Top 10 Best Golf GPS to Buy 2020

Golf, Reviews

No matter your skill level at golf, knowing how far away you are from the green is important for deciding which club you want to use. Nothing is more frustrating than making great contact only to see the ball fall short or fly over the green because you picked the wrong club. Golfers used to have to settle for markers on the course or complicated yardage books, but now, thanks to modern technology, a GPS device can give you an exact distance to your target from any location on the course. We reviewed the best golf GPS devices on the market to help you find the right one to carry in your bag. Keep reading to find the perfect one for you.

What To Think About When Choosing a Golf GPS

Reliability and Accuracy

One feature that all golfers should demand from their GPS is that it provides you with a reliable distance between where you are standing and the center of the green on the hole you are playing. In order to make our list of best golf GPS units for 2020, a device must be accurate within a few yards. If you require an exact distance to the pin for chipping, putting, or extra-fine accuracy, you want to get a golf rangefinder in addition to a GPS.

Pre-loaded Golf Courses

Only a few years ago, using a golf GPS involved a bunch of hurdles like connecting it to a computer in order to download the data for the courses you will be playing. Thankfully, most GPS units available to buy in 2020 will come preloaded with a huge selection of most of the courses in America. You can expect that your new GPS will be ready to use at just about any regulation track without having to prepare ahead of time.

Ease of Use

You don’t need an understanding of rocket science to use a golf GPS. An ideal golf GPS unit has an easy-to-read interface. Golfers with difficulty seeing small numbers or who want to read their GPS from a distance will want to pick a unit with a large display. Golfers who aren’t especially computer-savvy should make sure to place heavy emphasis on ease of use because the middle of the fairway is the last place you want to need tech support.

Smartphone Connectivity

While most golf GPS units are able to be used without a smartphone, some do require a Bluetooth connection in order to function. There are many units with optional advanced features that can be unlocked by pairing them with a smartphone.

Additional Features

Depending on which GPS device you use, it may also provide you with a bird’s eye view of the hole, distances to hazards, and electronic scorekeeping capabilities. It’s up to you what features are important. Some golfers like as many features as possible while some prefer to simply see the distance.

Battery Life

How long can the battery of the unit last with a full charge? Most GPS units must be changed between rounds.

Price

While all the available bells and whistles may be tempting, they come at a cost. With golf GPS units ranging between $100 to $400, there is a huge range of options at different prices. By carefully comparing your options, you can pay for the features you want without spending too much on the ones you don’t need.

Subscription Fees

Another win for golfers in recent years, most golf GPS units do not require their users to pay any additional fees in order to use their product. In fact, every single unit that made our list in 2020 is able to be used for life without paying any additional fees. However, some options offer optional subscriptions for premium features. Some examples of some premium features include A.I. powered club selection, online community access, and advanced swing analysis.

Confused about which golf GPS is best for you? Don’t worry. We’ve done extensive research and we’re happy to identify the top 10 best golf GPS currently on the market. Take a few minutes to check out the following list of our best picks before making your decision.

Top 10 Best Golf GPS In 2020

1. Best Overall Golf GPS: Garmin Approach S20

Why we like it: This GPS watch is not only trendy but also features a high-resolution display of the course you are playing. Pre-loaded with more than 40,000 golf courses, the unit offers golf enthusiasts the versatility they need to hone their golfing skills. The smart notification feature is also another plus.

Editor’s Rating:

Subscription Required? No
Smartphone Required? Yes, compatible with iPhone and Android

Ample and Accurate Distance Information

This GPS unit features an AutoShot round analyzer that measures and auto-records a golfer’s shot. It provides accurate measurements to the front, back, as well as the center of the green. This information is particularly helpful when the pin is located near the edges of the green.

Additional Features

Garmin Approach S20 gives you an option to connect to an online golf community through Garmin Connect. Besides, the feature allows you to download your current round and compare it to the last one to monitor your progress in the game and share your performance with friends in one touch. Also, it combines your best score for every hole so to help you establish your best 18 for the course.

There are a ton of features that come with this unit, and while not every one will be useful, they do not appear to inflate the price very much. That being said, there’s a bit more included than most people will use, so those looking for a simple golf GPS might find these features unnecessary and distracting.

Ease of Use

With a high-resolution display of 128 x 128 pixels and an anti-glare screen, this GPS watch is easy to read even when exposed to sunlight. Besides, it displays measurement information in a large and easy-to-read font. Exploring and using various features of the unit is a breeze.

Value

While it’s more expensive than some of the value-priced options, you can get yourself this elegant and high-quality Garmin Approach S20 at a very reasonable price.

Preloaded Golf Courses

This GPS watch for golfers comes out of the box with over 40,000 courses from different countries worldwide. Amazingly, it auto-updates the courses that a user plays frequently for free, thanks to the CourseView feature.

Battery Life

When fully charged, the battery of Garmin Approach S20 can last for over two rounds. This makes the unit a reliable tool for serious golfers.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Helps to track performance
  • Elegant looking watch
  • Free auto-update of frequently played courses
  • Over 40,000 pre-loaded courses
Cons
  • Has features you might never use on the golf course

2. Best Budget Golf GPS: Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS

Why we like it: A large, clear display is the most compelling feature of the Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS. Thanks to the magnetic backing, the Phantom is also versatile and able to be mounted on any metal surface.

Editor’s Rating:

Subscription Required? No
Smartphone Required? Not required, optional phone features included

Preloaded Golf Courses

The Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS comes pre-loaded with more than 36,000 golf courses from 30 countries worldwide. As such, you can count on this device working no matter where you are playing.

Reliability

As soon as you turn the GPS on, the auto course recognition will allow you to start seeing distances for the course with just a push of a button. All the information you need to make the best decisions are shown on the screen constantly and can be seen from several yards away. The information includes the front, center, and back distances as well as up to four hazard distances for every hole.

Ease of Use

Front, center, and back distance measurements are displayed in large digits that are easy to read. If you have a look at the unit, you’ll be amazed at how neat and clear its display is.

The unit is easy to use, even when accessing other features or when turning it on and off. Turn it on and wait for it for about 30 seconds to show you the nearby golf courses. Then, choose the course you want to begin playing.

When it comes to updating the unit’s course or software, all you need is to activate the Bluetooth feature and pair it with the Bushnell app and you’ll be able to get them hassle-free.

Besides, the GPS device features built-in magnet technology which enables you to easily mount the unit on any metal surface. Most golfers prefer to mount it on their golf carts for strategic viewing. However, you need to be careful not to brush past it accidentally because it can get knocked off, especially since the magnetic backing is not very strong.

Battery Life

With a single full battery charge, the Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS can last for up to two golf rounds before it runs out of power.

Pros
  • Clear and uncluttered display
  • Large and easy-to-read fonts
  • Highly responsive
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • The magnetic grip is not very strong

3. Best Premium Golf GPS: Garmin Approach G60

Why we like it: This GPS unit gives precise yardages in an easily visible font. The use of full-color course maps to display information also improves visibility. The GPS unit doubles as a smartwatch and can stay running for an extended period while in either golf or watch mode.

Editor’s Rating:

Subscription Required? No
Smartphone Required? Not required, optional phone features included

Ease of Use

Featuring a 1.2-inch touchscreen display with sunlight-readable color, the golf watch offers clearly visible readings when viewed under very bright sun. Although the unit is compact, it has fairly big buttons that even a person with large fingers can press accurately.

In addition to the manual pin placement feature and green view, the G60 also shows distance hazards, layups, doglegs, and distances to the front, center, as well as the back of the green. This information displayed on full-color course maps.

When you are done with checking the readings, simply clip the GPS device onto your pocket or belt and it will automatically move with you to the next hole. When the unit runs out of charge, it’ll only need a short charging time of about one to three hours.

Preloaded Golf Courses

When you buy the Garmin Approach G60, it comes with over 40,000 preloaded courses from different countries worldwide.

Value

At nearly $400, the Garmin Approach G60 is definitely a premium pick. Because it doubles as a smartwatch, however, many golfers we spoke to believe this GPS is still a bargain.

Battery Life

G10 has a premium battery that lasts for up to 10 hours at a time while being used on the course, and up to 10 days when being used as a watch.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Gives accurate distance figures
  • Compact and so, easy to carry around
  • Long battery life in watch or golf mode
Cons
  • One of the most expensive GPS options

4. Best Clip-On Golf GPS: Garmin Approach G10

Why we like it: This golf GPS delivers great value even though it’s very compact. It’s a no-nonsense option for golfers who just want their distances quickly.

Editor’s Rating:

Subscription Required? No
Smartphone Required? No

Ease of Use

The Garmin Approach G10 is perfect for impatient golfers. Just stick this unit in your pocket to get a quick reading whenever you want to know your location and make an informed move while golfing. It’s also easy to change modes on the fly and quickly access other features.

Reliability

Although Garmin Approach 10 doesn’t have a mapping function, it offers accurate yardage to the front, middle, and back of the green. Its yardage figures to hazards, layups, and dogleg corners are also precise.

Battery Life

A single full battery charge can keep the unit running for up to three full golf rounds. This makes it good for forgetful golfers who are prone to forgetting to charge their GPS between rounds now and then.

Preloaded Courses

This unit comes out of the box installed with over 40,000 courses around the world. Amazingly, the updating of the courses is free of charge forever and ever. Also, new courses and course updates are added up to four times every year.

Value

Even though Garmin is one of the premier brands for golf GPS units, the Approach 10 has a very reasonable price tag.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Battery life of up to 15 hours or three full golf rounds
  • Compact size
  • Abundance of golf courses
  • Easily portable
Cons
  • The battery is not replaceable
  • Doesn’t have a mapping function

5. Best Talking Golf GPS: GolfBuddy Voice 2

Why we like it: with GolfBuddy Voice 2, you’ll get your yardage information through audio so you don’t need to keep looking at the screen. It is affordable, easy to use, and accurate.

Editor’s Rating:

Subscription Required? No
Smartphone Required? No

Easy to Use

If you don’t want to waste your time looking at the screen of your GPS device, the GolfBuddy Buddy Voice 2 has you covered. The unit speaks to give you your distance to the target with just a press of a button, allowing golfers to their eyes focused on the course and concentrate. There are eight different audio languages to choose from.

Preloaded Golf Courses

GolfBuddy Voice 2 features 38,000 preloaded golf courses, giving you the flexibility of golfing hassle-free wherever you go. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a course auto-update feature, so you’ll have to connect to a computer in order for this unit to work on new or recently changed courses.

Reliability and Accuracy

Regardless of where you are on the golf course, this GPS unit will give you accurate measurements of your distance to the front, middle, as well as the back of the green.

Battery Life

A single full charge can last the battery of this unit for multiple rounds. This is a great convenience for golfers who tend to play more than 18 holes in a day.

Additional Features and Subscription Fees

Golf Buddy Voice 2 doesn’t have any extra fees, be it for subscription or anything else. Its features are absolutely free.

Value

One of the cheapest golf GPS units around, the GolfBuddy Voice 2.is an affordable option for golfers who want distances given to them without having to look at a screen.

Pros
  • No extra fees
  • Accurate audio measurements
  • Long battery life
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
Cons
  • It doesn’t course auto-update feature

6. Best Golf GPS with Shot Tracking: Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors

Why we like it: One of the fastest ways to lower your score is to improve your club selection. The Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors use artificial intelligence to help you pick the perfect club for every shot.

Editor’s Rating:

Subscription Required? Certain features require a 1 year $99.99 subscription to Arccos Caddie (first year included)
Smartphone Required? Yes, compatible with iPhone and Android

Easy to Use

While the Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors are one of the most sophisticated tools a golfer can use to help them track their golf game, set up and operation are more complicated than many other alternatives. The first time you use Arccos, you will need to attach a sensor to each one of your clubs and register it with the app. After the first-time setup, playing a round of golf using the Arcos system as your GPS is fairly convenient for players who don’t mind keeping their phones in their pockets as they play.

Preloaded Golf Courses

The GPS phone-app that comes with the Arccos sensors has a huge selection of courses. If any courses that you want to play aren’t included, the very responsive Arccos team often adds them within a week after contacting support.

Reliability and Accuracy

The Arccos system relies on your smartphone’s GPS, so most Android and iPhone users can expect excellent accuracy.

Battery Life

Because the Arccos system runs through your smartphone, the battery life depends on your device. Unfortunately, many phones consume their batteries much more quickly while using GPS functions.

Additional Features and Subscription Fees

For golfers looking to improve their game in as little time as possible, the additional features of the Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors are well worth the additional hassle of setup. Because the clubs detect when they are used, the distances of each shot are recorded effortlessly. This allows Arccos to accurately record the distances of each shot, keep stats, and tell you what to use to provide feedback. The first year of service is included with the sensors, and a $99 yearly subscription is required to continue using these features.

Value

Because the GPS functions of Arccos are handled by your smartphone, you only need to pay for the sensors for each of your clubs. The sensors come in packs of 14 for a reasonable price and include a year of service. The steep yearly subscription fee means that Arccos is best for serious golfers only.

Legal for Tournaments?

The Arccos has a tournament mode which makes it legal for tournament play. This mode turns off club recommendations. Even though limited information is available in this mode, the full details of your round are recorded for analysis later.

Pros
  • Automatically records distances and which club was used for every shot of your round
  • Uses artificial intelligence to help you choose the perfect club for your next house
  • Responsive customer service team provides frequent updates
  • 14 sensors
Cons
  • Yearly subscription fee is required to continue using advanced features after the first year
  • Relies on your smartphone to function

7. Best Budget Golf GPS Watch: Garmin Approach S10

Why we like it: This golf watch is not only simple and so easy to use, but it is also sleek, lightweight, and comfortable. It has an incredible resolution which gives you a nearly-real view of a golf course. You can even use it while golfing on a very sunny day, thanks to the sunlight-readable display.

Editor’s Rating:

Subscription Required? No
Smartphone Required? No

Reliability and Accuracy

Whether you want to know yardages to the front, back, or middle of the green or even hazards and doglegs in a golf course, the Approach S10 from Garmin will provide you with accurate information. However, in some cases, the unit is a bit slow when loading a new golf course.

Preloaded Courses

With over 41,000 courses, S10 gives you the flexibility to play nearly any prominent golf courses worldwide.

Ease of Use

The high-resolution and sunlight-readable display makes the information easily readable. The unit lacks some of the finer details and added features that more expensive GPS watches have, but it has all of the essentials and none of the distracting extras.

Price

The price tag on the Garmin Approach S10 is quite reasonable, especially considering that it’s from a very reputable brand and the great value it provides. Besides, it’s a versatile device and you can use it as a watch when not playing golf.

Pros
  • Easily readable even under extremely bright sunlight
  • Long GPS golf mode playtime of up to 12 hours
  • Gives accurate yardages
  • Can keep track of your rounds
  • Doubles up as a watch
Cons
  • Sometimes loads slowly when beginning a round

8. Best Large Display Golf GPS: Garmin Approach G8

Why we like it: With a slim profile, the Garmin Approach G8 offers a wide array of features designed to make golf more enjoyable and improve your prowess as a golfer. Whether you want to track your performance, know distances to a target or establish the distance needed to hit when laying up, this unit will provide you with the necessary information.

Editor’s Rating:

Subscription Required? No
Smartphone Required? Not required, optional phone features included

Reliability and Accuracy

The moment you turn on this Garmin handheld GPS unit, it loads the details of the nearby golf course swiftly. Within a few seconds, you’ll be able to see distances to hazards and well as the front, back and middle of the green. Use Club Advice to see how far you hit every club, and get helpful recommendations on the best club to use according to your shot distances. You can make great shots even when you can’t see the pin (for instance, when you’re in the dark), thanks to the PinPointer. The units always offer accurate information, irrespective of the measurements or information you need to know from it.

Golf Courses

If you buy this device, you don’t have to download golf course details as it comes pre-loaded with a whopping 38,000 courses. All the courses are accessible in color. This will save you much time, effort and possible download charges. With a Wi-Fi connection, the GPS updates the courses automatically for no additional charge.

Price

Although the price is higher than most of the GPS units we’ve listed here, tech-savvy golfers who’d like to access nearly all essential golf information from a smartphone-like palm GPS won’t mind parting with a few extra bucks to own this handheld unit.

Ease of Use

The Garmin Approach G8 displays details in an easy-to-read font on a crisp and clear screen. However, if you find yourself straining to read in the default font, you can switch to Big Numbers Mode to increase the distance font size for easy viewing. However, the touchscreen is a bit oversensitive and can cause you to press on the wrong areas at times.

Battery life

The GPS tracker comes with a rechargeable battery which stays on for about 15 hours before it runs out of power if fully charged.

Pros
  • Easy-to-read font on a crisp and clear screen
  • No annual or update fee.
  • Accurate and reliable
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • High price
  • A little too sensitive touchscreen

9. Best Budget Color Golf GPS: IZZO Golf Swami 5000 Golf GPS Rangefinder

Why we like it: With a slim profile, IZZO Golf Swami 5000 Golf GPS Rangefinder is a compact and water-resistant GPS unit with high level of accuracy and provides a golfer nearly all the golf course measurements they need to make excellent strokes. It’s easy to use and comes at a pocket-friendly price.

Editor’s Rating:

Subscription Required? No
Smartphone Required? No

Reliability

Whether you want to keep track of your score for every hole, establish how far your driver or irons go, or know the layup and carry distances for hazards like sand traps, water, and out of bounds limits, you can count IZZO Golf Swami 5000 for accurate golf course information. In play-like mode, you’ll see accurate distances to the front, back as well as the back of the green.

With the unit, you’ll never miss any information regarding your strokes as it features a digital scorecard that keeps track of your entire strokes, including your scores, GIR (greens in regulation), and PPR (Putts Per Round).

Preloaded Courses

Out of the box, the IZZO Golf Swami 5000 comes with over 38,000 global course maps. As such, you can use it while playing nearly at nearly any golf course in the world.

Ease of Use

The moment you move to a golf course, the auto course recognition feature of the unit detects it easily and you’ll be able to see various course distance measurements on the screen almost immediately. Currently, Izzo Golf Swami 5000 is among the handheld Golf GPS devices that are easiest to operate. The colorful 2-inch color screen that is easily visible even on an extremely sunny day.

Battery life

Are you afraid that the unit might run out of battery power in the course of a golf round? Relax; Izzo Golf Swami 5000 won’t disappoint you. A single full charge of its lithium-ion battery lasts the unit for 12 hours, which are equivalent to three golf rounds. However, the charging cable is a proprietary one. If it gets damaged or lost, you’ll have to buy another one from the manufacturer.

Price

The under-$100 price tag is a fair deal for a GPS unit of Izzo Golf Swami 5000’s caliber. It’s an even better deal considering there are no subscription fees.

Pros
  • Water-resistant
  • Affordable
  • Provides accurate and ample golf course information
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • Only uses a proprietary charging cable

10. Best Golf GPS Watch with Shot Tracking: Shot Scope V2 Smart Golf Watch

Why we like it: The Shot Scope V2 is quite versatile, showing more than 100 statistics on a user’s clubs, tee shots, and short game. And it’s a great watch, too!

Editor’s Rating:

Subscription Required? No
Smartphone Required? Not required, optional phone features included

Reliability and Accuracy

The unit combines GPS distance tracking with Tour-level performance analysis, which is fully automated to help you smarter decisions while on a golf course and improve your performance. It shows distances to the front, middle, as well as the back of the green. When it comes to accuracy, you can trust this unit to be reliable and help you pick the perfect club to hit it close.

Ease of Use

The Shot Scope V2 Smart Golf Watch is easy to use and switching between features is remarkably simple. It displays information on a clear screen and the font is large enough for nearly any person to read without hassle.

Golfers who are looking for a detailed swing record after the round will love the Shot Scope V2. Courtesy of ClubSense technology, each shot during the round is recorded and can be viewed easily on your computer after the round

Preloaded courses

Unlike the other GPS devices we’ve mentioned here, Shot Scope V2 doesn’t come with preloaded golf courses. Once you buy it, you’ll have to download the courses on your computer or mobile app and then sync them to the GPS unit to get started.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Doubles up as a watch
  • Very responsive and helpful support team
  • Accurate GPS information
  • No subscription fee
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with preloaded courses

Guide to Buying the Best Golf GPS


Every golf GPS on this list is a great fit for someone, but the specific device that you choose will depend on your own needs and preferences. The following are some of the major factors that you should consider to buy the best golf GPS:

GPS Watch or Hand-held GPS?

Have you noted that some of the products we listed here above are in the form of a watch while others are hand-held GPS units that resemble a standard smartphone? A golf GPS can take either of the forms.

Your decision to choose either a GPS watch or a handheld GPS should be guided by your needs and preferences, as each type has distinct features. Let’s have a look at each of the types to establish which one could suit you the best.

GPS watch

A GPS watch resembles an ordinary watch but if you have a closer look at it, you’ll realize that it has a GPS feature. It normally offers basic distance readings to the green. GPS watches have smaller screens as compared to hand-held GPS devices. Consequently, they are unable to display extras such as hazards. However, those with advanced profiles offer more in-depth information.

The main drawback of a GPS watch is that its battery life tends shorter than that of a handheld GPS when in GPS mode. Still, some GPS watches like the Garmin Approach G60 do offer surprisingly capable batteries.

Handheld GPS

A handheld GPS like the Garmin Approach G8 is normally the preferred choice for golfers who’d like to get more golf course guidance and other features that are often lacking in a GPS watch. As previously mentioned, some golf watches don’t show distances to hazards, but when it comes to hand-held GPS, even a basic one will usually show detailed information. Other advanced benefits that a hand-held GPS unit normally provides include score recording, shot measurements, and Bluetooth smartphone notifications.

What Features Matter in a Golf GPS?

With the amount of features available in modern golf GPS systems, it’s easy to be daunted by the possibilities. If you’re working with an unlimited budget you can always just select a premium option that can handle just about anything, but if you prefer simplicity or prize certain features over others, you’ll need to think about what it is you truly need from your GPS.

Accuracy

Accuracy is the foremost consideration in any golf GPS. If it can’t accurately detect you and determine your distance to the hole or other course feature, the GPS is useless. Every unit on this list offers an excellent level of accuracy, but some, like the Garmin Approach G60 go above and beyond by ensuring accuracy down to the yard – which is about as good as it gets.

Screen Size

The size and quality of the display on a golf GPS unit is easy to overlook, but incredibly important. Especially in sunny conditions, a low-quality screen can ruin even the best GPS. If your eyesight is poor or if you plan on regularly playing in direct sunlight, choose a golf GPS with a high-quality glare-free screen like the Garmin Approach G8.

Club Selection

Beginners and skilled golfers alike can often benefit from the advice of a caddy, but that’s not always an option for an amateur golfer. Choosing a golf club on your own can be a very complicated task. Thankfully, some golf GPS units like the Garmin Approach G8 offer assistance with club selection by using the course information to provide you recommendations for which club would be best suited for your position relative to the hole.

Bird’s Eye View

Considered an advanced feature that’s typically only present in high-end golf GPS units, a bird’s-eye view of the hole can really help to situate yourself. Numbers on a screen are helpful, but for particularly difficult greens, this premium feature can’t be overlooked. While it’s not included on most units in this list, the Garmin Approach G60 does feature a high-quality overhead viewing option.

Scorekeeping and Shot Tracking

Having a golf GPS that keeps track of your score and shot history on your behalf can go a long way towards making golfing easier and more enjoyable. While it’s by no means a must-have feature, it can come in handy. If it’s important to you, many excellent units on this list offer it, including the Shot Scope V2 Smart Golf Watch.

Parting Shot

Finding the best golf GPS should not seem quite as daunting anymore. You have all the information you possibly require to make the best choice. Whether you want a feature-filled GPS watch or a basic standalone unit, there’s a great golf GPS on this list for you.