Playing golf has changed. If you haven’t played a round with a golf gps, you gotta give it try. I first thought it sounded like too much, but I was quickly hooked. Which one should you try? Check out our picks for the best golf GPS and rangefinders for 2018.
Golf GPS allows you to play faster because you no longer have to do distance measurements manually. You also do not have to keep guessing the numbers. These devices can accurately determine the distances and hazards in the green.
If you are looking to buy one, here is a list of some of the best golf GPS you can try.
1. Izzo Golf Swami 5000 Golf GPS Rangefinder
Its users have praised this GPS rangefinder because it is very easy to use. It has the basic functionalities you would need in a golf GPS and more. It has new features that its predecessor, the Swami 4000+, did not have. This unit will cost you less than $130, and it is the most basic golf GPS you would probably need.
- Accurate distances and layup
- 30,000 golf courses around the world are preloaded
- Has a scorecard feature
- Has auto-hole advancement
- Measures shot distance
- Uses a magnetic charger
- Battery life lasts over 12 hours
- Slimmer design
- Durable and waterproof
This GPS rangefinder from Swami has been enhanced and with added features than the Swami 4000+. It is a new and improved version but still with all the essential goods. The design is simple. It is slimmer and has a large 2-inch full-color LCD display.
There are preloaded course maps and there are no annual fees or subscriptions. The device accurately measures distances to front, center, and back of the green. It also has accurate layup and distances for hazards and doglegs.
You can track your scores with the scorecard feature. This will help you see your progress from the last ten rounds. The shot distance measurement allows you to measure the distance your drivers can make accurately.
- Simple and easy to use
- Has all the basic features
- Long battery life
- Covered by a 1-year limited warranty
- The belt clip is not very dependable
- Magnetic charger is unique
Bottom line: This GPS rangefinder is a basic unit that even beginners would understand. It has basic features and functionalities. It is just a little bit difficult with the charger because it is magnetic instead of the usual port design. Overall, I think this is a very useful basic unit.
2. Garmin Approach G8 Golf Course GPS
This is a touchscreen unit and costs about $350. The Approach G8 is Garmin’s most feature-packed GPS. It is sleek, lightweight, and durable. It has precise distances, can be connected to Wi-Fi and smartphones, and has long battery life.
- Preloaded with 41,000 golf courses worldwide
- Features PlaysLike Distance
- Has Smart Notification functionality
- Has PinPointer blind shot assistance
- Seek, lightweight, and durable
- Has more scorecard options
- Connects with Garmin Golf Community
When you start the device, it automatically finds the course you are playing. It has a responsive 3-inch screen with good clarity. You will see the distances to the front, center, and back yardages of the green as well as the hazards.
The PlaysLike Distance feature gives the golfers the accurate distances to the target that is automatically adjusted for uphill or downhill shots. If you cannot see where the pin is, the PinPointer will show you the way. You can also know the accurate distance when lying up.
You can track your scores for Stroke Play, Stableford, Skins and Match Play. You can download and print your stats so you know where you can improve. It also lets you receive emails and messages directly on your screen.
- Accurate distances
- 15-hour battery life
- Touchscreen display
- More options and connectivity
- Scoring by hole function is difficult
- Can be slow in finding courses
Bottom line: This touchscreen device is for the techier golfer who wants more options in their GPS unit. It is priced a bit high, but it is packed with lots of features that you will surely love.
3. SkyGolf SkyCaddie Touch GPS
The SkyCaddie Touch is one of the high-end GPS out on the market. They have a membership fee that you have to pay every year to get updates for accurate courses. The device itself costs less than $300 and includes a 1-year prepaid membership card.
- Has Bluetooth connectivity
- Large touchscreen
- Interactive HoleVue
- Dynamic RangeVue
- Intelligreen Technology
- Unlimited access to over 35,000-course downloads and updates
- Has digital scorecard and statistical tracking
The SkyCaddie touch quickly finds the location of the course nearest to you. The Dynamic RangeVue guides you to the distance of the next hole. You have to enable the Target function to get information about the hazards. The distance to the front, middle, and back of the green is excellently displayed with the Intelligreen System.
You can track your scores for up to 20 rounds, and you can upload it to SkyGolf 360. This feature can help improve your game by providing storage so you can analyze your progress.
The membership fee can be helpful too. It will give you access to more courses. It will also give you enhanced features, so your courses are up to date.
- Provides accurate distances
- Easy-to-read screen
- Compact design
- Additional fees after 30 days
- Doesn’t respond well with gloves on
Bottom line: This unit is for the player who is willing to pay extra for the enhanced features. If you do not want additional subscriptions, then it may be best to choose a different GPS model.
4. GolfBuddy Voice GPS
This GPS unit tells you the distance information through audio. It is a detachable unit so you can use it as a watch or just the unit itself. It is also affordable at less than $100. This is one of the best golf GPS that has good value.
- Utilizes audio distance information
- Has volume control
- 38,000+ global courses are preloaded
- Measures your shots
- Automatically recognizes holes and courses
- Preloaded with eight different languages
- Detachable for more versatility
Perhaps the best feature of this GPS is the Audio Distance Information. The built-in voice helps you in measuring the distance without having to look at your device. It will simply just tell you. Adjust the volume to a level that you can hear it clearly and be on your way.
This handy little device will measure yardages and the distance the pin is from the front, center, and back of the green. This is preloaded with more than 38,000 courses and has a capacity of up to 40,000. The device will recognize the course and will automatically locate the next hole.
This can also accurately measure your shots. You only have to press the “P” button after your shot then press it again when you reach the ball. It is now easier for you to measure the right distance of your shots.
The fact that there are no required memberships or annual fees is a plus too. Users of this unit have raved about the ease-of-use, and it provides them with the basic needs even without too many features.
- Audio distance information
- Easy to use
- Can be clipped anywhere
- Very cheap at less than $100
- Conveniently small
- No annual fees
- Takes a few seconds for the GPS to respond
- Has limited features
Bottom line: If you want convenience then this GPS may be for you. You no longer have to look at the GPS unit to see your distances and measurements. This is for the person who can listen to that information while walking.
5. IZZO Swami Sport Golf GPS
The Swami Sport GPS is designed to fit easily in your pocket, and it delivers a fast and accurate performance. It is a compact unit, which is priced at less than $80. This affordable unit provides the basic needs of any golfer.
- Accurately measures the distance to front, center, and back of the green
- 30,000+ worldwide courses are preloaded
- On-screen distances, hole number, par and time
- Easy-to-read, large, and vibrant display
- No membership or annual fees
- Long-lasting lithium-ion battery
- Durable and water resistant
- Includes carabineer and USB charging cable
When you turn on the device, select the course you are in from the 30,000 preloaded courses when your device gets a GPS signal. This is very convenient especially if you do not want to spend time connecting to a computer to download courses. Remember to click it every time you finish a hole to move on to the next one.
No matter the time of day, the display is easy to read. You can read the accurate distances with no problems. While you walk or drive to your ball, the yardages will quickly update. Even if this is a pocket-sized device, the display is large enough to see the readings clearly.
You have the option to switch from black-on-white or white-on-black display features to best suit your preferences. You can clip this onto your bag if that is what you prefer.
- Simple to use
- Very compact
- Easily readable
- Provides accurate distances and yardages
- Maybe slow to update
- Takes a few minutes to reboot
Bottom line: This is a pretty basic golf GPS unit. It is a good choice if you want an easy-to-use device that does not break the bank.
6. Garmin Approach G30 Golf Handheld GPS
For less than $200, you can have this handheld unit from Garmin, which can also be attached to your golf bag. It has full-color mapping and touch targeting so beating the course will be a breeze.
- Over 40,000 courses around the world are preloaded
- Highly sensitive GPS
- Has 2.3-inch touchscreen display
- Accurate distance with Green View
- Has digital scorecard
- Displays smartphone notifications
- Measures individual shots
- Manual pin positioning
The touchscreen handheld has one button to turn it on or off. Start your game by pressing “Play,” and it will automatically locate the nearest course. You can view the green on the full-color display. See accurate distances of the front, middle, and back yardages.
You can digitally record your scores and view it after the rounds or on your account on the Garmin Connect. This device can also be connected to the Garmin TruSwing Swing Sensor. If you want the notifications from your phone to be displayed, it can do that too.
This unit comes with a mini USB cable for charging. You can hook it onto your golf bags if you do not want it in your pocket.
- Starts quickly
- Easy to view screen
- Three full rounds in one full-charge
- Compact design
- Automatic updates with no annual fees
- Might be too small for large hands
- Slow response touchscreen
Bottom line: This is a well-made golf GPS rangefinder. It has the basic features you need and is more affordable compared to other products on the market.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Golf GPS
The Available Courses
The reason why golf GPS units come with thousands of courses is that it allows the device to be sold globally. Some brands already have a range of preloaded courses while some offer downloadable ones for a price. It is good to have many options so you can use the same unit wherever you go.
Golf GPS rangefinders come in different sizes. If you are looking to buy one, make sure that the size suits you. Compact and lightweight designs are good for portability but also consider the screen size for readability.
The Design and Features
Of course, the overall look of your device influences which kind you buy. Pick out what you think looks nice but make sure it has the functionalities you need as well. Do you want it to have a digital scorecard, Bluetooth connectivity, or can be used as a watch?
Obviously, you have to pick out the one that fits your budget too. Do not buy expensive units if you do not need the extra features that come with it. Surely, there are more affordable units that provide you the basics you need in a golf GPS.
Playing golf can now be a lot more convenient with the use of any one of these best golf GPS models. It allows you to measure accurate distances in the green and keeps track of your scores. They now come in designs which you can keep in your pocket, clip on to your golf bag, or even wear it on your wrist like a watch.
If you want to improve your play and make it easier and faster, then try using a golf GPS. When you buy one, consider the factors listed above, so you are sure that it is the best match for you.