Golf GPS Devices: All You Need To Know

Technology is taking over. That doesn’t mean Spock would be teaching science classes in High school soon. But at least you will get better at golf. Yes, you heard right. Whether it is to up your own game or to buy personalized golf gifts for Christmas, golf GPS systems are taking over the show.  With a golf GPS rangefinder or a golf GPS watch on you, you can leave your lucky pants at home and rely on GPS to play your A-game. Golf is the nobility amongst sports and these little trinkets are nobility’s privilege to beat their own handicap.  Employing the rangefinder options, statistics from your previous shot, and club recommendations, converts golf into a much more strategic game that you can actually ace.

As the variety can be mind boggling in the GPS market, we have catalogued and reviewed some of the best golf gps out there.  Depending on convenience, features, budget, shortcomings and your personal impediments, you can take your pick from the list. These systems can be broadly classified as handheld and wearable.

Handheld Golf GPS Systems:  


  • Handheld devices are about the size of your average smartphone. They have a plethora of options that includes hole distance calculation, hazard positioning on the course, yardage, doglegs, the whole shebang.
  • More than being a calculator, they are in their own right, smart devices.  They have advanced stat tracking and analysis features. You can sit back and sip your Amino Vital while the little wonder, does all the math for you.
  • The real time numbers can set you up for a sail-through of a seemingly daunting game.
  • Most of these devices come with a belt clip and do not need to be carried separately.

The more sophisticated (and therefore, pricy) models will even display meticulous hole maps if you play a number of courses. All in all, a good choice for pro golfers. GolfBuddy Platinum, Skycaddie Touch, Bushnell Neo Ghost etc. are some of the coolest toys in handheld golf GPS category.

Wearable Golf GPS Systems:

While handheld GPS devices are definitely armed with more functionalities than James Bond’s car, wearable gear in this department is what the boys (and girls) want.

Tech savvy golfers would easily shell out a few more dollars if they can wear their technology on them.

And if you have the slightest doubt about the capabilities of these convenient, small screen devices, a Garmin Approach S6 watch or a TomTom golfer will put your fears to rest.

Sleek and stylish, these watches do not let size limit them. Overhead maps and ‘Swing Strength’ have materialized on these golf GPS watches.

With the advent of integrating technology, you can now hook up your device to your phone for notifications and connect to your PC for charging and updates.

SkyCaddie LINX watches can be connected via Bluetooth to your phone to update course maps on the go.

GPS Over Laser?:


Golf GPS devices trump the traditional Laser range finders in terms of ease of use. User manuals fraught with complicated usage and safety instructions on the Laser devices can put you off.  The threat of human error with them is also very real. You need to keep your hands steady while taking the distance reading.

The measurement of distance is based on sending laser waves toward the target or hazard and noting the time taken for them to be reflected and received. As distance equals (velocity X time), it can be easily calculated. It is, thus, necessary to position the rangefinder correctly while taking the readings.

Most of the cheaper models give out anomalous readings and most often, cannot measure long distances. Golfers to end up buying the more expensive models just to get decent performance out of them. Being cumbersome does not help their reputation.

But they don’t suffer from any of the pitfalls that are part of the design of GPS devices. You don’t need to update course maps or worry about battery life with the laser ones. They allow you more flexibility over less maintenance cost.

GPS for amateurs:

GPS watches and handheld, on the other hand, use the convergence of signal from the GPS satellites in space to pinpoint location and measure distances. With the recent advances, device accuracy up to 3-4 yards is standard under optimum circumstances.

These devices are also much more robust than a laser rangefinder which can easily turn useless with a scratch on the lens. All this, coupled with the user friendly interface, makes them preferable over laser devices for beginners and amateurs.

In face of the time taken in gathering and processing information manually during golf tournaments, GPS systems are allowed in competitions, now. So using them would take you a step closer to pro golf. With these drool-worthy gadgets, who knows? You might even rival Ian Poulter’s audacity of course.

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