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Best Golf GPS for Ultimate Accuracy on the Green
As we round the corner into September, another golf season has almost come and gone. However, a truly Quintessential Man knows that the golf season is never over… if you have golf in your heart.
What’s more, the savviest gentlemen shoppers also know that the place to find the best deals is at the end of the season anyways! So if you’ve been waiting patiently, now is the time to buy.
Whether you want to buy one for a family member, a colleague or a friend – or have been thinking of finally treating yourself to the Golf GPS you’ve had your eye on – there has never been a better time to pick up that most quintessential of golf tools, the golf GPS!
Table of Contents
What is a Golf GPS?
A golf GPS is a way for you to pinpoint your exact location on the course using satellite technology. While it’s not exactly considered an earth-shatteringly advanced technology today, this was an absolute mind bender when it first came out. Think anti-skip CD technology, but for dads.
By getting valuable information about yardages, the distance to the green, and the location of those pesky hazards, you can finally put your time on the driving range to use. Experienced golfers know that there’s a big difference between aiming at an uphill pin at the back of the green 145 yards away, and aiming at one 136 yards away on a downslope.
Golf can be a game of inches, and information is power. A Golf GPS will give both to you.
How is a Golf GPS Different from a Rangefinder?
While both GPS devices and rangefinders are great little tech-infused tools you can put in your golf bag, there is actually a difference between these two. The difference with a rangefinder is in the way you use it, and the degree of accuracy it lends to the golfer.
As described above, a golf GPS helps you locate yourself on the course, and gives you approximate distances to the front, middle and rear of the green. It can also show you where the hazards are. However, to locate yourself on the course with your GPS, you refer to the screen, whether it’s on a standalone GPS device or a watch face. It already knows where you are, thanks to the satellites or pre-loaded data.
With the rangefinder, you are not so much finding yourself in reference to the course, but measuring the distance to objects that you choose from where you stand. To use a rangefinder, you look through the viewer, find a target, and press a button. The rangefinder sends a laser pulse, and the reflected pulse then uploads the extremely accurate information into your viewing screen to show you how far away it is. Rangefinders can also provide you with information about elevation changes and how slopes will affect your shot. The slope feature is so handy that it has actually been banned for use during professional play!
You can find more info on laser rangefinders, including our spotlight on the best rangefinder options in 2021, here.
The 7 Best Golf GPS Products in 2021
The first thing you have to know about GPS devices is that they either come in handheld units, or in watch form. The handheld units have a bigger screen, and more power under the hood, but the wristwatches are more convenient to wear and use, and are just as accurate.
So which should you buy? It’s a toss-up, but the watch is probably your best bet. Since both options have thousands of courses pre-loaded and can be connected to your already-powerful phone, there’s only one truly important consideration: making sure the courses you usually play are available on your device.
The Garmin Approach S62
This bad boy is not just accurate and easy-to-use, it also has a high-resolution display with a great level of brightness designed for use on the sunniest of days. The S62 auto-records shot distances, has over 41,000 courses preloaded into it, and the AutoShot Round Analyzer will also help you break down your game after the round is over.
The way you do this is by downloading the GarminConnect app on your phone. Once you’ve paired it with your watch, it automatically uploads all the information from your game, helping provide you with valuable data for your post-round analysis or allowing you to compare your latest round to other games over time. On top of that, the S62 pairs with the Garmin TruSwing™ sensor and the Approach CT10 club tracking sensors, which can provide you with the kind of advanced metrics you need to take your swing to the next level.
This tech-infused watch can learn the distance you shoot with each club, helping you fine-tune your game over time in a way that’s not possible with other families of devices. It even connects you with a pretty sizeable community online too. The watch also has customizable watch faces, plenty of different bands and accessories to buy, and can be used to track your heart rate, your daily step count, and can keep track of your fitness when you’re not golfing. In the end, there’s a reason most people think this is the best product on the market today – because it probably is!
The Sky Caddie LX5
What’s great about the SkyCaddie LX5 is the size of the display. At 1.39” (3.5cm) across, this watch has golf’s largest and brightest touchscreen, allowing you to interact with the full HD graphics and take advantage of the IntelliGreen® imagery. SkyCaddie’s IntelliGreen® tech shows you the true shape of the green, automatically rotating to show your angle of approach. It shows front carry and back distances, depth of green, and any distances to any other point on the green.
What’s perhaps most interesting is that each hole map and green in the SkyCaddie LX5 has been verified on foot, and the work of their mappers gives you an accurate idea of the greens you can’t get from satellite imagery alone. This smart-looking smartwatch is an advanced version of the larger, handheld device called the SkyCaddie SX500; it has all the bells and whistles of its predecessor, but without the inconvenience of carrying around a cell phone-sized device in your pocket throughout the round.
The Golf Buddy W11
So far we’ve covered the $700 and $400-dollar range, but not everyone has several hundred to shell out for a top-quality golf GPS watch. Enter the Golf Buddy W11, their latest version, packed with enough tech to get you where you need to go.
This device has a responsive color touch screen, detailed hole layouts, a complete hazard list, easy-to-use green reading as well as a step tracker to boot! God knows you need to get in your steps when you’re out on the links with the boys. They’ve pre-loaded 40,000 courses across 170 countries, so you can use this watch all over the world.
Not only is the watch waterproof, it shows the green undulations, allows for manual pin placements, it has a simple and effective scorecard (no more mixing up your tees and pencils in your pockets), and it automatically updates courses wirelessly as the data is updated in the cloud.
Shot Scope V3
Another great entry in our list doesn’t just come through on a reasonable price, it also is very well-liked by the golf community and has a ton of great features too. Just like the number one watch on our list (the Garmin S62), this watch makes tracking your shots easy.
The automatic shot tracking and statistics platform gives you the tools necessary to improve your game over time. After all, if you don’t know how far you shoot your 8-iron on average, how are you going to know what club to pull out when you’re 138 yards from the front of the green.
Is the 8-iron okay, or should you swing hard with the 9-iron? What about swinging half-power with a 7-iron? The Shot Scope V3 can help answer those questions. Every one of your shots is automatically plotted on the green for future analysis.
On top of it, the V3 is a slimmed-down version of the V2 (60% smaller!), the rubber strap keeps it snugly in place on your wrist while you swing, and this streamlined device even has a bit of gamification built-in, with 421 medals to unlock and keep you motivated. It even keeps putting statistics!
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Golf Edition
Next on our list of the top Golf GPS watches is the newest entry from Samsung, which has joined forces with GolfBuddy to produce this beauty. The graphics stand out on this entry, and the unique rotating touch bezel makes it easy to navigate from feature to feature.
You’ll get tips on how best to drain that putt with green undulation data, and the Smart Caddie app (which comes with a lifetime subscription for about $100) provides you with all the data you need to lower your score. This stylish product also has a fitness tracker and can even let you check emails while you’re on the course. But people, let’s not do that, shall we? The golf course is supposed to be a refuge from the rest of our busy world. Emails can wait.
This is one of the thinnest and most compact entries on our list, and by using their vivid and accurate course maps (updated in real time, and covering 95% of all courses worldwide), you can take this golf and activity tracking watch anywhere.
Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS
For a stripped-down and easy to use golf GPS, the Phantom from Bushnell is a great option. The unit looks like an old-school alarm clock, and is just as dependable. With only a few buttons, you won’t need long to get the hang of it, which makes this the ideal pick for beginners. That said, Bushnell has still packed this with useful features.
The unit comes equipped with over 36,000 course maps from 30 countries, and features the company’s BITE mounting technology so you can easily attach the unit to the arm of your cart. The GPS also works in conjunction with the Bushnell app, allowing you to unlock data about your game and the course if you want a deeper look at how and where you’re playing.
TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition
If you want to track your game in true style, the Tag Heuer GPS golf watch is a great (albeit, very pricey) option. The watch pairs with the TAG Heuer golf app, which visualizes your shots for in-game analysis and provides a clear map of the course. The elegant and clean watch features bezel indicators for all 18 holes, and alongside all the standard features you’d expect from a golf GPS, TAG Heuer has packed it with health indicators and smart applications that’ll keep you connected throughout your day on the links.