Golf GPS devices can make a world of difference in the way one plays the game. They can help navigate greens that can’t be analyzed with just the naked eye or one’s intuition. Finding the top rated golf GPS can be difficult for those that are not used to using the devices, but we have created this site to help.
There are many golf GPS units from which you may choose, and narrowing down the selection to get the best golf GPS watch or handheld device can be intimidating. You can learn more about the models available on the market by searching and reading golf GPS reviews.
- 1 Our Top 3 Picks
- 2 What is a Golf GPS?
- 3 Golf GPS vs Laser Rangefinders
- 4 What Types are Available?
- 5 Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Golf GPS
- 6 How to Distinguish a Quality Golf GPS From a Cheap One
- 7 Golf GPS Brands – Who Makes the Best Golf GPS?
- 8 Top 13 Golf Watch Reviews
- 9 What Makes a Great Golf Watch?
- 10 How to pick the Right Golf Watch for your Needs
- 11 Top 5 Handheld Golf GPS Reviews
- 12 Tips on Choosing the Best Golf GPS
- 13 Golf GPS FAQ
- 14 Making Your Decision
Our Top 3 Picks
Here we have GPS golf watch reviews as well as information about the best handheld GPS units. We have conducted extensive research through compiling expert opinions, products tests and consumer reviews to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information for you.
What is a Golf GPS?
A GPS device is a global positioning system that uses exchanges of satellite data to provide information on the location of the device and other locations in its vicinity. It is used in a number of applications for locating, navigating or analyzing geographical space.
A golf GPS uses this same data to provide information on the location and surroundings on and around a golf course to help the player improve his or her game.
Golf GPS devices are used to provide assistance to the player by offering information about the environment that he or she would likely not have without it.
Finding distances and subsequently choosing through clubs can be difficult, but a golf GPS unit makes this process much easier. They are especially helpful for playing on new courses with which you may be unfamiliar, but they also work for those just looking to improve their scores.
Unlike many other forms of GPS devices, golf GPS systems are meant to be kept on your person and carried around during golf play. Golf GPS units are available in both handheld and watch styles to suit the various needs of many players.
- Providing quick and easy readings
- Providing the ability to get close distances to targets without seeing them
- Some models provide recommendations on club selection or force needed for stroke execution
- The ability to sync and add more courses or edit existing ones when needed
- Growing database of course data that puts information right in players’ hands
- Some models offer scorecards and statistics tracking
- Assisting players on unfamiliar courses
- Readings are not affected by dark conditions at dusk or dawn.
- Some golf GPS models may require monthly, annual, lifetime or per-course fees in addition to those that come with purchasing or maintaining the device.
- The best rated golf GPS units will likely cost up to $250 or more.
- The accuracy of the device, the number of included courses or the number of available distances may depend on the manufacturer of a particular model.
- The user may be required to set the device up, download courses or install software.
- Golf GPS units can be less accurate than laser rangefinders when it comes to open line-of-sight measurements.
Golf GPS vs Laser Rangefinders
There are many significant differences between laser rangefinders and GPS golf units. Both devices offer benefits to the player, and both present limitations compared to the other as well. The differences between each type may affect the way an individual golfer is able to play.
GPS units are programmed to detect the locations of various features on the golf course and subsequently compute and provide distance data based on this information. A GPS device may cost anywhere from $100 to $400, and many come with additional membership costs or subscription fees to update course information.
In contrast, laser rangefinders measure the distance from the unit to an object based on the time it takes the rangefinder’s laser beam to reflect off of the object. The downside compared to GPS units is the fact that user faults may affect the results of the reading while the distances given by GPS devices are already provided.
Laser rangefinders can cost between $200 and $500, and they do not require subsequent membership or subscription fees. In this way, rangefinders may be considered superior to GPS devices.
Rangefinders offer the ability to measure distances to other players to determine if others on the course are out of range while GPS units can provide aerial views of each hole when on an unfamiliar course.
Rangefinders are easy to operate and only require you to aim the device and fire it, but a GPS may require you to set it up, download software, and then install it for some courses.
Once on the course, you still may be required to find the appropriate hole after the unit detects the course. Once the GPS unit is ready, the device is easy to operate with data that is immediately available.
A concern with GPS devices is the fact that distances are only provided for some features if the manufacturer decides to include them. The user can position the cursor to find specific objects, but the accuracy of the distance results may depend upon the user’s skill in placing the cursor in the right position.
A concern with laser rangefinders is the difficulty that can come from attempting to measure targets at long distances that do not have pins or other reflective surfaces.
It can also be harder to return accurate readings on features such as sand and water due to their horizontal position, and the laser’s performance may decline in poor weather conditions.
What Types are Available?
GPS units for golf are available in two different styles including handheld golf GPS devices and golf GPS watches. Both types serve their own benefits over the other to suit the playing needs and lifestyles of individual golfers.
The devices provide many of the same advantages, but they often differ significantly in their capabilities. Even within each category, individual models vary in their features when compared to one another.
Those looking to buy the best GPS for golf are often concerned as to whether they should buy a handheld or watch unit. The type of GPS will not enhance or hinder your game by default, but it is still helpful to understand the differences between the two.
Handheld GPS devices provide larger and more colorful screens that are not capable of being created in smaller watch models. These devices are usually more advanced and provide more features in addition to more details when returning readings. They also offer more information on shot execution or the conditions before making a shot.
GPS golf watches offer the benefit of being smaller in size compared to handheld devices. They are more lightweight as they are only placed on the wrist or clipped to hats, pockets or belts.
For this same reason, they are also easier to carry around. These watches can usually be changed from GPS mode to watch mode to help preserve the life of the unit’s battery.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Golf GPS
Accuracy is arguably one of the most important factors when it comes to purchasing a golf GPS device. You will only be able to see improvement in your game by being able to rely on a unit that provides real results based on the course and the way you play.
You can get a feel for the relative accuracy of various models by checking golf GPS watch reviews. Most units are fairly as accurate as the typical player would need them to be. If you rely heavily on your GPS unit to handle your game, this factor should be considered much more heavily.
Size is another significant factor in choosing a golf GPS model as the size of a unit may determine your comfort and willingness to continue using it. The dimensions of the unit as well as its weight are both mentioned when considering size, and users will have different expectations based on whether they choose a handheld or a watch unit.
Some players want something that is portable and can fit in the pocket. Others want a model that boasts a large screen to show details up close. Find a model that fits comfortably no matter what you wear or what equipment you take along.
Course coverage is important to golfers that play very often as well as those that play a lot when traveling. The number of pre-loaded courses a device provides is important to ensure you have the information you need wherever you go, and the ability to download more is important as well.
Some manufacturers may require additional fees for this access, so it’s worth looking to find models that don’t. More affordable GPS models may offer less course data, but this is fine for those that don’t play often or usually use the same courses.
With the ability to download, this shouldn’t even be a significant problem, but the additional information may be limited. You may be willing to invest more in order to get more international courses with your device.
One of the main drawbacks to purchasing and maintaining a golf GPS device is having to encounter extra fees on top of the cost of purchase. This adds to the cost of use over time, and it can be a painful investment to make if you see yourself upgrading to newer models often.
The fees may come from membership, use of extra features, subscription to download new courses or even hidden charges. Most manufacturers won’t require additional fees for use, but be aware just in case the model you plan to purchase is one of the few that will.
Ease of Use
If you can’t figure your way around your GPS unit, there is little purpose in buying or owning it. The ease of use of a unit defines its ability to be set up, operated and maintained. Many units have highly complex features. These come in handy to perform a variety of tasks you need, but it can be a burden if managing them is too difficult.
You should look for a device that will provide the features you want while still allowing you to focus on your game without getting distracted by buttons and functions.
One of the driving motivations behind choosing one golf GPS model over another is the number or type of features the model offers. You want to have enough features to satisfy your needs on the course, but you don’t want to have so many that you feel overwhelmed.
You should find a model that fits best with what you need, and avoid those that provide too much or offer too little for your golfing circumstances. The more advanced the features, the more you will invest into the unit’s cost.
The battery life of your GPS unit is a highly significant factor like many others. It will determine the length of time you will get to spend for a round of golf or how many rounds you will be able to manage for a single charge. It is important to find a model that is easy to boot and operates for multiple rounds at a time.
Some models offer a tradeoff between battery life and features as having additional functions can sometimes drain the battery further. If features are a priority, the reduced battery life can be overlooked. If not, aim for a unit with a longer life.
The design of a golf GPS includes its shape, form, color and theme. Many players opt for models that have a more modern look just as a personal preference. The function of the unit is a more important feature, but the appearance can also affect how well you “get along” with the device.
You want a unit with a comfortable design whether it is a watch or handheld style. A watch style should fit well on the wrist without being too bulky, and it should clip well to other areas. A handheld unit should be thin and narrow enough to slide into a pocket and fit i
n the hand without pain or discomfort.
Your GPS should allow you to sync your device with your PC in order to download and add new courses or update existing ones. Some units will not have support that is as thorough as you may like it to be, so look carefully when comparing models. You may also want to check the compatibility your unit has with your smart phone.
Each user has different opinions and preferences regarding the importance of certain characteristics, and some people place a high value on durability. Any electronic device should be able to withstand certain conditions such as bumps or falls, but golf GPS devices are unique.
These devices are made to be used often and made to be used outside among the elements. You should purchase a unit with a weather-resistant design, and it’s even better if it’s waterproof. It should be able to survive minor impacts as well.
The cost of your unit will be determined by many variables. You can expect to pay more for GPS devices that provide more features and vice versa. If your budget is a top concern, you should look for a model that balances features that are suitable for your needs with a price you find to be decent.
You may see your GPS as a significant investment, so you should feel fine if you decide to splurge in this case. If you don’t need the fanciest features, you can settle for a basic device in order to get a much better price.
Reliability is an important factor that shows up in many different ways. You want a golf GPS that provides you with consistent performance and doesn’t provide strange results or loses function randomly. You also want it to be able to maintain its quality down the line.
Should your device actually malfunction, you will want access to reliable customer service with a suitable warranty upon purchase. The reliability you can expect may vary between manufacturers or even between models from the same brand.
The course availability is one of the most important features to look for in your GPS unit, but the detail for each course is important as well. The course detail will include all objects accounted for on the green, the shape of the course and other features.
It will correctly provide the distance to hazards as well as the green. Having coverage for thousands of courses around the world serves little purpose if the accuracy and detail of each course is not up to par.
If possible, make a golf GPS watch comparison with models you feel comfortable with in order to determine which ones have the most detail.
Many users will be pleased with having the basic features and functions they need to locate objects on the course, but some people may want more out of their device. Any advanced features serve to make your GPS unit more capable of assisting and improving your game as well as your golfing experience.
Having a digital scorecard allows you to keep track of your progress and that of those playing with you, and many models even allow you to save and print the information.
Shot tracking provides the statistics you need to thoroughly analyze your skill, and club selection helps your score by suggesting the clubs you need to nail a certain shot.
How to Distinguish a Quality Golf GPS From a Cheap One
Knowing how to spot and avoid cheaply made GPS units is important in being able to narrow down your choices and find a quality unit.
You should be on the lookout for certain characteristics that make quality GPS models stand out from poorly made varieties. Of course, such traits are not standard across models, but it is still wise to have certain expectations in mind for any golf GPS device.
Finding models from well-known brands is one of the first steps in purchasing a quality GPS unit. Not every brand name model will perform well for your needs, but it is common for bigger brands to have built better reputations for quality and dependability in comparison to those which are less known.
The structure and build of the unit is also important to ensure that it is rugged enough to last over time in a variety of outdoor conditions or when traveling.
The best golf GPS watch will have necessary course information upfront without presenting hidden fees, and fees will be made known upon purchase if they are required. Quality golf GPS watches will also have additional features beyond standard distance readings, and they will have an appealing physical appearance.
The look of a device may not seem like an important factor, but most high-quality units have an updated modern look. Lastly, it is important for a GPS unit to have PC compatibility in order to update new course information as needed.
Golf GPS Brands – Who Makes the Best Golf GPS?
Garmin is one of the most well-known manufacturers of GPS devices for various uses, and it is also one of the most popular golf GPS brands. They produce golf GPS units that are leaders when it comes to course coverage. Models from this brand are often lightweight, but their handheld units still feature large screens.
They feature rechargeable batteries and have some of the longest operating times among golf GPS devices. They produce waterproof units that often provide extra features. Popular models from Garmin include those in the Approach series such as the S1 and S2 watch and the G6 and G8 handheld units.
Bushnell is another popular brand of golf GPS units. GPS watch models from Bushnell are known for covering over 30,000 courses. They are also one of the few brands that allow the user to add on to the course information as needed. Bushnell units have rechargeable batteries with operating times longer than many other brands.
Their drawbacks include the lack of color screens and rotating greens that many other models provide as well as a lack of scorecards and statistics. Its NEO XS model is one of the more affordable and popular golf GPS models, but its Hybrid Laser GPS is one of the most expensive.
GolfBuddy is known for producing a number of impressive GPS models as well. Many of their models feature course coverage from 35,000 to 40,000 maps. They tend to be heavier than models from other brands.
The operating times for these models are in the medium range, and many last for usually 9 to 10 hours. The GolfBuddy Platinum has an operating time of 18 hours. The GolfBuddy Voice model is unique in that it provides distance readings through audio in order to keep the user’s hands free to play.
Models from IZZO feature course coverage of over 30,000 maps. The brand makes some of the most affordable golf GPS units, and its praised IZZO Swami 4000 handheld model is one of the lowest in cost in best-selling and popular models from various brands.
The IZZO Swami WATCH model is another popular GPS device, and it is also very affordable. It features course recognition and easy set up, and its battery has an operating time of 6 to 8 hours.
SkyCaddie is among the Top 4 brands when it comes to course availability, and its models usually offer over 35,000 course maps. These units have some of the largest screens as well as offering good visibility as well as color displays for vivid imagery.
The batteries on SkyCaddie units last very long per charge compared to many others. SkyCaddie offers GPS models in a wide variety, and they are available in a range of prices. Popular units from this brand include the Aire, Breeze, Voice and LINX models. The downside to this brand is that many models require yearly fees.
Top 13 Golf Watch Reviews
The Approach S1 is a watch with the quality you expect from Garmin, but it is a simpler model compared to the G7. The Approach S1 is one of the most popular golf GPS devices within its price range. It combines technology of its high-sensitivity receiver with the design of a flexible and lightweight sports watch.
The S1 is ready to use right out of the box, and it offers over 14,000 courses in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. You can also load Canadian maps to the unit for free online. The watch allows you to choose distances to the front, middle or back of the green, and it measures precise distances for shots played anywhere on the course.
Its screen is clearly visible even in bright sunlight with large numbers for easy reading. The 1-inch LCD display is also waterproof with a built-in odometer as well. This watch may be one of the older models reviewed, but its efficiency shows how well it stands up to many newer devices.
The Swami Golf GPS watch from IZZO Golf provides a more affordable alternative to many of the more expensive golf GPS watches available, but it still offers many of the same features.
It is pre-loaded with over 30,000 courses worldwide without requiring an annual subscription, so you can charge it and use it immediately.
The watch automatically recognizes your course upon startup, and maps can be added or updated easily. It provides distances to the front, center and back of the green along with the ability to edit the distances as needed.
Additional features include auto-hole advance, a digital scorecard and a shot distance tracker to measure long drives. It offers functions such as time, date, an alarm and an odometer.
It features a new and improved comfortable wrist band in addition to being durable, waterproof and easy to read. The rechargeable lithium battery holds a charge of 6 to 8 hours in GPS mode, and the unit supports yards or meters along with displaying 12 different languages.
The SkyCaddie WATCH features 30,000 precise worldwide pre-loaded courses that can be updated and corrected, so the unit is ready to use out of the box. It is one of the few watches that allows score tracking after each round.
The watch can measure any shot distance, and it offers distances to the front, center and back of the green while updating as you ride or walk around the course. It offers digital scoring, a backlight, a stopwatch and an odometer. The odometer can track location, time, distance, pace, speed and calories burned.
The unit features a big font that is easy to read and is water resistant up to 30 meters. A downside to the watch is that it requires an annual membership fee that many others models do not, but an advantage of the SkyCaddie WATCH is its esthetic appeal and light weight.
Available in three different styles and colors, this watch has a black and white screen. The options with this watch include giving you the distance to the back, front and center of the green, as well as providing you with the information which shows you where the hazards and targets are on each hole. You will also receive a view of the green from every angle, so you know exactly where you should aim on the green.
- Three different styles allow you to pick the one which best meets your personality
- Various amounts of information concerning the greens
- Automatically knows which hole you are playing currently
- Comes with a rechargeable battery
- Has a black and white screen option only
- Rechargeable battery, when in golf mode, only lasts eight hours
Comes in three different band designs to allow you to find the design which best meets your personality. The black and white screen will ensure you can see the information you are wanting, even when under direct sunlight. Has a touchscreen display which will work even when you have your golf glove on.
- High Resolution screen works even when you are wearing gloves
- Shows you the green layout
- Extra benefits include being able to receive texts, e-mails and other alerts
- Free lifetime courses
- Higher price compared to other black and white watches within the market
- Has only 10 hours of battery life when in GPS mode
This GPS golf watch from Golf Buddy allows you to see all of the information concerning targets and hazards along each hole of the golf course you are playing. You will receive a view of the green from any angle you desire, so you know the contours of each green you are shooting at. There are over 36,000 courses which are already pre-loaded onto the watch.
- This watch is water resistant
- Battery can last up to 50 days when not in GPS golf mode
- Comes pre-loaded with over 36,000 courses
- Allows you to see the green from every angle
- Only comes in a black and white option
- Only has 8 hours of life when in GPS golf mode
Wearing this watch will give you the capability of recording and detecting your shots, so it can show you the potential you have with each shot and providing some great analytics concerning your golf game. With this watch, you can record your score, which you can then analyze after each round and see how you have either improved or become worse with each subsequent round.
- Analyze each green to see what the yardage will be to the back, center and front of each green from where you currently are taking your shot from
- Has over 40,000 courses loaded into the watch
- Automatically detects your shot, and provides analytics for you to review
- Keep track of all of your scores, not only for your current round, but for every round you play
- Only comes in one design, which is black
- The only screen option is in black and white
Coming loaded with over 35,000 golf courses, there is no annual fee needed in order to update the watch with new golf courses. This design will give you the distance to the back, center and front of the green, and will help recommend the yardage needed so you can figure out which club will be best to attack each shot.
- Has Bluetooth capability, so you can upload the information from the watch into a cloud based system
- Can easily tell distance to the green from your current position
- Can receive e-mails and text messages
- Multi-sport watch which will track distance and speed, as well as the number of calories which are burned, not only while playing golf but also during any bike ride or run
- Lasts up to 14 hours in GPS mode
- Only comes in a Black color design
- Won’t give you feedback on your swing
Gives you the distance required to make the back, center and front of the green from where you are currently on the hole you are playing. Will alert you to the various hazards along the golf course, along with where the distances are from where you are, so you can easily tell where they are and what kind of shot you should attempt next. Is water resistant, and has the capability of tracking various amounts of data for your analytical needs.
- Will track all of your activity, and show you the steps taken as well as the number of calories which have been burned
- Provides with the necessary information concerning each hole to determine your next best shot
- Is Waterproof, but cannot be under water for long periods of time
- Has close to 32,000 golf courses downloaded upon purchase, and no fees to update
- Only comes in one design
- Only has eight hours of GPS mode, as well as only eight days of regular watch use
Available in three different designs, this high resolution screen comes to you in a color display. The touchscreen is sensitive enough for you to use even while you are wearing your golf glove. This watch will analyze your swing, and let you know the time of your upswing and downswing so you can create a better tempo overall. When you touch the display while it is showing the hole, it will give you the exact distance to where you point to.
- Color display will vividly show you each hole and the hazards along each hole
- Will collect the data you want, including swing speed and the timing of both your upswing and downswing
- You can choose the place you want to hit on the golf hole from where you are, and it will tell you the exact distance needed to reach that point
- Has up to 20 weeks of batter life when in non GPS mode
- Has over 38,000 courses pre-loaded
- Can receive alerts, text messages and e-mails
- Only comes in a color display
Coming to you in two different designs, this GPS golf watch from Callaway has over 30,000 golf courses pre-loaded into it system. Will provide you with the necessary distance to reach the back, center and front of the green, as well as what yardage it will take to hit around any hazard. Will automatically record various information for you, including total score, score for each hole and the greens in regulation, as well as the number of putts per round.
- Has over 30,000 courses pre-loaded
- Will give you distances to show what it will take to carry a shot to the desired location, as well as to lay-up
- Will record vital data within each round
- Can last up to 90 days in watch mode
- Only has 10 hours of battery life in GPS mode
- Only available in a Black and White screen option
Garmin has this GPS golf watch which has a three week battery life when used just as a watch. It will provide you with various amounts of data, including letting you know when you are facing a dogleg, and what the yardage is for when you need to layup. You will also receive the information for how far your shot will need to be in order to reach the back, middle and front of the green.
- Can store each round of golf played for reference
- Will keep a strong GPS signal, even under trees or in adverse weather
- Has over 30,000 golf courses pre-loaded in, and all course updates are free
- Comes in five different styles
- Only available in a black and white screen option
- Has a minimal eight hour GPS mode batter life
With no membership or annual fees, this GPS golf watch from Bushnell comes with over 33,000 courses pre-loaded into it. Available in four different models, these watches will automatically load the information for each hole after you have completed the one you are on. Will provide you with the distance to the hole no matter where you are along each hole, as well as showing you the distance to the various hazards on each hole.
- Has over 33,000 courses pre-loaded
- Will provide the yardage needed to reach the back, center and front of the green, as well as all hazards along golf course
- Can be charged using a USB port
- Is fully waterproof up to 10 meters deep
- Has over 12 hours of GPS Mode battery life
- Only has black and white screen option to choose from
- Not ideal for activities outside of golf
What Makes a Great Golf Watch?
Long gone are the days where watches were used to just tell time. With golf watches today, there are many features which come standard which will allow you to improve your golf game in no time.
Maps of the Golf courses
Within most models of GPS golf watches, you will have the capability of downloading the golf course you are getting ready to play. This information will allow you to see ahead of time what the golf course looks like, so you can make a determination upon which golf clubs you should bring with you to this golf course. If you see there are a lot of shorter par 4 holes on the course, then you know you can bring more wedges with you, compared to longer irons. Similarly, if you notice there are some Par 3 holes on the course, you can thing bring the longer irons you need to help reach the greens.
When it comes to how your screen will look on your watch, you have a lot of different options to choose from concerning the font and style the information is presented to you. However, the biggest difference is whether or not you want a black and white or a color option for your screen. A black and white option doesn’t look as fancy, but the information will come across very clear even when the sun is bright outside. The color option will enhance your screen, and showcase a variety of options to you in a different spectrum of colors, so you can highlight the information you want highlighted.
Along with not only tracking where you are at on the golf course, the GPS watches can offer you a large assortment of apps which can help you in a variety of ways. One of the main things most GPS watches has on them is the capability of tracking the number of steps you take while out on the golf course. Another option where a GPS watch is better than an actual GPS tracker is the ability to track your own swing. The watch will analyze your swing, and will offer to you data necessary to decide how to adjust your swing while you are out on the golf course. It can tell you the tempo of your swing, as well as the power in which you strike the golf ball. If you want a tool which can help you analyze your swing while out on the golf course, this tool is a must have.
Along with these options, there are many options which are available to you which allow this GPS watch to be more than just a golf watch. If you do a lot of exercising during the week, this watch will help keep track of those exercise activities so you can start building a library of data. There are watches within the marketplace which will help track of times when you run, bike, swim or many other activities.
When you look at the base model of GPS golf watches, you will see there are still a good amount of options which come with those watches. Some extra features to look out for include a watch which touts that it is durable and waterproof; this way, you can use the watch for multiple functions, rather than just golf. In addition to this, there are watches can have a split screen option, so you can look at a couple of pieces of information at once. There are some watches, which can be tied into Google Plus or ITunes, so you can download various apps to your watch. Lastly, there are watches which allow you to be synced up to your e-mail, so even if you are out on the golf course while working, you can still stay on top of everything which might come up while you are out on the course.
How to pick the Right Golf Watch for your Needs
When it comes to picking the right GPS golf watch for you and your needs, there are a few characteristics you can choose from in order to help narrow down your choices within the marketplace. Here are a few of those options.
Screen Color and Capability
When it comes to choosing the color of your screen, you have the option of going with color or black and white. Although the traditional sense is that everything is better in color, this is not always true, especially when you are on the golf course. A color screen is more difficult to see when the sun is brightest, which could make it more frustrating for you while you are on the course. If this happens, it could throw you off mentally, which could make your golf game more challenging throughout your round. A black and white screen is easier to see, but the apps which could be had with the watch could be limited, as most apps are designed to be on a color screen. If you only want to use a GPS watch on the golf course, and to maybe help keep track of some other exercise routines you do, then a black and white screen might be best for you. If you want to have a watch which offers more depth of what it can do for you, and you will be alright with the occasional screen which you can’t see, then going with a color screen will be your best choice.
Golf Course Maps
Most watches will give you the capability of download a great swath of courses. However, you might not think there is a huge difference between 20,000 and 30,000 courses, as you will not play at most of those courses during your lifetime. What you need to make sure of is that your golf courses that you play on continuously are ones which are downloadable. Not only this, but you should think thru where it might be possible for you to play in the future, and ensure courses in that area are also downloadable. Having a GPS golf watch can be great, but if your courses aren’t on the watch, then you are not experiencing the full breadth of what this watch can offer you.
How many Upgrades do you Need?
As you can see, there are many standard options which come with the various watches out in the marketplace. However, what are all of the options you need on a watch, or might want in the future? Right now, you might not need a tracker which helps you keep track of various exercise options, but maybe you have been thinking it is time to get back on a bike or to start running. Instead of buying another electronic device to track that information, perhaps you just need one solution to help keep track of all of it. Maybe you would like the capability of having e-mail come to your watch; instead of having to wear two different watches, you could do this all within one watch. Maybe there are some apps which you would like to have on your watch, rather than having to check your phone on a constant basis while on the golf course; with certain watches, you can do this.
One last thing to look for when you are choosing between watches is whether or not the updates are free. There are some watches which come with a full library of golf courses; but once you have the watch, they may want to charge you to download other golf courses. In comparison, there are other watches which might be more expensive initially, but all the updates are free. So, you need to determine how important the updates will be to you, and how much are you willing to pay for them in order to get them.
Once you have diligently worked thru these main differences between watches, you can really narrow down which GPS golf watch will be best for you and your needs.
Top 5 Handheld Golf GPS Reviews
The Garmin Approach G8 is full of helpful features to enhance your golf game. Playslike Distance provides you with distances to the target, and it is adjusted for uphill or downhill shots.
Smart Notification allows you to receive emails, texts and other alerts from your smart phone, and Big Numbers Mode displays a larger font size on the screen to make it easier to view distances.
Club Advice remembers the distance you hit with each club and offers recommendations on club selection based on your shot distances. Pinpointer provides shot assistance for instances when you are unable to see the pin, and the G8 automatically updates course information through Wi-Fi with no additional costs.
Green View allows you to zero in on your pin by zooming in on the green and dragging the flag to the appropriate position. The unit also features digital score storing with various options.
The Golf Buddy Voice comes pre-loaded with over 35,000 courses worldwide, and it allows up to 40,000 courses to be stored even in its small sized form.
It gets its name from one of its most impressive abilities. The Voice actually provides distance information in the form of audio to allow you to focus more on your game than pressing buttons and reading the screen.
It provides distances to the front, middle and back of the green along with auto-hole recognition and shot distance measurement. It also comes with eight different spoken languages loaded into the device.
Aside from its audio distance readings, one of its most exciting features is its ease-of-use and bold user interface. The size and shape are also helpful, and you can easily clip the unit to your hat or belt without it getting in the way.
Like the Swami GOLF GPS watch, the IZZO Swami 4000 is an affordable alternative to many of the more high-priced golf GPS devices available, but it works to provide many of the same features you need on the course. The unit comes with over 30,000 worldwide courses pre-loaded, and it requires no annual subscription.
The Swami 4000 provides accurate distances to the front, center and back of the green, and it features auto-hole advance to provide information for the next hole while saving you time and effort.
The device is easy to read as it has a large and vibrant 1.8-inch color display, and it can be read easily in bright sunlight. Additional features include shot distance measurement and a digital scorecard for each map. It has a rechargeable battery that lasts for 6 to 8 hours, and the unit is rugged and waterproof.
The Approach G6 is full of design and software developments that are made to enhance your golf play in numerous ways. The device comes with over 25,000 courses worldwide with no subscriptions required, and it provides various features to improve your experience.
Its stat tracking feature keeps track of putts per round, fairways hit and greens in regulation, and you can download and print stats after the round. Touch Targeting lets you touch any point on the display while Approach allows you to narrow in on the precise distance to a spot on the green. It also provides layup arcs at 100, 150, 200 and 250 yards.
The G6 features a slim and sleek design with a colorful 2.6-inch glove-friendly touchscreen. Its buttons allow instant access to Green View, Shot Measure and its Digital Scorecard. The unit is durable and waterproof with an adjustable backlight, and its rechargeable battery lasts for up to 15 hours.
The GolfBuddy Platinum II offers a number of innovative features and functions. It comes with over 35,000 courses pre-loaded, and has a storage capacity of 40,000 courses.
It offers course recognition as well as automatic hole recognition, and it provides shot distance measurement that allows the user to track the distance of their shots for reviewing after the round.
It has a 4-player score tracking feature as well as statistics analysis, and you can include data for fairways, putts and more. It can calculate distance to targets and the green, and it has a target icon screen with on-hole positioning.
The unit is shock and water resistant with an improved battery life and improved screen. The battery now lasts for 18 hours on standby, and the Platinum II comes with a high-resolution trans-reflective full-function LCD touchscreen that is visible even under direct sunlight.
Tips on Choosing the Best Golf GPS
Golf GPS FAQ
Should I buy a handheld or a watch GPS unit?
The type of GPS model you buy will not necessarily determine how successfully it will improve your golf game. The type of GPS devices that are available provide variety for each player’s needs. Some golfers want a larger screen to view information while some look for portability and smaller size.
Is using a GPS device during play a violation of regulations?
Using a GPS device during recreational play is permitted in handicap scoring. It is important to check individual regulations for each event for professional or USGA sanctioned events. Distance measuring devices may be permitted by Local Rule.
What extra features should I look for on a high-end model?
Many high-quality GPS units offer exceptional features compared to those with just the basic characteristics. Some models offer all of the best features, but many will feature some and lack others.
The best golf watch may possess features including course recognition, hole advance, digital scorecards or layup distances.
How long will my batteries last on my device?
The battery life for your GPS unit will vary by model. The duration your batteries last will depend upon the frequency with which you use the device or how you use it when on the course.
It is generally accepted that most watch units will last longer when switched to watch mode.
Where should I put my GPS when I’m playing?
If you have a larger unit, it is best to keep it away in a pocket, bag or other enclosure to keep it safe from falls and the environmental elements. Smaller units not kept on a wristband can be clipped to the hat, pocket or belt to keep them out of the way but still in reach.
Where Should You Buy a Golf GPS?
There are various sources available from which you may buy golf GPS devices. Knowing where to buy the right GPS unit can be as hard as being able to choose between units. It can be helpful to purchase your unit at sporting goods stores in your area.
This allows you to test out each unit or compare models to one another. Buying online can also be a helpful choice if you are in need of a cheap golf GPS unit. Buying online from Amazon.com allows you to view some of the most popular and efficient golf GPS devices on the market.
Buying this way also allows you to take advantage of reduced prices compared to buying from sporting goods stores, and some prices go even lower during periods of the week.
Making Your Decision
By now you have been provided with a collection of information to help you in your buying process. Even with all of the information you’ve been given, the decision rests solely in your hands. Start the process by getting down to the basics of what you expect in your GPS model.
Read and analyze handheld GPS reviews or those for watch models if those are your preference. Find the models that meet your needs above the others. Narrow down your choices by removing units that are just not suitable for your style, budget or expectations.
Take the models you have selected at this point and proceed by comparing them to one another. Consider all factors that come in to play even if smaller ones may not seem very significant.
The smallest difference between models can have a huge impact once you make it this far into the selection process. The GPS for which you should aim should make your playing improve while making your experience better in general.
You have the tools you need to choose a golf GPS that will totally transform your game, so get started with your search, get our there and buy one.