Today we are taking a look at the world of golf GPSs. This product is one of the best ways to shave strokes off your game because they improve the most important aspect of your routine: the mental game.
The more you know about the yardages on the course, the more confident you will feel when it comes time to hit your approach shots.
However, there is a catch. Some GPSs are better than others. If you truly want to take shots off your game and get the most out of this key piece of equipment you need to buy smart. Fortunately, I can help you with that. In this guide, we take a look at the best golf GPSs on the market.
Table of Contents
- Best Golf Gps Reviews – (Updated List)
- 1. Garmin Approach S20, GPS Golf Watch with Step Tracking
- 2. GolfBuddy Voice GPS
- 3. Garmin Approach G8 Golf Course GPS
- 4. Garmin Activity Tracker
- 5. GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS/Rangefinder
- 6. Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf GPS Watch
- 7. IZZO Golf Swami 5000 Golf GPS Rangefinder
- 8. GolfBuddy GB9 WTX+ Smartwatch Golf GPS
- 9. Golf Buddy Voicex Easy-to-Use Smart Talking Golf GPS
- 10. Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS
- How to Choose a Right Golf Gps Device ?
Best Golf Gps Reviews – (Updated List)
1. Garmin Approach S20, GPS Golf Watch with Step Tracking
You’ve got to love a good golf watch. This unit features lots of cool data points all on your wrist.
Not So Good
As a watch rather than a full-sized unit it is also a fairly affordable product that budget buyers may possibly be able to afford.
Unfortunately, because you only have a limited amount of screen real-estate, you don’t quite get all of the data points that some of the other products on our list are able to provide.
You do get information on the distance to the front, back, and middle of the green but you aren’t quite able to see as much data on the entire hole.
It’s a trade-off that you make with any golf watch, but it also may be one that some users are not comfortable with.
2. GolfBuddy Voice GPS
I love that this thing talks to you. It kind fo creates the caddy experience that buyers are really looking for when they reach for a golf GPS anyway.
Not So Good
This is kind of a nifty variation on the classic golf GPS. The product features a voice component that allows the device to actually read off the distance to you.
Unfortunately, the novelty is kind of where the utility of the device begins and ends. Yes, it is small, and easy to transport as well, but this is largely a consequence of its overall simplicity. The screen is black and white and extremely low resolution and the data points are very basic. The only information that you get is the distance to the front back and middle of the green. Outside of that, you are essentially on your own.
This information certainly is useful, but for a little bit more money you can get lots more data.
3. Garmin Approach G8 Golf Course GPS
This is a true beauty. The selling point of the golf GPS is that it gives you the experience of having a caddy in your pocket. Such is certainly the case here. The analytics provides are comprehensive as can be. This may very well be the best handheld golf GPS on our list.
Not So Good
This is far and away one of the most comprehensive options on our list. It features a beautiful screen that is loaded up with all the data points you could want. The high-resolution interface resembles that of a phone and can be used easily in brightness and in low light spaces.
I was particularly partial to the slope tracking feature. Unlike most GPSs we’ve seen to this point the product is able to tell you how many yards up or downhill your shot will be. This ensures you have as much information as possible before you select a club.
Greatness does come at a cost though. This is one of the most expensive options on our list so save your pennies.
4. Garmin Activity Tracker
The basic unit gives plenty of value to the buyer on a budget.
Not So Good
It may be a little too basic. As far as Garmin golf watch reviews go, this one isn’t really pushing the envelope.
This next unit is a good multipurpose tool for the health-minded golfer. In addition to tracking your distance, it also keeps track of how many steps you take in a day. It’s a great way to get a decent bargain on both products at once. The simple bracelet is able to give you distance on three data points the front center and middle of the green.
The info is relatively sparse compared to the offerings provided by the other choices on the list but it is also significantly more affordable which helps compensate somewhat for that shortcoming. Meanwhile, the step tracker makes it easier to reach your fitness goals.
I personally think that the biggest selling point here is the price. It’s an affordable product that really blows the price tags of the other units out of the water.
It’s not necessarily pushing the envelope in the technology department but it is a handy piece of gear all the same.
5. GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS/Rangefinder
This is an affordable unit that offers a couple of user-friendly upgrades from the last GolfBuddy voice that we looked at.
Not So Good
You may remember the last GolfBuddy that we peeped a few entries ago. This selection includes many of the same features that we appreciated last time.
The price tag is pretty manageable, the size of the unit is very portable because it only features a few buttons it will be very easy to use. Oh yeah, and it talks to you.
This entry takes things up another notch by featuring a whole overview feature that allows you to take a look at the entire hole you are playing. It’s still fairly basic compared to other similar features on the market, but it’s still handy to have.
However, even with the upgrades, this is still a fairly basic golf GPS. Users will also want to keep in mind that despite the name of the unit it is not actually a rangefinder.
6. Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf GPS Watch
Perhaps my favorite thing about this watch is the simple fact that it looks decent as a watch in its own right.
Not So Good
The Bushnell Neo is a decent looing golf watch that features a comfortable wristband, and a relatively affordable price tag. What I really liked about the price tag is that it includes a really top-notch battery. You can use this bad boy for up to three rounds on a single charge—a number that is far superior to most of the other products on the market.
I also really liked the fact that this watch can give you information on hazards as well as your distance to the green. The extra data points give this option an advantage over other golf watches on the list.
Of course, keep in mind that as a golf watch it is still lacking the same high level of data that we found with other choices on our list. The display is low resolution and black and white, and you can’t see an overview of the entire hole.
7. IZZO Golf Swami 5000 Golf GPS Rangefinder
You don’t often see a golf GPS of this quality for an affordable price. The Izzo is a delightful exception to that rule. If you want to get solid handheld GPS on the cheap, this will be the option for you.
Not So Good
The Izzo is a full-sized high-resolution GPS with an outstanding display and lots of key data points that will set you up for success on the course. In addition to including information on your distance to the green, it also features data on hazards.
It’s also water-resistant, and it features an awesome course recognition software that will ensure you can take it right out of the bag and start playing.
There is only one real issue with this GPS: The exterior, though elegant in appearance, is not exceptionally durable. With one drop, you may find yourself looking for a replacement.
8. GolfBuddy GB9 WTX+ Smartwatch Golf GPS
As far as golf watches go, this is about as good a product as you can ask for. The resolution, in particular, is pretty phenomenal.
Not So Good
This stylish golf watch is one of the best products of its category that we have on the list today. I was particularly jazzed about the image quality. It’s a full-color high definition touch screen that takes after the modern phone or tablet.
It’s also very intuitive and will be able to immediately identify where you are playing the moment you step onto the course.
The slim, lightweight unit will be a comfortable fit that will look as good off the course as it does on.
You will, however, want to keep in mind that it is one of the more expensive golf watches on the list. In fact, for the money you spend here, you probably could get a very good full-sized GPS that includes more data points. Still, if the objective is simply to get the best golf GPS watch you can this will be a great option to consider.
9. Golf Buddy Voicex Easy-to-Use Smart Talking Golf GPS
Like all the other voice-driven products on the market, I’m of course partial to the fact that this unit actually reads distances off to you.
Not So Good
The Golf Buddy Voicex is much like the other audio-driven GPS products on our list today. It features a compact, ergonomic design concept, Bluetooth compatibility that means it can be used with your phone, and a moderate price tag that will make it very affordable for budget buyers.
And of course, like all of the other Golf Buddy Voicex products, it also uses audio to readily communicate data points for you.
Even with all of this said, it still doesn’t stack up well to the higher end GPSs on our list. It’s another basic unit that only features distances on the front back and middle of the green. Of course, you can certainly make do with that level of data, but there are also more comprehensive options available for those that want it.
10. Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS
I was particularly partial to the battery life of this unit. On a single charge, you will be able to use the Phantom for up to two rounds, which is about as good as you can hope for.
Not So Good
We end things with a final choice from Bushnell. This unit is on the basic side compared to most of the products that come from this tech giant. However, by going with an older piece of tech you do manage to save yourself a little bit of money.
The data points aren’t going to blow anyone away. You get information on the distance to the front, middle, and back of the hole. You also receive some analytics on several basic hazards.
The most impressive feature is certainly the battery life. On a single charge, you will be able to use this GPS for at least two rounds.
If you’re in the market for an affordable product that performs well, this will be a good unit to pay special attention to.
How to Choose a Right Golf Gps Device ?
Now you have a pretty good idea of what products are out there, but perhaps you still haven’t made your final decision. If you don’t know what GPS is going to be right for you, we can help with that. Read on for a comprehensive guide on how to choose the right GPS for your game and playing style.
GPS VS Range Finder
For the purposes of distance tracking, there are two prominent pieces of equipment in the world of golf. The GPS and the rangefinder.
GPSs are what we are discussing today and they operate much like the GPSs in your car giving you analytics on information like how far away you are from the pin and the bunkers.
Rangefinders operate more like really fancy binoculars. They are a piece of optical equipment that allows you to take a close look at the pin/ and or any hazards that you might be interested in. They up the ante a little bit by also featuring high-end laser tracking technology that gives you ultra-precise yardage.
Rangefinders are a little bit more basic but they are appreciated for the fact that they can usually be used in most amateur er tournament settings. GPS are prized for being very easy to use and highly detailed in the information they provide. In terms of price, the two are similar with both options putting a serious hurt on your wallet.
You may also be interested to know that there are now combo products out there that fuse the GPS and rangefinder together to give you the best of both worlds. These products are super expensive right now because they are pretty new but they do give you more yardage data than any other device on the planet. These products are often discussed interchangeably but don’t get confused. GPSs have screens, rangefinders have eyepieces. Both products are awesome.
Golf GPS screens used to be pretty crappy in the quality of resolution that they provided. They were black and white and grainy, and often very difficult to read when in the sun. Screens have come a long way since then and so too have GPSs. You can now find products with screens much like that of your own smartphone. They feature high-resolution color and they may even feature auto-adjust brightness so that you can seamlessly work in either shade or sun.
Conversely, if you want to save a little bit of money on the purchase you can get something with an old school screen. Hey, it won’t be the end of the world.
Will My Course Work With a GPS?
That is a good question and perhaps the most important one that golfers should consider as they look into making this purchase. Will your hone course be compatible with the technology? In other words, will there be a digitized map of it for the GPS to make use of? The good news is that the answer is virtually always yes.
Most GPSs feature course libraries that are in the thousands.
The only time you are really likely to run into problems is if you play at an exceptionally small course in an exceptionally small community. The mom and pop shop may not be up to date with the latest GPS tech. The good news is that incompatible courses are very rare these days.
The technology has been around long enough that most courses have already gotten on board, but there is the occasional exception.
Ideally, you will be able to find a GPS that is resistant to shock and damage. Golf isn’t exactly football but it is ruff and tumble enough to damage sensitive equipment. A good unit will feature a durable plastic and or rubber exterior that helps it withstand wear and tear. A well-fortified GPS may cost more but it well worth the price. After all, nothing is more expensive than replacing your GPS twice a year.
You definitely want this feature. While your GPS isn’t likely to end up submerged in water it can definitely get wet. Even a drizzle can send an unprepared GPS to its early demise so do yourself a favor and buy smart.
Not every device provides the same amount of details. For example, some may mention how far it is to the center of the green but now how far you have to the middle or back. Others may not be able to tell you important information about hazards and other issues you might face on the course. The more data you can get the better off you will be.
After all, the purpose of this device is to be like a professional caddy right? The more analytics you have at your disposal the closer you come to a true tour experience.
I don’t always advocate for brand name snobbery but there may be something to it when it comes to this purchase. Brand name GPSs are going to usually have a better signal, better analytics, a bigger course library, and an altogether better slew of features.
Naturally, you pay more for a Garmon than you would for something from a smaller manufacturer but you may very well find that the extra dollars are more than justified by the improved user experience.
GPSs burn through battery life extremely quickly. Not only does four to six hours of continuous activity do a number on the battery life, but you also need to factor in for the energy that goes into constantly finding a satellite signal. These factors combine for an experience that is very hard on electronic devices.
Even the best GPSs will need to be charged after every round to ensure that they are always ready for game time. However, you do want to be careful that the piece of equipment you get is able to go the whole eighteen, even on a day where the pace of play is fairly slow.
It’s also worth looking into GPSs that recharge fairly quickly. The quicker the charge time, the sooner you will be able to get back onto the course!
Most of the time GPSs tend to cost several hundred dollars. However, you can find ways to get them a little bit cheaper. I’ve found that the best way to save money on a GPS is to go with a model in new condition that happens to be several years old.
In going this route you are able to benefit from high-end manufacturing at a greatly reduced rate. If you select something that is around 1-3 years old, chances are pretty good that you will be enjoying features that are very similar to those on the newest models anyway. It’s a true best of both worlds type scenario.
The GPS App
If you are on the fence about this GPS technology business there is a way that you can take the product out for a free test spin (so to speak). If you are the owner of a smartphone, you may find it worth your time to download the lite (here meaning free) version of one of the major GPS companies’ apps.
These phone applications give you a small taste of the experience you will have with a full-blown GPS. The features found on free programs vary from application to application, but at bare minimum, you will at least get something that gives you the yardage to the green.
If you enjoy the experience (and my guess is that you will) you may then realize how much better off you’ll be with the full sleight of features.
Frequently Asked Question & Answered
Are golf GPSs allowed for in tournament play?
It may depend somewhat on the setting. Ordinarily, golf GPSs are not allowed in tournament play, but if we’re just talking about your average weekend charity scramble, it will probably be fine. As with anything, it’s always best to ask first.
Do professionals use GPSs?
Actually, yes, they often do! While the PGA tour does not allow for the use of golf GPSs during official rounds, players will often use this tech during practice rounds to get a good feel for the course.
Do GPSs come with a monthly charge?
Most of the time, golf GPSs are available for a flat upfront fee of a few hundred dollars. However, there are occasions in which you might find units that require a monthly subscription. This is especially true of phone app versions. If you do not want to pay a monthly fee, you would be well advised to read the fine print of your GPS before finalizing the purchase.
The options highlighted on our list today embody the very best that the golf GPS market has to offer. You deserve the best product you can get your hands on, and now you have ten great options to choose from.
In other words, if you buy from this list the chances are pretty good that you will find a true winner. Whether you are a budget buyer or someone that just wants a good deal, there are options on this market that are right for your needs.
Just remember that when it comes to buying a golf GPS, the key is to look for the features that are most appropriate for the style of your play. If you are a truly avid player, you will probably favor something with a more robust slew of features. However, if you are more of a traditional weekend warrior, you may be able to make do with something a little bit simpler.
In either case, there is something on this list for you, so youse it in good health to find the best product on the market.