With golf season finally here, its time to revamp your golf bag and add a new piece of equipment; a brand new golf GPS. Lets face it, you aren’t Tiger Woods, and you probably don’t have your personal caddy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play like the big boys! Whether you golf alone, with a group of buddies, or just trying to fit in with some clients from work, the best golf GPS device you can get your hands on will surely help improve your game.
First, let’s take a look at what a golf GPS, and some advantages/disadvantages. (scroll down a bit to see our picks for the best golf GPS devies)
What is a Golf GPS?
Unless you are golfing with a caddie, finding distance and selecting the right club often involves a lot of guess work. A golf GPS unit will help you solve these problems. Golf GPS devices are especially useful for playing on new courses that you are not familiar with, or if you just want to shave a few strokes off your score.
A typical golf GPS comes in either a watch form or handheld device that looks a little bit like a smartphone. By tracking your location, the GPS will be able to tell you more information than you will ever need; such as your last shot length, distance to the pin, location of hazards, and even elevation changes on the hole.
Advantages of using a GPS
Have you ever lost track of where you are on the hole? Not quite sure how far that hazard is? Unfamiliar with a new course’s greens? Using a golf GPS device could be the saving grace between you keeping your cool or not. The ability to know your distance to within inches is amazing, and some units will even tell you the right club to choose and amount of muscle needed through your swing. The best golf GPS units also offer the ability for you to sync up and add additional courses and data if you need to, which not only helps you, but other users as well. By creating a growing database of courses, it puts more information in the hands of golfers around the world, hopefully resulting in better scores for you and your friends.
Check out this promotion video from GPS maker Garmin that illustrates what a GPS can do for your game:
Disadvantages of GPS
One of the main knocks against GPS units is that some require an annual or monthly service charge. Golf is already one of the most expensive sports out there, and fancy tech like a GPS certainly doesn’t help your wallet. When it comes to the best golf GPS devices, expect to spend in the $250 and up range. Entry level devices generally start around the $150 range. If you are a serious golfer, this shouldn’t be too big of a problem; you just may need to hold off on buying that new driver.
Reviews of the 5 Best Golf GPS Devices
Here are our picks for the best golf GPS devices based on a combination of features, functionality, style, and price.
For the low cost of just
$149.99 $121 at Amazon.com, this GolfBuddy Voice GPS is by far the best value-buy on the market if you are looking for an entry level GPS. Not only does the GPS unit show your location on the hole and the distance to the pin, it also talks to you. With its compact size of just 1.7″x1.7″ and one ounce, it is also the smallest unit on the market. The versatility of the unit allows it to be clipped to your pants, hat, or club bag and comes with over 40,000 courses on it right out of the box. It can also be used as a watch with the purchase of a GolfBuddy wristbrand. The GolfBuddy Voice GPS has no additional costs or fees associated with it, and is our choice as the best-value golf GPS units on the market today.
This top rated color screen golf GPS unit just so happens to be made by the leader in GPS technology, Garmin. The G6 is available in two different sizes, 2.6′ and 3′, along with being made with waterproof technology, making it the best option for those who golf in all seasons — rain or shine. The unit weighs 3.4 ounces and provides up to 15 hours of battery on a single charge, perfect for those multi-round golf trips. The screen has vibrant colors and large numbers and buttons on it, which makes it the best golf GPS for those who hate squinting at small screens. A unique feature on G6 is the PINPOINTER feature, which will automatically point in the direction of the pin. This is especially handy for those dog leg holes where you can’t see the green.
If you want the Garmin technology but feel that the G6 offers a little more than you need, Garmin’s S1 wrist watch will fit the needs of most golfers. Coming in at just $179 (on sale now for just $150), the wrist watch comes equipped with a waterproof 1 inch LCD display and even has a built in odometer. This watch will provide plenty of course options for you, as it comes with over 14,000 courses from the US and Canada and is one of the most popular golf GPS units available within its price range. While it isn’t as location specific as the G6, it does offer the ability to choose whether you want to see the distance to the front, middle, or back of the green, which can be pretty handy. A drawback of the S1 is its weak battery life compared to newer products on market– the battery will hold a charge for 3 weeks in watch mode, but in GPS mode it will only last for 8 hours (about 2 rounds).
Think the Garmin S1 is a little light on preloaded courses? Look no further than the Bushnell Neo-X GPS wrist watch. Similar to the S1, the Bushnell GPS unit is lightweight and has a bright LCD display. The Neo-X comes preloaded with over 30,0000 different courses throughout the United States — perfect for those who like to golf throughout the country. The Neo is also one of the select few with no additional fees and comes with a limited one year warranty. One of the best features of the Neo-X is its FANTASTIC battery life. On a single charge you can expect over 12 hours of GPS tracking; and if you use it as just a watch, the batter will last for two full years! The Bushnell Neo-X also claims to be the lightest and thinnest golf GPS watch in the world, and we can honestly say it is one of the best golf GPS devices on the market today. Especially when it’s only $179 on Amazon.
The Expresso WR67 is a simple GPS watch that packs a powerful punch. There are no downloads needed once the initial set up is complete, and there aren’t any additional fees either. Similar to other GPS units in this price range, the WR67 has a one inch screen and has settings for the front, middle, and back of the green to estimate your distance to the pin. What separates this watch from the rest of the pack is that it offers a tee time feature as well as an auto off feature. This is especially useful if you have a long weekend of golf on tap but forget to shut it off. Since it is also a watch, the tee time feature is very useful, as you won’t need to set a separate alarm on your phone to remind you of what time you start at. Expresso claims that it delivers best in class accuracy, but we are still awaiting further review this spring to full agree with that statement. Overall the WR67 price and features make it a great value buy, and one of the best golf GPS devices available.
Ultimate Golf GPS Comparison Chart
|GolfBuddy Voice GPS||Handheld or Watch||$121.82||4.5||Extremely small/portable; great value for money|
|Garmin Approach G6 Handheld Golf GPS||Handheld||$299.99||4.2||Large, color touch screen for easy viewing.|
|Garmin Approach S1 GPS Golf Watch||Watch||$150.99||4.4||Great entry level GPS Watch from premier brand Garmin|
|Epxresso WR-67 GPS Golf Watch||Watch||$159.99||4.3||GPS Golf Watch that is simple and works well.|
|Bushnell NEO-X Golf GPS Watch||Watch||$179||4.5||Full featured Golf GPS watch with great battery life|
|IZZO Swami 4000 Golf GPS||Handheld||$108||4||Affordable alternative that gets the job done.|
|Garmin Approach S4 GPS Golf Watch||Watch||$349.99||4.5||Top-of-the-line GPS with all the bells and whistles, including emails/texts|
|GolfBuddy Platinum GPS Rangefinder||Handheld||$255.50||3.5||Touch screen could use some work.|
|SkyCaddie GPS Golf Watch||Watch||$153||3.6||Good, but requires subscription|
|Skycaddie Breeze Golf GPS||Handheld||$154||3.3||Big, easy to read screen, but requires subscription|
|Golf Buddy Tour GPS||Handheld||$354||4.1||Great GPS, but a little bit overpriced|