Introducing the SkyCaddie LINX, SkyCaddie’s new series of golf GPS watches that deliver its mapped hazards, doglegs, layup points, greens, along with stats and scoring to your wrist. Prior to the SkyCaddie WATCH, the market only offered distances from the front, center, and back of the green.
LINX jumped to the top of the class of golf GPS watches with its new wealth of data (though shortly thereafter, Garmin snagged the position with its S6 watch, which also brings hole maps and a touchscreen to measure Distances.) In addition, the LINX is equipped with Bluetooth, so you can connect it to your mobile phone in order to receive notifications when you receive a call or a text and to sync it with the SkyCaddie app for SkyGolf 360.
We were pleased with the performance of the LINX on the course, though its thickness was our only genuine concern. LINX offers a lot of features, but it’s expensive – it retails for $224.95, and only contains the “Go Play” package, which provides distances to the front, center, and back of the green. With the “Par” package, which includes syncing to SkyGolf 360, you pay $19.95 annually (or $49.95 for three years). You need to spend $149.95 for three years (or $49.95 for one year) to take full advantage of the watch’s features, which include IntelliGreen (e.g., shapes of the real greens) and distances to hazards, layup points, etc.
A second complaint is that there were glitches in the process of purchasing the “Pro” package and setting up LINX (this would not be necessary for the “Go Play” package, which is ready for use out of the box), which we detail below. As a recurring theme with SkyCaddie products, we’re surprised that technical support doesn’t recognize our voices by now.
With regard to distances, the SkyCaddie LINX is among the best golf GPS watches. Although the subscription costs for accessing those distances make the LINX expensive, if you like to know distances when you’re on the course (“How far is it to the bunker? To clear it? To the dogleg?”), it’s the watch for you.
SkyCaddie Linx GT Watch: SETUP/SYNCING
- Charging the watch is easy (which is not true with most other GPS watches for golf).
- Since there is no wall charger included, the only way to charge the LINX is to plug the USB cable into your computer.
- LINX comes preloaded with courses that have front, center, and back of the green distances (the GoPlay package), so just charge the battery and you’re good to go. SkyCaddie requires you to create an account in order to take advantage of the features of the Par or Pro packages (The SkyCaddie 360 mobile app doesn’t enable this), pick your package (GoPlay, Par, or Pro) and then sync the LINX, either with the CaddieSync Express software on your PC/Mac or with the SkyCaddie 360 app on your smartphone.
- LINX setup proved challenging. Our first step was to register online and select the Pro package. In the checkout process, there was a glitch – we had an existing account, and the site would not let us update the address – we had to change it from the SkyCaddie homepage. Once again, it crashed during the final request step…25 minutes went by with nothing accomplished. After giving up for the night, we tried again the next morning. Fortunately, the purchase was completed. Perhaps the SkyCaddie servers needed a good night’s sleep. That’s not all, though. A few weeks later, we noticed that our credit card had been charged THREE times (apparently for the two instances where it crashed in addition to the instance where it worked). As we searched the SkyCaddie site for a customer service number, we did not locate one. In the end, we tried the online chat, which proved to be somewhat disjointed as you are never certain if they responded or not. While we never received the promised e-mail, the incorrect charges were finally reversed two weeks after they were initially billed. They promised to review the billing records and send an e-mail with their determination.
- It is possible to sync the LINX using both CaddieSync Express software and the SkyGolf 360 mobile app. Our first step was to download CaddieSync Express onto a Mac and then click Sync. It still won’t open because the developer is unidentified and Apple hasn’t registered him yet. For overriding these security settings, they suggested going to Finder. Well, let’s just download the app to our smartphones and sync them through Bluetooth. However, the iOS app’s instructions need some work. According to the manual, the watch should pair with your phone as soon as you enable Bluetooth on it. When it does, the Bluetooth symbol should stop blinking. However, the Bluetooth logo never stopped blinking. Upon trial and error, we learned if you ignore that warning and just press “next” on the mobile app and ask to sync, it will THEN initiate pairing with the watch. Oh no…another 30 minutes wasted.
- Nevertheless, we should note that syncing was actually very simple once everything was set up. That depends on your level of patience.
SkyCaddie Linx GT Watch: COURSE AVAILABILITY
- Critical Golf Test: In our course coverage test, the SkyCaddie LINX scores almost perfectly. Aside from Bandon Dunes, the only course missing from SkyGolf is Bandon Dunes. People who are fans of SkyCaddie often highlight how the company has one of its representatives walk the course in order to create its maps, so as to eliminate some of the errors that can occur when those maps are created using satellite imagery. I love this… except when the course won’t be mapped or if the course changes and SkyGolf has to get someone back out there to map the newly re-routed holes. In this debate, we aren’t taking sides – just highlighting the issues.
- Manufacturer’s Claims: Based on our comparison of course coverage, the SkyCaddie LINX has 36,476 courses preloaded worldwide.
EASE OF USE
- Normally, a golf GPS watch provides a viewing area of 0.8 square inches, and the SkyCaddie LINX provides that.
- In practice, the LINX weighs about 2.1 ounces (as tested). Black or white are the colors available for the rubber and plastic body. There are also replacement bands and bezels from SkyCaddie – a pink band, a pastel green bezel, and a fun “Fashion Pack” (3 purple, neon green, and orange bands/bezels). These aren’t actually screws that are drilled into the bezel – it’s just a plastic covering that rotates off.
- Since the watch was thicker (it differed from the Garmin S6 by approximately the height of the bezel), it sometimes got snagged on the sleeves of golf jackets and sweaters. When pulling a hand out of a pocket on the pants or shorts, the clasp would sometimes get hung up.
- It took quite a few button presses to access certain functions.
- As long as you are using GPS (either to play golf or as an odometer), SkyCaddie claims up to 8 hours of battery life. The battery lasted just fine through one round of golf, and since eight hours is unlikely to last through a second round, we didn’t bother testing how long the battery would last in a second-round before conking out. It is actually recommended that you charge the LINX after each round according to SkyCaddie.
SkyCaddie Linx GT Watch: FEATURES
- Shot Tracking. When you switch from one screen to another or change menu settings, the LINX will continue to measure shot distances. In order to calculate average shot distances, it is not possible to save the shot distance information or link it to clubs.
- Auto-advance. You can set the SkyCaddie LINX to advance to the next hole automatically during play. By using the buttons on the control panel, you can manually change the holes. To turn auto-advance on or off, simply access the Settings menu after exiting an ongoing round, and then return to the round with your score and statistics intact.
- Scoring. While playing the round, you can track your score (but only your own, as you cannot score for others). The scoring view cannot be switched on or off, so it must be manually entered.
- Statistics. The SkyCaddie LINX can track the number of stats, including how many putts were made, how many greens were in regulation, whether the fairway was hit or missed, and whether it was hit left or right as well as the time of the round.
- Scoring and Statistics Evaluation. Your rounds can be saved to the SkyCaddie LINX and your score and statistics can be viewed on the device. SkyGolf 360’s mobile app allows for syncing the LINX with a number of analysis tools, such as fairway percentages, GIR percentages, and putting averages. Additionally, you can compare your averages against those of other SkyGolf 360 members. There’s a lot wrong with SkyGolf 360, but our primary concern is the app’s slowness – expect to wait a few seconds for each button press. Occasionally, the system completely freezes.
- Notifications. You’ll receive notifications via a chime when an event is approaching, and a slow scroll of the event’s title appears once the sync is complete. You will also be notified of any incoming calls or texts (but they will not be displayed).
- Miscellaneous. Do you need an odometer? In addition to tracking a person’s starting and ending time, average speed, maximum speed, speed, average pace, and calories burned, the LINX can also measure the number of steps they took in their workout. There is an option to enter your gender, age, height, and weight in the settings menu, which likely factors into the calculation of calories burned. A workout session can be saved to the watch and reviewed later.
- Preferences. Among LINX’s customizable features are how the time is displayed, the unit of measurement, whether or not you receive alerts from your phone, chimes, backlight, language, and whether or not the watch goes into “sleep” mode at certain times.
|Now you can see the layup points and hazards on a wristwatch!||This watch can occasionally catch on your long sleeves or pants pocket due to its thickness|
|Course coverage is strong||Annual fees|
|Data tracking||Setup woes|
With LINX, distances have usually been within the normal variation of GPS devices, usually within +/- 4 yards of actual distances (based on sprinkler heads).