GPS: Helping Vision-Impaired Golfers See The Course Ahead

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GPS rangefinders can help even the best of golfers improve their game. But did you know that it can also help golfers with vision problems? GolfBuddy Voice+ is the new kid on the block of GPS watches, the first golf GPS device featuring voice commands, designed just for the blind and visually impaired.

GolfCourseAndCartDoug Sloan, president of Blind Golf Australia and Blind Golf Australia Victoria, has tested a lot of tools crafted to improve the golfer’s game. But with the GolfBuddy Voice+, he feels more confident in his ability to participate in a game of golf.

You see, typically a blind golfer relies on his caddy for assistance, especially when it comes to distance information. The GPS device transfers this task to the golfer, cutting down on the amount of help needed from the caddy, and providing the golfer with more independence. With a 24-channel GPS receiver, dynamic rotating green view, and hole recognition technology, this GPS watch allows distances to be given no matter what angle they are approaching the hole from.

Sloan said, “We heard about the GolfBuddy down here in Melbourne through a golf supplier who knew I’d been after something that could talk to me or used voice activation…I tested it and it was amazing. You walk up there on the tee and press the button and the dear little lady will give you the distance to the center of the green. If I want to know to the front of the green or to the back of the green I just hold down the button and she’ll tell me that too.

“It just makes things a lot easier. The difference it made to my game is unbelievable and it’s also made life much easier for my caddy who doesn’t have to look around for markers or test for distances. As a totally blind golfer, it makes me feel much more part of the game. It’s only a little thing but it’s made a hell of a difference.”

The GPS device watch is roughly the same size as an iPod Nano, and can also be clipped to a belt or hat. It is such a handy device for the blind golfer, Sloan said most blind and vision impaired golfers in Australia have already bought themselves one.

And it isn’t just their golf game that is improving thanks to voice technology advancements over the years. “The technology that’s out there now has made a huge difference to my life in the past few years. In my office I have two computers, an iPhone, and a talking calculator. Prior to that, I had to use braille, tape recorders and so on to get my job done. Nowadays I can just use an application that read out everything that’s on my computer screen.”

The GolfBuddy Voice+ is available for $220. Do you know someone this device would be perfect for?

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Khristen Foss

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