We take you through the best golf GPS devices to help you make a decision on which is right for your game and your bank balance.
Best Golf GPS
Distance measuring devices – or DMDs as they are often known – come in various guises nowadays, including compact GPS units and stylish GPS watches, each of which offer something a little different and at different price points.
The main benefit you’ll get for your investment is quick, accurate distances, which can provide new levels of confidence at address because you’re sure you’ve chosen the right club, which in turn helps you commit to shots much more easily.
With many of the GPS devices you also get hazard information and overhead maps of the hole, which will hopefully guide your strategy and thusly save you shots, especially on blind holes and at courses you’ve never played.
If you would rather go for a rangefinder, we also recommend checking out our guide on the best golf laser rangefinders, or if you want to take your game to the next level, the best golf launch monitors.
Best Golf GPS
Garmin Approach S62 GPS Golf Watch
Wide range of features
+ Modern, cutting-edge styling
+ Wide ranging features suitable for off-course use
– Hole map graphics look dated
The S62 leads the way in the latest Garmin range of GPS watches and it is not hard to see why.
It’s easy and intuitive to get the watch set up and the touch screen works well alongside the side buttons to navigate through the various options. With a larger screen compared to the S60, it is easy to navigate around and see hole details more clearly on the colour maps.
Additionally it comes with a built-in virtual caddie function where it can detect where the wind is coming from, gives information on shots from the past in regards to clubbing and therefore suggests to you the strategy on the course.
Once paired with your phone, the watch can also take into account the wind conditions in real time when suggesting a club, which is next-level.
It looks great off the golf course too because it is so sleek and stylish. There are also loads of fitness tracking options if you wanted to use it as a more rounded sports watch too. It can also receive email and text notifications.
As far as the best Garmin golf watches go, this is right up there.
GolfBuddy Aim W11 GPS Golf Watch
+Packed with shot-saving features
+ Looks at home off the course
– Touchscreen can lag slightly
The Aim W11 has been improved in a number of ways from the popular W10 model.
The first noticeable difference versus the W10 is the new ceramic bezel that adorns the outside of the aim W11. This is an excellent aesthetic improvement and creates an altogether more premium look that is much less distracting on the eye than the previous bezel.
The accuracy of the Aim W11 is excellent. Preloaded with 40,000 courses, the Aim W11 will pinpoint your position and give super-accurate yardages.
We first tested the W11 on the new course at Essendon Country Club, a course that has been designed with two greens on each hole. Despite this unique course design feature, we were pleasantly surprised to find the aim W11 was aware of this and in fact has a dedicated feature that allows you to switch between greens depending on which you are playing.
In terms of innovation, features include a full-colour touch screen display, plus green undulation and slope-adjusted distance readings (where available) to give the golfer better, real-life views and more control around the course. There are also excellent new zoom in/out functions around the green.
TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition
+ Offers seamless shot measurement with no need for tags in clubs
+ Bright, detailed display and partnering app
– Very expensive
The best golf GPS devices have to look good and this model more than delivers on that front.
This premium, luxury watch features an ultra-lightweight 45-mm black titanium case and a matte black ceramic bezel with 18 engraved and lacquered graduations that serve as a reference for the performance at each hole.
The crown is now flanked by two functional pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock, to be used alongside the TAG Heuer Golf app to record shots and shot distances with optimal precision in action.
Another thing worth mentioning is the graphics. The hole maps are really clear and, now that you can twist the main dial to scroll, it’s really straightforward to pick out certain points you want to hit to.
One of the most interesting features on this is the ‘driving zone’ feature. Once you’ve connected the watch to the app, this feature will plot all your drives on a certain hole and colour code the positions based on your scores.
So, over time, golfers will be able to get a clear picture of what the ideal strategy is unique to them.
Sky Caddie LX5 GPS Watch
Best large screen
+ Large colour screen brings out the finest details
+ Hole maps are ground verified on foot
– Lacks off-course versatility
The stand-out feature on the LX5 is the touchscreen. Bright and crystal clear, it is easy to read in different conditions and without having to hold it close to your face. From the main screen you can see clear front, middle and back yardages, and then swipe in different directions to see the hole map, hazards, score entry or measure your shot distance.
Arc lines help improve strategy while you can zoom in on the green and move the pin position for a more precise distance. Over 35,000 courses, which have been ground-verified on foot, come preloaded.
This watch is lightweight (65g) and comfortable to wear. The styling, along with the fitness features, encourage you to wear it away from the course, too.
Garmin Approach S42 GPS Watch
Good fitness features
+ Stylish watch that can be worn on and off the course
+ A host of features like strokes gained stats and fitness tracking
– Takes a few rounds to get the hang of all its uses
Another great watch from Garmin is the S42. It looks great so like the S62 above, we thought it worked nicely off the golf course.
Heading onto the golf course, one button click puts you in golf mode and from there it is very easy to scroll through features. As always, front, middle and back yardages are available but if you know the pin locations, you can click on the display to move the flag and get an exact yardage.
Other great golf-related features include things like the AutoShot round analyser that tracks and records shot distances, as well as yardages to bunkers, hazards and ideal lay-up zones. You can also pair the watch with the Garmin app to look through strokes gained stats.
Finally the watch also gives you data on steps taken, distance covered, calories burned and other fitness related information.
Shot Scope V3 Golf GPS Watch And Tracker
Best for shot tracking
+ Combines GPS distances with performance tracking
+ Compact, streamlined design is very comfortable
– A small number of shots can go undetected
The V3 is 60 per cent smaller than the V2 and also has a new daylight-readable colour screen. In GPS + Performance Tracking mode, the V3 will automatically detect shot locations using tags placed in the tops of your grips.
The PinCollect feature means golfers can input the pin position with the touch of a button to provide enhanced approach and short game statistics, displayed within the free Shot Scope app.
This streamlined, everyday design makes it instantly appealing and the tacky rubber strap is comfortable to wear and stays in position when walking and swinging a club so once it’s on, you really don’t notice you’re wearing it.
Garmin Approach S20 GPS Watch
+ Great level of features for the price
+ Moveable flag pointer for greater accuracy
– Buttons are fiddly to press one handed
This Garmin watch features a high-resolution display and covers over 40,000 courses. It accurately measures distances to hazards such as bunkers and water, plus front, middle and back yardages, layups and doglegs.
For extra help its Green View feature displays the shape of the green with manual pin placements available. It also caters for activity tracking and receives notifications from your phone.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Golf Edition 44mm
Excellent hole graphics
+ Thin and neat strap design
+ Choice of two types of hole map graphics
– Fiddly to access certain features
Samsung has joined forces with GolfBuddy to create this GPS watch, which features a rotating touch digital bezel to make it even more convenient to navigate while maximising the screen size.
It comes pre-loaded with the Smart Caddie app pre-installed and with a lifetime premium subscription worth £76.
You can see if you’re within range of the green with Dual Arc and read how to drain putts with the Green Undulation feature. The partnering app provides real-time information to help users elevate their performance on the course.
Much of the navigation and functionality on this watch is unique to the market, which makes it an appealing prospect to the gadget lover. It also doubles as a versatile fitness watch and you can get incoming emails too.
GolfBuddy WTX Golf GPS Watch
+ Clear colour hole graphics
+ Touch screen assists with strategy decisions
– Time consuming set up process
If you want lots of functionality for under £200, this is a great option. It has a full colour touchscreen that allows you to view complete hole layouts as in the image above.
You also get dynamic green view for accurate distances from your approach, as well as moveable pin positions for laser-like accuracy. GolfBuddy also make excellent lasers too so check out our buying guide on the best GolfBuddy rangefinders as well.
Best Golf GPS Handhelds
SkyCaddie SX550 GPS
Top handheld pick
+ Very easy to use thanks to the large touchscreen
+ Undoubtedly the most detailed offering out there
– Oversized design could be inconvenient for storage
The SX550 features a 5.5” full HD colour touch screen and uses in-built WiFi to download the latest, ground-verified courses on foot from more than 35,000 available for improved accuracy.
The green view will also dynamically rotate to show full IntelliGreen Pro information from the golfer’s own angle of attack.
All of the courses on the SX550 have all been walked and mapped by one of SkyCaddie’s half a dozen or so trained course mappers.
Using professional grade satellite equipment, the team at SkyCaddie have personally walked every hole on every course loaded onto the SX550, mapping out the exact size of fairways, shapes of greens and distances to hazards.
You can feel this extensive course mapping at play as soon as you load the device and the range of information on offer gave us the clearest and most detailed picture of a golf course as we have seen on a GPS device.
The SX550 could well be one of the most complete handheld, and one of the best golf GPS devices ever made but be weary of the annual membership costs that apply after your first year.
Garmin Approach G80 GPS
Launch monitor functionality
+ Great array of features
+ Can even be used as a launch monitor
– Screen could be easier to see in bright sunlight
Another quality offering from Garmin, the Approach G80 is at the premium end of the GPS spectrum and when you consider the number of features available, this comes as no surprise.
Obviously you get distances to the front, middle and back of the green, but they take it one step further with features such as Garmin’s PlaysLike Distance gives you distances to the target, adjusted for uphill or downhill shots, which can be easily turned off for tournament play. Meanwhile, Green View allows you to zoom in on the green to get precise yardages according to wherever the pin is on the day.
Keeping pace with the social world, the Garmin Approach G80 works with the free Garmin Golf app, which lets you compete, compare and connect with fellow golfers – great fun if that’s your thing. All this comes in a slim device with a 3.5″, sunlight-readable, colour, touchscreen display.
SkyCaddie SX400 GPS Rangefinder
+ Vivid display
+ Ground verified course maps for enhanced accuracy and updates
– Arguably still too bulky to be pocket sized
The SX400 is SkyCaddie’s attempt to make a more compact handheld compared to the SX500. It features SkyCaddie’s Pin Position feature which provides the ability to get distances to the day’s pin positions.
Dynamic HoleVue technology is present as well as the IntelliPath Technology, which gives yardages to targets along and beyond your target line.
Garmin Approach G30 GPS
Perfect for the pocket
+ Well sized
+ Clear yardages
– Smaller screen can be fiddly
The Approach G30 has a 2.3-inch colour touchscreen for users to see features like Green View and Touch Targeting to provide more accurate yardage information.
Thanks to its Big Numbers Mode, it displays yardages in a large font for at- a-glance viewing and also displays a hole view with a moveable pointer.
The Approach G30 can be mounted in a multitude of ways, like on a user’s belt, trolley or golf bag, and is compatible with the Garmin TruSwing analyser to improve swing consistency. Users can also get smart notifications for incoming calls, texts.
Golf Buddy VTX GPS
Simplicity is huge benefit
+ Ease of use
+ Water resistant
– Not as high powered as others on this list
Pre-loaded with over 38,000 courses, the Golf Buddy VTX handheld GPS comes with a number of new features, including voice audio and Bluetooth connectivity.
Distances are clearly displayed to the front, middle and back of green, as well as hazards, giving golfers a thorough picture of what lies ahead on every hole.
It helps users to plot their way around virtually any course they tee it up on with the main distances well covered. Should the user stray off line, Golf Buddy’s Dynamic Green View will adjust to provide an accurate yardage, so there’s no guesswork involved or uncertainty when stood over the ball.
Bushnell Phantom 2 GPS
Improvement over predecessor
+ Larger screen than predecessor
+ Good value
– Not as much detail compared to other handhelds
The original Phantom was a very popular model because of how simple it was to use and now Bushnell has gone a step further with the Phantom 2. It comes preloaded with 38,000 courses and up to six hazard yardages per hole.
One of the most significant new features is Dynamic Green Mapping, which provides front, centre and back distance measurements no matter which direction the user approaches the green.
This is especially useful when you find your golf ball well off the beaten track and conventional 100 or 150 yard markers are well out of sight.
Whether you’re playing your home course for the umpteenth time or you’re playing a new track for the first time, we found having these accurate yardages from any angle gives you the confidence to pull out the correct club and execute the shot.
The screen is slightly larger than its predecessor and because the text is 40 per cent larger, it’s easier to read, and should give users no problems even in bright sunlight.
The upgrade also sees the addition of a Bite magnetic cart mount and new Bite cradle, so it stays securely fixed.
GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS
+ Incredibly usable
+ Diverse language selection
– Small screen
At just 4.5 cm square this unit is very discreet and versatile, thanks to it being easily clipped to a belt, cap or kept in the pocket. 14 hours of battery life in GPS mode and 11 pre-loaded languages finish off this easy to use, good value talking GPS unit.
The Voice 2 comes in three colours, black, blue or pink.
Best Golf GPS Speakers
Bushnell Wingman GPS Speaker
Top speaker pick
+ Built in GPS that calls out yardages to the green as you play
+ Great sound quality
– GPS only offers front, middle and back yardages
The Bushnell Wingman is a speaker that provide golfers with audible front, middle and back distances with the ability to listen to the music of their choice from their smartphone.
It comes with Bushnell’s Magnetic Bite technology, which allows the speaker to be secured to any golf buggy without the need for an aftermarket accessory. It also offers Auto hole advance, 10+ hour battery life and a USB charging port.
It’s pretty easy to set up as you simply pair your phone with the Wingman using Bluetooth and the app is free to download when you buy a Bushnell product.
From there, you can play any audio from your phone, whether that’s music podcasts or anything in between. The sound quality is excellent and it’s very easy to adjust the volume, play and pause.
A simple push of the detachable button gives you audible front, centre and back of the green distances for the 36,000+ courses that are available on the app. We found the yardages to be accurate and helpful, although you naturally don’t get an exact yardage to the pin.
Easily one of the best golf speakers on the market, this device is great benchmark to others and a trend that will likely catch on soon.
JBL Clip 3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Best for portability
+ Integrated carabiner clip gives clip-and-go functionality
+ Loads of colour options
– 10 hour battery life
JBL are a rightly well recognised brand in the portable speaker market, at the JBL Clip 3 speaker is an ideal golf course companion for those looking to supplement their round with some music.
The integrated carabiner clip makes this incredibly easy to clip on and off bags, buggies or belts depending on where you want the music coming from. Don’t be fooled by its size though, the Clip 3 still comes with JBL’s signature quality sound.
It is also Siri and Google compatible, meaning you can change tracks, change volume and even take phone calls hands free while you play golf.
Add the fact it is IPX7 waterproof, comes in eight colour options and a year’s warranty and you have one of the best golf speakers out there right now.
What will I need to consider?
Your routine – The best golf GPS watches only require a quick glance so they are much quicker than taking a device out of its case, so weigh up if extra detail or less disruption is most important to you.
Your course – If your course has lots of doglegs, blind tee shots, or you play at other clubs in matches or socially, then you might want the extra information a GPS offers over a laser.
Type – As the list above shows, there are different types of GPS device to use and they all have positives and negatives affixed to them.
- GPS Watch – Simplicity and convenience are the key here. If you are the type of player who would rather have a quick glance at their wrist to know the yardage rather than using a larger GPS or laser, then a watch could be the way to go. GPS watches nowadays are a lot more compact, slim-lined and light making them ideal because they do not hamper the swing or distract in any way.
- Handhelds – The chief bonus here is the large screen which gives a lot more detail and the touch screen functionality will be familiar to most users because of modern phones. You get clear hazard information and overhead maps of the hole too which could guide your strategy and save you shots.
Features – There is also a difference in device when it comes to features. Below is a list of some of the ones we consider to be useful to the GPS wearer.
- Clear and accurate distance information – this is a no brainer really but some models are more accurate and clear than others.
- Pre-loaded courses – there is some variation in how many courses are pre-loaded onto some models compared to others.
- Scorecard – rather than have to write down or log scores into an app, on some GPS devices you can mark your score down with ease.
- Stat tracking – particularly useful to those wanting to know more about their game and where they earn or give away shots.
- Green mapping and pin location – some devices give the user the ability to map the green and place the pin in the correct place. This often gives more information to the user on yardage and what club to hit.
- Waterproofing – a waterproof device is very important, especially if you play somewhere that gets a lot of rain
- Battery power – GPS devices normally need charging via a USB after two to four rounds, so consider which would be easiest for you on a week-to-week basis.
We hope you enjoyed this guide on the best golf GPS devices.