best golf gps devices

The most effective way to improve your golf game is to have a golf GPS device at hand. With this technology, even amateurs can level up and master the game fairly quickly. The best golf GPS devices make it effortless to knock the shots off your scorecard, and even at a new course, you can golf like it is your own. 

With GPS satellites in action, these devices can accurately pinpoint your location. You get valuable information like yardage, distance to hazards, and distance to the green. Some of these can even track your steps and act as a fitness tracker.

Best Golf GPS Devices Comparison Chart

Garmin Approach S20

TecTecTec ULT-G Golf GPS Watch

GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS

CANMORE TW-353 GPS Golf Watch

Garmin Approach S40

Best Golf GPS Devices: A Review

1. Garmin Approach S20

Garmin is a Kansas-based company specializing in GPS technology and is popular for its gadgets. They not only make wearable technology but also devices for the aviation and automotive industries. This high-tech smart GPS watch is a top choice for golf as it comes packed with modern features that are sure to improve your game.

Product Highlights

The Garmin Approach S20 is a looker. The high-resolution display of 128 x 128 pixels, combined with a comfortable yet stylish band makes it a sensible choice.

It can be paired with the Garmin Connect App, which is the online community for golf players. You can record your scores, upload them online, and compare them with others.

The CourseView feature automatically saves the frequently played courses, while the AutoShot round analyzer automatically calculates your shot distance. The watch also features Garmin TruSwing sensors that can help you consistently improve your swings.

It also has a Green View system that virtually shows you the true shape of the green field with the layout. You can then manually reposition the pin, giving the precise distance from the front, back, and middle of the green. 

There are over 40,000 built-in golf courses, and it keeps updating to get more. It is essentially a smartwatch, so you get notifications about calls, texts, and emails right on your wrist without needing to reach out for your phone while on the course. 

It also doubles as a fitness tracker, monitoring your steps as well as sleep. The fitness tracker also reminds you to take a walk and calculates the calories you have burned.

The Good

What makes this smartwatch perfect for golf is the GPS itself. Garmin only produces top-shelf GPS products, which means that there are no glitches whatsoever. There are so many cutting-edge features to improve your golf skills and at the same time, share the numbers with your buddies.

All those useful features combined with a simple yet stylish design comes at a price about half of what other popular smartwatch brands are asking for.

The Bad

What we do not like is the software part of this watch. The navigation could use improvements. Also, it takes some time to figure out how things work and transfer data.

Pros:

  • Sunlight readable screen 
  • 15-hour battery life with GPS
  • One-year limited warranty
  • Value for money

Con:

  • Has a learning curve

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2. TecTecTec ULT-G Golf GPS Watch 

If you are looking for a simple wearable Golf GPS device, the TecTecTec ULT-G is the answer. It has all the functions you would require on the golf course without being too advanced. With four buttons to do pretty much everything, you will get the hang of it in no time.

Product Highlights

The TecTecTec ULT-G features over 38,000 golf courses around the world. No matter where you are, your course is most likely covered by this GPS device. The distance accuracy is about one yard, and the distance to the hazards is also included.

It is super intuitive as it connects with the GPS with just a button. It also automatically loads all the information you need, for instance, the distance from the front, back, and middle of the green. It also automatically processes hole progression as you golf.

This one is durable as it is dust- and water-resistant, while the battery can cover 2.5 rounds with a full charge. The wristband can fit almost any wrist size so men and women can wear it alike, but you can always replace the band to your liking.

The Good

This Golf GPS watch is quite simple and performs well on the golf course. There are no fancy features, just your regular golf data, step tracking, and of course, the clock, making it incredibly user-friendly.

The whole idea of having a GPS on your wrist is to make things easier and simpler. That is exactly what you get out of this watch.

The Bad

The TecTecTec ULT-G does not allow you to track your score, which is one thing you would want to have if you are competitive. Of course, there are apps for that, but it would be nice if the device is capable of keeping track of scores too. 

Pros:

  • 30 days money-back guarantee
  • Highly accurate
  • Comfortable to wear

Con:

  • Step tracker only works on golf courses

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3. GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS

The GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS is unique in that it reads out the distance for you. The audio feature makes it even more useful as it eliminates the need to look at the device to see the shot distance. This may be great for those who simply want all their focus on the shot.

Product Highlights

This golf GPS device has over 38,000 pre-loaded golf courses. It dynamically calculates and loads the distances from the perspective of the golfer. You get the distance to the front, back, and middle of the green.

It automatically recognizes the holes too and has rechargeable lithium polymer batteries that give approximately 14 hours of use on a full charge. The back of the device has a clip-on for your belt or cap. The screen is a Mono LCD, measuring one inch, while the size of the device is 1.76 x 1.78 inches, and the thickness is 0.49 inches.

The Good

The voice feature is truly the best thing about this device. It can be helpful for those who need vision correction and may find it difficult to read from a tiny screen. Also, it is simple and easy to use. If you are looking for something that you can start using right out of the packaging, this would be it.

The Bad

Unfortunately, the device does not track scores nor does it monitor your steps. It is very basic, so it is not ideal for those who want a GPS device to help improve their game.

You basically get what you pay for, which is why this is one of the cheapest golf GPS devices you will find. The GPS watch is clearly designed for beginners only.

Pros:

  • One-year limited warranty
  • Long battery life
  • User-friendly design and functions

Con:

  • A bit slow in detecting the golf course

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4. CANMORE TW-353 GPS Golf Watch

The CANMORE TW-353 is a sleek and modern smartwatch designed for the golf course. What makes it one of the best golf watches is its many features combined with a user-friendly design.

Product Highlights

This watch is data-driven, which means you will have all the information you need readily available. This includes the distance from the front, back, and middle, as well as shot distance and hazard information. It also automatically switches holes when you are on the golf course.

The watch also allows quick access to your scorecard, so you can maintain and compare your scores. The GPS works on 38,000 golf courses around the world. What’s more, is that new data can be downloaded from the Canmore website and uploaded to the watch via your computer.

It features a soft rubber waistband in different color variations. The watch also weighs only about 1.5 ounces, so you would not even feel as if there is something on your wrist.

The watch has a well-lit screen with a high-contrast text. The size is a little less than an inch measuring 0.95 x 0.95 inches.

The Good

The product’s white on black monochrome screen is one to love because it’s user-friendly. Even on a very bright sunny day, the screen would be legible.

The contrast works out great at any time of the day. All the necessary information is also displayed in an adequately sized font.

The Bad

The device requires 5V USB standard charging, which means you should avoid charging it in the car. Fast charging could mess up its battery and also void the warranty from the company.

Also, it may take a little time for the GPS to detect the golf course accurately. However, that is normal for most golf GPS devices.

Pros:

  • Comfortable grip
  • One-year warranty
  • Great value for money

Con:

  • Requires some time learning all the icons and functions

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5. Garmin Approach S40

Our last product is again from Garmin, a US-based tech giant known for high-quality tech wearables. The Garmin Approach S40 is a versatile golf watch that has both classic good looks and modern features. On top of that, it has a sturdy built so you can be sure you are investing in something efficient and long-lasting.

Product Highlights

This one has a metal bezel with quick-release bands, so you can easily switch between different colors of the wristbands. The unit is pre-loaded with over 41,000 courses spread across the world. 

It has an auto-detect shot distance capability, but it does not calculate or track distance for putts. You can touch anywhere on the green view to pinpoint the distance dynamically. It also provides information on the distance from the front, back, and middle of the green, as well as the distance to hazards and doglegs. 

The screen is a 1.2-inch color LCD that is sun-readable. It also has an extended battery life, lasting 15 hours in GPS mode.

This 1.5-ounce product also doubles as a smartwatch since it displays and tracks health information such as the number of steps, burnt calories, and quality of sleep. As a smartwatch, it can give you up to 10 days straight on a full charge.

The Good

What we like best about this golf watch is the metal bezel that gives it the right personality for the golf course. Most smartwatches today somewhat look the same, but the Garmin Approach S40 has a unique and elegant look.

The Bad

The S40 is an expensive golf watch from Garmin. That said, the design features, as well as functional capabilities, justify the high price tag.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Real-time automatic scorecard
  • Highly intuitive on the course
  • Water-resistant

Con:

  • Takes time with navigation

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Buyers Guide 

The GPS technology has revolutionized the world ever since it was made available for commercial use in 2000. It is useful even when you are playing golf. The GPS devices for golf have been around for a while now and only seem to be improving, which means that there are plenty of choices out there.

It is important to understand what features to look for and what features perhaps you could do without on the course. Having this information will help you find the right product for you, and judge whether the price you are paying is justified or not.

1. Distance Information

The reason you want a GPS device in the first place is to have all the distance information at hand. It should give you all the basics you need, like the distance to the front, back, and middle of the green. Some of them also provide yardage to hazards and doglegs. 

While most GPS devices for golf give the necessary distance information, some are more advanced. You may find other models with very detailed screens where you can even pinpoint manually. Once you touch a certain point, it will automatically calculate the distance.

2. Pre-loaded Courses

Gone are those days when you had to manually load information about a course on to the GPS device. Today’s golf GPS devices come pre-loaded with thousands of golf courses around the world. You want to make sure that the device you are getting has this feature.

If you play in different countries, you would want the auto-course recognition feature too. This feature uses GPS to detect the course you are on automatically. All the information you need is ready for you to use.

3. Scorecard

Traditionally, players log their scores on a paper card or, more recently, on golf apps on their phones. Now, you do not need any of those if you have the scorecard right in your golf GPS watch. It will let you track and review your scores on the course.

Although this feature is not absolutely necessary, it can help you analyze your scores on different courses and share it online with your friends.

4. Swing Analysis

This is another advanced feature that may not be present on every golf GPS device. It is usually built into the watch and tracks swing speed, swing path, swing angle, and ball speed. These numbers can help you learn your swing faults and then improve them.

5. Display

Believe it or not, but the display can perhaps single-handedly make or break your GPS device. It does not matter how advanced it is and what measurements it can make if you cannot even clearly see the display with ease.

Most watches and handheld GPS devices have LCD or digital screens. Make sure they are bright enough and have the right contrasts to be useful.

6. Battery Life

Battery life is yet another feature that cannot be overlooked. It should have ample life to last all the 18 holes. If it can last multiple rounds in one full charge, it is good enough. In terms of hours, it should give you at least 10 hours once fully charged.

7. Ruggedness

A Golf GPS device should be able to withstand the conditions on a golf course. This means it should be, at the very least, water-resistant. It should also have a rugged body so that even if it were to slip, it does not break so easily.

8. Ease of Use

You do not want to waste time figuring out the device or going through screens for minutes on end. The purpose of the product is to make your game easy, and that is exactly what it should do. If a lot is going on and you cannot even find out how a particular feature works, it is not worth it.

Most of these devices usually have touch screens, while others have buttons on the sides. The former is a bit easier to work with, as you can just slide through screens. Nonetheless, some people still find it easy to operate buttons.

The ease of use also depends on how basic or advanced the device is. Most basic GPS devices and watches are straightforward to use and navigate. On the other hand, those packed with advanced features might take some time getting used to.  

Best Golf GPS Devices FAQs

1. Can Golf GPS Watches Fit Both Men and Women?

Yes, most GPS watches have universal wristbands that can easily be adjusted to fit both men’s and women’s wrists. Nevertheless, if you find your watch wristband to be too big, you can always buy a replacement band that fits your wrist.

You may be able to buy one from the same manufacturer. Alternately, there are plenty of smartwatch wristbands available with a plethora of color and material options.

2. Why Should I Get a GPS Device Instead of a Rangefinder?

While both of them are helpful on the golf course, it comes down to the visuals. The GPS device, whether handheld or wearable, would give a better course layout. They give yardage to the front, back, and middle of the greens. Plus, there is high accuracy.

If you play several courses each year and keep trying new ones, you may want to invest in a golf GPS device. You will be faced with unfamiliar layouts, in which case, the GPS device would come in pretty handy. 

3. Do All GPS Watches Have Health Features Like Step Tracker, Calorie Counter, Sleep Tracker, and More?

These health features are common in smartwatches, but they may not be present in most golf GPS watches.

Some watches do have built-in health features like heart rate monitors, sleep monitors, and calorie counters. They may also be able to get notifications from your phone. However, that usually means a higher price tag as it is a complete smartwatch and not just a golf GPS device.

The reason most GPS devices lack such features is that these are purely designed for the golf course. You would be using them on the course.

This allows their designs and functionality to be rather simpler. The more the features, the more complex such a small device would be for you.

4. Will a GPS Device Improve My Score?

Having a GPS device when you golf can help improve the odds, but it does not guarantee an improvement in score. It surely makes things easier for you, especially when you are on an unfamiliar course.

5. What Courses Can a Golf GPS Device Be Used On?

You can use a GPS device on virtually every course, especially around North America. These courses are pre-loaded into the device.

You can find out if the courses you play are included or not by going to the website of the manufacturer. They would most likely have a comprehensive list for all the countries.

If there is a course not found on the GPS device you have, you can contact the company’s customer service department, and they will add it to the system.

Conclusion

The Garmin Approach S20 is surely the best golf smartwatch and GPS device you could have. It covers all your basic needs and has some advanced features as well; all those with a user-friendly interface and a price that is not too high. Also, Garmin is a trusted US-based brand when it comes to GPS equipped gadgets. 

If you are looking for something basic and are on a tight budget, though, the GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS is more suitable. It is not a wearable device but is still sufficient for a golf course.

All-in-all, it all depends on your needs. If you are a pro, you can opt for a GPS watch with advanced features, but for beginners, a simple basic watch can be a good start.