensive golf GPS devices in our tests. The device is incredibly small and light, and is a breeze to use. The primary decision factors will likely be whether you like getting data through sound, as opposed to sight, and whether you feel you need more information than just the distance to the center of the green. While we love the simplicity of the device, we found ourselves longing for additional distance information (beginners may actually prefer just one distance, however).

A video that gives a bit more detail:

Course Availability
Ease of Use
Course Details



Retail price: $149.99
Three year total cost: $149.99
Availability: Discontinued. No replacement product. We don’t expect the company to reintroduce another GPS unit.

85 / B


The Good: The Matrix SHOTMATE comes with all courses pre-loaded on the device. A light will illuminate when the device is charging and turn off when finished.

The Bad: Instructions could use some additional clarity (and the manual some polish – it is unfortunately has a number of grammatical and spelling errors that don’t make the best first impression). You don’t have the ability to select individual courses for updates. No support for Macs.


What’s in the Box: The Matrix SHOTMATE voice GPS (which has a built-in clip) comes with:

Matrix SHOTMATE Software Downloads (required):

94 / A

Critical Golf Test: Up from an abysmal 43% in our initial tests, the Matrix SHOTMATE now has climbed to the middle of the pack in our course coverage test. We initially recommended that players wait until additional courses are added before making a purchase, and at this point we can say this is no longer a main concern.
Manufacturer’s Claims: The company claims the Matrix comes pre-loaded with approximately 22,000 courses. This places the SHOTMATE at the back of the field in our course coverage comparison test of course availability.

97 / A


The Good: Incredibly small and light, with an easy-to-use interface. While very basic, the features provided all work well with a device that is based entirely on voice.

The Bad: Although it has only the most basic of features, one of the benefits is that the SHOTMATE has no real negatives in terms of ease of use.

Matrix SHOTMATE Voice Golf GPS Device

Click for more images


For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS ease of use.

65 / F


The Good: With only the distance to the center of the green provided, course detail is not the SHOTMATE’s strong suit, so there isn’t much to tout here.

The Bad: The lack of distances to the front and back of the green made our rounds a bit more challenging. And given our penchant for hitting the ball into those pesky bunkers and lakes, it would be nice to know how far away they are.


80 / B-


The Good: Voice is the draw here. Shot distance measuring is a bonus.

The Bad: The SHOTMATE obviously doesn’t have the features that most golf GPS devices have, but without a screen, there really aren’t many additional features that the device could offer.


For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS device features.

86 / B


The Matrix SHOTMATE generally provided accurate distances, though we have found several holes that were off by up to 8-10 yards during our testing, which always shakes our confidence. We did find, that as with most devices, players should wait a few seconds after arriving at their ball before pressing the main button to obtain the distance. There were a number of cases where we received an initial (accurate) distance reading, but if we quickly moved 10-20 yards and hit the button for a new reading, the SHOTMATE seemed to be “stuck” on the earlier distance reading and wouldn’t update to our new position. We found this type of error to be mostly dependent upon how quickly we requested a new reading, rather than how far away we moved. As a result, we recommend pausing for a handful of seconds before obtaining a reading. Without a screen it is extremely tempting to press the main button to receive the distance as soon as you arrive at your ball, but don’t think this is any different than other GPS devices – you still need to wait a moment to ensure an accurate reading.

When you reach 30 yards from the center of the green, the device no longer provides distances and will instead announce that you are on the green edge. The SHOTMATE doesn’t provide distances beyond 500 yards (it will just say “…more than 500 yards”). [powerpress url=”″]

Unlike most golf GPS manufacturers, Matrix provides a claim as to accuracy – to 9 feet (2 meters).

87 / B+


Retail Price: The Matrix SHOTMATE has a retail price of $149.99, which makes it one of the least expensive GPS devices tested, though there are handheld devices with displays available for less. Of the voice golf GPS units on the market, it is the least expensive.

Fees for Access to Course Database: Even at this low retail price, there are no additional fees to receive course updates. Dig it.

Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: With no additional cost for access to the database for new courses or updates, the three-year total cost of ownership of the Matrix SHOTMATE Voice GPS stays at a very low $150, making it one of the least expensive devices in our comparison of golf GPS device total costs.

Value: While the Matrix SHOTMATE sports one of the lowest prices for any golf GPS device, its functionality is, of course, far more limited than most all other devices. For the player that is looking for the ultimate bare-bones device, this could be right up their alley – there’s no need to even glance at a screen, just tap a button.

But while we liked the form factor and actually found it less distracting to use than using other GPS devices (since you don’t even have to be looking at the device to get the distance), we much prefer to have distances at least to the front and back of the green, and preferably to the near and far points of the green along with selected additional targets. Beginning golfers, however, may be more drawn to the simplicity of having just one distance to focus upon.

Prospective buyers who buy into the idea of a voice golf GPS can stack the Matrix SHOTMATE up against the GolfBuddy Voice (which has a small screen), Voice Caddie VC100 (the most direct competitor), and SkyKap (it’s unclear to us if this product is actually available). For reference, the GolfBuddy Voice provides distances to the front, center and back of the green; the Voice Caddie to the center only, and the SkyKap to front, center and back of green as well as other targets.

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