As a golf professional, I can’t begin to express how important it is to have an accurate yardage to the pin.
When you can compare this accurate yardage with truly knowing the distances you hit each club, you can make some great strides towards lowering your handicap.
Years ago, when I started the game, the golf GPS hadn’t been invented. Golfers today need to take advantage of this tremendous technology that they have at their fingertips.
Here are the best golf GPS’s on the market.
Our Best Golf GPS Devices in 2021
- Bushnell Phantom (Best Golf GPS Overall)
- SkyCaddie SX500 (Runner Up 1)
- Bushnell Wingman Golf GPS Speaker (Runner Up 2)
- GolfBuddy Clip on Voice 2 Golf Navigation GPS (Best Value Golf GPS)
- Garmin Approach G80 (Best Premium Golf GPS)
- Bushnell 201835 Hybrid Golf Laser Rangefinder + GPS (Best Hybrid Golf GPS)
- Garmin Approach S40 (Best Golf GPS Watch)
Best Golf GPS: Bushnell Phantom
- Very well priced
- Easy to use
- Magnetic device helps it stick to the golf cart
- One of the simplest golf GPS devices on the market
- No picture of the golf hole
Our pick for the best overall golf GPS may come as a surprise to some. The Bushnell Phantom is one of the best priced golf GPS on the market, but it offers so much for the price that it truly is the best golf GPS rangefinder.
The Phantom comes pre loaded with 35,000 courses. It is a smaller unit that has a built in golf cart magnet. This means you can leave the Phantom on your golf cart, and it won’t be interfering with your swing or blocking you from getting through the ball because of having a bulky handheld in your pocket.
When you purchase the Bushnell Phantom, you can also get a portable charger that allows you to make sure you always have some battery life left in your device. In addition to getting the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green, you will also get four hazard distances as well.
The hazard distances will be things like the end of the fairway or to the left bunker. Let’s face it golf is a challenging game, and sometimes technology can make it even more complicated.
The Bushnell Phantom takes things back to a more simplistic level, and it does so very accurately.
Runner Up 1: SkyCaddie SX500
- One of the best handheld visual devices
- Pre loaded with 35,000 courses
- High quality display
- Long battery life
- Zoom in on targets and alternate yardages
- A new release, so it is still priced a bit high
SkyCaddie has been around the game for quite some time. They were one of the first Golf GPS handhelds to be offered to players.
In fact, they were the first ones I remember programming for members of the club years ago. They had lots of glitches, you needed to download each course separately, and it took a very long time.
With the old SkyCaddie models, you would have to connect them to a computer and go through an extensive registration process.
With the SX500, you won’t have to connect to a computer at all, and your device will be up and running in a matter of minutes. The SkyCaddie has become very easy to use.
It’s truly amazing to see how far SkyCaddie has come with this brand new SX500. The SX500 has the best touch screen that golf GPS’s have to offer. This screen makes it nearly impossible for a golfer to miss how the hole is laid out and the proper way to approach it.
The SkyCaddie SX500 comes preloaded with 35,000 golf courses, and on a single charge, you will get about 12 to 14 hours of use. With the SkyCaddie SX500, you are going to get more than just distances to the frog, middle, and back; you will get distances for hazards, carries, and layups as well.
One of the most advanced features of this golf GPS device is the way it adjusts and orientates itself to be in your position. If you are approaching a green from the left, the GPS will change the view, so it looks like exactly what you see.
Runner Up 2: Bushnell Wingman Golf GPS Speaker
- Reads the yardages out loud
- Comes with a protective pouch
- Has the ability to charge your phone
- Easy to use
- The battery life of about ten hours or two rounds of golf
- Can’t see the yardages, must listen for them only
The Bushnell Wingman had to make our list, even though it is kind of a unique device. The Wingman is a golf GPS speaker.
You won’t have to worry about getting bogged down with a handheld GPS in your hand. You can pull up to your golf ball, and your GPS speaker will give you the yardage to the front, middle, and back of the green.
The Wingman is truly your wingman while you get around the golf course. You can play music, keep track of your score and charge your phone with the Wingman. This is a durable and affordable model, and it is one of the simplest GPS devices.
Golfers who don’t want to be bothered looking at a phone or a watch while playing golf will really enjoy what the Wingman has to offer.
If you need to see a golf hole’s flyover, you can do so by looking at the app on your phone. When you get home from your round, you can use the Wingman as a regular speaker while you sit on your back patio!
Best Value: GolfBuddy Clip on Voice 2 Golf Navigation GPS
- Well priced GPS device
- Press a button and get your distances
- Comes preloaded with golf courses
- Automatically moves from one hole to the next
- Does not display graphic of the golf hole
The GolfBuddy Clip on Voice 2 is the best value GPS on the market. Golf Buddy makes some great products at very fair prices. This is again a simple model, similar to our top choice. It is a small GPS unit that will clip on to your hat or your belt.
When you are ready for your yardages, all you have to do is press a button, and the yardage will be read out loud for you. This feature is an excellent choice for those that just want something simple, and it’s especially good for those with poor eyesight.
When you struggle with eyesight on the course, you may not be able to see a traditional GPS unit, and you may have trouble looking through a rangefinder. The GolfBuddy Voice is a great alternative.
You won’t get a flyover of the golf hole when using the GolfBuddy Voice, but you will get about fourteen or more hours of battery life. For the price, this is offered and the ease of use, you can see how it became the best value GPS on the market.
Best Premium: Garmin Approach G80
- Golf GPS and a launch monitor
- Premium handheld GPS device
- Long battery life
- Accurate distances
- Color display
The Garmin Approach G80 is a very high quality golf GPS that is also a launch monitor. Getting a golf GPS and a launch monitor in one device is pretty impressive. This is a tool that will be a great investment in your game.
The G80 comes with a 3.5 inch screen that you can easily read even when out in the sun. The Touchscreen allows you to toggle between the different information that the Garmin G80 provides.
You will get over 41,000 courses already loaded into your GPS, and the color display makes this an enjoyable golf GPS device to look at.
The launch monitor that the G80 has integrated gives you clubhead speed, ball speed, smash factor, swing tempo, and your estimated distances. With this technology, the G80 is able to tell you not just how far you are from the hole but which golf club would be the best to get the ball to the green.
The rechargeable battery will last for up to fifteen hours, even while using the GPS. This is a long battery life for a device that offers so much.
Best Hybrid: Bushnell 201835 Golf Laser Rangefinder + GPS
- Accurate to one yard
- Comes with laser rangefinder and GPS
- Accurate distances to the front, middle, and back with the GPS
- Dual battery source means you need to keep an eye on both batteries before a round
It can be hard to choose between a rangefinder and a GPS. Luckily Bushnell has made it so that golfers do not have to choose.
This is one of the only golf GPS devices that also have a rangefinder. If you are having trouble hitting the pin with the rangefinder, you can simply look at the unit’s side and get the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green.
The Bushnell Hybrid comes with the PinSeeker and Jolt Technology for the rangefinder part of the device. It will help you lock onto the pin and then vibrate when the device is lined up exactly with the pin. The accuracy for the rangefinder is within about a yard.
When you decide to use the GPS, you will get 36,000 courses already preloaded onto the device. This hybrid model has a unique battery situation.
The laser rangefinder uses a CR2 battery and the GPS is charged with the USB. It will take a bit of getting used to determine which way works the best for you, but this device certainly gives golfers the best of both worlds.
Best Golf GPS Watch: Garmin Approach S40
- Long battery life up to 15 hours
- Also tracks steps and daily activity
- Easy to use screen
- Very clear display for a GPS watch
- No score/shot tracking capabilities
The Garmin Approach S40 is one of the best golf watches Garmin makes. The Garmin watches for golf come in all different styles, and they have varying degrees of technology. The S40 has some features that set this one apart as one of the best GPS watches on the market.
One of the essential features of a GPS golf watch is making sure that it is lightweight and does not interfere with the golf swing in any way.
When you put on a large clunky watch and try and take a swing, you may notice that it is in the way. The S40 is lightweight and stylish looking as well.
The screen on the S40 is one of the main reasons why this one wins the best GPS watches category. The screen size is two inches, and it is also in color. The screen is a touch screen which is really a necessity in a GPS watch.
When you are out on the course trying to get through a round, and you have to be pushing buttons on the side of your watch just to get an accurate yardage, you are going to slow down play.
Slowing down play is frustrating for you and your playing partners. The touch screens on GPS devices really help to keep golfers moving along at a much better pace.
The S40 comes preloaded with 41,000 golf courses. It will automatically record shot distances. Some Garmin golf watches will also track your scoring and your chipping and putting; the S40 will not do that, but it offers plenty of great features for the price.
Golf GPS Buyers Guide
As you can see, there are lots of choices to make when you decide to purchase a golf GPS device.
We will try and help you narrow down which of these devices makes the most sense for your game and your budget as well.
What Is Better A Golf GPS or Rangefinder?
The GPS and the rangefinder are both good at getting players more accurate yardages to the hole they are playing.
Years ago, when playing a golf course, you would look for an old sprinkler head and hope it had a yardage on it. Things are different now, and you can get so much more accuracy when you are trying to get distances.
Traditionally speaking, the rangefinder is going to give you a more accurate yardage to a pin, but it is also a bit harder to use.
The GPS device only gives yardages to the center of the green as opposed to the hole. The GPS does all the work for you and will load up the exact yardage without you having to find the pin.
This is why the better device is going to come down to a matter of preference. IT does seem that the lower handicap golfers tend to enjoy the rangefinder that gives the exact number while the higher handicappers just want the GPS even if it is a ballpark number.
What Is Better: A Handheld GPS or a GPS Watch?
If you are a watch person, the GPS watch is a great idea. You can purchase one of these GPS watches that also doubles as a fitness tracker and a regular watch.
This is something that you can leave on your wrist at all times, and when you are playing your next round of golf, it will be ready to work for you.
The handheld GPS units usually have a larger display, and they will be easier to see than the GPS watch. This is good for people who are very visual and need to see the entire golf course from their device.
This is also a good option for those who play a lot of new golf courses and need to know what is around every corner.
If you are one of those players who can’t even leave a ring on while playing golf, then the GPS watch will not be a great fit. We love the versatility of the Garmin watches because they can be used both on and off the course.
How Accurate Are Golf GPS’s?
Depending on the model that you choose the Golf GPS should be extremely accurate. It Is important to remember that even with the best handheld GPS devices you are getting yardages to the center of the green and not to the pin.
For people that think their GPS is having trouble with accuracy, this could be the issue that they are not realizing.
How Long Does A Battery Last In A Golf GPS?
Generally speaking, the more features that your GPS devices have, the shorter the battery is going to last. Most batteries will last anywhere from ten to sixteen hours. We like the GPS batteries because you can plug them in and charge them back up, just like your phone.
With a rangefinder, you need the CR2 batteries that go in cameras and other electronic devices. Although you should not need a new battery all that often, they tend to add up over time.
Can A Golf GPS Give You Yardage To The Hole?
A Golf GPS is not designed to give you a yardage to the hole. You will get yardages to the center of the green, the front of the green, the back of the green, and to some hazards as well. The pin location changes daily, and the golf GPS devices do not have this information to give to the player.
If you are playing a course that puts out a pin placement sheet, you should have no problem getting the exact number to the hole.
Simply do the calculation on your sheet to see how far or back from the center the pin is located. Then use the number the GPS gives you, and you should be set with your distance to the hole.
What Is The Difference Between An Expensive Golf GPS and a Cheap Golf GPS?
You probably noticed that there is a large range in the pricing for the GPS golf devices. This range in pricing is largely due to the fact that there are so many different types of features that the GPS can have.
When you purchase a device with large clear graphics and shot tracking, you will spend quite a bit more than one that gives you three numbers on a tiny screen. These features are a matter of preference. After all, the number to the center of the green is not going to change, regardless of how pretty the display is on your GPS.
Hopefully, our guide has helped you learn a bit more about the golf GPS, how it works, and why it can be helpful for your game. We gave you some really great choices for the best golf GPS, but the Bushnell products really seem to stand out.
The overall best Bushnell Phantom keeps yardages clean and straightforward. You won’t have to mess with a device, your pace of play will stay fast, and you won’t break the bank when you purchase the device.
For the traditional golfers that don’t want the game to change, this Bushnell will keep golf as classic as it should stay, just a little more accurate.