The Dangers of Golf GPS

I got an amusing press release from GolfBuddy recounting the story of a golfer on holiday who inadvertently racked up thousands of dollars in data charges using his phone as a golf GPS. The international charges ran to more than $3,000. I’m sure that was quite the shock when he returned home to Germany.

On a Boy Scout camping trip we took to Canada this past year, everyone was warned to turn their smart phones off—and leave them off—to avoid accidental international data charges.

The moral of the story, according to GolfBuddy is that he should have used a stand-alone GPS instead.

I’ve used a smartphone GPS on occasion and found two problems. First, it chews through the batteries. On my phone, I can usually only get through fourteen or fifteen holes. Second, on more isolated courses (and there are many of those in Michigan), I can’t get a proper signal.

You won’t have either of those issues with a dedicated GPS or a laser rangefinder.


GolfBuddy, the world’s leading golf GPS company, stepped in to help a German golfer who racked up a £2,000 mobile phone bill after using a smartphone app while on a golf holiday abroad.

The unwitting tourist used a downloaded GPS golf programme to chart his way through three days of golf – but didn’t realise every time he checked a course layout for distances he was incurring huge overseas roaming data charges when the app connected to his phone network.

He only realised his mistake when he returned home to Germany and was presented with a mammoth €2,400 bill.

In a bid to understand more about his mistake, he called GolfBuddy’s German distributors Green Grass Golf, who pointed out the error of his ways and sold him a GolfBuddy Platinum – which can be used fee-free anywhere in the world.

The story came to light at GolfBuddy’s recent annual international sales conference, in Dusseldorf, attended by representatives from Germany, UK, Korea, USA, Australia, France, Finland, Belgium, Holland, Japan and Ireland.

Said John Ennis, GolfBuddy: “It’s an amusing story but a hard-earned lesson and the perfect illustration why all golfers should use purpose-built golf GPS devices rather than phone apps.

“We did the poor guy a deal on his GolfBuddy Platinum, which he was very happy about.”

GolfBuddy specialises purely in the manufacture of golf distance measuring devices and walks golf courses to create ground-verified accurate maps, which increases the supreme accuracy of their GPS devices over competitors who simply use satellite imagery.

GolfBuddy is the clear global leader in golf GPS development and, unlike other GPS brands, GolfBuddy never charges any annual membership fees, subscriptions or course download costs.

For a golfer, owning a GolfBuddy is completely fee-free – for a lifetime – and over 36,000 maps in 130 countries are available from its own database, the largest in the world of any golf GPS company.

GolfBuddy is a Corporate Partner with the PGAs of Europe as its ‘official handheld GPS rangefinder’.  For more information about GolfBuddy visit

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Notes to editors: GolfBuddy is the world’s largest golf GPS brand. Based in Korea and the USA , with subsidiaries in Japan , Australia and Europe , GolfBuddy has sales operations in over 37 countries around the world. Its database of free golf course maps is now over 36,000 strong, eclipsing its major competitors.

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1 thought on “The Dangers of Golf GPS”

  1. With Golfshot on the iPhone, I have always been able to get through rounds with my iPhone 4 or 5 – however on the iPhone 4, I always made sure I started at 100% batt.

    Also with Golfshot, you can preload the courses, with images, at least on the iOS versions.  You just select to play the course, and then go though each hole while you are still on your WiFi at home, and make sure that the imagery appears for each hole.  I have used this on the iPad version when I had the 3G service turned off.  I guess you could also use this method before travelling internationally, and just halt data roaming on your phone as you go, and the courses will stay in it.

    I don’t think that Golfshot is any more or less accurate than my Callaway uPro dedicated GPS (whose batter will not last a round).  I also have the Motorola MotoActv watch with golf, and that is roughly the same accuracy.

    But I do remain convinced that SkyCaddie is MORE accurate than the smartphones and uPro – if you can part with the cash for that premium service.


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