Are you only scratching the surface of your golf potential? Perhaps course management is holding you back. It might be time to consider a golf GPS device that provides visuals of the course; another tool to gather information before every shot.

Garmin has three variations of golf GPS watches in our top five but they certainly aren’t the only option. SkyCaddie and ShotScope are worth considering. Price can range from thousands of dollars to just under $200.

Finding the right GPS can be overwhelming. That’s where we come in. We tested the top GPS devices to ensure you have the best information when it comes time to buy.

Whether you’re looking to buy a GPS today, advice to get started on your search or just want a closer look at what’s on the market, 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 GPSs are tested head to head using rigorous protocols.

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

BEST GPS WATCH - Garmin Approach S62

BEST GPS WATCH - Garmin Approach S62

The Garmin Approach S62 has everything a golfer could need. 41,000 preloaded courses, 20 hour battery life, wind direction and "play-like" distances all contribute to the S62's top finish. The screen is 17% bigger than the S60. It also offers smart watch capabilities and can link to your phone.

 

FEATURES THAT MATTER

Display

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

Golfers looking for the best display should consider the SkyCaddie SX500 or the Garmin S62 . Both provide clear and concise visuals that are easy to navigate.

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 much simpler.

If you have to have everything, there’s no better GPS device than the Garmin Marq or the Casio Pro Trek Smart.

Functionality

The majority of GPS units today have 10,000+ course layouts pre-loaded. There are GPS devices that require you to download the courses which can take extra time and become frustrating.

Simplicity is key. The best devices that allow you to navigate with ease are the SkyCaddie SX500 and Shot Scope V3.

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.

The Best Golf GPS 2020 - Features

 ProductCoursesScore TrackingLifestyle TrackingHole MappingBattery
Bushnell ion 2

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36,000+YYAPP12 HOUR
Bushnell Phantom

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36,000+YNAPP10 HOURS
Casio Pro Trek Smart

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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
Garmin Approach S62

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41,000+YYY20 HOURS
Garmin Marq

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41,000+YYY28 HOURS
Golf Buddy aim W10

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40,000+YYY13 HOURS
Izzo Swami 6000

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30,000+YNN12 HOURS
Shot Scope G3

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35,000+YNAPP10 HOURS
Shot Scope V3

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35,000+YNAPP10 HOURS
Sky Caddie LX5

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35,000+YYY10 HOURS
SkyCaddie SX400

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35,000+YYY14 HOURS
SkyCaddie SX500

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35,000+YNY14 HOURS
BEST HANDHELD GPS - SkyCaddie SX500

BEST HANDHELD GPS - SkyCaddie SX500

SkyCaddie's SX500 has top of the line visuals. The big color screen is easy to navigate through course maps and the club customization feature. A durable case and long battery life makes it one less thing to worry about.

More Tips

  • Some GPS devices give an inside scoop when you’re playing a new course. Look for hole-by-hole mapping and visual layouts of potential hazards.
  • 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.
  • Depending on the manufacturer, some devices can have a monthly or yearly subscription to update courses. Ensure you take that into account before purchasing.

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SEE MY RESULTS

The Best Golf GPS 2020 - Results

 ProductsDisplayFeaturesFunctionalityAccuracyTotal
Garmin Approach S62

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1st3rd5th1st94.5
Garmin Marq

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2nd1st11th1st94
Garmin Approach S60

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2nd4th6th1st93.5
SkyCaddie SX500

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1st9th1st1st92.5
SkyCaddie SX400

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2nd9th1st1st92
Garmin Approach G80

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6th7th6th1st91.5
Bushnell ion 2

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12th5th6th1st91
Golf Buddy aim W10

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6th8th6th1st91
Shot Scope V3

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9th11th1st1st91
Sky Caddie LX5

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6th5th11th1st90.5
Casio Pro Trek Smart

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14th2nd14th1st89.5
Shot Scope G3

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9th12th1st1st89
Bushnell Phantom

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9th13th6th1st84.5
Izzo Swami 6000

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12th13th11th14th82
Best GPS + Shot Tracking Device - Shot Scope V3

Best GPS + Shot Tracking Device - Shot Scope V3

The Shot Scope V3 provides personal performance statistics that give you insight into the gaps in your game. With over 100 statistics to analyze and 16 tracking tags with Smart GPS chips, the V3 helps you seamlessly track your game. It's not overly complicated and easy to use on one of 35,000 preloaded courses.

Why should I use a GPS device?

Q: Can golf watches fit both men and women?

A: Most watches have adjustable straps. 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 who plays several different courses a year, you will encounter unfamiliar layouts. That’s where having a golf 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 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, calorie counter, distance walked and much more. Some watches can even fetch your text messages, phone calls and check the weather.