5 Reasons to Use a Golf GPS Device

golf GPSHitting the links never feels so good as when you do it with total confidence. Knowing every blade of a course gives an immense feeling of accomplishment that resonates in your game.

With golf GPS apps and devices, any course can be played with total familiarity, even if you’ve never set foot on the fairway. These apps and devices add a touch of augmented reality to provide a powerful experience.

Whether you are looking to excel at a new course, push the limits of your favorite, or just have a relaxing day on the fairway, these devices can help.

Not convinced? Consider these following 5 reasons you should be on board with a golf GPS.

Golf GPS

GPS has come a long way in the past 10 years. What was once a sort of novelty for geocachers has expanded to be a common part of every digital technology.

Much like a typical GPS a golf GPS uses satellite data and tracking software to triangulate a location. Built into a watch, a smartphone, or other handheld devices, the system gives powerful and precise information about a course. Some services boast as many as 40,000 courses in the library and those libraries are growing.

Topical displays and features different from one device/service to the next, but in general they all serve the same purpose, to improve your game by adding vital information.

Let’s explore what these features provide in the following list.

1 A Digital Caddy

If you have played with a caddy, you know how invaluable they can be to explaining the features of a course. They also know what clubs to recommend given the terrain, weather, and other conditions. They provide a valuable service that often only the pros and semi-pros get to benefit from.

With a golf GPS, you have the next best thing at your disposal. You can store information about your average swing distance with each club and the programs can recommend clubs based on distance and situation.

Even if you don’t use a swing analyzer knowing where the water hazards are, the distance to the hole, curvature, and grade of the fairway, in addition to other factors, will let you make better decisions and give you that professional experience.

If nothing else, these programs offer a second perspective, a voice outside your own. Being able to keep that kind of objectivity can do wonders for keeping you focused on the game.

2 Enhanced Situational Awareness

Familiarity with a course, as mentioned, gives a lot of advantages for not only playing a good game but enjoying the game you play. While it can take many plays on a course to get into the mindset of playing the strengths and avoiding the traps, a golf GPS can provide that info up-front.

Knowing not just the distance to the hole, but where the rough starts, where the water and sand hazards are located, and the slope of a green can all contribute to a solid game.

When you land a ball outside of the fairway and need to orient to the hole and push hard to recover a stroke GPS knowledge gives an advantage. The kind of advantage that normally only comes with repeated experience.

3 Speed Up Your Game

You may have different objectives for a game, be it simply to enjoy the day or improve your overall game. Either way, utilizing a golf GPS can improve the flow of your game and the speed of play.

This is not to say that the apps will rush you, just that you won’t’ have to spend valuable time measuring, eyeballing, or considering distances. No need to walk and pace and stare at the clubs to think about the situation when the information you need can be present.

This puts more of the time you spend playing the game into playing the game.

4 More Enjoyment

Taking a single stroke off a rough hole can have a ripple effect on the whole day. When you come up with a strategy and finish a tricky shot, you feel that sense of accomplishment from improvement.

These types of achievements come more readily when you have the information you need at your fingertips.

One of the greatest values of an app or device comes from its utilitarian nature. You decide how it is used, so you decide what enjoyment means to you. While improving the game might be a benefit for some, spending more time really playing the course might be best for others.

Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees, so to speak.

With a golf GPS, you can plot out your whole game moving from hole to hole before you get to the site. Then you can measure and make your play against your ideal strategy. This kind of tactical planning and execution brings a lot to a game.

5 Post-Game Analysis

Golf GPS apps and devices help catalog information as you go. With help from swing analyzers and scorecards, you can see where your best lies fall and where you need improvement.

Analysis can help you see where you went wrong, see what you did right, or figure out which club choices should change for the future. If nothing else, a digital record can help you recall what choices you made when memory fails.

Recording a game also lets you play back the markers. It never hurts to show off a bit of your technique to friends and colleagues. (Well, it can hurt some feelings, but it will also inspire them to seek you out for some advice in the future.)

Some apps even let you list your scores online. You can use this to chart progress over time, or join and compete on leaderboards to show off your game to others playing the course.

Learn More

Propel your game into the 21st century with cutting edge tech and the knowledge to utilize its potential.

If you are interested in golf GPS, or any of the other emerging digital technologies that are shaping modern golf game, check out our Golf Talk blog. We have product reviews and guides for a lot of golf equipment, accessories, and apparel.

Tlink GPS Golf Watch (exclusive discount from GGG)

Our Canadian friends Tlink have released their new, super lightweight GPS golf watch.  Best of all, it only costs $69 (pre-order here)!  Use promo code GOLFGEARGEEKS to get an additional $10 off!

Check out the official product description and details below:


TLink is a lightweight Bluetooth device that pairs with your smartphone to provide yardage to the front, middle, and back of the green. Our stylish design can fit into either a wristband or belt clip skin, so you can choose how it’s worn. Power up your game with a unique blend of comfort, affordability, and yardage accuracy.

TLink Black Watch

  • Displays yardage to front, middle, and back of the green as well as current hole information.
  • Syncs with your phone at the start at the start of the round and let TLink do the rest. No distractions necessary.
  • Tracks steps, distance walked and calories burned on the course.
  • Provides yardages for over 30,000 courses from around the world.
  • Stays connected for multiple rounds with up to 15 hours of battery life.
  • Remains clearly readable under direct sunlight with anti-glare LCD display.


The Tlink GPS Golf Watch is available for pre-order now at their website www.golftlink.com.  Remember to use promo code “GOLFGEARGEEKS” to get an additional $10 off.

Best Golf GPS App for iPhone / iOS

Have a shiny new iPhone?  Why not put it to use on the course?  If you don’t want to buy a separate device, or wear a golf GPS watch, then your good ol’ iPhone can get the job done.  So, what is the best golf GPS app for iPhone / iOS (iPad, etc.)?  Here are our top choices.

Best Golf GPS App for iPhone Reviews

1. Swing by Swing Golf GPS & Scorecard App

swing by swing app best golf gps app for iphonePrice: Free (premium upgrade available – $24.99/year)

Rating: 5/5

Review: The geniuses over at Swing by Swing have made an incredible (and FREE) golf GPS app for your iPhone and iPad.  It does everything a great golf GPS should do, such as finding distances to back/front/center of greens, and distances to every obstacle/hazard.  The Swing by Swing app also has a HUGE database of golf courses.  If by chance you find a course that is not available, you can actually add a course to the database, which is then made available to future golfers that use the app.

One of the best things about this app is the scorecard feature.  After your round is over, the app will automatically upload your score to the Swing by Swing website, along with pictures you took during the round, and a map that shows the path you took through a course (mine would be all zig-zags).  The website will then show you graphs and stats of all the games you have played, so you can (hopefully) track your improvement over time

There is also paid upgrade to “looper” mode ($15 annual fee) which unlocks unlimited access to wind speed, hole elevation, “plays like”, custom club distance tracking, and an extended scorecard (fairways hit, penalties, etc).  Overall, Swing by Swing is our favorite golf app, and is simply the best free golf GPS app for iPhone. You should definitely give it a shot!

Download Swing by Swing Golf GPS app on iTunes

Official website: http://www.swingbyswing.com/

2. Golfshot Golf GPS App

golfshot best golf gps app for iphonePrice: $29.99

Rating: 5/5

Review:  The Golfshot Golf GPS is a member of the Apple App Store Hall of Fame, and for good reason.   It looks absolutely fantastic, is extremely simple to use, and comes preloaded with over 40,000 golf courses worldwide.  All you need to do is show up at the golf course, turn the app on, and start your round.  You will get accurate distances to greens, bunkers, hazards, as well as yardage to layups at 200, 150, 125, and 100 yards.  You can also track the distance of every shot, and assign specific clubs for layup distances.

As you approach your ball, the app will tell you which club you should use.  Similar to the Swing by Swing app, Golfshot features amazing automatic stat tracking.  The stats are incredibly detailed, including fairways hit, fairwasy missed left/right, GIR, scoring averages on par 3’s/4’s/5’s, and much more.  Golfshot will automatically put your stats into graphs, so you can track your improvement, and compare to your friends.

The one downside of the Golfshot app is that it will cost you $30.  It seems like a lot to pay for an “app”, but when compared to actual golf GPS devices that cost hundreds of dollars, this is actually ridiculously reasonable.  It could be the best $30 you ever spend!

Download Golfshot Golf GPS App on iTunes

Official website: http://golfshot.com/

3.  GolfLogix #1 Free Golf GPS + Scorecard

golf logix golf gps app for iphonePrice: Free (premium upgrades available – $29.99)

Rating: 4.5

Review: GolfLogix is another great, and FREE golf GPS app for iPhone / iOS.  It comes with over 30,000 available golf courses worldwide, and a general yardage book for each course.  The free version also includes professional stat and score tracking (fairways hit, GIR, putts, etc.).  Your stats are automatically synced online to the GolfLogix website, so that you can track progress, and compete with other golfers worldwide.

The paid “Champion” upgrade ($19.99), unlocks the true power of the app.  It will let you find distances to front/back/center of the green, distances to hazards, layups, and more.  You will also get hole flyovers, custom club distance tracking, and discounts at GolfSmith store.  You can see a comparison of all the “Champion” and free features at the GolfLogix website.

The major negative of the GolfLogix app, is that the free version displays advertisements while you play.  There are also a lot of useful features that are locked, which forces you to buy the upgrade.  The interface is a bit clunkier than the top two apps, which is why we had to give the GolfLogix GPS a slightly lower rating.  It is still a great app, and worth a try if you’re not happy with the others.

Download GolfLogix Free Golf GPS and Scorecard on iTunes

Official Website: http://www.golflogix.com/

4. Golf Pad Free Golf GPS, Scorecard and Club Tracker

golf pad best golf gps app for iphonePrice: Free (premium upgrade available – $14.99)

Rating: 4.5/5

Review: Golf Pad is a lesser known, but extremely well made golf GPS app for iPhone.  It comes with over 30,000 courses worldwide, and gives you the ability to map out your own course if it is not already available. The free version  comes with many features that are considered “premium” in other apps such as distances to front/middle/back of the green, and advanced scoring (putts, penalties, sand, fairways hit, GIR, etc.).  It also has an advanced shot tracker, which lets you record distances of each club you hit.

Like the other apps, Golf Pad also lets you save your stats/history so you can track your progress.  One of the best parts of the Golf Pad app is that it uses far less battery than some of the other golf GPS apps.  The free version does have advertisements on it, so if you want an ad free experience, you will need to upgrade to the Premium version ($14.99).

Besides having no ads, the Premium version includes automatic online backup of stats/history,  even more advanced statistics tracking (average scoring on par 3s, par 4s, etc., average distances for each club), and scoring for up to 8 players.  You will also get data on hole elevations, and automatic layup targets.

Download Golf Pad Golf GPS on iTunes

Offical website: http://www.golfpadgps.com/

If you have any thoughts on the best golf GPS app for iPhone, let us know in the comments!

Choosing the Best Golf GPS Watch

Hate carrying additional things around in your pocket?  Don’t mind wearing a watch when you play?  Want to see what time it is, and how far you are from the green in one glance?  Then, a golf GPS watch is the tool for you!  The convenience, portability, and power of many GPS watches on the market today have begun to make  traditional handheld devices obsolete.  So, what’s the best golf GPS watch available?  Well, that depends on what kind of golfer you are:

Top-of-the-line:  Garmin Approach S6

If you don’t mind spending the big bucks, and only want the best of the best, then the new Approach S6 Golf Watch (released September 2014) from GPS specialist Garmin is the device for you.  It comes in three different colorways, and has all the latest bells and whistles: a full color, sunlight-readable, touch screen interface (glove friendly), smart notification for emails and texts, and fantastic battery life (10 hours on GPS mode).  It comes pre-packed with over 38,000 courses from around the world, and does everything you would expect from a top GPS:  pinpoint accurate distances to greens, layups, and doglegs, score/stats keeping, and customizable yardage points.   This watch even calculates your swing strength and tempo, so you can train yourself to swing more consistently. The watch also just looks fantastic, and will definitely draw the envy from other golfers.

If the $400 price tag doesn’t make you flinch, and you want the latest, greatest tech available, then this is the best golf GPS watch for you.

Golfers on a budget:  GolfBuddy WT6

Looking for something a bit more affordable? The GolfBuddy WT6 GPS Watch is a great, no-frills alternatives to full featured watches like the Garmin S6.  It has all the basic features you need, including 38,000 preloaded courses, and decent battery life (6 – 8 hours on GPS).  It will give you measurements to front/back/center green, as well as your shot distance.  It’s a bit bulky to wear, and will definitely not help you make any fashion statements. But, for just a little over $100 on Amazon, you can always use the money saved to buy some great looking clothes instead.  The WT6 gets the job done, and is our choice for the best budget-friendly golf GPS watch.

 

Best value for money:  Bushnell NEO XS

Want the best value for your money?  The NEO-XS Golf GPS Watch from Bushnell is for those discerning golfers who are always try to find the best balance between price and quality.    The NEO XS is incredibly accurate, comes preloaded with over 33,000 golf courses from around the world, and has absolutely fantastic battery life (about 12 hours or three rounds of golf on a single chrage).  It looks great, is one of the lightest Golf GPS watches on the market, and is very comfortable to wear.  It gives all the basic distance measurements (front/back/center of green), as well as hazards and layup distances.   If you don’t need some of the extra frills of the Garmin S6, the Bushnell NEO XS is easily the best value-for-money golf GPS watch available today.

 

 

Best value #2:  Garmin Approach S1

garmin s1 golf gps watch

If you don’t mind using an older model, then the original Garmin S1 Golf Watch is a  a great buy.  The S1 was originally released in 2011, but still looks great and performs up to par with most newer golf watches.    It comes preloaded with over 14,000 courses (US or Canada), and can be loaded with more for free online.  The S1 has a sunlight-readable screen, and will always provide you with pinpoint accurate measurements thanks to Garmin’s patented GPS technology.  It has also has various features like an odometer and automatic time-zone adjustments.

Despite its age, the Garmin S1 is still one of the best golf GPS watches available…especially if you can find a used one.