The 5 Best Golf GPS Apps: Cheaper Than A Rangefinder?

There are now golf gps apps that you can use to get your distance readings for a fraction of the price of a rangefinder. This could save you hundreds of dollars, but you must find one with the right features for your game.

What’s the best golf GPS app for you?

Check out our reviews below to find the best golf tracking app for your needs.

Things To Consider Before Subscribing to a Golf GPS App

Annual Golf GPS App Fee vs Price of a Laser Rangefinder

The initial outlay in terms of subscription fees for a golf GPS app is significantly lower than if you were to acquire a laser rangefinder. This may prompt you to hop on to the App Store or Google Play store and download the first one you see, but you need to get the calculator out first.

I have found that a golf GPS app with premium features will run you about $50 for an annual subscription. Ten years’ worth of subscription fees could get you a top laser rangefinder, and you will likely have purchased more than one device during that period.

This makes a golf GPS app an excellent option if you are on a budget or are looking for distance measurements while you save up for a top-notch rangefinder.

Free Features

Many golf GPS apps offer users a free version with various features and benefits. I have found the free features on some apps to be so good I was unsure if it was necessary to upgrade.

If you like an app and its features, it is worth upgrading to get the full experience.

The free version of GPS apps commonly offers a GPS rangefinder that works on thousands of courses. And a basic digital scorecard.

If you are in the market for a golf GPS app, it is worth taking advantage of the free features to see if it suits your needs before signing up. You can still enjoy the free features if you are not willing to spend anything on a golf GPS app.

Remember that free features aren’t entirely free, so you must deal with annoying banner adverts if you decide to go this route.

Monthly vs Annual Subscription Fee

Purchasing an annual subscription fee will result in you saving up to 60% compared to paying monthly.

While the savings are significant when you agree to a one-year subscription, all sales are final. If you don’t like the app and cancel within 12 months, you won’t be refunded for the months of no use. You can avoid throwing your hard-earned dollars away by taking advantage of an app’s free version before committing.

Paying monthly works out to more than if when paying a full years subscription upfront.

However, the advantage is that you can opt out at any point and move on to another app.

Read More: The Best Golf GPS Devices

Measurement Accuracy

Golf GPS apps will typically give you the distance to the green’s front, center, and back, and not to within 1 yard of the pin, like a laser rangefinder.

Certain apps allow you to adjust the position of your target, giving you precise reads for that day’s pin location.

The premium features on apps provide you with accurate measurements from your ball to hazards and the green to help you plan your hole from the tee to the green.

Integrated Maps

The performance of your Golf GPS products is only as good as the detail provided by the map, which is integrated into the app. The app will underperform if the map integrated by the developers does not have detailed information about your home course.

It is advisable to test all the app functions on the course that you play the most to ensure the product works.

Digital Scorecard

Besides providing distance measurements, these apps enable you to keep your score. Premium features on GPS apps encourage you to record your fairways in regulation (FIR), putts per hole, and shots out of the sand.

Select apps allow you to directly post your score from the app to your GHIN profile, providing you with extra convenience.

Strokes Gained Analysis

Serious golfers wanting in-depth insight into their games should look at Golf GPS Apps that offer strokes gained analysis.

When you capture every hole’s score, you add details regarding FIR, putts per hole, and shots out of the sand. The analysis then provides you with a handicap for each element of your game, determining where you need to improve.

Shot Length

If you want to improve your distance control, look for an app with enhanced accuracy. This, in turn, will help you improve your distance control.

Shot distances can be recorded using a Golf GPS app. These distances will help the app accurately recommend clubs for future shots.

Club Recommendation

GPS Apps that measure the distance of your previous shot use that data to recommend the best club. The more information your GPS has regarding your distances. The more accurate the recommendation will become.

Overall Best Golf GPS App: SwingU Golf GPS App


Our pick for the best overall golf GPS app is brought to you by SwingU. The app is used by over 5 million golfers and works on every course worldwide. I have tried it on courses throughout the USA, Canada, the UK, South Africa, and Argentina. It has performed as expected in all Countries, which contributes to it being one of the top golf apps in the world.


  • Advanced free features
  • GPS rangefinder works on every course in the world
  • Strokes gained analysis gives you insight into all areas of your game from tee to green
  • Adjustable power usage to save battery and data when you are on the course
  • Coaching tips and instructions


  • Banner adverts on the free version
  • Basic digital scorecard on the free version
  • Accuracy of measurement to the exact location of the flag

Rating: 4.7/5

Features and Benefits

Swingu golf gps app screenshot

GPS Rangefinder

The premium version of the SwingU golf tracking app offers advanced GPS rangefinder features, which would even impress the most hardcore golfers.

During non-tournament rounds, you can switch off tournament mode to receive distance measurements that factor in the current wind speed and the elevation of your shot. As a result, the application can provide you with “plays like yardages.”

The rangefinder on this app allows you to measure the distance of your shots. With sufficient data, it will accurately recommend which club to hit based on your past average distances.

Adjustable Target

One of the downsides with Golf GPS products has been the measurement accuracy to the pin. The devices give you the distance to water hazards and bunkers and the green’s front, center, and back. On the SwingU app, you can adjust your target by dragging the pin to get a more accurate read to current pin locations and layup points.

This feature does help to make the golf tracking apps’ readings more accurate. However, it won’t give you the distance to within 1 yard of your target, like a laser rangefinder.

The ability to adjust your target gives you more control than with GPS devices of the past. I found it particularly useful for layup shots on doglegs and blind holes.

Serious golfers may want more precise measurements, but you will have no trouble sticking it on the dance floor with the help of the adjustable target function.

Digital Scorecard

As has become the norm in the market, this application comes with a digital scorecard function. Besides plugging your strokes in every hole, you can record whether you hit the fairway or rough from the tee, the number of putts, bunker shots, and penalty strokes.

The digital scorecard features a hole insights function that compares your performance on each hole to other golfers in the SwingU network.

Versus Mode

SwingU’s strokes gained analysis feature versus mode provides in-depth analysis from tee to green. The app’s algorithm analyses the information for your hand and gives you a handicap for all facets of your game. This helps you determine what you need to work on next time on the range.

Versus mode comes with various lessons and drills from world-class golf coaches. They are designed to help you work on the weaker elements of your game.

Pricing and Packages

SwingU offers you two packages. The Free for Life with basic features and the Premium version.

The premium subscription is $59.99 per year if you pay upfront; otherwise, it is $9.99 per month.


The SwingU app has basic but sufficient features in the free-for-life version to keep the average golfer happy. That being said, the variety of features and services in the Premium edition is well worth the $59.99 per year. It is also one of the best golf apps for apple watches. The app is designed to improve your overall game and, in reality, is your virtual caddie.

golf gps app swingu app store

golf gps apps swingu google

Best Value For Money Golf GPS App: Golfshot Golf GPS App


As far as the cost for upgradable features goes, Golfshot offers you the most bang for your buck. The Golfshot pro edition is substantially more affordable than their competitor’s products and offers most of the same features.

For this reason, we awarded Golfshot our best value for money Golf GPS app.


  • Free version
  • Augmented reality delivers distances to hazards in realtime
  • Post scores from the app directly to your GHIN account
  • Book tee times from the app
  • Tee to green statistics even on the free version


  • Banner adverts on the free version
  • Flyovers on the free version don’t provide any distances
  • Cannot adjust target on the free version
  • Does not work on all courses
  • No monthly subscription option

Rating: 4.5/5

Features and Benefits

golfshot gps app

GPS Distances

The free version of the Golfshot GPS app merely provides the distance to the center of the green.

The pro version gives you distances to hazards, suggested layup points, and the green. Like the SwingU app, the Golfshot rangefinder measures the distance of your shots and suggests which club you should use.

Finally, Golfshot has included a pan targets feature in the app to allow you to zoom into your target to receive a more accurate measurement.

Flyover Preview

On each hole, you will enjoy a flyover preview from tee to green. The free version shows the hole layout in 3d but does not provide any qualitative data.

In the pro version, you are given distance readings to the suggested target areas on the hole. I have found this helpful in planning my hole, aiding my distance control.

Digital Scorecard

Golfshot has added convenience to its subscribers’ lives by enabling you to link your GHIN number to the app. This, in turn, allows you to post your scores directly to your handicap index.


When you become a Golfshot Pro subscriber, you enjoy various discounts with the brand’s partners. Reduce your spending on selected partners’ green fees, swing evaluations, and golf balls.

Pricing and Packages

The Golfshot GPS app comes in three different subscription levels. Free, Pro, and the Ultimate Combo.

The free package offers users basic features, including the distance to the center of the green. It also enables you to book tee times from the app.

If the free version leaves you wanting more, then you can upgrade to a Pro account. This includes the detailed features we touched on earlier, costing $39.99 per year.

The ultimate combo subscription comes with the pro version features, lessons, and tips. This is intended to help enhance your game. This service will cost you $59.98 per year.


It is refreshing to see an app that offers an entry-level, medium-range, and premium subscription option. The free version is fundamental compared to other golf GPS apps, but the cost to upgrade is affordable, and the features are well worth the investment.

Most Affordable Golf GPS App: Skydroid Golf GPS


Skydroid is the most affordable golf GPS app I have ever used. While it is one of the older options on the market, it still gets the job done far cheaper than any of its competitors.


  • Most affordable app on the market
  • GPS distance to the front, center, and back of the green
  • Map any course not currently in the database
  • Shot distance tracker


  • Outdated interface
  • Wind speed and slope not factored into distance reading
  • Inaccurate on courses with limited map data

Rating: 4.4/5

Features and Benefits

skydroid golf gps app

GPS Distances

The Skydroid GPS gives you the distance to sand traps, hazards, and the green’s front, middle, and back. While this works for the average player who wants to get the ball in the vicinity of the green. Superior players will likely prefer more precise measurements.

Course Maps

Once you have paid the one-off subscription fee for the app, you are free to download unlimited satellite course maps. The only limit is the storage capacity of your smartphone.

Pricing and Packages

The Skydroid app costs a once-off fee of $1.99 and enables you to download unlimited course maps and receive basic distance measurements to hazards and the green. If you want the synchronized feature to upload your scores to the Skydroid website automatically, it will only cost you an additional one-off fee of $1. This makes Skydroid the best golf distance app for tracking your scores in the cloud on a budget.


As the most affordable golf GPS app, you get what you pay for with the Skydroid app. It is a basic creation that provides the average golfer with distance readings around the course. It does what is intended for the price and makes for an excellent entry-level option.

golf gps app store skydroid golf gps app google play skydroid

Best Golf GPS App For Putting: GolfLogix Golf GPS


This is a golf GPS app best suited for players who need assistance with their putting reads. While it will help you get from tee to green, the app’s unique selling point is its ability to give accurate breaks and distance reads from your ball to the cup.


  • Gives reads on putts
  • Free trial with pro features
  • Turn tournament mode on and off
  • Shot distance tracker
  • Covers 35,000 courses worldwide


  • Ads in the free version
  • Putt breaks and approach maps not available for all courses
  • Only one free round with pro features
  • Aerial imagery option on the free version is basic

Rating: 4.4/5

Features and Benefits

GPS Distances

Golflogix GPS in one of the best golf GPS apps as it provides you with measurements to any point on the fairway, greens, bunkers, and water hazards.

The app’s 3D birds approach maps give you detailed information regarding the angles in and around the green. This helps your distance control and accuracy around the greens, giving you more birdie chances.

The app’s unique putt line feature will guide your aim and demonstrate how the ball will break. This is handy for reducing unwanted three putts and increasing one putts.

Digital Scorecard

The app allows you to input a variety of information about your performance on each hole, giving you an in-depth insight into your overall game. I appreciate that this feature is available in the free version of the app, and I found the analysis useful. It’s one of the best golf course apps you can get for free because of it.

After each hole. Input your score, the number of putts, greens in regulation, fairways hit, driving distance, greenside bunkers, pitches, chips, penalties, and missed putts.

Customize Your Golf Bag

After downloading and setting this app up, you can customize your golf bag, which will track the distances of your shots with each club. This will help to improve your distance control with every club, from driver to putter. To set up your bag, click on the relevant club, then select the manufacturer, model, and loft.

The app will record the distance of your shots for each club and display the average distance you hit that specific club.

Pricing and Packages

GolfLogix offers you a basic free version that gives you distance readings to the front, middle, and back of the green.

The plus membership includes an approach map to show you how the ball will land and roll to aid your shot preparation.

Furthermore, the plus option comes with built-in putt break maps that act as your caddie, giving you the perfect line and weight recommendation. Plus, membership costs $49.99 annually if you cough up for 12 months upfront.

If you prefer to take it monthly, you can grab a Plus membership subscription for $9.99 per month.


The GolfLogix golf GPS app will serve you well from tee to green, but I would recommend this more for players needing more detailed reads for short game shots rather than those looking for the best golf range finder app.

golf gps app store golflogix golf gps app golflogix

Best Free Golf GPS App: Hole 19 Golf GPS and Scorecard


Hole 19’s Golf GPS and Scorecard is my pick for the best free golf GPS App. While the app does have a paid-for Pro version, the free features are sufficient for those looking for an entry-level option. It’s one the best golf rangefinder apps to “try before you buy.”


  • Works on 43,000 courses
  • Find courses to play on nearest to you
  • Adjustable target feature for more accurate distance measurement
  • Basic digital scorecard
  • No ads on the free version


  • Augmented reality is not in the free version of the app
  • No distance tracker on the free version to determine shot lengths.

Rating: 4/5

Features and Benefits

GPS Distances

Hole 19 automatically provides the distances from the tee to the green’s front, center, and back. However, the interface is easy to use and allows you to adjust the target area to where you would like a reading. It also allows you to zoom in on the course layout to set your target market as close to the actual target as possible.

This flexibility enables you to easily get measurements to bunkers, water hazards, and layup spots making this the best app for golf yardage to avoid traps.

Digital Scorecard,

The digital scorecard on the free subscription package of Hole 19 is simple but sufficiently detailed. Enter your strokes for the hole, the number of putts, sand shots, and penalties.

Your scores will be stored on the app, offering you a convenient way to access data from past rounds. If you want to keep track of your golf stats, you can also use other golf stat apps for smartphones.

Search For Courses To Play

With over 43,000 golf courses in their database, Hole19 allows you to search for nearby courses to play. Whether you are at home or traveling around the world, you will be able to find a round at a golf course where the app functions and makes your life easier.

Pricing and Packages

This may be the best free Golf GPS app, but Hole 19 also offers a premium pro version. It has features such as augmented reality, a shot tracker, and club recommendations.

The premium Pro subscription will run you $60.15 annually when paid upfront. Hole 19 also offers subscribers a 6-month option for $36.80 and a monthly alternative for $9.81.


The Hole19 free golf GPS is easy to use and provides sufficient detail regarding distance measurements. It has earned its right to be the best free golf GPS app. If you are not looking to spend a dime on more golf equipment, this is the app you want to download.

golf gps app hole 19 golf gps app hole 19 play

Golf GPS App Alternative

GolfBuddy Aim W10 GPS Golf Watch

golfbuddy aim w10 golf watch


If you want more than an app but don’t want a larger rangefinder check out a great golf watch like the GolfBuddy.  A key feature that this watch has that is unique, is the ability to show the slope of the green.
The watch face looks very clean and gives a pretty detailed look at every hole that is downloaded into the system. To top it all off, the ratings are pretty great for its relatively low price.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Download a Golf GPS App?

Most golf apps can be found in your phone’s app store, like the Google Play Store. Otherwise, you can search and find their official site online. The official site will redirect you to where you can download the app.

Can You Use Your Phone as a Golf GPS?

Yes, a smartphone has many capabilities, and you can use one to get your location on a golf course using as long as the course information is included in your local maps app. Otherwise, you can download one of the best golf yardage apps in this article.

Can a Golf GPS App Help All Levels of Players?

Golf apps are beneficial to all levels of players, from beginners to professionals. They help you estimate the yardage between greens and holes more accurately than you would be relying on yard marks or just eyeballing it. This will help you pay an extra club to an uphill center pin.

How Accurate Are Golf GPS Apps?

Most golf GPS apps are pretty accurate, with an accuracy of 3-4 yards under optimal conditions. However, the accuracy highly depends on the phone’s GPS capabilities and how up-to-date the course information’s up-to-date.

However, it’s still not as accurate as a Rangefinder. Read more about this in our article golf GPS apps vs Rangefinders.

Do I Need Wi-Fi to Use a Golf GPS App?

There are actually some apps that you can use without Wi-Fi. All you would need to do is to download the golf course. A good example is Birdie App which has an offline mode.

What Is the Best Golf GPS App?

We believe the best golf tracker app is SwingU. It’s available on both Android and iOS devices, is accurate, and is packed full of features.

Final Thoughts

Golf GPS apps have made it more affordable and convenient for the average golfer to get an accurate distance measurement. The overall winner of the Best Golf GPS App is the SwingU app. The range of free features, paired with the detail and insight provided in the premium version, makes it an excellent option for all golfers. The app is cheaper than a laser rangefinder. And it does not require carrying an additional device around the course.

If you want to avoid spending hundreds of dollars on a laser rangefinder but still desire detailed and accurate distance measurements, check out the SwingU Golf GPS app.

Read Next: The Top 5 Golf Stat Apps For Smartphones; track your stats!

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Nick is the founder of GolfSpan and an avid golfer. He's not quite a pro but has over 15 years of experience playing and coaching golfers worldwide. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience when it comes to choosing the right golf gear and finding the right setup for your game.

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