Golf GPS is revolutionizing the way we look at golf distance measuring. Gone are the days when caddies would measure distance in steps or aim and hold the laser rangefinders for eternity. Today, we have the best golf GPS reviews watches and handhelds to give us instant distances. Manufacturers are harnessing satellite-based precision to put convenience in our palms. You don’t have to look at shaggy hair and salmon pink shorts while taking the next swing. A snazzy device will do the caddying for you.
We have selected 5 each of the best golf GPS watch 2017 and best golf gps handhelds 2017. This is a comprehensive buying guide that explains how golf GPS reduces your handicap and brings a new lease of life to your game.
COMPARISON CHART: TOP 7 BEST GOLF GPS HANDHELDS REVIEWS 2017
COMPARISON CHART: TOP 5 BEST GOLF GPS WATCHES REVIEWS 2017
*Below, you'll find our more reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
A. How Does Golf GPS Help?
It improve your games:
Contrary to what non-conformists believe, golf GPS watches and handhelds do not make you a slave to technology. Instead they help you point out and confirm to your best instincts. This conditioning comes with a little help from a passive mentor that these golf watches can be. It goes a long way in reducing your golf handicap.
The whole idea behind golf GPS is providing distance. It does the work of laser rangefinders at half the price and size. Granted Laser rangefinders are more accurate, usually within a yard. But golf GPS watches are accurate within a few yards and eliminate the shaky hand conundrum and the time-consuming process of determining distances to center, back and front.
Distances to 'invisible' targets:
Well, not literally. Laser rangefinders require the targets to be in line of sight for distance measurement. This is because they are dependent on a forward and backward traveling laser wave to measure the distance. Any obstacle should not obstruct this wave on the course. Since golf GPS watches and handhelds depend on navigation satellites, they do not need to generate line-of-sight waves. Golf watches will calculate the distance measurements to out of sight targets as well.
The interface of golf GPS units is usually quite user-friendly. Once you get acquainted with your play and operation of the golf watch, you can customize the settings for future games.
Lowers golf handicap and increases confidence:
Golf is a game of instincts. Rangefinders are but minor contributors to the match outcome. New players may find the premise of golf staggering, given the need to beat the golf course and nature. A good golf GPS device lets you test your gut feeling and get on with the game faster. It keeps you from second-guessing the distance as you would with laser rangefinder which is prone to human error. The ability to track statistics using the golf GPS device gives you additional information on the key points to improve your game.
B. Other Use For These Type Of Golf GPS & Our Picks
1. Best Golf GPS Watches:
Easily the most conspicuous of Golf GPS systems, the GPS watch is a caddie on your wrist. Distance to front, center and back are the most common parameters measured in golf. A watch that does it while automatically updating your advancement through the golf course is indeed technology you need.
Once you have made up your mind to jump on the Golf GPS bandwagon, take a look at the following devices that we handpicked and broke down for unbiased reviews:
#1 : Garmin Approach S6 Golf GPS Watch
Garmin Approach S6 golf GPS watch has a brilliant approach towards packing all sorts of features onto your wrist. In spite of all its operations, I found it very easy to use. It costs twice as much as the Callaway GPSy but it vindicates every penny because all its features are usable.
- The features I benefited the most from in Garmin Approach S6 golf GPS are swing training aids in form of SwingStrength, SwingTempo and Tempo Training.
- The TempoTraining feature checks the ratio of backswing to forward swing against 3:1 ratio which is optimum. You get a graphical representation of your swing against the ideal swing.
- The SwingStrength feature uses your estimation of a proper swing into the judge your future swings. As Richard always says powerful swing does not always mean great control. So the utility of these aids depends on how you will use them to your advantage.
- Apart from distances to the center, front and back of the greens, you also get layup and dogleg distances. We found the values to be consistently accurate within 3 yards.
- The view of the map has a zoom-in feature. This allows you to view the target area based on your usual shot distances. The overhead map view can be accessed and used very easily. In Green view, I re-positioned the flag at different points and was surprised to get distances accordingly.
Editor's Rating (5/5)
- It has a high-resolution touchscreen display. The battery lasts 10 hours on a single charge. I chose the negative display for better visibility in sunlight
- The S6 golf GPS has a scoring function. This is only for one player. But it can get pretty intuitive by figuring in handicap scoring. Statistics are another surprise offering from the Garmin S6. It counts a number of putts, greens in regulation, fairway hits and misses.
- The S6 does not host most of the statistics on itself. But it continuously watches and tracks. You can connect it to the Garmin Connect app or software to check hole-wise break-up of your performance.
- This golf GPS has shot tracking capability. I put it in the measuring mode and navigated to other screens and it still measured the shot distance.
- You can connect the S6 golf GPS with your smartphone wirelessly via Bluetooth. This allows you to receive notifications about texts, emails, calls etc. on your watch. I didn’t use this feature because I wanted to get away from work and focus on my game.
- Swing training aids
- Overhead hole view
- Scoring and statistics
- Shot distance measurement
- Smart notifications
- Operation has a sizeable learning curve
#2 : Bushnell Neo Ion Golf GPS Watch
Bushnell Neo Ion golf GPS watch is for the hardened veterans who want their yardages without being barraged by too much information. I bring it out during serious rounds where I focus on hitting my best shots without distraction.
- Bushnell has excelled in the laser rangefinder field. It is slowly making its mark in the golf GPS domain as well. The Neo Ion golf GPS watch packs some basic fitness tracking to its golf capabilities. With over 35,000 preloaded golf courses, it provides wide coverage.
- The sporty look really suits my golfer’s hands. It is complemented by a perforated strap that makes sure your wrist stays ventilated through the rounds. The silicone material feels soft and airy on your wrist.
- This golf GPS watch has two of the best features of one of my other favorites, Neo XS. It has the Tee Time function. Once the next Tee-off is set for the current week, the watch will automatically enter the Play Golf mode 7 minutes before tee time and recognize the course.
- If you specify the Auto Shut off time, it will Exit the Play Golf mode to conserve power after those many hours. This substantiates its already strong battery life of 4 rounds. I found its battery life to be one of the best of the lot.
- Apart from the basic yardages, it shows distances to layups and 4 nearest hazards. This is a feature that many basic GPS watches I’ve used miss.
Editor's Rating (5/5)
- The Auto Hole Advance kept my Neo Ion abreast of the game. Shot distance measurement helps you find average club distances.
- The operation of Neo Ion golf GPS watch is quite simple and customer-oriented. Moving through the menu feels intuitive. It has an odometer and a pedometer to calculate steps and distance walked. There’s no scoring feature, so we classified it as an entry-level golf GPS device.
- At its price, it bangs big for the bucks.
- Tee Time feature prepares the watch automatically before tee-off anytime during the next 7 days
- Auto Shut off exits Play Golf mode after specified amount of time
- Auto Course Recognition and Hole advance
- Distances to layups and 4 hazards
- Shot distance measurement
- Long battery life
- The display could have used more area on the round screen
#3 : Garmin Approach S2 Golf GPS Watch
There is nothing that a Garmin S2 can’t solve (previously, rum if you are a pirate). Being a wearable golf GPS gear with fewer features has seemingly bolstered its reputation. Because when it comes to golf GPS watches, often less is more.Features & Benefit:
- The S2 is one of Garmin’s most basic golf watches. And it is still in the market because of its flawless operation. Veteran golfers like Richard who are just switching to the golf GPS domain will like the minimalistic features.
- Even though it has been designed to give simple yardages, the operation and features have been executed with typical Garmin finesse. It’s a wonder to see that a puny watch comes with more than 30,000 worldwide courses preloaded.
- The display is readable in sunlight and has a backlight. This is a regular screen instead of a touchscreen. We prefer this over having to poke at a watch with our sausage fingers.
- There are four buttons on the sides which control the functionality of the S2 golf GPS watch. Between the four of them, I could easily peruse all the functionalities.
- The screen gives you distances to the front, center, and back of the greens. The hole number you are playing at is also instantly available.
- S2 golf GPS provides shot distance measurement feature. I enabled the measurement and navigate to other screens without hindering the measurement process.
Editor's Rating (4.5/5)
- It also has automatic course and hole recognition features. When I only needed yardages, this turned into a hands-free device.
- It has an inbuilt odometer for measuring the steps you walked. I was able to pull up a scorecard as soon as I connected it to a computer.
- Accurate within 3-4 yards
- Layup, dogleg distances.
- Shot distance measurement
- Digital scorecard
- Has time-telling capability and odometer
- Easy to operate
- Waterproof and visible in all climates
- No touchscreen means battery drains relatively slowly
- Score tracking requires more button presses.
#4 : SkyCaddie Golf GPS Watch
SkyCaddie golf GPS watch is one of the most user-friendly watches I have seen at a small budget. If you want the basic distances and smooth functionality, this is your go-to watch.
- The SkyCaddie Golf GPS Watch has a simple design with round watch face. The black straps extend seamlessly from the watch. I like the fluorescent highlights on the black architecture.
- There are 30,000 worldwide courses pre-loaded on to this GPS watch. The amount of details and number of courses are more than what we expected at this price. Course updates were only available at yearly subscription fees but now it’s advertised to be free of charge.
- This watch has scoring feature for single player. It saves the score for one round as you manually enter it at each score.
- The distances to the front, center, and back of the greens are displayed on the screen. The center distance which I often refer to is bang in the middle of the screen in large font. Battery life is also part of the screen.
- Shot distance measurement feature allows you to gauge the distance of each shot. I found I could navigate to other screens while the shot measurement is happening. Shot distances are not stored on the device.
- The display is easily readable in bright light. For darker domains, I used the backlight of the watch for visibility.
Editor's Rating (4.5/5)
- The rubber strap and the plastic casing of the dial rake up a mere 2-ounce weight. The strap allows excellent airflow with ventilation gaps and keeps my wrist irritation-free.
- You can select whether you want to allow auto hole advance or not. I have rarely seen this facility in the other watches. If the GPS gets the hole wrong, you are stuck with those watches, but not SkyCaddie. You can manually change the holes using up/down buttons.
- The battery of the watch lasts through 8-10 hours per charge cycle.
- It is water-resistant up to 30m of water. I also trained with many of its fitness-related features like the odometer, lap counter, and calorie counter.
- The watch has both an alarm and a stopwatch.
- Course coverage of 30,000 courses
- Very user-friendly
- Multiple fitness-related features
- Shot distance measurement and scoring function
- Other distances are not available in spite of good course coverage
#5 : Callaway GPSy Golf GPS Watch
Callaway has always been on top of all things golf. The GPSy is their affordable jab at golf watches. To us, it looks like a cool fitness watch. It gives you all the distances and performs simple functions with relative ease. Golfers of medium and high handicaps should invest in Callaway GPSy.
Our Reviews :
- The yardages to the front, center, and back of the greens are displayed on the screen together. I navigated through the menu for layup distances to hazards and doglegs.
- This golf GPS watch has scorekeeping function. It will save data for the round including hole number, total score, GIR, putts per round etc. I couldn’t find the scorekeeping function first. Callaway customer care guided me through a firmware update which activates it.
- It has a shot distance measurement mode. This helps you measure the distances covered by your clubs. We used the averages of shot distances to select the right clubs for estimated distances.
- This GPS watch comes preloaded with a whopping 30,000 courses. At its modest price, this is quite the achievement. We added and updated courses available at Callaway website without any subscription fee.
- GPSy has both auto course recognition and auto hole recognition. It gives you a list of nearby courses once on. I live in-and-around multiple courses. I got a list of all of them and selected the one I was playing at.
Editor's Rating (4/5)
- I checked the distances from this golf GPS with my Garmin G7 handheld. I found it to be accurate within 1 yard. The battery lasts 8-9 hours on Play Golf mode and 90 days in time mode.
- The learning curve for GPSy is small but I had to get acquainted with the button sequence.
- It has a smart notification feature which relays notifications from your smartphone to the watch.
- It is lightweight and comfortable. The display is one of the easiest to read amongst golf GPS watches I have used.
- Apart from golf data, GPSy golf GPS watch can also show time in digital or analog mode. An odometer is also part of the package.
- Affordable good-looking watch
- Yardages to greens and layup distances
- Shot distance measurement
- Accurate and comfortable
- 30,000 courses with auto course and hole recognition
- User interaction could be made easier
If you want to check out the popular golf GPS units flying off the shelfs
2. Best Golf GPS Handhelds:
The user interface in these golf GPS systems will be similar to your smartphones so the familiarity makes it easy to navigate.
#1 : Garmin Approach G8 Golf GPS
Garmin Approach G8 Golf GPS lives up to the expectations of the Garmin users who used the Approach G6 or G7 previously. Apart from slope-adjusted distances, it can download courses over Wi-Fi, without having to connect to a computer.
Garmin Approach G8 is the most advanced golf GPS I have tried till now. Along with G7, it has broken the mold that limited the Golf GPS devices.
- The highlight feature here is the slope-adjusted distance. Only laser rangefinders could do this before G7. This is called PlaysLike Distance. The feature can be switched off. But whether or not that makes it illegal in the tournament is the question. Tournament-legality depends on the tournament committee. So I make sure to confirm from them before use.
- The Pinpointer feature is another handy tool. While playing blind shots, Garmin G8 can point yours approximately towards the center of the greens. This has guided me out of the thickets with flying colors.
- The yardages to the center, back, and front of the greens are accurate within 1-3 yards. Unlike laser rangefinders, these are available instantly. I found that I could even enlarge the font to suit my vision requirements
- Garmin G8 has an inbuilt ClubAdvice functionality which suggests a club for the target distance. This is based on club distance averages that I input in the beginning. This feature is not in USGA’s good books either.
- Garmin G8 can receive course updates over Wi-Fi. That and the PinPointer feature are the upgrades from the Garmin G7.
Editor's Rating (5/5)
- Garmin Approach G8 Golf GPS has a 3.9x6.5cm screen. The device is 1.3cm thick. You can operate it using the touchscreen and two buttons at the bottom. The touchscreen is easy to navigate even with my beefy fingers.
- G8 has the scorecard functionality for multiple players. Score, fairway hits, putts etc. are available, though we thought that the access process was a little too lengthy for some.
- Slope-adjusted distances
- Pinpointer feature for blind shots
- Club recommendation
- Touchscreen for beefy fingers
- Scorecard for up to 4 players
- Smart notifications over Bluetooth
- Scorecard feature is complicated to operate
- Not tournament–legal
#2: Garmin Approach G6 Golf GPS
The Garmin G6 handheld golf GPS brings you the best of Garmin golf arsenal without the debatable slope-distances. All golf tournaments are likely to let you use it, subject to the Local rule.
- Garmin G6 is the top model in Garmin’s handheld line which does not have slope-adjusted distances. So it will be tournament legal in any area where golf GPS is allowed. I keep the G8 aside with a heavy heart. I was enjoying the brand new technology.
- Garmin G6 successfully leaves the old Nokia phone-look. It’s not as sleek as the smartphones though. It has a 2.6-inch touchscreen. Two buttons at the bottom with Green View and digital scorecard functionality.
- G6 comes preloaded with a more than 25,000 course. Garmin website offers a big repository of updated courses. I could download them without any subscription fee. Courses are detailed and G6 allows you to zoom in and take full advantage of the details.
- Apart from the yardages, you can get the distance to any point by simply selecting that point on the screen. It’s a neat trick I often used on a new course. Distance from that point to the center of the green is also given. This helps you strategize your next several moves.
- The green view of Garmin G6 gives you an aerial view of greens and the surrounding hazards. I could plan my approach accordingly. You can switch the position of the flagstick here and it will be used for all the distances from that point on.
Editor's Rating (4.5/5)
- Another tool for staying ahead of the game is the layup arc. Arcs at 100, 150, 200 and 250 yards keep the ball ahead of the hazards
- Scorecard and statistics tracking capability of the Garmin Approach G6 is simplistic. It can track the scores for you and 3 more golfers. Scores, greens in regulations, putts per round and fairway hits are available in scorecard view. It also follows club distance averages. I could track multiple players here.
- 2.6-inch touchscreen display
- Green view with hazards
- Distance to any point and greens yardage to it
- Layup arcs
- Scorecard and statistics tracking
- Battery life up to 15 hours
- Some software glitches
- Moving flagstick around the screen is difficult
#3: Izzo Swami 4000+ Golf GPS
Izzo Swami Golf GPS are one of the most affordable devices. The Swami 4000+ adds some key features over the 4000 golf GPS. It costs only half or one-third as much as the known handheld GPS devices from Garmin, Bushnell etc..
- The Swami 4000+ golf GPS has a 1.8-inch color screen and four buttons for navigation through the settings. The overall feature-set is modest so the operation was quite easy for me.
- The 4000 displayed only distances to the center, back and front of the greens. However, the 4000+ also gives distances to hazards and doglegs. This is an important feature many of our basic golf GPS miss out.
- This golf GPS comes loaded with 30,000+ global courses. The full library is available at their website. I found that I could also add my own points to the courses which helped me play better.
- It has auto hole advance. This transfers the readings as per the next hole once you have taken your shot. Auto course recognition finds the course you are going to play at right as the device is switched on.
- Shot distance measurement feature of this golf GPS allows you to measure the distance you hit each shot. I used the shot distances to determine club averages.
- The battery usually lasts through 2 rounds on one charge. The Lithium-ion battery is not replaceable though. A USB charger is used to connect it to the AC power supply.
- This golf GPS device is very small. It will easily fit in the palm of your hands, your pant pockets and it does not lose connection with the satellite.
Editor's Rating (4/5)
- The usual option of displaying distances in meters or yards is available.
- Izzo Swami 4000+ Golf GPS is a water-resistant device. It survived a light rain while I ran and took cover.
- 30,000 courses preloaded
- Distances to hazards, doglegs
- No subscription fee
- Very budget-oriented
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Battery is not replaceable
#4 : Bushnell NEO Ghost GPS
Bushnell Neo Ghost Golf GPS is a basic clip-on with a no-frills attitude. I clipped it to my belt loop and proceeded to play a great game.
- Neo Ghost from Bushnell is a pebble form of the basic golf GPS watches. This is a 2.2-inch square tablet with a 1.4” x 1.4” display. It felt like a toy in my large hands.
- It is a regular clip-on GPS unit with no voice alerts to annoy anybody. I avoided the irritation from wearing a watch all day in searing sun. It is the perfect device to hang off your belt loop.
- A multifunction clip is included in the pack. The bold letters are readable in all lighting conditions. It is also inexpensive compared to the golf GPS watches.
- This is a tournament-legal golf GPS clip-on device. It exploits Bushnell’s 33,000 courses-rich database. There is no subscription fee for updating the course, a feature I admire in Garmin too.
- It readily gives you accurate distances to the center, back and front of the greens. Additionally it also gives you layup yardages and distances for up to 4 hazards per hole.
- It has auto hole advance, which makes it a hands-free device. Auto course recognition picked out my course from the list when I was in the vicinity.
- The battery lasts through 3 rounds which was enough for me for a week. There are 5 funky colors available in this golf GPS unit.
Editor's Rating (3.5/5)
- Lightweight and small
- Layups and 4 hazard distances per hole
- Shot distance measurement
- Preloaded with 33,000 courses
- No voice
- Easy operation
- Satellite locking is sketchy in some pieces.
3. Best Clip-on/Voice clip-on Golf GPS device:
According to customer reviews, in most of these golf GPS clip-ons, the voice has not been a bother. In fact, the luxury of getting distances hands-free has found many takers.
#1 : Golfbuddy Voice Golf GPS
A GolfBuddy Voice GPS brings you the basic distances and shot distances in voice form. It is a hands-free device.
- GolfBuddy Voice GPS is a small but ingenious device. This is a clip-on accessory that gives you the distances vocally. It is very reasonably priced as well. So whenever I simply wanted the basic yardages, I used this device.
- The Voice GPS looks like an iPod with its adorable square architecture. It has a white face with a small screen, a button and beveled silver edges.
- The Voice can be clipped on to your hat or hung from a belt loop. I preferred the belt loop. You can also purchase its wristband separately and wear it like a watch. It is very lightweight, though not as much as the Voice 2.
- GolfBuddy Voice GPS will give you the distance to the center, back and front of the greens. It speaks out the distances in any one of the 8 languages you can use it in. I found the distance to be accurate within 3 yards.
- Apart from the yardages, you get the par score and a pictorial representation of the greens.
- The voice from this golf GPS is not distracting. It has a quiet tone which only I could hear. You can read distances off the screen directly as well.
Editor's Rating (4/5)
- This is equipped with auto hole and course recognition. Voice GPS does take a little time to lock on the right course though. I would switch it on as I drove into the parking lot of the course.
- Voice GPS has shot distance measurement function. It comes preloaded with more than 35,000 courses. Its maximum capacity of storage is 40,000-course maps. You can access free course updates through their course manager.
- GolfBuddy Voice GPS can hold its power for 9 hours between charges. It also tells time vocally.
- Gives you greens yardages and shot distance
- Voice-enabled in 8 languages
- Auto hole and course recognition
- Wide course coverage
- Not highly accurate
- It is available in a single color.
#2 : GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS/Rangefinder
If you think that too many statistics muddy your golf game then Voice 2 GPS is a perfect GolfBuddy. There are no fancy distractions. However, it comes equipped to expand its usability if you are willing to spend the extra bucks.
- In my opinion, GolfBuddy Voice 2 is the younger spiffier version of the Voice. It retains the basic design in a more compact and a smarter-looking package. The sides of this square measure 1.76 inches and it is lighter than the Voice GPS.
- The white device carries a clearer screen and an artfully-shaped button. The sides are done in metallic blue. Some buttons and charging port are on the sides. I attached it either to the visor or the belt. Belt clips and wrist bands are separately available.
- Distances to the front, center and back of the green are spoken in one of the 8 supported languages on this golf GPS. These also appear on the screen. The battery indicator on the screen was particularly useful to me.
- The voice feature is as smooth and as non-invasive as with the Voice GPS. Whenever I needed some peace I switched off the voice feature and got the distances only from the screen.
- Voice 2 golf GPS offers shot distance measurement feature as well. With three button presses you will be down with the shot measurement.
- Automatic hole and course recognition keep the performance of the GolfBuddy Voice 2 GPS intuitive. I barely use my hands to operate it
Editor's Rating (4/5)
- The battery life is excellent at 14 hours
- Voice 2 is water-resistant, so it will survive the rain until you run and find cover. It is not completely waterproof though.
- Voice distance announcements in 8 preloaded languages
- 14 hour battery life
- Distances to front, center, back and shot distance measurement
- Wearable on belt, visor and wrist
- Not waterproof, just water-resistant
- Another small gripe is that fact that it doesn’t come with a strap.
#3 : Voice Caddie Golf - VC300 Golf GPS
A multilingual talking GPS is the ultimate toy for golfers who like minimal information and do not like looking into puny screens. The Voice Caddie VC300 is a fast and stylish voice GPS. I find the heart shape of it more attractive than the plain GolfBuddy modules.
- Voice Caddie Golf GPS is a 1-ounce device. The spiffy device does not have a screen. It has a plain face and it gives yardages by voice.
- Distances to the front, center, and back of the greens are spoken out by the VC300. I could cycle through the three distances by tapping on the top of the device.
- Shot distance measurement feature allows you to measure the yards covered by your shot. By pressing and holding the top of the device, I could enable this function.
- Distances are given in either yards or meters. The voice prompts are spoken in 8 different languages including English.
- VC300 automatically recognizes the course once switched on. There are 30,000 courses preloaded on to the device including international courses. It also has auto hole advance. This way, once you switch on the VC300, its operation is completely hands-free.
- This voice device can be attached to your belt loop or cap visor. I prefer the belt loop.
Editor's Rating (4/5)
- There is no subscription cost for adding or updating courses. The VC300 itself lies in the affordable range.
- There is an option to control the volume of the device. So in case you think your fellow players may be finding the audio distracting, you can dial it down.
- This golf GPS is available in pink, black and white colors.
- The battery lasts for 2 rounds per charge cycle. VC300 Golf GPS distances were accurate within 3-4 yards of the correct distance, in our rounds.
- Accurate yardages to greens
- Shot distance measurement
- 30,000 courses preloaded, no annual fees for update
- Clear, articulate announcements
- Another small gripe is that fact that it doesn’t come with a strap.
1. What is Golf GPS & How Does It Work?
GPS or Global Navigation System is the same commercial system that is used in car navigation and your phone navigation apps. With this feature, you are utilizing the power of satellites in space to pinpoint your location. Started as a military enterprise, this concept and it benefit vent commercial now. The location determination depends on GPS receivers in your device that constantly receive location information from three satellites that are hovering above your location. The signal from each satellite indicates that you must be located in a circular range on the surface of the Earth.
Wherever the signals of three GPS satellites intersect, that's where device pinpoints your location. The fact that the enormous power of space technology is being used for distance measurement on a golf course is humbling.
Beginners trying to learn the ropes can find electronic caddies in the form of these wondrous GPS-enabled golf devices. Too much competition in this niche market means you are going to be bombarded by a variety of Bushnell this and Callaway that. Garmin Connect and Truswing can sound like alien technology.
2. Which Golf GPS Watch To Buy?
Distance measuring capabilities:
The primary reason of having a golf GPS watch is to find accurate distances to center, back and front of the green. Laser rangefinders take the privileged spot when it comes to accuracy of distance measurement. But the golf GPS watches are also catching up with better GPS receivers. The web is replete with reviews of various golf watches, and you can refer to them to get an idea of how to fare relatively in terms of accurate distance measurement
Once the most important feature is spotted, the question appears: how much are you willing to pay for it? The golf GPS watches run north of low price. Depending on the features you need and the models that are allowed in competitions, you might want to strike a balance between the cost and features. If you are just starting to practice and you are looking to hone your instincts in the game, then you should look for a fancier golf GPS watch priced accordingly.
A significant concern that is usually overlooked. The distance measurement capability of the Golf GPS watches is dependent on the device having access to the course maps of the golf course where you’ll play. Most of the golf watches come with at least 20,000+ golf course maps preloaded onto them.
However, if yours is not a well-known course, it may not be on the list. Check the manufacturer’s extended list of available course maps. They can be downloaded to the GPS enabled golf watch for a subscription fee. If it is not on either of these lists, it will be difficult to get the maker to add the course. It is best to opt for models that do not require a subscription fee to download more courses.
The size is another factor that can be disregarded, and it does impact the decision and your game. If worn on a wrist, a large and bulky device might really get in the way of your powerful swing. A slight interference with your swing can affect the ball’s trajectory and distance, and you might lose the game. The size can affect your game negatively or positively - you have to be careful.
With so many competitors in the field, the manufacturers of Golf GPS watches try to make their devices as easy to use as possible. It definitely skews the balance in favor of their product, especially amongst non-tech-savvy golfers. Constantly having to sync to PC, a complex navigation for basic information and poor customer service from the software vendor can doom the product sales
If you have ever owned a smartphone, you know the pain of running out of battery life when you really need it. And believe you me, you don’t want to be stranded at the same altar at a golf course.
So check the reviews and product information for a correct idea of how long the battery lasts, and whether the battery life decreases with age.
This is a no brainer. Once you start golf GPS watch hunting, you start looking out for the best that a watch can do. You should try not to hit the extremes regarding a number of features. Too many can bewilder you and too less can annoy you. Find the balance between the price and a number of features.
While shopping indoors, it won’t strike you that the screen of the golf GPS watch may not work as well in the sun. Outside, in the glare of sunlight, you might have to peer into the screen to be able to read the information. Instead, check for negative display watches or ask the sales personnel for an opinion.
Style and Design:
Inner beauty is not everything after all. The golf GPS watch is going to be your fashion faux pas if it looks as shiny as a fake Rolex. Look for classy, stylish designs and you will not be disappointed. Wear and check if it sits comfortably on your wrist.
Long term perfomance:
For this, you will have to rely solely on buyer reviews. A few products enter with a bang in the market but then decline into mediocrity with easily broken bands, reduced battery life or permanent ‘hanging.’ If you don’t trust your gut, you can find out what other people’s experience with the mentioned golf GPS watch was like.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What kind of golf GPS devices are legal in tournaments?
If the Local Rule is in effect, then you can use Golf GPS watches, handheld golf GPS systems, clip-ons or even phone apps. The device must only provide approved distance related information. It is best to check out with the club for the rules. Devices offering wind and slope measurement are strictly not allowed – you don’t want to get in trouble with the club authorities.
2. Most smartphones come with inbuilt spirit levels. Are they allowed in golf?
Under the purview of the local rule, a smartphone will be allowed if and only if you do not access the spirit level application during the round of golf. The app must not provide any aid in your game of golf.
3. What about a compass feature? Does it count as an unapproved application in a device?
As per changes made in 2014, compass feature is now allowed in golf under Local Rule. Compass only points the direction and is not considered as a restricted parameter in the golf GPS devices.
4. Does the application of the Local Rule at a club override the tournament committee’s take on distance measuring devices if the tournament is being held at that club?
No. The tournament committee has the final say on restriction (or lack of it) on distance measuring devices during the competition irrespective of the club rule. The competition committee rule trumps local club rule during the tournament.
5. The display some Golf GPS Watches is difficult to read in sunlight. What should I do ?
Try to buy a negative display version as in Bushnell Neo XS Golf GPS watch. Or try buying a Garmin Vivoactive which has a high-resolution sunlight readable display
6. Can I find a list of course freely available on the golf GPS device ?
If there are preloaded courses on the device, there would be a course library available on their website.
6. Where can the clip-on Golf GPS devices be clipped on to ?
They can be clipped on to your hat, visor or belt.
7. Are voice Golf GPS devices annoying for other players ?
Most of these devices come with volume control. You can adjust the volume to a level that only you can hear it. GolfBuddy Voice GPS has been reported to be clear and quiet at the same time.
8. Can I add more courses to my Golf GPS Device ?
Sure, if provided your vendor has it in their library. They might or might not charge you for it. That depends on the vendor.
Tips For Using Golf GPS Products
Here are some useful tips which teach you how to effectively use your golf GPS products.
- While both GPS products and laser rangefinders ultimately give you the right choice of the golf club, they use different ways to achieve this goal. Check what suits the you most.
- Some people say that some of the GPS devices have replaced caddies by giving almost all information provided by a caddie. So, make use of the product as you might take help from a caddie.
- Some models of GPS devices even offer an overview of the map for each hole in color and some devices, so before you actually tee off, checks out the trouble spots and the target spots.
- While giving accurate distances, the golf GPS device can help you decide the best club to use, improve your play with speed play and help you plan a strategic game.
- Whichever GPS golf product you choose, before you get too comfortable and attached to it, try to check if that device is tournament legal. Else you might end up with a device handicap and spoil the game when you enter the competition.
- As the distances are very accurate, plan the game strategically by scoping out the targets in advance using the GPS devices.
INFOGRAPHIC: How To Choose Best Golf GPS
Future Trends In Best Golf GPS 2018
The technology brought about by Garmin G7 and G8 is here to stay. Slope-adjusted distance is new to golf GPS and they will be gloating with that victory over laser rangefinder. But the demand for simple devices like Bushnell Neo Ion is not going to go down since many golfers prefer limited features. Not to mention, G7 and G8 may not be tournament-legal everywhere. But we would like to see more golf GPS with simple specs like Neo Ion in 2018.
Golf GPS watches have been stable in their trend. Garmin S6 and S2 have remained favorites since they first debuted. Here again, the customers chose the most featured and the least featured devices. Golf wearables have been evolving to mix IoT(Internet of Things) with the specs. You would get better metrics, wider capabilities of sharing content and seeing more meaningful patterns.
The clip-on voice GPS devices can see a lot of improvement. We are hoping that 2018 will bring a more seamless performance and a larger feature set in these devices.
Golf GPS devices are getting increasingly popular. The technology involved with these is pulsing way ahead of the game so much so that any piece of information, be it about your swing, your shot or the course can be recorded and checked out to improve your game. Golf GPS reviews could be an essential learning aid in the cutthroat game that golf is.
Hope this reviews about Best Golf GPS Watch and Handhelds is helpful.
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