- The Best Golf GPS Watches
- The Best Golf GPS Handheld Devices
- Our Research Parameters
- Golf GPS Watch or Handheld GPS Device?
- GPS Watch Selection Criteria to Consider
- Review of the Top 5 GPS Watches For Golfers
- Handheld GPS Selection Criteria to Consider
- Synchronization / App Integration
- Preloaded Courses
- Battery power
- The Handheld GPS Highlights
- Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for Best Golf GPS IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS OUR RATING: 4.8/5 Garmin Approach G8 Golf GPS Cclear 3-inch color display Best handheld GPS device available In excess of 40,000 golf courses VIEW ON AMAZON → OUR RATING: 4.6/5 GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS/Rangefinder Easy to set up and use Exceedingly accurate 41,000 pre-loaded courses VIEW ON AMAZON → OUR RATING: 4.3/5 Garmin Approach S60, Premium GPS Golf Watch Best GPS watch available Large touchscreen 41,000 pre-loaded courses VIEW ON AMAZON → OUR RATING: 3.5/5 CANMORE HG200 Golf GPS Auto-Hole advance Full-color 2-inch display Multi-Language Support VIEW ON AMAZON → OUR RATING: 4.3/5 Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Bluetooth connectivity Accurate yardages Automatic course and hole recognition VIEW ON AMAZON →
- Reviews of The Best Golf GPS Devices
In this article, we will take a look at the best golf GPS devices and watches on the market. To help you choose, we’ve broken these distance tracker golf devices down into two sections:
- Golf GPS Watches
- Golf GPS Devices
The Best Golf GPS Watches
|Best Overall Golf GPS Watch||Best Premium Golf GPS Watch||Best Color Screen Golf GPS Watch|
|TecTecTec ULT-G Golf GPS Watch||Garmin Approach S60 Golf GPS Watch||Garmin Approach S40 Golf GPS Watch|
|Weight (ounces)||1.09 ounces||1.60 ounces||1.44 ounces|
|Rating||4.8 Stars||4.6 Stars||4.3 Stars|
The Best Golf GPS Handheld Devices
|Best Overall Golf GPS Handheld Device||Best Premium Golf GPS Handheld Device||Best Color Screen Golf GPS Handheld Device|
|Garmin Approach G8 Golf GPS||Izzo Swami 6000 Golf GPS||SkyCaddie SX500 Handheld Golf GPS|
|Weight (ounces)||1.09 ounces||1.60 ounces||1.44 ounces|
|Rating||4.8 Stars||4.6 Stars||4.3 Stars|
Before diving into the golf GPS reviews, here’s a detailed buyer’s guide so you can complete an informed purchase today if you wish.
Our Research Parameters
Golfspan is independent and not pressured by manufacturers to recommend products. We were not paid for the golf gps reviews in this article. These golf gps devices were selected by our team, who have over 100 years of experience playing golf and hundreds of hours reviewing products. We may earn an affiliate commission when you purchase something through our retail links.
25 Products were considered from 7 brands on:
- Pre-loaded courses
- Battery life
Golf GPS Watch or Handheld GPS Device?
Many a golf pundit has strived to solve this question without major success.
- A GPS watch passively sits on your wrist, always ready to go. But has a smaller screen and may provide added weight to your swing.
- A GPS handheld device often has a larger screen, but you need to pull it out of your pocket when you want to use it.
Your personal preference and skills will play a big part in the selection. Let’s cover both in-depth to help you decide.
GPS Watch Selection Criteria to Consider
Golf watches are not dissimilar to smartphones that provide apps to aid you in finding your way around any of the pre-loaded golf courses.
The interface ought to be clear and easy to operate and not have too many confusing options. It must complement and aid the golfer in bettering their golf game.
The best watches are protected from inclement weather and ultraviolet rays.
Number of Courses Mapped
Several watches have more than 30,000 courses previously mapped out and stored in memory waiting to be chosen and then deliver the appropriate information as you play in conjunction with the GPS satellites. The more advanced watches will recognize the course you are on via the GPS satellites and preload the course.
You may find yourself planning to play a course that is not preloaded — no problem, some watches will allow you to download the course you want to play via Wi-Fi. This feature will similarly update previously loaded courses with the most recent developments and modifications.
The green may not always be clearly visible from your position, and unless you are well acquainted with the course, you may easily select an inappropriate club or attempt to hit the ball into an area beside the green. Several watches will permit you to see the layout of the green, including the width and depth of the green. Many watches will provide you with three different readings for the front, middle, and back of the green.
Manual Pin Adjustments
Now that you have an unobstructed vision of what the green looks like, the pin positioning could play a role in your club selection. Even though many courses indicate whether the flag is positioned in the front, middle, or back, the feature allows you to relocate the pin position on the green to offer a more accurate reading and therefore allow you to get the ball closer to the pin.
The most standard reading provided by rangefinders and golf watches is the yardage information to specified hazards and the green.
Shot Distance Tracking
The distance that your previous shot covered is essential to establish how far you hit a particular club for future reference and occasionally to boast as to how far you hit a drive.
This is done by setting the measurement on once you hit a shot and start your long walk towards your ball. You can measure the distance from the starting point to the endpoint based on GPS tracking and not the number of steps taken to reach your ball.
The more sophisticated watches have sensors built to observe your swing speed and path for fine-tuning.
In addition to tracking your swing data, the more advanced watches will track your score and enable you to track how you are playing compared to previous rounds.
The battery life of your golf watch is crucial as it should be capable of lasting for a bare minimum of 18 holes before necessitating a recharge. Many golf watches can be worn outside of the golf environment and typically have a battery life exceeding 10 days.
Usability Outside Golf
Manufacturers of golf watches make the watches to be used as an everyday watch. The top-end golf watches will even permit you to check in on your emails or answer your phone while playing golf or away from the course.
The GPS Watch Highlights
- A golf watch is lightweight and easy to carry around on your arm. A watch is much closer and simpler to gain access to than a device stored in a case, most likely in your bag or the cart. Therefore, it will create less of a disturbance and allow you to speed up play.
- A golf yardage finder will give you the distance to the hole from any point on the course. If you are satisfied with it during your performance, you would be fine with those watches.
- Some golf watches can be utilized as an everyday watch as well.
- On the negative side, the display on a watch is most probably smaller than that of a handheld device.
Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for Best Golf Watch
|TecTecTec ULT-G Golf GPS Watch||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|SkyCaddie SX500 handheld golf GPS||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Garmin Approach S40||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Garmin Approach S60 Premium GPS Golf Watch||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Bushnell Neo Ion 2||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
Review of the Top 5 GPS Watches For Golfers
- Accurate measurements to the front, back, and middle of the green
- Also shows distance to hazards and doglegs
- 38,000 preloaded courses
- Connect to a course with a single press of a button
- Amazingly easy to set up/use
- Rain and dust resistant
- Inexpensive, with no subscription or update fees
- Battery life is OK, but not the best
- Lacking advanced features that some players like
- Not a very flashy design
The TecTecTec ULT-G GPS watch is easy to set up, easy to use, and remarkably robust, to which thousands of reviewers can attest. It purposely left out many of the bells and whistles seen on other GPS watches, meaning you won’t have to comb through a bunch of rarely-used features just to get going. All the information you need is presented, clear as day, on a sharp LCD screen.
TecTecTec has access to over a whopping 38,000 courses. Once you’ve got it set up, simply press the satellite button to connect to your course, and then enjoy instant yard measurements to the front, back, and middle of every green, accurate to within plus or minus one yard.
In addition to yard measurements for greens, the ULT-G also provides yardage information for hazards and doglegs. So, if any nasty surprises are lurking around the corner, you’ll be ready for them.
The screen has an automatic backlight, and the display is easily visible even in bright sunlight.
It also has automatic course recognition, as well as automatic hole progression. This really helps to keep a steady and smooth progression of the play.
It’s Bluetooth capable, meaning you should have no trouble securing essential software updates – and don’t worry, there are no additional costs involved with updates. And for the icing on the cake, this watch is USGA compliant.
Oh, and it also tells the time. It is a watch, after all!
The ULT-G will last for roughly two and a half 18-hole rounds before it needs recharging. When it’s not being used as a GPS and just a regular watch, it will last a lot longer. It comes with a USB charger.
This thing has certainly been built to last. It’s lightweight yet has a very robust design. It is both dust and rain-resistant and comes with a one-year warranty.
- Best GPS watch available
- Large touchscreen for easy viewing
- The adjustable strap is particularly comfortable
- Easy charging system
- 41,000 pre-loaded courses
- Long battery life
- Swappable bands for style variations.
- Provides fewer yardage readings than rangefinders
- Prone to picking up practice swings
This is one of the sleekest and chic golf GPS watches available. It is also robust, and the face is made of Gorilla Glass 3 that will shield it should it fall or be struck by a stray golf ball.
The 0.86-inch Quickfit band completes the looks of this watch magnificently, and these bands are effortlessly swappable for style variations.
There are 41000 courses from across the globe pre-loaded onto the 1 GB memory.
- The watch tracks your activity through the Garmin Connect app for review after your round.
- It measures the distance of your last shot automatically
- After a period of inactivity, this GPS watch will notify you of a moving bar on the display. The bar will disappear after movement.
- The Garmin S60 calculates your current position swiftly and accurately.
- A compass, gyroscope, and accelerometer provide you with ample information during your round.
- The green view feature allows you to place the pin on the green for a more accurate distance reading.
The battery will last up to 10 hours in GPS mode, and the watch is functional for roughly 10 days as an everyday watch before it requires a recharge.
- The large 1.2″ color display is easily readable in direct sunlight and has a touchscreen display
- Personalization of the watch is possible, and you can effortlessly put your favorite background via the Face It app on your smartphone.
- Points of interest such as hazards and doglegs are presented accurately on the full-color map of the hole you are currently playing.
The Garmin Connect app delivers free course updates via an associated smartphone. Furthermore, it is possible to receive call and text notifications and to regulate the music stored on your associated smartphone from here.
Read More: We did a full review of the Garmin Approach S60 here.
- The vibrant color display makes it an easy read
- Accurate distances
- Reasonably Priced
- Automatically records shot distances
- Green charting with manual modifications
- Records short game
- Connects via Bluetooth smartphone app
- Fewer features that the Garmin S60
- Slow startup time
Garmin has been at the forefront of GPS technology for decades and has moved on from only supplying the mobile market with GPS devices to including their technology in golf watches. There are many watches in the Garmin range, and we have looked at the most popular and well-loved watches.
The S40 is waterproof and there are 41,000 courses from around the globe loaded, allowing you to compare your score against other golfers.
The color screen measures 1.2” and is extremely responsive and easy to read in strong sunlight.
The color screen also allows you to view the aerial layout, the elevations on the green, and permits you to move the pin for more precise placement and distance calculation.
Distances to hazards, front, middle, and back of the green are displayed clearly on the screen.
The AutoShot Game Tracking automatically records the distance that your ball traveled without you having to instigate the command. This records your shot distances and also every pitch and putt for post-match analysis.
The battery life on the S40 is on the higher end of the scale and will last for roughly 15 hours in GPS mode and will work for up to 10 days as a non-GPS watch, making it a great everyday partner.
1.2-inch color display
Usability Outside Golf
There are quick-release bands on the S40 that can turn the watch from a sporty golf watch into a formal watch when fitted with a leather band. The watch can moreover be connected to your mobile phone via Bluetooth for the exact tracing of fitness activities and sleep patterns.
- Long-lasting battery
- An above-average amount of courses
- Up to 4 hazard distances per hole
- Auto hole advance
- The great price point for the value
- Can take a while to load the course
- A battery charger is not durable according to some reviews
- Lack of tech support
The watch comes with 36,000 preloaded courses across 30 countries all over the world.
The watch is fairly easy to set up and has free subscriptions and Bluetooth updates that happen automatically to improve your experience on the golf course.
The hazard reading feature is nice for those shots where you need to be aware of a bunker, body of water, or anything else that could cause trouble on the golf course.
The other thing that sets the Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf GPS Watch is the auto hole advance feature. No longer do you need to update your watch all the time. It will keep up with you by itself!
The watch from Bushnell advertises a long battery life that does not need to be charged until 3 18-hole rounds have been played.
The sleek look of the watch is appealing and gives the player an accurate reading of the front, middle, and back of the green.
Handheld GPS Selection Criteria to Consider
Synchronization / App Integration
You will want to confirm that the device can synchronize with the app via Bluetooth or wi-fi for software updates, course information, and to download new courses that have become available on the app.
Some apps can integrate with your smartphone allowing you to track your stats electronically and even make information on your round accessible online to family, friends, or other golfers wherever they may be on the planet.
The number of golf courses pre-loaded on the device is extremely important but would be of no value if it does not incorporate courses that you may play frequently. Some of the top-of-the-range devices have included more than 40,000 pre-loaded courses covering more than 30 countries.
Check whether there are courses in your location that have not been pre-loaded and ascertain whether they are expected to be added in the near future.
The latest GPS devices have many features to assist golfers at all levels to achieve the best results possible. We will highlight the best features of every device to enable you to make the best decision on whether the features are an essential or nice-to-have feature.
GPS devices are available in a wide range of prices, and it will be up to you to set the budget upfront and then stick to the budget. There are so many features available, and one can easily get carried away by the features and forget about the budget
The essential parts of the display are the clearness and dimension and if the device will be able to show the full length of the hole in a clear layout.
Another area to consider is if the display has touch screen technology to move about sections of the hole and zoom in for a clearer insight of what you can expect along the way.
The battery in the GPS device must have ample life for you to finish at least 18 holes. Most devices have battery life over 8 hours or even multiple days, so this ought should not problem.
The Handheld GPS Highlights
- Handheld devices are normally larger and bulkier than GPS watches and have larger displays making it easier to interpret the distances displayed on the screen. The golfer that wants an all-round experience may prefer a handheld device.
- Handheld devices can store more functionality and statistics due to their size.
- On the negative side, the increased bulk makes it difficult to carry around while playing and it requires storage either in your bag or on the cart.
Reviews of The Best Golf GPS Devices
- It’s easy to use the GPS and all the features.
- It’s almost competitive with laser technology
- Phenomenally clear 3-inch color display
- Particularly accurate
- Relatively expensive
- A little bulky
The handheld Approach G8 is rated as the best handheld GPS device available, and is aimed at golfers that have a higher disposable income. It provides a load of functionality and assists people that struggle with smaller fonts by allowing you to switch to a larger font mode.
There are more than 40,000 golf courses spanning the globe preloaded on the G8, and more courses are loaded regularly. This makes it one of the best-covered GPS devices in golf.
Through the use of slope technology, the G8 will provide you with the actual distances that the shot will play. It will adjust the distance, taking into account whether the shot is playing uphill or downhill.
Based on data collected from previous rounds it will recommend which club to select for your next shot.
The battery life of the device is set at 15 hours which will enable you to complete 3 rounds of golf.
The 3-inches color touchscreen displays numbers in big digits for ease of viewing. You can also touch the area that you are targeting to land the ball for more detail regarding distances and possible areas of concern.
The display will show you the layout of the hole you are playing on and the green view and allow you to toggle between the two views.
Green view mode allows you to position the pin for more accurate distances.
Blindshot assistance will provide you with the direction and distance to the green when you are in a blind spot and you are unable to see the green.
Automatic updates are received wherever you have contact with wi-fi and it is free.
You will be able to connect to your iPhone and receive notifications, email, text, and other alerts sent to your phone to ensure that you do not miss out on any critical information.
- Long battery life
- Exceedingly accurate
- Easy to read display.
- Terrific value for money
- Could take a while to detect the course
- Long startup
The Swami 6000 by Izzo Golf has a classic handheld appearance with an easy-to-read 2-inch color LCD. The Swami 6000 also provides distances to the front and back of hazards and doglegs. In addition to this, it provides distances to the front, middle, and back of the green.
Comes preloaded with 38,000 global golf courses and auto-locates your course upon startup.
The Magnahold internal magnets enable you to mount it securely to a cart frame. It offers four modes: green, hazards, scorecard, and shot distance.
- Automatic hole advancement with a digital scorecard.
- Shot distance measurement.
- GIR (greens in regulation) and PPR (putts per round) tracking
The 2-inch easy-to-read color display will provide you with a complete layout of the hole.
The Swami 6000 is water-resistant and uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that runs for 16 hours at a time.
- Incredibly clear graphics and detail
- Quickly toggle through multiple views
- Automatic map rotation
- Rugged design
- Highly water-resistant
- Extended battery life.
- Rather expensive
- Annual membership fees after the first year
- Could get heavy when carrying it during the round
What makes Sky Caddie unique is that they verify and rectify every hole of the +35,000 pre-loaded courses for maximum precision measurements and unmatched accuracy.
Dynamic halve technology uses multi-constellation navigation satellite systems for enhanced accuracy and greater overall better performance. The GPS rotates the fairway and green from your current position and angle of approach.
RangeVue yardage arcs make club selection straightforward as it overlays fairway landing areas and greens.
HoleVue with integrated targets provides critical ground mapped geo-referenced target information providing distances to carry hazards, to the end of the fairway, layups, and more.
IntelliGreen Pro technology provides the exact shape of the green, surrounding areas, major contours, mounds, tiers, and false fronts depending on your angle of approach.
The SkyCaddie SX500 enhances the Dynamic HoleVue feature with the new IntelliPath feature that provides the distance to your intended target as well as the distances to all intervening hazards and other critical information.
Shot tracking offers scoring and statistic tracking on every shot you hit during the round of golf and stores it in your SkyGolf 360 account for review and analysis of your round.
With the largest Hi-capacity rechargeable Li-Polymer battery in the industry, the SX500 is ready for the extended playing time of between 12-14 hours of continuous use.
The SkyCaddie SX500 provides a host of automated features like auto-course select, auto-hole advance, and auto-zoom to minimize the interaction required to a minimum.
Big Number Mode offers large numbers, so you will not need your glasses to see them even if the device is in your cart mount.
Accurate distances to the front, center, and back of the green are displayed together with the hole number being played, par, and handicap of the hole.
Preloaded with 40,000+ golf courses globally without any subscription. The courses not already preloaded can be added within 72 hours after you request them to be added. Newly added courses are available to everyone with no additional fees.
- Set time zone, toggle between 12-hour and 24-hour mode. If daylight saving is set the clock will advance by 1 hour.
- Shot distance calculator on or off
- The unit can be set for imperial or metric
- Auto Shut-off when the device is not in use
- Language – Select your preferred language.
- Check firmware version and course version number.
Auto hole advance function is triggered when you arrive within 30 yards of the green and then move more than 30 yards away from the center of the green.
The rear and side of the device are protected by a rubberized coating to absorb shock and increase your grip.
Canmore provides a Clip n’ Go magnet allowing you to clip the GPS to any metal surface such as your belt, golf bag, or golf cart frame. It also offers a clip that you can attach to non-metal areas of your belt, pants, or bag.
High Accuracy GPS provides you with 8 metrics
- Distance to the back of the green
- Distance to the center of the green
- Distance to the front of the green
- Current hole number
- PAR for the hole
- Total Score of this round
- Current time
- Battery status
It is housed in a rugged IPX4 weatherproof rubberized casing for increased durability.
Available in orange, black, and turquoise
You will need between 7 and 8 hours to fully charge the Canmore HG200s chargeable 1600mAh lithium battery after which it will provide up to 14 hours in GPS Mode out on the course. This should be more than enough for 2 to 3 rounds.
Canmore’s vibrant display is a high-resolution (176 x 220 pixels) full-color 2-inch LED that displays icons and numbers clearly on even in the brightest sunlight.
The device can be synchronized through the USB cable that comes standard.
Why Are GPS Devices Used in Golf?
In the early years of golf, players were dependent on markings on the course whether it be on the side of the fairway, or later markings on the fairway, indicating the distance to the green.
This was not always clear whether it was describing the distance to the front, middle, or back of the green. Distances to hazards were mostly an estimation but certainly not perfect.
With the advent of the GPS and then gadgets that were made available to the general public to ascertain distances, the need for GPS rangefinders rapidly increased.
Present-day GPS devices can quite conceivably provide precise information within 5 feet making the shot selection and club choice significantly simpler. They are furthermore able to display the layout of the hole inclusive of all hazards and even the green layout and pin position
How Does Golf GPS Work?
The Global Positioning System (GPS) consists of more than 30 navigation satellites circling the earth. A GPS receiver in your device listens for these signals and when 4 or more of these satellites provide information to your device, it can calculate your current position.
The detail of the course is preloaded on your device with the locations of the relevant greens, hazards, and other points of interest.
Which Golf GPS Is Most Accurate?
Garmin is the leader in golf GPS navigation systems since 1991 and introduces more than 35 patents by the turn of the century. The best technology reviewed in this article is the Garmin Approach G8 Golf GPS.
What Is The Easiest Golf GPS To Use?
Garmin produces some of the best and most user-friendly GPS handheld devices. Many consider the Garmin Approach G8 handheld device the easiest to use with its simplified and effective buttons and menu structure.
What Is The Best Value GPS Golf Watch?
It is not only in the handheld category that Garmin excels. The best watch in this review is the Garmin Approach S60 Premium GPS Golf Watch offering many additional features.
Is A Golf GPS Worth It?
Although GPS devices don’t offer the accuracy that you will get from rangefinders that are accurate to within 1 yard, they supply distances to the front, middle, and back of the green. They can also store loads of information by tracking the distances you hit the ball, scores, and more. This enables you to identify areas of your game that need to be refined.
Which GPS Golf Watch Has The Longest Battery Life?
Many GPS devices offer a battery life of 14 hours of uninterrupted use. Most of the handheld devices reviewed offer 14 hours or more battery life which is sufficient for approximately 3 18-hole rounds.
Is Apple Watch A Good Golf Watch?
Apple was one of the first technology companies to release a watch linking their cellphone technology to a watch.
You can now link many of the apps available to your Apple watch to provide GPS distances and store the history of your rounds completed. Since you can use your Apple Watch for many things, it’s a great choice for those who have found some apps that meet their needs.
Read more: The Best Apps for Apple Watch This Year
Ultimately your selection of the best golf GPS device is based on which features fit your personal preference. As technology improved, more functionality is added to golf watches and screens are made larger for ease of reading.
Golfers are being spoilt for choice with the various devices available to aid them in determining the distance left to the green and other relevant information regarding hazards. GPS devices are now able to recommend the club you require based on your past performance and you can review your performance in the comfort of your home to prepare better for your next round.
Our preferred device is the Garmin Approach G8 handheld device for the excellent features for retrospection and determining the areas of your game that needs the most work.