Best Golf GPS Devices

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 23, 2017
The better you know the golf course the higher the chances of your victory are; GPS trackers are created for the very purpose of helping you navigate the field. We’ve picked 5 models to assist you in achieving the best results every time you’re on the course. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
TYPE
FUNCTIONS
COURSES
DISPLAY
BATTERY LIFE
USABILITY
WARRANTY
 
PROS
High-sensitivity GPS receiver guarantees proper operation of the watch even under the trees. Well-thought design is suitable for everyday use.
CONS
Instructions might seem complicated.
OUR VERDICT
Accurate Garmin Approach S2 GPS Golf Watch will come to your liking if you want to not only enjoy every game but also achieve great results.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Watch
FUNCTIONS
Odometer; Yardage to the front, back, and middle of green; Measures shot distance; Yardage to layups/doglegs
COURSES
Up to 38,000 courses;

Free updates 4 times a year

DISPLAY
1" monochrome LCD display
BATTERY LIFE
Up to 3 weeks (watch mode),

Up to 8 hours (GPS mode)

USABILITY
Sleek design, Water-resistant (up to 10 m), PC sync, Digital storecard
WARRANTY
1 year limited
PROS
Battery life is enough to play three rounds on a single charge. Sport strap holds the watch tightly on your wrist.
CONS
To know the time, you need to exit GPS mode.
OUR VERDICT

Great variety of features makes the Bushnell Neo ION golf watch suitable for amateurish golf players as well as for professionals. You can choose one of three colors.

detailed parameters
TYPE
Watch
FUNCTIONS
Front/center/back distances; Odometer; Hazard/Layup distances; Shot distance calculator
COURSES
35,000 + courses;

Updates after web registration

DISPLAY
0.91" monochrome display
BATTERY LIFE
16 hours (GPS mode)
USABILITY
PC sync, Waterproof casing, Integrated step counter, Legal for tournament play
WARRANTY
1 year
PROS
The manufacturer has offered the opportunity to add new courses to the list of the preloaded ones.
CONS
The belt clip is a bit inconvenient to use.
OUR VERDICT

Want a golf navigation system at a reasonable price to improve your playing skills? Izzo Swami 4000+ Golf GPS has the best price-quality ratio to meet your requirements.

detailed parameters
TYPE
Handheld
FUNCTIONS
Accurate distances to front, center, and back of the green; Accurate distances to front and back of hazards and doglegs; Shot distance measurement
COURSES
30,000+ worldwide courses;

Download via PC

DISPLAY
1.8" color display
BATTERY LIFE
8-10 hours (GPS mode)
USABILITY
PC sync, Waterproof casing (IPX6), Auto-hole advance, Course map edit function
WARRANTY
1 year limited
PROS
You can control the device easily via touchscreen even if you wear golf gloves. You'll see the whole course on the display.
CONS
It takes the gadget some time to sync with satellites.
OUR VERDICT
Powerful battery of this model allows you to spend the whole weekend playing golf while a waterproof casing is a guarantee of a successful game under any weather conditions.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Handheld
FUNCTIONS
Touch-targeting; Manual pin positioning; Measures shot distance; Yardage to the front, back, and middle of green; Yardage to layups/doglegs; Tracks stats; Scoring options for Stroke Play, Stableford, Skins, and Match Play with adjustable handicaps
COURSES
38,000 preloaded courses;

Free lifetime updates

DISPLAY
Transflective 2.6" color display
BATTERY LIFE
Up to 15 hours (GPS mode)
USABILITY
Sunlight readable touchscreen, Digital scorecard, Computer scorecard review
WARRANTY
1 year limited
PROS
Belt clip greatly adds to usability, and by purchasing a special band, you can use this GPS as a watch.
CONS
Built-in speakers are located on the back panel.
OUR VERDICT
Choose GolfBuddy GPS, and you'll be able to play golf in different countries of the world thanks to a great number of preloaded courses. If you lack some courses, you can download them for free.
detailed parameters
TYPE
Handheld
FUNCTIONS
Distances to front/center/back of the green; Shot distance measurement; Automatic course and hole recognition
COURSES
40,000 courses;

Free lifetime course & software updates

DISPLAY
1" monochrome LCD display
BATTERY LIFE
14 hours (GPS mode)
USABILITY
Multilingual with male/female voice options, Legal for tournament play, Water resistant, Dynamic Green View technology with distance readings from the golfer’s perspective
WARRANTY
1 year limited

What is a Golf GPS

It’s impossible to imagine modern life without technologies – they penetrate into every sphere of our life, sports included. Why should golf be an exception? Golf GPS navigation system is becoming more and more popular among the players who want to achieve the highest results in their careers. The device was mainly created to measure yardage to different parts of the green, shot distance, and hazard distance. However, the manufacturers often include additional functions such as odometer, pin positions, automatic hole recognition etc. Also, most GPS have preloaded golf courses so it is easy for you to navigate in a new place. As a rule, these gadgets are divided into two types – watches and handheld models. No matter which one you choose, their battery life is usually long enough to play several games or even spend the whole weekend hitting balls into holes.

To make your game even more productive, golf shoes will definitely come in handy. And with a golf bag, it will be more convenient for you to store and transport your golf equipment.

What Features to Compare

Before choosing a golf GPS, first, consider its functions as they determine how helpful a device will be. If you play golf all over the world, pay attention to the number of preloaded courses and the option to add new maps. Knowing the distance to the different parts of a green and the hazard distance, you’ll be able to take more precise shots. On top of that, take notice of additional functions such as integrated step counter and scoring options to get even more benefit from a game.

You also want to take battery life into consideration as it varies from model to model and mainly depends on the gadget’s design. GPS watches are compact and work for up to 16 hours on one charge. Handheld devices, on the other hand, usually have bigger displays (as compared to watches) and consume more energy, although not much, they still work for 14-15 hours in GPS mode.

Finally, don’t overlook the item's usability. Since golf is played in all weathers, a waterproof casing will definitely come in handy. If you want to track your progress and compare the results of several rounds, make sure your new device boasts PC sync option. And voice assistant feature will come to your liking if you don’t want to get distracted during a game.

Garmin Approach S2 GPS

Stylish Assistant

Appearance is often as important to golf players as their playing skills. That’s why golfers pay a lot of attention to their looks. If you're like that too and want to fit perfectly on the course, the Approach S2 GPS Golf Watch by Garmin is what you really need. The device features a 1-inch screen with all the necessary information including yardage to front/middle/back of a green, shot distance, and yardage to layup/doglegs. This GPS receiver is highly sensitive, so you’ll be able to use the gadget even under the trees without signal loss. Lastly, with a sleek design of this model not only you will look perfect on the course but will also be able to use it every day as a watch.

High-quality golf balls are a guarantee of a successful game. Take a glance at our review and pick the set you like the most.

Review of Garmin Approach S2 GPS

2-in-1

The beauty of the Garmin Approach S2 is that it can perform both GPS and watch functions. The former mode is aimed at helping you have a great game for 8 hours. As for the watch option, the device can operate in this mode for up to 3 weeks. It has become possible due to a monochrome display that consumes little energy. When the appliance runs down, it’s easy to recharge it via wall socket or USB cable. And taking into account the fact that the device works on a lithium-ion battery, it won’t take you much time to charge it.

Garmin Approach S2 GPS in the use

Track Your Progress

If you use a golf GPS system to improve your skills, you’ll probably be eager to monitor your growth. To make it possible, the manufacturer has equipped the device with the ability to record all the information during the round and included a USB cable in the box so that you could export all the data to your PC. With the game results on your computer, you’ll be able to compare your achievements, evaluate your skills, or just share the said results with your peers. Moreover, uploading new maps or updating preloaded data takes almost no time at all and is, by the way, free. To do this, you only need to install the software from official site to your PC. Speaking of, note that Garmin updates the course information 4 times a year, so you can be sure you have accurate data no matter where and when you play golf.

Detailed review of Garmin Approach S2 GPS

How to Use

Have a look at the image below to learn more about controls.

Garmin Approach S2 GPS application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Garmin Approach S2 GPS
Garmin Approach S2 GPS
 

Bushnell Neo ION

The Choice of Professionals

Official golf rules restrict the use of devices that provide some players advantages over others during the game, thus, GPS models equipped with an extended number of functions aren’t allowed at the tournaments. Luckily, you can, in fact, use this Bushnell Neo ION Watch in competitions since it conforms to the USGA rule 14-3/.05. You'll be able to successfully determine front/center/back distances, hazard/layup distances, and shot distances. What is more, automatic built-in odometer makes it easy for you to track the number of steps you make. The number of preloaded courses is worth mentioning too. Over 35,000 golf areas in more than 30 countries are at your service, and you won’t even need to pay a membership fee to use any of them. Opt for the Bushnell Neo ION golf watch, and let your every game be enjoyable and successful.

If you’re fond of golf so much that you play it rain or shine, sports sunglasses might be of great use.

Review of Bushnell Neo ION

Get Ready for a Game

What makes Bushnell Neo ION gadget really convenient is with it, that you can prepare for a game in advance; you can choose the course you’re going to play before you get there, so as soon as you turn the device on, you’ll see the information for a specific field. The auto-off feature also adds to the usability of the item, you can set the time you assume a game will last to make the device turn off automatically and save battery life. By the way, the appliance can work for up to 16 hours, it's enough for approximately three full rounds. The simplicity of charging process shouldn’t be underestimated too. All you need to do to feed your device is insert the watch into a charging cradle (included), connect it to charge pins, wait for 2.5 hours, and here you are – Bushnell Neo ION Watch is ready to work again.

Bushnell Neo ION in the use

Ergonomic Design

Since you’ll have to wear your GPS watch for a long time, you probably want it to be ergonomic, and the manufacturer has done its best to fulfill this wish. With weight of 1.8 oz and 0.6" x 1.77" x 2.13" size, you literally won’t feel this Bushnell product on your wrist. Plus, a high-quality silicone band prevents the watch from sliding along your arm.

Detailed review of Bushnell Neo ION

How does Golf GPS help?

A device this useful benefits your game greatly, and these are only some of the advantages you can get.

Bushnell Neo ION application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Bushnell Neo ION
Bushnell Neo ION
 

Izzo Swami 4000+

Under the Glare of the Sun

It’s rather inconvenient to read information displayed on a small dull screen, especially if you do it in too low or too bright light. That’s why golf GPS should possess a high-quality monitor to display necessary data properly whatever the weather. Izzo Swami 4000+ will handle this task perfectly. Its anti-glare 1.8-inch color screen displays four-five measurements simultaneously so you don’t need to use control buttons often. But if you need to look through another information or change display brightness, feel free to use four buttons located ergonomically at the bottom of the casing. Another advantage of this model is that besides preloaded courses, you can download additional ones from the manufacturer’s site. 

The rules of golf require its players to use different clubs, and golf putter is one of them. Consider the models represented on the market to choose the most suitable for you.

Review of Izzo Swami 4000+

Handles Any Obstacle

The number of obstacles on a golf field determines its complexity. No matter what course you are going to play, Izzo Swami 4000+ will help you have a successful game. Precise distance to front/center/back parts of a green gives you a chance to think about a shot path and hit strength as well as choose the right club; plus, this device shows you shot distance. All these features make it possible for you to analyze your progress, understand your weaknesses, and take steps to improve your game. Lastly, take into account the ability to edit preloaded maps manually if some changes have taken place.

Izzo Swami 4000+ in the use

In the Twinkling of an Eye

Most devices are unable to connect to the satellite quickly, but the Izzo Swami 4000+ is different. Once you turn it on, it takes the gadget 30 seconds to identify your location and show you all the necessary information. Plus, Izzo appliance operates fast in general. For example, when you take a shot towards a hole, auto hole advance function is activated immediately, so you don’t need to wait long to see the result.

Detailed review of Izzo Swami 4000+

Everything for Your Convenience

We feel the need to point out some features that make the use of the Izzo Swami 4000+ not only effective but also convenient. First of all, it's a multilingual gadget with English, French, German, and Spanish language settings. Changeable time format and the option to switch between yards and meters are worth mentioning too. Finally, take notice of a display backlight with adjustable lighting time that allows you to prolong the battery life.

Izzo Swami 4000+ application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Izzo Swami 4000+
Izzo Swami 4000+
 

Garmin Approach G6

The Easiest Control Ever

As we already mentioned, we consider usability to be one of the significant features a golf player should take into account before buying a GPS system. If you share our opinion, the Garmin Approach G6 Handheld Touchscreen Golf Course GPS is what you need. The device boasts 2.6-inch display and touch control, familiar to every person who has ever used a smartphone or a tablet. The gadget is able to response to your taps even if you wear golf gloves. The manufacturer has also equipped this model with two buttons for even more convenience. By using them, you’ll easily see either your score or the green overview. By the way, the latter option also shows your current position to help you control shot strength. We would also like to turn your attention to the extended number of functions performed by the gadget; besides measuring common distances, this device also boasts touch-targeting and manual pin positioning options, tracks stats, and shows scoring options. Finally, the opportunity to connect the device to a computer gives you a chance to transfer all necessary information for storage or further analysis.

Review of Garmin Approach G6

Truly Multifunctional

Garmin Approach G6 golf GPS is a truly multifunctional device. Besides common yardage to different parts of a green and shot distance, this gadget provides you with information on putts, hit and missed balls on a fairway, game time, and other useful data. You can also set your own target points by simply moving a flag sign on the touchscreen. It’s possible to keep records of scores for a foursome and print out the results for every player owing to a computer scorecard review function. On top of that, using Garmin Approach G6 doesn’t differ much from using any ordinary tracking device, so finding out how it works won’t be problematic or time-consuming.

Garmin Approach G6 in the use

Always at Hand

If you’ve forgotten to take your Garmin device to a course, don’t despair! Smartphone golf applications for Android and iOS will pull the game out of the fire. However, note that using apps on your gadget makes its battery die faster, so it’s better not to leave your GPS gadget at home before a game.

Detailed review of Garmin Approach G6

Take a Refreshing Break

A sports water bottle is a must-have item on any course, especially on a hot day.

Garmin Approach G6 application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Garmin Approach G6
Garmin Approach G6
 

GolfBuddy Voice 2

Your Personal Voice Helper

If you’re looking for an informative golf navigation system to carry around easily, you won’t find a better model than GolfBuddy Voice 2. This compact device with 1-inch monochrome display measures distances to front/center/back of the green properly and is able to represent the information in two ways – either on the screen or via built-in speakers. To listen to the necessary data, you only need to press a large button on the body. Also, the device boasts 8 preset language functions which can be extended to 11 by additional download; by the way, you can choose between male or female voice options. Waterproof casing coupled with belt clip offers you an opportunity to use the gadget under any weather conditions with maximum comfort. On top of that, GolfBuddy Voice 2 model is one of few models that can be used during professional tournaments.

Review of GolfBuddy Voice 2

Accuracy Comes First

Accuracy is of the utmost importance in a GPS since it influences the end result of a game, especially if you’re going to use the gadget during a tournament. If you choose GolfBuddy Voice 2, you can be certain of the precision of its measurements. Of course, there is always a chance of slight tolerance, but it’s only a couple of yards.

One more feature that should be taken into account is that this model not only displays the distance to front/center/back of the green but also measures yardage to different parts of the field from your perspective. The number of preloaded courses is worth mentioning too. With 40,000 maps (the number can be extended via free software provided by the manufacturer) around the globe, you’ll be able to play at as many fields as you want. Finally, don’t overlook hassle-free controls (buttons on the side panel) with the ability of additional voice guide.

GolfBuddy Voice 2 in the use

Prevent Injuries

Although golf seems like a calm game, it’s still possible to get injured during a round. Since the syndrome of golfer’s elbow is associated with the game most frequently, taking care of your arms with compression sleeves seems to be a sensible decision. Knees are also likely to suffer, so a knee brace will come in handy for every sportsperson.

Detailed review of GolfBuddy Voice 2

Enjoy the Usability

If you find it inconvenient to carry the GolfBuddy Voice 2 in your hands, you can buy accessories to wear it on your wrist (as a watch), on a belt, or as a fob.

GolfBuddy Voice 2 application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


GolfBuddy Voice 2
GolfBuddy Voice 2
 

Infographics

Comparison of Golf GPS Devices

FAQ:

Q: My golf GPS doesn’t identify the course. What’s wrong?

A: Although modern golf navigation systems include thousands of courses all over the world, chances are not all of them are preloaded on your GPS. Thus, it's possible that your gadget doesn’t show you a map of a field you’re going to play. One more thing that can lead a situation like this is you being too far from the course; in this case, you only need to come closer so that a gadget could identify it.

Q: Satellite connection seems to be inconsistent. What should I do? 

A: Sometimes, satellite connection can really be lost because of different obstacles such as trees, for example. Some users of GPS devices also claim that gadgets can malfunction when being in a pocket. To reconnect your GPS, step out to an open area and give your item some time to catch the signal; if it doesn’t help, try to reset it.

Q: Is it possible to add golf courses manually in every GPS device?

A: You might need to specifically search for a model with a function like that, they do exist. However, generally, even those navigators that can't be updated manually are updated automatically from time to time for free or on condition of registration.

Q: Can I use a golf GPS device during tournaments?

A: Golf rules restrict the use of the devices that can help a player get an advantage over his/her rivals. Since golf GPS is like that, its application during amateurish or professional tournaments is prohibited. The same limit is imposed on using smartphone apps during a stipulated round. Nevertheless, some models with the bare minimum of functions are approved for tournaments.

Q: Why should I buy a golf GPS if I can’t use it during a tournament or stipulated round?

A: Playing golf with a GPS can help you improve your skills, control the strength of every hit, determine the distance by eye, and feel more confident on a course. Having practiced playing with such a device for some time, it’ll be easy for you to beat your competitors even without it. 

Q: Which model should I choose, a rangefinder or a watch?
A: It mainly depends on the purpose of your purchase. Opt for a GPS watch if you need a stylish accessory with the minimal number of functions. But if you want to see the maximum of course information, one of handheld models will probably be better. Take notice of the usability too. Whereas watch models are literally imperceptible during a game, a handheld device should always be carried with you.

Sources:

1. Anna Bush How to choose the golf GPS Watch, Medium. November 26, 2016.

2. Golf GPS and Golf Rangefinder Measuring Devices, Golfalot.

3. GPS watch, Wikipedia. October 31, 2016.

4. Golf GPS Watch Buyers Guide 2016, CompsMag. June 11, 2016.

5. Alison Potter How to Buy the Best Golf Watch, Which? 

6. Mike Bailey Golf course navigation: Should you use a laser rangefinder or GPS on the course? Golf Advisor. August 12, 2015.

7. How to Play Golf, wikiHow. 

8. Robert Loescher Best Golf GPS - Choosing the Right One, HubPages. February 21, 2015. 

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