Golf Technology

Best Golf GPS 2023

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Best Golf GPS 2023

Golf is a game of numbers. Numbers can be tricky. Not everyone is a mathematician. 

Your “hit and hope” approach to distance judgment is courageous but foolhardy. Even on perfectly flat ground, your best guess is just that.

That’s why golf GPS devices exist: to do the hard calculations for you. Not everyone wants to carry around a rangefinder and spend time trying to lock in on the flagstick. 

In today’s golf world, immediacy is king. With the right golf GPS by your side (or on your wrist), you have incredibly helpful data at your fingertips. 

We want to help your game. That’s why we tested 15 golf GPS devices. Our mission? Find the one that gives you an edge over your playing partners. Here are the best golf GPS devices for 2023.

Best Golf GPS – Results

ProductDisplay Features Functionality Accuracy Total
Golf Buddy AIM W12

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4th2nd3rd3rd96.5
Bushnell ION Elite

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4th5th6th2nd95.25
Voice Caddie T9

Check Price
3rd1st6th15th95.25
Sky Caddie LX5

Check Price
7th4th3rd4th95
Sky Caddie SX400

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2nd5th1st11th95
Sky Caddie SX550

Check Price
1st5th1st14th95
Voice Caddie A2

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6th2nd8th11th93.75
Shot Scope X5 GPS Watch

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8th8th8th1st93
Garmin Approach G30

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8th8th3rd9th92.25
Garmin Approach G12

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11th8th10th8th89
Bushnell Phantom 2

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11th12th10th4th88.5
Izzo Swami Ace

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10th14th10th4th88.5
Sky Caddie LX2

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11th12th10th7th88.25
GolfBuddy Voice 2S+

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15th8th15th9th86.25
Izzo Swami Kiss

Check Price
11th14th14th11th85.5

Golf GPS Buying Considerations

Here are a few things to consider when on the hunt for a new golf GPS device.

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Cost vs Performance

Is an expensive golf GPS better? Not necessarily. The best golf GPS devices cost anywhere from $100 to $350. Looking for a bargain? The Bushnell ION Elite is an amazing device for $200.

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Handheld vs Wearable

Golf GPS devices come in many shapes and sizes. The majority of new GPS devices are wearable, most in the form of a watch. Some use clips that can be attached to your pocket or belt loop. On the other hand, SkyCaddie’s SX550 and SX400 are about the same size as your typical smartphone.

icon

Display Type

While most golf GPS devices feature LCD or AMOLED touchscreen displays, a few still rely on black-and-white E-Ink displays. While an E-Ink display might look boring, it has a purpose. They can be read in any amount of light.

Golf GPS Features That Matter

Display

Ever tried to read something on your phone in direct sunlight? The glare, coupled with how bright a display is, can make it unreadable. A golf GPS is useless if you can’t read the display. 

The best golf GPS devices are readable in any condition. You can’t wait for the sun to go down or the cloud cover to come rolling in. On the other hand, a good GPS device is also readable in low-light conditions. Things like adjustable brightness are helpful. 

Both the SkyCaddie SX550 and SX400 had the biggest, brightest displays. On the wearable side, the Voice Caddie T9’s display was crisp, clear and easy to read in any condition.

Features

The best golf gps review.

Often, these devices do little more than provide distances to the front, middle and back of the green. 

The best golf GPS devices go above and beyond the basics with things like green undulation, shot tracking and slope calculations. Even better are the few devices that track steps, monitor heart rate and track the tempo of your swing. 

The Voice Caddie T9 golf GPS watch and the GolfBuddy AIM W12 golf GPS watch are full of added features. We found the tempo tracker on the Voice Caddie T9 to be especially helpful. The green undulation data provided by the GolfBuddy AIM W12 was extremely beneficial, too.

Accuracy

best golf gps watches.

Golf GPS devices aren’t as accurate as laser rangefinders.. Even still, a GPS should provide an accurate measurement of the front, back and middle of a green. Most GPS devices also give distances to hazards like bunkers or water. 

Despite the notion that all golf GPS devices are similarly accurate, we found a few devices were better than most. The Bushnell ION Elite and Shot Scope X5 were the most accurate. 

Some devices varied by four to 10 yards when compared to the rest. Even within the same brands, devices varied by as much as 12 yards. That’s nearly a full club difference. Something to consider. 

More Golf GPS Tips

we tested the best golf gps devices
The makeshift rig we built to compare distances on all 15 GPS devices at once.
  • Want to hear your distances? The GolfBuddy Voice 2S+ reads your numbers out loud. This is great for those who are visually impaired or have a hard time reading small displays.
  • Some golf GPS devices are suitable for daily wear. Watches like the SkyCaddie LX5 are suitable fitness trackers for your off-course adventures.
  • Not all golf GPS devices rely solely on satellite devices for measurements. SkyCaddie “ground verifies” their preloaded courses. 
  • Need something extremely durable? IZZO’s Swami Kiss and Swami Ace are built like tanks to withstand suboptimal playing conditions and accidental drops.

Golf GPS FAQs

the sky caddie sx550 is one of the top golf gps
How accurate are golf GPS units?

Golf GPS devices are accurate, to a point. Most GPS devices only show distances to the front, middle and back of a green. A rangefinder allows you to shoot the pin for more precise distances. Even still, some of the better GPS devices allow you to set a pin location. 

Do you need a GPS and a rangefinder?

You’ll be fine with one or the other. While a rangefinder may provide better accuracy, most GPS devices are wearable which makes them quicker/easier to use. 

Do pros use GPS?

Most pros (when allowed) tend to opt for a rangefinder that provides pinpoint accuracy. Today’s golf GPS devices are accurate enough for the average golfer.

Can I use Apple Watch for golf GPS?

While there are a few Apple Watch applications that get the job done, a dedicated golf GPS device will be better in the long run. They are generally more accurate and have added features that an Apple Watch doesn’t, like green undulation and shot tracking.

1
2023

GolfBuddy AIM W12 Golf GPS

97 overall

The Bottom Line

The GolfBuddy AIM W12 golf GPS watch is the best golf GPS for 2023. This GPS watch is packed with features that makes it both easy and fun to use. If you are on the hunt for a wearable golf GPS, this should be your daily driver.

Pros

The large, bright display is easy to read and the green undulation function is so helpful.

Cons

The GolfBuddy AIM W12 was inconsistent at times with distances to the flag.

"The GolfBuddy AIM W12 is an all around performer. I loved the bright display and the green undulation feature. This was very helpful on the putting green."

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2
2023

Bushnell ION Elite Golf GPS

95 overall

The Bottom Line

The Bushnell ION Elite is one of the most accurate golf GPS watches on the market. It has a great display and the functionality gives it an edge over the competition.

Pros

Ultra-bright display and accurate measurments give the Bushnell ION Elite a neck up on the rest.

Cons

The Bushnell ION Elite lacks some features that other's have, like a pedometer.

"Bushnell has a good thing going with the ION Elite. It's very accurate and super user friendly."

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3
2023

Voice Caddie T9 Golf GPS

95 overall

The Bottom Line

The Voice Caddie T9 is a techie's dream. This useful GPS watch is filled with features to help you improve your game. The green undulation feature and tempo trackers put this watch in a category of its own.

Pros

The display is readable and bright, and the added features like swing tempo tracking is flat out awesome.

Cons

The T9 struggled with accuracy when compared to the competition.

"The T9 does a whole lot of everything. I really loved the ability to track my swing and putting tempo. That's clutch!"

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4
2023

Sky Caddie LX5 Golf GPS

95 overall

The Bottom Line

The Sky Caddie LX5 is accurate and packed with features like a heart rate monitor and step counter that make it good both on and off the course.

Pros

It provides very accurate distances and is easy to use and set up.

Cons

The LX5 doesn't have the biggest or brightest display, and the user interface can feel cluttered at times.

"The Sky Caddie LX5 is beautiful, bright, and functional. It made my round easier, which is a lot to say about a GPS watch."

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5
2023

Sky Caddie SX550 Golf GPS

95 overall

The Bottom Line

The Sky Caddie SX550 is a handheld golf GPS system with a massive display. The touchscreen display is a joy to use, makes navigating the user interface a breeze.

Pros

The display is big and bright, and the features are easily used thanks to the big touchscreen. The construction is sturdy and durable.

Cons

The SX550 isn't very portable due to its large size. It did have some occasional accuracy issues, too.

"This is the best handheld GPS out there, period. The huge display makes it so easy to use!"

Have you tried this golf GPS?

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Everything we do and say is based on cold, hard data. We challenge any and every claim with scientific measurement and analysis. If a product performs well, you'll hear about it. We'll tell you the truth and list the shortcomings if it doesn't.

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More Top Performing Golf GPS

Looking for more information on the best golf technology?

More Top Performing Golf GPS

Looking for more information on the best golf technology?

Most Accurate Golf GPS

Shot Scope X5 Golf GPS

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Best Handheld Golf GPS

Sky Caddie SX550 Golf GPS

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Best Value Golf GPS

Bushnell ION Elite Golf GPS

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      Mark

      6 months ago

      No responses from MyGolfSpy for why the s62 was not reviewed, but noting other Garmin products supports the growing suspicion that the reviews contain product bias.

      Reply

      Da Slammer

      10 months ago

      LOL
      I love how they all have accuracy issues when that’s the one thing we need it to be best at doing LOL
      So basically you’re paying to look at the course maps, mostly so you know how far certain hazards and boundaries may be. And then you’ll whip out your laser and look at the flag anyway to be sure LOL

      Reply

      jerry

      10 months ago

      Where is the garmin s62? Didn’t it win the past 2 years of best gps on mgs? Seems very odd to omit it from the test

      Reply

      MarkM

      10 months ago

      I would like to see testing of the top GPS apps vs. your top 5. Is there really a $200-300 difference between those and a free phone app? Don’t they use the same satellites?

      Reply

      Des McSweeney

      10 months ago

      leaving out the Garmin S62, their best model, seems perverse at best. Is there a commercial reason? Have you fallen out? Very odd.

      Reply

      Troy

      10 months ago

      Have had a Garmin G30 for four years and overall it’s been a very reliable device for much less than many of the other reviewed devices.

      Reply

      Pete A

      10 months ago

      Agreed.

      Reply

      Walt S.

      10 months ago

      When evaluating companies, it is important to consider their customer service reputation as a key metric. While some companies have a track record of providing subpar service, others have built a strong reputation for promptly addressing complaints and delivering firmware updates. A prime example of a company that excels in customer support is Shot Scope.

      Reply

      Henry

      10 months ago

      I have used Shot Scope for 3 years and totally agree. I have used Customer Support maybe 5 times for various questions and always get a competent response within 24 hours.

      Their shot tracking and free analytics are a HUGE differentiator. Add this to a a highly accurate GPS watch and the value is hard to beat by others that only have GPS features.

      Critics have said post-round shot-editing is a hassle. And yes, it does take 15 minutes or so. But having Shots Gained stats to benchmark my actual play against other Handicap levels is very useful directing where my practice time should be focussed.

      Reply

      Justin

      10 months ago

      I am assuming no Garmin products because they didn’t supply any products for the test? Love my S40 watch.

      Reply

      Connor Lindeman

      10 months ago

      We tested a few Garmin products, they can be seen in the results table near the top.

      Reply

      JH

      10 months ago

      The Garmin Approach S62 is the gps device I see the most or is the most wished for.

      Totally surprised MGS didn’t include it.

      Tom

      10 months ago

      Is there anything on the market that’s a GPS and launch monitor all in one (except the Garmin G80 because that’s about 3 years old)? Or is the G80 still the only device that does both?
      Thanks

      Reply

      David Lewis

      10 months ago

      The Arcos app now works on Apple Watch without using the phone. I like it.

      Reply

      Cody

      10 months ago

      Assuming it’s because Garmin hasn’t released a new S62 successor, but it’s absence in testing on a list of “Best Golf GPS” in 2023 is a little strange if someone is coming here to look up what is currently the best on the market.

      Reply

      Chad

      10 months ago

      I noticed that as well. Also interesting no mention of other apps that use Apple Watch or similar.

      Reply

      Pete A

      10 months ago

      Agreed.

      Reply

      Christian

      10 months ago

      Yes, this is the obvious question that any reasonable person would have. Borders on bad faith to not mention it.

      Reply

      CHARLIE

      10 months ago

      HOW ACCURATE WAS THE SLOPE FEATURE ON THE BUSHNELL ION ELITE?

      Reply

      Pete A

      10 months ago

      Hey Charlie, I had the Ion Elite and it was accurate and a very good watch. I have 3 9’s at my home course it had problems getting it to select the correct 18 hole course combinations. If it wasn’t for this, I would have kept it. I bought a Garmin S62 and while it resolved the course selection issue for me and some other features that I don’t need, the Bushnell is just as good. I think the software and performance/statistics tracking through the Bushnell app is even better than the Garmin. Wouldn’t hesitate to give it a try.

      Reply

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