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34

Hours Researched

16.2 Million

Readers

1,297

Consumers Consulted

19

Products Considered

2017 GOLF GPS BUYER'S GUIDE

The days of your GPS providing just the distance to the center of the green are over. Modern GPS's give distances to all kinds of targets. Many are stylish enough to be worn as an everyday wristwatch. Some even include activity monitors for those interested in tracking their fitness.

The process of buying anything in today's time has become stressful and time-consuming. We feel the best reviews are those that help you make the right choices and help you get the most out of your time and money. This way you can buy with confidence and eliminate a lot of the guesswork. We are here to help show you how a product will perform before you buy.

One key to our testing protocols is that we test products head-to-head. We select the top products from each category and put them through extensive and detailed head-to-head testing. We test both in the lab and in the field. We score each product across a range of weighted categories. We then rank the products, explain why products finished where they did, and give awards to the best-performing products in the category.

The majority of scoring centered around the features of the GPS's as most submissions did the same basic things.  We also considered the ease of use and accuracy of the GPS's. The display screen was included in the scoring because some displays were significantly clearer than others.

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THE METRICS

We're always fine-tuning the process to make sure we're collecting the best data possible. Continuing that trend we've updated and refined this year's analysis to bring you the best buying advice possible.

FEATURES CHART

NameCOSTCOURSESGAME TRACKINGACTIVITY TRACKINGHOLE MAPPINGFEEBATTERY
GARMIN APPROACH S60$399.9940,000+YYYNone10 hours
BUSHNELL EXCEL$259.9935,000+YYNNone14 hours
GARMIN APPROACH G30$249.9940,000+YYYNone15 hours
SKY CADDIE LINX GT$299.9935,000+YNY$49.9514 hours
SKY CADDIE TOUCH$229.9935,000+YNY$49.9512 hours
GOLF BUDDY WTX$189.9938,000+YYYNone8 hours
TOMTOM GOLFER 2$139.0040,000+YYYNone11 hours
BUSHNELL NEO ION$144.2735,000+YY*NNone12 hours
GOLF BUDDY WT6$129.9938,000+YNNNone9 hours
IZZO SWAMI 5000 GOLF GPS$149.9530,000+NNYNone12 hours
IZZO SWAMI GT$148.9730,000+YNNNone9 hours
CALLAWAY GPSY$209.9930,000+YYNNone10 hours
TLINK$9940,000+YYY*None20+ hours
PRECISION PRO GPS BAND$129.9935,000+YYNNone8 hours
IZZO SWAMI SPORT$59.9830,000+NNNNone9 hours

 

We put in hours of testing leveraging data-driven protocols and new metrics. The metrics and attention to detail are better than ever.

For GPS testing we went to a golf course and used a Bushnell Tour V4 laser rangefinder to find the distance to the center of the green. We then compared the readings provided by the GPS to those provided by the laser. Testers were then asked questions regarding the reliability of the course mapping features. We found that effective course mapping was more important than precise distances, though both were considered in scoring.

In addition to the common features, we considered, testers were also asked to look through the feature list offered by each of the GPS tested. They were free to test out any features they found interesting. We then asked specifically worded questions regarding the functionality, features, and display of the GPS's.

Display (20 points) - How clear is the picture on the screen? Is the display intuitive or is it cluttered and confusing? The best performers in terms of display screen rival the clarity of an Apple Watch. The worst GPS's had displays that were little more than numbers on a screen.

Features (45 points) - All GPS's give distances to targets, but not all of them include pedometers, heart rate monitors, TruSwing, or the ability to make calls. These additional features can take the golf GPS experience to the next level. Poor performers in this category were effective at little more than providing distances. The best GPS's in terms of features did literally more than you can imagine.

Functionality (20 points) - The majority of GPS's on the market today have auto course recognition. This means that as soon as you hit play on the GPS the machine attempts to find the satellite necessary to provide distances. Because this feature exists for the majority of products on the market, those GPS's that require you to download courses are simply not as user-friendly. Some submissions were also designed in a way that made operation a breeze. Top performers tended to stand out due to the organization of the screen and the functionality of the GPS as a whole.

Accuracy (15 points) - How accurate are the numbers the GPS provides compared to those provided by the Bushnell V4 laser rangefinder? We saw little difference in the distances the GPS's provided. On the other hand, the more distances per hole the GPS provides the better frame of reference the golfer has. The more the player knows about the hole he's playing, the better he will perform.

Final grades were awarded based on total scores. Best Overall is our highest overall scoring GPS, and awards are given to the top three submissions. Also, more specific Best in Class recognitions are awarded to GPS's in certain categories (like accuracy, display, and features ) that push the industry's design envelope.

We also give an "Editor's Choice" and a "Best Buy" award to those products that provide value products that compete with the bigger names on performance.

THE BEST GOLF GPS'S OF 2017

GARMIN APPROACH S60

GARMIN APPROACH S60

"Best Golf GPS 2017"

COST
$399.99
DISPLAY
1st
FEATURES
1st
FUNCTIONALITY
1st
ACCURACY
1st
SCORE
95.5
1

Shop & Support

When you shop online consider using our special link. It helps support this site and other golfers around the world. #ConsumerFirst

What We Liked

The Approach S60 is an essential tool in any golfers toolbox. Garmin has thought about every possible feature, and then included each in its watch. The wrist band is easy to switch out. TruSwing offers a revolutionary opportunity to better your swing. Technology included is easy to use. Battery life of up to 10 hours for golf and ten days as a watch. It is stylish enough to be mistaken for an everyday watch. The top performer in every category.

Pros

  • “Best in Class” Display
  • “Best in Class” Features
  • “Best in Class” Functionality
  • “Best in Class” Accuracy
  • Multiple style options
  • 40,000+ courses
  • 10 hours in golf mode
  • 10 days in watch mode
  • 1 year warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some may find it too much of a technology overload
BUSHNELL EXCEL

BUSHNELL EXCEL

"Editor's Choice"

COST
$259.99
DISPLAY
2nd
FEATURES
2nd
FUNCTIONALITY
3rd
ACCURACY
3rd
SCORE
92.25
#2

Shop & Support

When you shop online consider using our special link. It helps support this site and other golfers around the world. #ConsumerFirst

What We Liked

An overwhelming majority of golfers use Bushnell’s distance measuring devices. The Excel is exactly what you would expect from the company. It features a highly functional user interface between the watch and app. The watch also includes numerous features from golf to fitness. Swing Tempo feature is an effective tool for bettering your game.

Pros

  • 35,000+ courses
  • Multiple style options
  • 1 year warranty

Cons

  • Could be more stylish
  • Recommended app usage
GARMIN APPROACH G30

GARMIN APPROACH G30

"Best Buy"

COST
$249.99
DISPLAY
3rd
FEATURES
3rd
FUNCTIONALITY
1st
ACCURACY
2nd
SCORE
91.75
#3

Shop & Support

When you shop online consider using our special link. It helps support this site and other golfers around the world. #ConsumerFirst

What We Liked

Did you know that Garmin has been making handheld GPS devices since 2003? Their Approach G30 is evidence of what they’ve learned. Green View technology allows you to move the pin to the correct place on the green. The large screen allows the course mapping to be extremely useful. Extensive shot tracking makes improving a breeze. The Approach G30 provides an easy to use golf GPS experience.

Pros

  • Full color course mapping
  • 40,000+ courses
  • TruSwing
  • GreenView
  • Fantastic Stat Tracking
  • No need for an app

Cons

  • Bulkier than a watch
  • Graphics have room for improvement

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2017 GPS BUYERS GUIDE

NameCOSTDISPLAYFEATURESFUNCTIONALITYACCURACYSCORE
GARMIN APPROACH S60$399.991ST1ST1ST1st95.5
BUSHNELL EXCEL$259.992ND2ND3rd3rd92.25
GARMIN APPROACH G30$249.993RD3RD1ST2nd91.75
SKY CADDIE LINX GT$299.994TH4TH11th4th90.5
SKY CADDIE TOUCH$229.994th5TH11th6th89.5
GOLF BUDDY WTX$189.996th5TH5th5th88.75
TOMTOM GOLFER 2$139.007TH7TH7th8th87.5
BUSHNELL NEO ION$144.2710TH13TH3rd7th86
GOLF BUDDY WT6$129.998TH10TH5th9th85.5
IZZO SWAMI 5000 GOLF GPS$149.9512TH9TH13TH13th78.5
IZZO SWAMI GT$148.978TH8TH13TH13th78.25
CALLAWAY GPSY$209.9911TH12TH8th10th77
TLINK$99.0015TH11TH9th12th74.5
PRECISION PRO$129.9914TH14TH10th11th73.75
IZZO SWAMI SPORT$59.9812TH15TH13TH13th72.5