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Posts from the ‘Golf’ Category

14
Jun

Clicgear Brake Hub & 3D Printer

The amount of golf and my friends and I play would not be what you’d class as “normal”. From about March to November we get out at least twice a week and for many weeks in there, three times. So 70 to 90+ games in that time frame.

While this obviously takes a toll on our sanity, it also takes its toll on our equipment. Specifically the golf carts. No, we don’t count golfballs in there because they aren’t really lost, just misplaced until someone new finds and adopts them. Yeah, that’s a totally different thing…

Our cart of choice is the Clicgear series. Best fit in our vehicles, nicely designed for the most part and easy to push. The earliest is version 2.0 and the latest is the 8.0 or the 3.5+. The V8 is a different animal because it’s a four wheeled cart, and keeps the clubs more upright, plus, oddly enough, it’s easier to push.

With the 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5 series they all share a common weak point. Or design flaw if you want to call it that. The brake hub. It’s a dogged plastic hub that is really not all that hard to break.

Clicgear Brake Org

So in a matter of time, it ends up looking like this:

Clicgear Brake Smashed

Replacement parts can be ordered from Clicgear but shipping to Canada is stupid. A trip to the local Golftown resulted in the “silly” being continued because they won’t order one, you have to buy a dozen.

A cruise around Thingiverse led me to someone who designed a brake hub for 3D printing. I downloaded and printed it out, and it didn’t exactly fit as well as I hoped

When I checked some of the dimensions they appeared correct except for the gaps next to the 2mm pins. Plus there was a gap in the center that while matching the original hub, did little so I remixed, adjusted the gaps and filled it in slightly.

Clicgear Brake Top

And the bottom (where the pins and gaps have to be exact):

Clicgear Brake Bottom

Printed at .2mm, 100% infill, with supports.

A simple matter to remove the nylock nut that holds on the wheel, remove the old brake hub and replace with the new one.

Clicgear Brake

While checking the hub for fit, I noticed that the cable is about as far out of adjustment as possible and yet still work. The way all of our carts seem to come from factory, where I’d say they have a quality control issue or two, is the dog barely catches the tip of the hub part. Thus considerable force on the hub.

The brake dog that moves is shaped to fit snugly into the brake hub, but every one I have looked doesn’t fit properly. If you have a Clicgear cart, I’d strongly suggest you check out the brake adjustment and make sure it is completely engaging and disengaging properly.

I’d printed a couple of spares now so we’re all good to go for a couple of seasons. Now if I could just find a way to print Titleist NXT Tour golfballs I’d be set….

18
Jun

Garmin Approach G6 – Golf GPS

Since Callaway is dropping all support for their GPS systems in September 2014, my original uPro is destined to go the way of the Dodo bird.

If you only play local courses and have less than 50 of them, the uPro will still work fine. However, no new courses will be added and support will be gone. Not that there was any significant measureable level of support to begin with. And Callaway even thanked me for supporting them in the same email they informed me that I was about to own an orphan product and suggested I should check out their club offerings.

So maybe it’s just me, but I don’t get any of the warm fuzzies from a company that treats me thusly. Therefore, thanks Callaway, but not a chance.

I’ve been shopping around for a replacement golf GPS and wow. Does that take some concentration. A good site for some information is over at Critical Golf. Obviously I have specific criteria when it comes to a golf GPS.

  1. Unlimited Courses
  2. Unlimited Updates
  3. Mac friendly
  4. Ability to keep score
  5. Accurate
  6. Good customer support

Previously I’d owned a Golf Buddy. Bit of a nightmare to use on a Mac. I’d tried a SkyCaddie but I’m not big on the annual subscription but now I may not see that as a bad thing like I once did. Maybe it encourages fixes and updates.

In the end I settled on a Garmin G6. My feeling is that Garmin should know GPS, mapping, software and fit my prior list requirements. They get a good solid 4 out of 6. I was worried about the touch screen, there was no need. The only drawback to it is that you need to keep it away from stuff, like tees in your pocket, that will touch it’s screen. I keep mine in the netting on my ClicGear cart. But I can’t toss in a golf ball or it bumps the screen.

NewImage

True, I could lock the screen, but nah. Couldn’t be bothered. I got used to the rather cartoonish looking graphics quite quickly. I have yet to find a local course, even new ones, that are not on the GPS. Even the executive Par 3’s are there.

Connecting it up to my Mac with a USB cable and it mounts as an external drive. Theres a Micro SD slot on the bottom of the GPS but the only reason it’s there is because Garmin repurposed the case from another GPS product. So it does nothing.

Pressing the buttons to get a green view, or score card is easy. Touch screen areas are easy to use and the GPS has been rock solid for GPS signal.

All, a very nice GPS. But it falls flat on its butt when it comes to the scorecard and customer support. First off, I keep score without handicapping, so it’s strictly a stroke score for me. If, some how you forget to enter in a score for a hole, the GPS adds one in for you. Now you’d think it would make the mistake of say, oh, giving you a par. Yeah, well it doesn’t. It gives you 255. That’s right. 255 strokes on a hole. BUT that 255 doesn’t show in your total score.

You figure that one out. I gave up. Here we have this nice GPS, when we advance to the next hole, if the score is 255, it should have the brain to prompt you for the proper score. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d like it.

So…fail #1.

Due to the fact that I’m a Mac software developer, I get more into things than a lot of people do. Actually probably more than most do. So what follows is what I found by looking under the hood. That’s the kind of guy I am.

The GPS comes with Mac software that serves two purposes. It updates the maps, it updates any firmware. There is no software that gives you a score card, stats or anything else. There’s some 3rd party stat software from Approach Stats. If stats are where you need to go, check them out.

I’m not much on stats, more on score cards. So I modified my uScoreCard app to read the files from the Garmin G6. If you have a Mac, Garmin G6 and you want an app, email me and ask. No charge.

So lets look a little more under the hood.

Inside a subdirectory on the GPS (it’s just a flash drive to the computer) there are your score cards as XML files. If you examine this file, there’s some interesting stuff in it.

First off: Distance Walked: 3.93 Miles – Elapsed Time – 4.14. That’s right. It tells you how far you walked (in yards, I just converted it to miles) and you get the elapsed time of the round. For the round time, keep in mind that it starts when you hit the PLAY and select a course. So it you set up the GPS for the course before getting to the first tee, that time will be in there.

Secondly, “Mel – 10 out of 13 fairways hit – 10 greens hit in regulation – 34 total putts“. Thats right. Fairways hit, GIR. However the GIR is CALCULATED. There is no where you can actually enter in that you got a GIR. If you are playing a par 3, hit onto the green, then proceed to putt off the green, have a bad chip, then finally chip back onto the green and finally two putt in. You didn’t get a GIR for that 6 stokes.

Is that right? Or not. I did some research and read that in the prior situation, the first hit was a stroke, once the ball is on the green, every stroke after that is a putt. Even if you knock it off and chip back on. The chip is a putt. I have no idea if that’s buried in a rule book or not, I found the info on a forum. So, take it for what it’s worth.

For accuracy, the GPS, for the most part is right on with the yardage markers (1-2 yards at maximum). One of the nice features is that you can move the pin for the hole to the rough location on the course to get the real yardage. I do this once in a while and I match it with a friends laser range finder. Works nicely as it remembers the new location until you advance to the next hole.

But hold on, let’s step back to the XML file…we have a local course here that has two different par’s depending on the tees your playing. The mid tees make the hole a par 4, the forward tees call it a par 5. There are THREE of these dual par holes on the course (Surrey Golf Club). The G6 gets one of them correctly. The two on the back nine show as par fives, with a back nine total of 38.

The frustrating part is you can not change it. Your strokes will be correct, but your pars and GIR’s just went out the window on two holes.

The finishing hole on Surrey Golf Club is a par 5, 559 yards. Yea, it’s long. I’m a senior and it seems forever. No amount of anything can get me to a wedge into the green. Always at least a mid-iron. Ugh.

When I examine the XML file for that last hole, this is what I find:

G6 18

Now if you’re anything like me, you’d LOVE to see a par five at just over 92 yards. It would make an Eagle look doable!

But no, it’s wrong. 100% wrong. And. Not. Even. Close.

Which leads me to the conclusion that the reason Garmin doesn’t have any software to show these “stats” is because the XML file generation is a mess. They DO have a “scorecard html” file on the G6 itself that you can run from a browser. So long as the browser is not Safari on the Mac.

G6 No Safari

But you can use Firefox:

G6 Firefox

Notice the 255 on the 15th. Yea. I forgot to put in the score. I can go back on the G6 and edit it I think. But I usually just do it right on the G6 once it mounts on the Mac.

Then notice the 10th and 15th are Par 5’s? From the mid-tees they are par fours. I found no way to change this.

Lastly, if you add up the strokes, notice I got a 79? But there’s a 255 on the 15th? Really want to trust your stats with a company who has seemingly bad math? No? So what the G6 does for a 255 is gives you par. If you want pars, just don’t enter in any score. You’ll be a scratch golfer in, oh, 4 hours…

So what does my software do, for one it fixes the par’s, and adds correctly. It will also tell if you have a 255 in there so you can edit it.

Surrey Golf Club ~ Main Course 2014 06 17

I admit that I use the same sort of calculation that Garmin does for GIR’s. My preference would be a box to actually enter that.

This information has been emailed Garmin. They are noticeably unresponsive. I think they’d just prefer that I go away and stop trying to hold them accountable for their blunder. As surprising as it might seem, Callaway had better support than Garmin does. But Callaway is getting out of the GPS business so that doesn’t say very much for Garmin. Does it.

So, Garmin, guess what? You get a fail for this half baked product. Now, scurry back to the oven and finish it properly.

6
Aug

The Patrick – Golf Annual

My younger brother and I try to get in our “annual” game of golf. I say annual because it doesn’t always work out that we actually make it. This year we made it to my local haunt, Northview Golf & Country Club to play the Canal course.

While I play probably 40 or 50+ games a year, Roland makes it out, maybe, three times a year on average. And considering that, he actually plays quite well.

For whatever reason, we were a twosome on the course but we had a ball. On the 4th tee box I noticed Roland was very focused on something on the course:

IMG 3969

So I followed his line of vision and, there it was. One of local Northview regulars…

IMG 3967

The otter couldn’t have been more than 20 or 30 feet away from us and probably seen more balls in his pond than we could ever imagine. Although to be honest I think I’ve contributed some golf balls to his pond, oh, once or twice.

NV being a wetlands course, it’s littered with these little critters, frogs, muskrats, herons, eagles & hawks, ducks and a bazzilion Canada Geese (that I could do without because of their lack of excrement control). I’ve seen the greens so covered in geese you’d wonder how you can hit into them without missing them. But they’re good at being missed.

I seen a heron sitting in tree beside one of the tee boxes in silhoutte and wish I’d got a picture of it. It looked exactly like a vulture just waiting for a bogey golfer to show up.

So as we played our game, as always we took some candid photos, me in my Prairie Sombrero:

IMG 3971

Roland on the long par 5, 8th (I try to time the photos so I can catch the ball at launch).

IMG 3972

And finally, Roland’s “kick in” on the 8th for a par:

IMG 3973

You know, there’s a lot of things I enjoy in life, but golfing with my “kid” brother is one of a handful that rates at the top of that list. As someone once said, “it just doesn’t get any better than this”.