When it comes to upgrading your golf playing experience, it’s not only about using more advanced equipment and finding a better golf course. The best golf GPS is capable of taking your game to a brand new level as well. Such devices go in a form of handheld devices or in a form of watches allowing you to choose the most convenient type of unit.
So, why is it worth buying a personal golf GPS? The reliable and precise device works like your personal caddy which means that you will always be able to find the right hole for the stroke. It provides a visual representation of the course, informs you about the distance, hazards, and so on. This is especially helpful for blind holes and when playing on a new golf course. Besides, some golf GPS can also work as the habitual fitness trackers, counting how many steps you have walked and showing how many calories you have burned.
However, with so many options, it’s can be overwhelming to highlight the best golf GPS that meets all of your requirements. Some of them have too many functions that may be useless for someone. The others have quite a limited set of features which may be disappointing for those who are searching for a complex device. So, we have tested a bunch of devices to ease your choice. Our golf GPS reviews give you the opportunity to examine our top picks basing on their most important characteristics: number of preloaded courses, battery capacity, functionality, etc.
Golf GPS Reviews
This watch from Garmin can be the best GPS golf watch in terms of multifunctionality since it works as a fitness tracker and has extra features. It’s compatible with both iPhone and Android and includes 41,000 courses.
The watch has square form, with a 0.9 x 0.9-inch display and 128 x 128 resolution. The monochrome screen is also sunlight-readable. With 1.5 oz of weight, the watch is light enough for continuous wear. It goes with a sleek fully-hinged strap made of silicone which is very comfortable and pleasant to touch.
The golf GPS Garmin has two multifunctional buttons on both the left and right sides to navigate the device. The upper button on the left side allows turning the device on and off and also allows scrolling up through the menu. The second button on the left side allows scrolling down. The upper button works as the“OK” button and allows turning the backlight on/off. The bottom button on the right side allows returning to the previous menu.
The AutoShot is the round analyzer that measures and records the distance and number of your shots. The CourseView updates the map of the courses you are playing on. The Green View shows the shape and layout of the green. You can also manually reposit the pin to the needed location for the accurate shot. The watch can be paired with the Garmin TruSwing sensor which allows improving your swing consistency by providing you information about swing path, swing speed, etc.
The activity tracking counts your daily steps and distance you have walked, calories you have burned, and even the hours of sleep. It also reminds you to stay active with the help of special notifications.
The Garmin Connect Mobile fitness app saves your playing results and allows sharing them with your friends and comparing them. It can even assemble your perfect round basing on your score for each hole.
Like most modern golf watches, the Approach S20 also allows receiving notifications about incoming calls, messages, and other alerts.
This golf GPS watch from Garmin offers such connectivity options: Bluetooth Smart, ANT+, and USB for charging. It can work as GPS up to 15 hours and up to 8 weeks as on a watch mode.
- The S20 provides truly accurate distance measurements.
- The watch can be used for running.
- The device is water-resistant.
- The watch is quite fragile and isn’t protected from accidental drops.
- The buttons are hard to press.
Video Garmin Approach S20
This model from Bushnell is a simple solution for those who need a device with basic features which are essential for playing golf. It has a 2.2 x 2.2-inch display that shows a large, easy-to-read front, center, and back distance to the green and 4 hazard distances per hole. The device goes equipped with 36,000 preloaded courses (can be updated wirelessly via Bluetooth). It’s available in one of four colors: black, bright blue, green, and red/blue colors.
This Bushnell goes with bite magnetic mount so it’s possible to mount it inside of a golf car or on any metal surface. It also includes a clip holder so you can attach it to your bag or belt.
It is not a touchscreen, at this price point it has 6 buttons. The power button is located on top of the device. The shot button (to find out the length of shot) and the menu button can be found on the right side of the unit. The OK button and two buttons to scroll the menu and are located on the left side.
In the Bushnell Golf app, which you can download for free as soon as you buy the device, you can find what additional features. It provides 3D flyovers and hole layouts with distances.
The battery lasts for 10 hours which is more than enough for playing up to 2 rounds on one charge. Note that the battery life on this device may be reduced due to some factors (external temperature, etc.). In this regard, the manufacturer recommends to power the Bushnell Phantom off after you finished your rounds.
The device weighs 1.8 oz so you almost don’t feel it in your pocket.
- It automatically finds the courses near to you within about 30 seconds after you turn it on.
- The Phantom doesn’t lose the satellite signal even when it’s in your pocket.
- The display uses high-quality graphics which is clearly visible.
- The magnet is not that powerful and is prone to fall off.
- The body of the unit is made of cheap plastic so it’s not durable.
Video Bushnell Phantom
The Garmin Approach G10 is a very compact and lightweight device: its screen is 0.9 x 0.9 inches and weighs only 1.12 oz. It has a clip-on design which means that you can comfortably wear it on your belt or bag.
The device is controlled by four buttons: two buttons on the left side are used to scroll the menu up and down (the upper button on the left side is also used to turn the device on). The OK button and back button are located on the right side.
In this Garmin Approach G10 review, it should be noted that despite having an easy interface with simple black and white LCD screen, the device comes packed with a lot of features that are necessary for a golf game. It shows course targets and all kinds of hazards. The device also displays the distance to greens, hazards, and doglegs. The Green View feature lets you know about the green shape and allows for manual pin placement. The Stat Tracking tracks fairways hit, greens in regulation and putts per round. The device also shows the distance to the front, back, or middle of the green. The digital scorecard keeps you aware of all your scores. It also has 40,000 golf courses preinstalled.
The IPX7 rating means that the unit is rainproof so there is no need to stop the game as soon as you notice first raindrops.
The device can work up to 15 hours on one charge which is quite impressive. The included GPS cable can be used to charge the device and to connect it to your PC and upload your results to Garmin Connect for post-game analysis.
- The device has a high-sensitive GPS receiver which works well even when you are under the tree cover.
- The CourseView adds new courses every 4 years for free so you won’t have to buy a new device just because the Approach G10 became obsolete.
- The LCD display always clearly shows all reads despite the lighting conditions.
- It can’t be connected to your smartphone.
- There is no club tracking feature.
- It doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity.
If you are searching for the best golf GPS watch with a simple, easy-to-use interface, and sunlight-visible high-resolution display (128 x 128), take a closer look at this model from Garmin. The display has 0.9 x 0.9 inches in size. You can choose among black, granite blue, and powder gray colors. It comes with a ribbed silicone strap. The device is also lighter than most of its analogs (1.2 oz).
The watch goes with 41,000 preinstalled courses. It provides the user with information about the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green, layups, and doglegs. It also calculates the exact distance of your shots. Additionally, it’s supplied with an odometer that counts your steps.
The digital scorecard saves total distance, time, and scores which you can then upload to Garmin Express to check your results
The upper button on the left side works as the power button (you have to hold it for some time). Use both buttons on the left side of the unit to scroll the menu up and down. The OK button and pack button are on the right side.
Except for golf and smart watch features, this GPS golf watch from Garmin can be used for swimming. It can be immersed to 5 ATM and has a basic rest timer (up from 0). However, note that it can be used only in the swimming pool: the hot, salty, or dirty water can easily damage the device.
The Approach S10 works up to 14 weeks as a watch and up to 12 hours as GPS
- The watch informs about the sunrise and sunset times.
- The device works very fast since it’s not loaded with extra features.
- It provides the accuracy of high-end watches.
- The GPS can work badly on cloudy days.
- It doesn’t provide full hole maps.
This golf GPS unit from Bushnell is one of the simplest on our list. It has a graphic 2.2 x 2.2 inches display and available in four colors: black, grey, white, and neon green. With 3.52 oz of weight, it may seem too heavy in comparison with the other similar handheld GPS devices.
The device goes with a plastic clip to attach it to your belt or bag.
The Bushnell Neo Ghost provides over 35,000 preloaded courses. It also gives information about the front, center, and back distances to the green and about up to 4 hazard distances per hole. The Neo Ghost is also supplied with an auto course recognition, an auto hole advance, and a shot measuring.
The power button is located on top of the unit. On its left side, you can find three buttons to scroll the menu and select what you need. On the right side, there are menu and shot (press at starting point to find the length of shot) buttons.
The device has long battery life (16 hours) which allows playing up to 3 full rounds before recharging.
- The rubber buttons are easy to push.
- The Neo Ghost is completely free from any downloads and membership fees.
- You can select between 20 contrast modes on the display.
- The image on the display deteriorates at an angle.
- The clip seems flimsy.
Video Bushnell Neo Ghost
The Golf Buddy 2 is an advanced talking GPS device that says your distance aloud (in 8 preloaded languages) by simply pressing the button located on its front panel. The device itself has 1.76 x 1.78 x 49 inches of size, but the display takes only 1 inch. With 1.02 oz of weights, the device is extremely light. It’s available in black, black/white, grey, silver, and white/blue colors. It can be clipped to your hat, belt, or bag.
This golf GPS rangefinder provides shot distance measurement as well as the information on the front, back, and center of the green. It’s also equipped with auto golf club, course, and hole recognition. The Dynamic Green View shows you the shape of the green and allows changing your measuring point to different locations. It also contains 40, 000 courses. However, even despite its multifunctionality, the GolfBuddy Voice 2 still remains cheap golf GPS device.
The power button and the position mark button are located on the left side of the unit. With the help of two buttons located on the right side, you can adjust the volume level.
The manufacturer also claims that the GolfBuddy Voice 2 is water-resistant, but there is no precise information about the rating.
The battery works for 14 hours which is enough for a couple of rounds.
- You can insert the device into the wristband and wear it as a GPS watch.
- The Voice 2 is detachable which allows for increased flexibility.
- You can choose between male and female voice options in the GolfBuddy app.
- The display is very small in relation to the unit.
- The voice sounds too mechanical.
Video GolfBuddy Voice 2
The Garmin Approach G8 is a handheld golf GPS which looks like a smartphone. It has a 1.5 x 2.6 inches color capacitive touchscreen and weighs 3.97 oz.
There are two buttons on the bottom of the screen. By pressing the lower right button, you can see the green shape (you can manually change the position of the pin on the touchscreen). The left button allows seeing the scoring screen. The power button is located on the left side of the device. It comes with 41,000 preloaded golf courses which update automatically via Wi-Fi.
The PinPointer informs you about where the pin is when you can’t see it. The PlaysLike informs about the distances to the target. Use the Garmin Connect to analyze your results after the game. The device can synchronize with your phone, so you can receive messages, incoming calls, and other alerts right on the Approach G8.
The battery runs up to 15 hours on one charge.
- You can turn the Big Numbers mode to zoom in reads your screen.
- The Club Advice provides smart recommendations on which club you should use based on how far you hit.
- The display manages to be crisp and clear and easy to read without being too cumbersome.
- It’s not Android compatible.
- The touchscreen is too sensitive.
- The digital scorecard is hard to get.
The round-shaped watch with a simple graphic display can possibly be the best golf GPS watch for those who prefer classical devices that provide some 90s vibes instead of a modern look. It has a reversible band and is available in one of two colors: black/blue and silver/green. It has a square 0.9 x 0.9-inch display and weighs 1.8 oz.
The Neo Ion 2 is one of the simplest watches you can ever find in the golf GPS watch reviews since it provides mostly the necessary for your golf playing activity features. It shows easy-to-read front/center/back distances to the green as well as up to 4 hazard distances per hole. There are also auto course recognition and auto hole features. The device calculates your shot distance and has a round odometer and step counter. It also includes 36,000+ courses which can be updated via Bluetooth. The Bushnell Golf App provides 3D flyovers and hole layouts with exact distance.
The battery runs for 12 hours on one charge.
- It can work as a regular watch to check the time, use the stopwatch, and set the alarm.
- The watch recharges in a couple of hours.
- The dual-injected silicone sports band is very convenient to wear.
- You can’t see the shape of green on this watch.
- You can’t see statistics and scores tracking on this watch.
Video Bushnell Neo Ion 2
How Golf GPS can Improve your Game?
The most important function of all the golf GPS devices is the ability to show the precise distance yardages to the front/middle/back of the green. Some models even include information about doglegs.
The golf GPS device also provides you with information about the distance to your target: you just have to press a button or tap on the screen, and the smart system will inform you about the distance to a specific point. This is useful when you want to found out about the distance to the waiting area or to the bunker that you want to avoid.
The shot tracking distance function allows learning about the distance to the particular shot. In other words, the smart system automatically calculates the distance of your shot so you can find out how far you hit. All you have to do is make a shot and go get the ball.
Most of the modern golf GPS have up to 4100 preloaded golf courses. And you don’t have to update them manually, it will be updated automatically as soon as you connect it to Wi-Fi. Some advanced units don’t even need the Wi-Fi connection for this.
Some models have an automatic course recognition feature that uses GPS to determine which golf course you are playing on so you don’t have to waste your time searching for it manually.
With the help of the green view function, you can see the green’s shape. This can be useful when you are too far from it but should see where to aim. It helps find out about the width and the depth of the green so you could have a better chance to land the ball on the green.
The golf GPS devices can also provide the ability to set the location of the pin manually so the device can calculate the distance for you to get the most precise information.
Having golf GPS devices that can’t be damaged by water is very good when it suddenly starts to rain. It’s also useful during hot weather so you didn’t have to worry about sweat getting on your device.
The built-in swing sensor analyzes the swing path and speed, the launch angle, etc. This helps improve your swing by learning your mistakes. Some devices even give you recommendations on how to correct those mistakes.
The battery life of the golf GPS should be able to last at least 2 rounds since you won’t have the ability to recharge it when you are on the golf course. The average device can last up to 15 hours on one charge.
Some devices have a digital scorecard feature which automatically logs your scores so you don’t have to use a specific app for this or write them on a piece of paper. Thanks to this feature you can easily analyze and compare all your results from previous games to improve your skills.
Some golf GPS watches have buttons on their outer edges to navigate the pages. The others have a touchscreen.
Interface and Navigation
Some golf GPS devices have a lot of features and are quite confusing to use. You should decide for yourself which features do you need and which don’t, so you don’t have to constantly navigate around the unnecessary features finding the one you need.
Visually, the GPS golf watch doesn’t differ from the usual fitness tracker. It’s also capable of working like a fitness tracker counting your steps, calories burned, miles walked. Since golf is a sport activity, this can be very useful. Some models even include such feature as sleep monitoring.
This is a very convenient feature for those who want to stay in touch during the game. You won’t have to get the phone out of your bag or pocket to see who calls/messages you.