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2021 GOLF GPS BUYER’S GUIDE

Do you prefer a golf GPS or a rangefinder? If you vote GPS, we’ve tested and broken down the best golf GPS models on the market.

Many golf GPS models do more than just provide distances to front, middle and back pin locations. Some are in watch form and come with fitness components to help you track your health.

If you’re not a watch fan, you can buy GPS devices that are hand held and provide the hole layout, green depth, slope, the list goes on.

The golf GPS has so many capabilities it might just make rangefinders obsolete.

WINNER – Garmin Approach S62

If you want a Golf GPS that will get you dialed in, go for the Garmin Approach S62. It’s easily accessible from your wrist providing multiple data points, including wind direction and playlike distance to ensure you get the right yardage. 41,000+ pre-loaded golf courses will keep you entertained for a lifetime.  Once you’ve completed your round, you can keep track of your health on the same device. Throw in phone link capabilities and you have the undisputed winner of the 2021 Most Wanted Golf GPS Test.

  • 1st in display
  • 1st in features
  • 5th in functionality
  • 1st in accuracy
BEST HANDHELD GOLF GPS - SkyCaddie SX500

BEST HANDHELD GOLF 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.

FEATURES THAT MATTER

Display

Size and clarity are essential for providing the best possible overview of any hole. The best golf GPS devices of 2021 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 golf GPS device than the Garmin S62. For a device that just focuses on golf, look no further than the Shot Scope V3 providing strokes gained as well as GPS capabilities.

Functionality

The majority of golf GPS units today have 10,000+ course layouts pre-loaded. There are golf 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 GPS DEVICES 2021 - FEATURES

 ProductCoursesLifestyle TrackingHole MappingBattery
Bushnell ion 2

Check Price
36,000+YAPP12 HOURS
Bushnell Phantom

Check Price
36,000+NAPP10 HOURS
Garmin Approach G80

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41,000+YAPP10 HOURS
Garmin Approach S12

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42,000+NAPP30 HOURS
Garmin Approach S42

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42,000+YAPP15 HOURS
Garmin Approach S62

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41,000+YY20 HOURS
Golf Buddy aim W10

Check Price
40,000+YY13 HOURS
Izzo Swami 6000

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30,000+NN12 HOURS
Shot Scope G3

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35,000+NAPP10 HOURS
Shot Scope V3

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35,000+NAPP10 HOURS
Sky Caddie LX5

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35,000+YY10 HOURS
SkyCaddie SX400

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35,000+YY14 HOURS
SkyCaddie SX500

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35,000+NY14 HOURS
BEST GOLF GPS WATCH - Garmin Approach S62

BEST GOLF 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. It also offers smart watch capabilities and can link to your phone.

The Best Golf GPS 2021 – More Tips

  • Some golf 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 golf GPS watches are water-resistant.
  • Some golf 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.

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.

GET FIT FOR YOUR GAME WITH TRUEGOLFFIT™

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SEE MY RESULTS

THE BEST GPS DEVICES 2021 - RESULTS

 ProductDisplayFeaturesFunctionalityAccuracyTotal
Garmin Approach S62

Check Price
1st1st5th1st94.5
Shot Scope V3

Check Price
8th2nd1st1st92.5
SkyCaddie SX500

Check Price
1st8th1st1st92.5
Garmin Approach S42

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3rd6th5th1st92
SkyCaddie SX400

Check Price
3rd8th1st1st92
Garmin Approach G80

Check Price
5th5th7th1st91.5
Bushnell ion 2

Check Price
12th2nd7th1st91
Golf Buddy aim W10

Check Price
5th6th7th1st91
Sky Caddie LX5

Check Price
5th2nd12th1st90.5
Shot Scope G3

Check Price
8th10th1st1st89
Garmin Approach S12

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8th10th7th1st88
Bushnell Phantom

Check Price
8th12th7th1st84.5
Izzo Swami 6000

Check Price
12th12th12th12th82

Why should I use a golf 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.