2019 GPS BUYERS GUIDE

Are you only scratching the surface of your golf potential? Perhaps course management is what’s keeping you from the top of your game. It might be time to consider using a GPS device. GPS devices provide visuals of the course and are another tool in your arsenal to help you gather information before every shot.

While handheld options are still plentiful, more than ever before, GPS devices are available in wristwatch form and are equipped with extra features that keep track of your everyday activities. Not only can you find your way around the golf course, but you can also track how many steps it took and how many calories you burned along the way. So, even if you shoot in the 90s at least you know you hit your 10,000 steps for the day.

With all those options, finding the right GPS to fit your needs can be a bit overwhelming. That’s where we come in. We put the top GPS devices on the market to the test to ensure you have the best information available when it comes time to buy.

Whether you’re looking to buy a GPS today, some buying advice to get started, or just want a closer look at what’s on the market right now, this guide will help you find the right device to fit your needs.

How We Test

We're here to help you find the perfect Golf GPS to fit your needs.

To do that, we employ a thorough and fully independent testing process that leaves no feature unexplored, no detail unchecked, and no stone unturned.

Our Metrics

Golf GPS's are tested head to head using rigorous protocols.

The metrics we consider when rating travel bags include Display, Features, Functionality, Accuracy.

FEATURES THAT MATTER TO YOU

Display

Size and clarity of the display are essential for providing the best possible overview of any given hole. The best GPS devices tend to have digital or LCD displays with touch screen technology.

Features

Today’s GPS devices not only have color screens and visuals of the hole, but some have lifestyle/everyday plug-ins as part of the standard feature set. That means you can ditch your smartwatch because your golf watch offers things like step and fitness trackers, stopwatches, and more. Having the functionality of multiple devices rolled into one unit makes life that much simpler.

Functionality

The majority of GPS units on the market today have 10,000+ course layouts preloaded and immediately available. There are GPS devices that require you to download the courses which can take extra time and become frustrating. The best performing units also have a simple but easy to use layout to ensure you get the best experience when using your GPS  device.

EXPERT TIP - Don't Sweat Accuracy

All GPS devices use the same satellites to calculate the distance to targets, so there's almost no difference in accuracy from brand to brand. Readings are typically within one or two yards of each other. For that reason, accuracy is significantly less of a consideration than most any other category we test. Instead, focus on features and functionality. That's where the real differences lie.

2019 GPS Features Chart

 NameCoursesGame TrackingLifestyle TrackingHole MappingBattery
Bushnell ion2

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36,000+YYAPP12 Hour
Bushnell Phantom

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36,000+YNAPP10 Hours
Casio WSD-F30

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41,000+YYAPP10 Hours
Garmin Approach G80

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41,000+YNY15 Hours
Garmin Approach S60

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41,000+YYY10 Hours
Golf Buddy aimW10

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40,000+YYY13 Hour
IZZO Swami 5000

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30,000+YNN12 Hours
SkyCaddie SX500

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35,000+YNY14 Hours

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT - The Watch That Has Everything

The Casio WSD-F30 is for the golfer who wants a feature-rich where the Golf GPS is the added component. Its impressive touchscreen makes moving between apps simple. The golf app provides accurate readings to the front, middle, and back of every green. With the touch of a button, the course management tools allow you to keep track of your round.

More Tips

  • Some GPS devices can give you an inside scoop when you’re playing a new course. You can take advantage of devices that offer hole-by-hole mapping and visual layouts of potential traps.
  • Most GPS watches are water-resistant.
  • Some GPS watches can double as a smartwatch. They’re more expensive but they offer bonus features like step and fitness trackers as well as calendar apps etc.

2019 GPS Results

 NameDisplayFeaturesFunctionalityAccuracyTotal
Garmin Approach S60

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2nd2nd3rd1st94.5
SkyCaddie SX500

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1st5th1st1st92
Bushnell ion2

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6th3rd3rd1st91.5
Garmin Approach G80

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3rd4th3rd1st91
Casio WSD-F30

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7th1st8th1st90
Golf Buddy aimW10

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4th5th2nd1st90
Bushnell Phantom

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4th7th3rd1st84.5
IZZO Swami 5000

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7th7th7th8th81.5

Why should I use a GPS device?

Q: Can golf watches fit both men and women?

A: Yes. Most watches have adjustable straps that fit every wrist size. If you have very small wrists, you can purchase separate straps.

Q: Why should I purchase a GPS unit rather than a rangefinder?

A: The deciding factor is often visuals. If you are a golfer that plays several different courses a year, you will encounter unfamiliar layouts. That’s where having a GPS with course layout displays is a huge benefit, and arguably an advantage over rangefinders. GPS models also give yardages to the front, middle and back of greens as well as fairway bunkers.

Q: Do golf watches have health features built-in for everyday use??

A: Certain GPS watches do have built-in features that keep track of your health on a day-to-day basis. Such features include pedometer, heart rate monitor, calories counter, distance walked and much more. Some watches can even fetch your text messages, phone calls, and check the weather.