Golf GPS devices have added a new dimension to playing the best golf possible for any skill level. The market is flooded with a multitude of options with varying features and prices to suit everybody’s needs. Unfortunately, manufacturers’ claims and marketing gimmicks do not always relate accurately to what the golfer thought he was buying.
In this article, we carry out an Izzo Swami Golf GPS Review and Comparison, focusing on 3 models, namely the 4000, 5000, and top of the range 6000.
Izzo Swami Golf GPS Review
1. Izzo Golf Swami 4000+
- Larger 1,8” color screen for an easy read
- Shot distance measurement
- Easy to use with only 4 buttons to operate
- Great introductory GPS
- Bright colors
- Distance to fixed points at the front, middle, and back of green only
- No graphics
- Not MAC compatible
- Slow for lock-on distance
The 4000+ is an upgrade on the previous 3000 model and Izzo Swami has added a few upgrades as can be expected on any new model. It is a very basic GPS that will suit players looking for limited information from a GPS system. Cost is another factor, and here the value for money is well worth it. Text distances to fixed points are provided for the front, center, and back of the green. There are no graphics and this is a negative for the 4000 model. Other features missing on this basic model are the inability to keep score and no hole handicap information. MAC users will be disappointed as Izzo does not support them, and this could be problematic if and when course updates are required.
Looking at the upgrades in more detail, the increased color screen size of 1.8” will be most welcome by all players especially the older player or players with diminished eyesight. No scrambling for glasses or squinting away from the sun to see the readings on the screen. Shot distance measurement is a serious upgrade and no more debating in the 4-ball who hit the furthest drive! Besides this, it will assist golfers to understand the actual distances they hit each club in the bag, which will improve game strategy and scores tenfold. An Auto-Advance feature between holes is also added.
The Izzo Swami 4000+ provides the battery level, time, and hole number on the color distance screen. The device is fairly thick and when carried in the pocket is rather uncomfortable. Satellite communication was also lost when in the pocket, but a belt clip is provided to overcome this issue. The Izzo Swami 4000+, whilst limited in advanced features, is still a great entry-level GPS for first-timers and those who have budget constraints. Amortize the cost of a caddy over the year and the purchase becomes a no-brainer!
What you get in the Box:
- USB cable
- AC Charger
- Protective soft bag
- Belt Clip
2. Izzo Golf Swami 5000 [Currently Out Of Stock, Will Update Soon]
- Accurate distances to front, center, and back of green
- Accurate layup and carry distances for hazards and doglegs
- New Scorecard feature to save and view up to 10 rounds
- Shot distance measurement
- Larger 2” color screen
- Longer battery life
- Durable and waterproof
- Easy to use
- Magnetic charge cable
- The belt clip is not great
The intermediate 5000 model in the Izzo Swami range is an upgrade from the 4000 model with advanced features that will appeal to the golfer that wants just a bit more than the standard information when out on the course. This model is one of the easiest to operate handheld Golf GPS devices, with super-fast speed, on the market today. The new features are well worth the additional cost and the increased information, will assist to lower scores on the track.
A slimmer profile is an improvement for the golfer who does not like to carry bulky objects in the pocket, when out on the course. The larger, more vibrant, 2” color screen just made it easier to obtain quick readings, without slowing up play. Increased battery life of over 12 hours is a great positive, and a scorekeeper that allows the player to store and view the round history.
Best of all the improvements is the added feature of producing distance readings to flags, hazards, and bunkers dogleg, carry, and layup areas. This feature is a must for the golfer who plays precision golf and relies on accurate distances for setting up each shot on the hole in play. Playing a strange course just got easier and with over 30,000 courses worldwide preloaded, will take the guesswork out of many shots, especially on undulating courses, where “dead” ground often causes misjudgment. Navigating the usage with a choice of 4 different languages is extremely easy.
3. Izzo Golf Swami 6000
- Bright 2” color screen with large numbers for easy reading
- Accurate measurements to the front, middle, and back of the green
- Accurate carry distance and measurements to the front and back of bunkers
- Shot distances during the round
- The digital scorecard allows golfers to keep a record of their rounds for analysis
- Compact with bright colors and easy to operate
- Downloads can take time depending on the signal strength
- Touch screen technology would be great but the cost would also increase.
The Izzo Swami 6000 is the flagship of the Izzo GPS range and has the capability and functionality to satisfy the most ardent golfer. This small handheld GPS will provide information that can transform your game to new heights, by offering an accurate course layout, before you commit to a shot. Knowing distances from the tee or fairway to bunkers and hazards, pin positions on the green, and shot distance measurement, create confidence to play the hole like a professional. No more guessing or using eyesight alone to plan the next shot.
From the tee, know the exact distance to fairway hazards or carry distance to the corners on doglegs. This feature alone will improve the player’s chances of par or birdie on the hole. Approach shots to the green become easier with knowing the length, depth, and size of a greenside bunker from front to back. The depth and width of the green are clearly shown on the bright screen and a pin-point flag distance allows the golfer to pull the right club and play attacking golf.
38000 golf courses worldwide are loaded on the device, and no annual fees are payable. It is an all-in-one GPS with a large 2” bright color screen, with large numbering for easy reading even in dull light. Referring to the screen will not delay play, and irritate playing partners or the 4-ball behind. A digital scorecard maintains information for after-round comparison and analysis. It can hold up to 10 rounds completed, and the player records the shots after each hole.
Golfers who regularly play foreign courses or go on golf tours will appreciate how this easy-to-operate GPS will give details of the layout before hitting the first tee shot. Simply switch on the device and the Auto-Course Recognition will give the player the choice of course for the day. The Izzo 6000 comes with a charger and the rechargeable battery has up to 16 hours of life. The inbuilt magnet and clips keep the device close at hand for quick reference. It would be difficult to find another GPS device that is compact, waterproof, and offers the great features of the Izzo Swami 6000, at such a good price point.
How Does the Izzo Swami GPS Range Compare to Others?
Comparisons in any form are always subjective by nature, and it is difficult to compare Apples with Apples. Below I have listed a few options available in the market, that are within the price range, and also offer good value for money.
A clip-on GPS with 41000 courses preloaded. It is compact and the 1,3 screen is a touch on the small side. It is easy to use, giving distance readings to the front, middle, and back of the green. It also highlights hazards and has a green view addition showing the shape of the green. A digital scorecard keeps the score available for after-play analysis.
The G12 model is more sophisticated than the G10 model, with added features and functions for the player wanting extra information on each hole during the round. It gives distances to dogleg landing areas, fairway traps, and also distances to the front, middle, and back of the green. The 30-hour battery life is a great feature. Simple and easy to operate.
The Bushnell Phantom GPS is a handheld compact device with Bluetooth and 30000 worldwide courses preloaded. Large numbers on the screen for easy readings to the front, middle, and back of the green. Hazard and layup distances, Auto course recognition, and hole advance, and a shot distance calculator make this GPS good value for money.
The upgraded version of the Phantom comes with some really good improvements, that make this pocket-sized design GPS a worthwhile purchase. It offers all the necessary distance readings for accurate information to enhance shot and club selection on each hole played. The larger display makes it easier for readings to the green and it has 6 layup and hazard distances per hole. Front, middle, and back green distances are all featured. 38000 preloaded courses in more than 30 countries, make this a golfing tourists must-have. Bluetooth makes for easy, fast downloads.
The Golf Buddy GPS has been around for a while and upgrades continue to move into the market. The Golf Buddy Voice 2 is a very light and easy-to-use device that will provide sufficient course information to assist all levels of golfers to improve their game. Shot distance measurement, lifetime updates on golf courses, automatic course, and hole recognition all come standard with this model. The Dynamic Green View shows the real front, center, and back distance measurements to the green. The GPS clips to the belt or the cap for easy location during play. The voice reads out the distances before the shot and is very handy. The downside is the voice often gives a reading while other players in the 4-ball are preparing to play their shots! Be careful where you stand while your partners are playing, or bear the brunt of some unsavory comments!
Handheld GPS Devises vs GPS Watches
Manufacturers have understood the simplicity of creating GPS watches to challenge the leading handheld devices on offer worldwide. The benefit and advantages of wearing a watch rather than carrying a GPS is a debatable issue. The watch is easier to reference for distances and will not hold up play. The chances of leaving the handheld device at home in the rush to the golf course, are for many, much greater. Pricing is generally on par, so the debate will never be settled. It is purely player preference.
Senior golfers would more than likely choose to wear a watch, rather than carry a GPS device on the course. Losing the watch is far more difficult than dropping the handheld!
The GPS market has a device for any level of golfer, who deems this a necessary part of his equipment. There is no doubt that the correct use of the GPS, will make the round smoother and less stressful, by knowing the distances to the green and hazards along the fairway. It should be mentioned that the GPS will work as well as the signal from the satellite permits. Downloads can be slower on various courses and can be a bit frustrating.
There are a few downsides to using a GPS on the course, and the main one is slowing down the speed of play. Every golfer would have experienced the frustration of playing behind a player or 4-ball that fidget and walk from the ball to the bag a few times before pulling a club. This is probably the main reason for not allowing the devices into tournament play, although it can be said, that with all the information books and distance charts, the professionals do take their time before committing to a shot. However, slow play is monitored, and in the tournaments, players get put “on the clock” if they fall behind in the field.
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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.