Top Golf GPS Reviews and Comparison for 2016
Whether you are new to the game or you are a seasoned player, a golf GPS can be a helpful tool on the course. A golf GPS is designed to show you how far you are away from the hole at any point on a golf course.
Most GPS models come standard with thousands of preprogramed courses, are lightweight, and easy to transport. Some advanced models can even advise you on which club to use on a given hole.
In this review, we will discuss and compare the top-rated golf GPS models (including both GPS watches and handheld devices) on the market and discern which model is the best golf GPS for your specific purposes. Check out our golf GPS comparison below!
Golf GPS Comparison
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Types of Golf GPS
Portable and Simple GPS
So what is the best GPS for golf? Well, that depends a lot on what type of unit you're looking for. Even the smallest of golf GPS units comes with thousands of preloaded courses and simple information, like how far away from the hole you are. These devices aren’t built to provide you with complex information but can still give you an edge over the competition. Simple GPSs are typically small enough so that you can clip them to your hat or belt. They are also the least expensive of the models available. Also, a simple GPS has a long battery life and a screen that displays course information. If you are new to the game or are looking for a device that is simple and easy to use, portable and simple GPS devices are your best bet.
Portable GPS with More Features
Here we are climbing farther up the price range; however, these more complex devices offer much more information than your typical Golf GPS. These devices come with thousands of preloaded courses, a much longer battery life, and more information, such as distance, par information, hole number, etc. These GPSs are a little larger than simple the GPSs, but can be tethered to your bag for easy transport and availability. Many of these devices can also recognize the course you are on and can switch to your current hole without any adjustment on your part. If you are an intermediate or advanced player, this device can provide vital information that can substantially improve your game.
These devices are designed for the most serious and advanced players in the game. Advanced GPSs also come with preloaded courses but have colored screens – sometimes even a touch screen – that displays comprehensive data on the course. Displayed on the screen is distance from the hole, par number, and even potential hazards or other information on the course. Also, many of these devices can store how far you can hit with each club and give advice on which club is best-suited for a particular distance from the hole. These advanced GPS units are the best GPS for golf, have longer battery life, and have more adjustable screens so you can easily see the information being displayed.
Top 5 Top Rated Golf GPS Models on the Market
The Izzo Swami Sport is the most affordable GPS on this golf GPS review and requires no subscription to have access to specific course information. This device comes preloaded with 30,000+ golf courses and includes the hole number, hole par, and the time elapsed during a game. Compared to other devices, this GPS has a compact design and easy-to-read display. The Izzo Swami Sport GPS can be clipped to your belt or hat, or can be attached to your bag. This device costs $79.99 on Amazon and comes with a rechargeable lithium battery that lasts up to 8 hours. By far this GPS gives you the most for your dollar and has one of the best ratings on the market.
The Golf-Buddy VS4 Golf GPS is the smallest and most compact of the devices included in this golf GPS comparison. This GPS comes with a simple distance-measuring device and comes with 38,000+ global courses preprogrammed into its memory. For a beginner player, the VS4 can provide you with just enough information to accurately prepare for your swing. This highly portable device is waterproof and extremely durable, can be clipped to your cap or belt, and contains a rechargeable lithium battery that lasts up to 10 hours. You can purchase the VS4 for $139.99 on Amazon where the Golf-Buddy has many positive reviews.
Izzo Swami 4000+ GPS Unit
The Izzo Swami 4000+ is one of the top golf gps units available! This GPS comes preloaded with 30,000+ courses, is simple to use and easy to read, and is an upgrade from the Izzo Swami Sport Golf GPS. Designed for more intermediate players, this device has more built-in features. The screen displays accurate distances from front, center, and even back of the green, and even displays shot distance measurements and a score card. The device is extremely durable and waterproof and is portable so you can tether the GPS to your bag and easily transport it through the course. Included with your purchase is also a long-lasting lithium ion battery that holds up to 10-12 of a charge. For an affordable cost of $109.99, this device delivers comprehensive data providing you an edge on any course.
Of all the devices reviewed here, this GPS is by far the best golf GPS for 2016. The Garmin Approach provides you with more comprehensive data than any of the other GPS units on the market. The device gives you golf distances to the target and can be adjusted for uphill or downhill shots. Also, the Garmin Approach comes with the option to connect with a community that allows you to play and then share and compare your round with your friends and other players. Unique to this device is a feature that can store how far you hit with each club and later, with this information, recommend a certain club for a specific location away from the hole. This GPS comes preloaded with well over 30,000 different courses, and you can adjust the font on the screen based on your preferences. The Garmin has a color screen that displays comprehensive information, and it contains a lithium ion battery that lasts a staggering 15 hours per charge. You can purchase this device on Amazon for $249.99.
Compared to the other top-rated golf GPSs mentioned in this review, the Bushnell watch is by far the most portable device on this list, as it can be carried on your wrist. This watch comes with two modes: watch mode and GPS mode; and has varying battery life depending on the mode it is being used on (12 hours for GPS mode and up to 2 years on watch mode). The watch feature includes a clock, stop-watch, alarm and timer, and the GPS can display the hole numbers, par information, and automatically advances to the next hole without any adjustment on your part. The device is ready to use out of the box and comes preloaded with 33,000+ courses in over 30 countries. Additionally, the watch GPS has an easy-to-read front/center/back distance measurement and can also display hazards and lineup distances. The watch GPS costs $144.22 on Amazon and is highly durable and waterproof.
Which GPS Is Best for You?
The golf GPS ratings aren't the only thing you should base your buying decision on though; it's also very important to consider which unit would be best for your skill level. Most beginner golfers seek simple GPS devices so they have enough information to gradually progress in the game. It is crucial within the beginning stages in golf to get a sense of how far you can hit with each club, but it is also understood that, as your swing improves, these distances will change rapidly over time. If you are a beginning golfer, it is best to seek very little equipment for gameplay until you determine what features would really be beneficial to you, because an advanced GPS won’t provide you much of an edge when you’re starting out, but will come with a higher price tag. Also, as you are developing accuracy in your shots, you will find that you are often hitting in hazard zones and are losing many of your balls. Many devices aren’t going to carry you through this stage. As a beginner, your time is best spend practicing on the range so you get a sense of how to use each club and develop the accuracy necessary to become more competitive. At this level of the game, the Golf-Buddy or Izzo Swami Sport Golf GPSs will serve you well in helping you to navigate courses and begin to foster a sense of how to improve you game.
Once you’ve reached a point in your golfing career where you have developed more accuracy in your shot, you are losing less balls, and your course scores are beginning to reach a stage where you are more competitive with your peers, you might be ready for a more feature loaded golf GPS. Here is where a more complex GPS can shine and give you a real edge. Knowing the par number, distance from the hole in many locations, and also keeping critical track of the score, are crucial stats that can enable you to improve your game. Keeping track of these things yourself can become a hassle as you begin to want to focus most of your attention on improving your skills. Having a GPS that can keep track of this trivial information for you is necessary and pivotal for your success, improvement, and performance in each game. At this stage the more simple models, like the Golf Buddy and Swami Sport, can be beneficial for you; but the more advanced models, like the Izzo Swami 4000 and the Bushnell NEO watch, can provide you with far more comprehensive data that can give you an edge over your peers. You could also check out our reviews of the top Skycaddie gps golf watches, many of which are perfect for intermediate golfers.
If you have made it to this stage in golf, you are highly competitive, and you know that it becomes much harder to maintain a solid edge over your competitors. At this level, more complex tools aren’t just nice, but essential. Having a scorecard, distance measurements, and par number are obvious necessities in gameplay, but also having a GPS, that keeps track of how far you hit on average with each club is a highly beneficial advantage. You may also be interested in checking out my reviews of the top golf swing analyzers, launch monitors, and home golf simulators.Having this information tracked for you can allow you to finish a round of golf more quickly than before and will also allow you to focus your attention on improving your game. If you have reached the elite stages of the golf, a more advanced, top-rated golf GPS, like the Garmin Approach G7 Golf Course GPS, could not only benefit your game, but help you to improve your score and the amount of time spent on the course. This device is still relatively inexpensive, extremely easy to use, and keeps track of course information that would otherwise take up a lot of your time.
The Recreational Player
If you’re like many of us, you don’t necessarily have to become competitive in order to enjoy a great round of golf. Being a recreational player means you don’t need many advanced gadgets for gameplay. You may even be satisfied with just a simple golf GPS app! (There are tons of other great golf apps as well that can work as rangefinders, swing analyzers, and golf ball trackers.)The best GPS you can purchase for recreational purposes is the Golf-Buddy VS4 Golf GPS. This simple device provides you just enough information to noticeably improve your round of golf and contains within its memory all of the preprogrammed courses you would ever need. This GPS device is manufactured with maximum portability and durability at a minimal cost, providing you with enough information so you can enjoy a game with minimal effort on your end to manually keep track of distance from the hole, par number, etc. Also, with the Golf-Buddy’s long battery life, you can use the gadget for a full day of playing golf.
No matter your reasons for playing golf or your level of competency, there is a golf GPS that specifically suits your purpose and situation. Each device on this list stores well over 30,000+ courses in their memories and provides you with enough information to save time and give you an edge against your competitors. If you are a beginner or a recreational player, the less expensive Golf-Buddy and Izzo Swami Sport models will give you just enough information to easily get through a round of golf. If you are a more seasoned player, the Garmin, Izzo Swami 4000, and Bushnell NEO watch will display enough comprehensive data so you can focus your attention on increasing your performance so you can have an extra edge over your peers. At the end of the day, when you look at all the stats, the overall best golf gps 2016 has to be the Golf Buddy Voice 2.
Product Images Sourced From Amazon.com