Best Golf GPS 2020 – Reviews and Buying Guide

Today's blog post is going to explore the Best Golf GPS Products on the market today, including our top picks, best gadget comparison tables, detailed reviews, and your frequently asked questions (FAQs). Thanks for reading!

As a casual golfer, you probably don’t have a personal caddy. Finding distances and selecting the right clubs can be an adventure itself. But that doesn’t mean you can’t play like the pros.

Having a golf GPS is like having your own trusted caddy:

It gives you tips to shave off a few strokes, but more importantly, it helps you navigate the course well. Whether you golf alone or with your buddies, the best golf GPS device will surely help you improve your game and impress your friends.

If you're in a hurry, here is our top choice:

Our pick
Izzo Swami 6000
Best Golf GPS Handheld Device

The Swami is sits perfectly in your hands and is like a little caddy that you can put in your pockets. It seems so obvious that knowing distances helps you pick the right clubs for your shots. You will still be shocked at how much better your game gets after getting one of these devices.


Handheld Devices - Comparison Table

If you see a gadget you’re interested in, click the link below. Otherwise, keep reading below for our reviews.

NAMEEDITOR'S CATEGORYPRODUCT
Izzo Swami 6000Our pick (Handheld)Izzo Swami 6000
GolfBuddy Voice 2Budget pick (Handheld)GolfBuddy Voice 2
SkyCaddie SX500Upgrade pick (Handheld)SkyCaddie SX500

GPS Watches - Comparison Table

If you see a watch you’re interested in, click the link below. Otherwise, keep reading below for our reviews.

NAMEEDITOR'S CATEGORYPRODUCT
Garmin Approach S20Our pick (Watch)Garmin Approach S20
Garmin Approach S10Budget pick (Watch)Garmin Approach S10
Garmin Approach S60Upgrade pick (Watch)Garmin Approach S60


Best Handheld GPS Devices - Detailed Reviews for 2020

1. Izzo Swami 6000

Our pick (Handheld)

Do you remember those beepers that a lot of people carried back in the 90s, before cell phones were popular? The Izzo Swami 6000 is similar in design to a lot of those devices, but in the form of a Golf GPS and much much cooler.

Much like many other golf GPS on the market, the Izzo Swami comes pre-loaded with over 38,000 of the world's golf courses. In contrast to many of the competitors, however, the Swami 6000 has a feature that allows the GPS to automatically detect which golf course you are on the second you step onto the tee-box giving golfers a reading of the course from the get-go.

Izzo Swami 6000

The Swami also has an incredibly vibrant full color screen. While the screen can, at times, seem cluttered due to its size, you are still able to see all the parts of the course you need to see, and get accurate yardage readings accordingly.

While playing, the Izzo Swami 6000 is able to automatically update, giving you a precise course reading as you move along the course. If you ever find that something seems a bit off about the reading that the GPS is giving you, the device actually comes built with a course-map editor, which will allow you to tweak the course's map as you see fit.

While it looks like a beeper in design, this device is far and away more useful than those little annoying things ever were. If you are looking for an accurate, and relatively affordable Golf GPS handheld, then we can fully recommend the Swami.

Things We Liked

  • Sits & feels great in hand
  • Auto-course recognition at start-up
  • Auto-hole advance

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​Cluttered design

2. GolfBuddy Voice 2

Budget pick (Handheld)

While it doesn't have a colored screen or smartphone capabilities, the GolfBuddy Voice 2 GPS has one important feature that other Golf GPS do not: audio readings of the course.

If you wear glasses or are getting a bit older sometimes even the best of digital displays can come up a bit blurry and hard to read. The Voice 2 eliminates this issue almost entirely by literally telling the golfer, through a digital voice, about yardage distances between themselves and various objects on the course.

GolfBuddy Voice 2

This feature alone can make this GPS an invaluable tool to many senior golfers, as it can help them with their golf game in ways that other GPS cannot. It can help golfers with various language preferences as well, thanks to the GPS' 8 different language options.

In addition to the voice capabilities for telling you the distance of various objects, the GolfBuddy can do the same for telling you the distance of your own shots, letting you know exactly how far your ball is flying. And it does all this with astounding accuracy, thanks in part to being loaded with information on 38,000 golf courses.

Sure, there may be fancier devices available for purchase, but just for its major feature, the GolfBuddy Voice 2 GPS is probably one of the greatest golf GPS that you can find, giving every golfer a chance to play better.

Things We Liked

  • Audio readings
  • Readings of golf course AND distance for shots

Things We Didn't Like

  • ​Only a very basic set of features

3. SkyCaddie SX500

Upgrade pick (Handheld)

If you're the type of person who believes more information is always better, then the abundance of information and course detail the SkyCaddie SX500 offers will be right up your ally.

However, the device doesn't become overwhelming, but is shockingly intuitive. You might be able to skip the manual all together and go straight to the golf course. There, you're going to be able to adjust and optimize golf club selection with suggestions and feedback for shot distance with various clubs.

SkyCaddie SX500

Things We Liked

  • Stunning visuals
  • Long battery life
  • Club customization available

Things We Didn't Like

  • Size (larger than most smartphones)

Best GPS Watches - Detailed Reviews for 2020

1. Garmin Approach S20

Our pick (Watch)

If you took a peek at the list of GPS watches recommended by us, then you probably noticed right away that all three recommendations come from Garmin. They are dominating the GPS watch market for golfers, but for a good reason.

The Garmin Approach S20 has a stunning display and offers all the information necessary to drastically improve your golf game. It comes with a comfortable wristband that allows for longer stretches of wearing it without becoming uncomfortable.

The S20 syncs with your Garmin Connect account and makes it easy to keep all your stats and data in one place and access it from anywhere. You're going to wish you had gotten one of these sooner.

Garmin Approach S20

Things We Liked

  • AutoShot records and saves shot statistics autmatically
  • Crystal clear display
  • Fitness watch functionality

Things We Didn't Like

  • Limitations due to display size


2. Garmin Approach S10

Budget pick (Watch)

The slim design and the price of the Garmin Approach S10 are great arguments to get one of these. Like the other Garmin watches on our list, it comes with 41,000 pre-loaded courses and a high-resolution 1.3 inch screen.

Garmin Approach S10

Things We Liked


Things We Didn't Like



3. Garmin Approach S60

Upgrade pick (Watch)

The S60 offers all the functionality you would expect, but at the same time comes with an outstanding touchscreen, and full blown fitness monitoring functionality.

The well designed screen makes it a breeze to get all the information you want and need, while still easily navigating between apps. Garmin did it again. A masterpiece!

Garmin Approach S60

Things We Liked

  • Touchscreen
  • Comfortable to wear

Things We Didn't Like

  • Might pick up a practice swing and mistake it for your actual swing

Golf GPS Buyer's Guide

Handheld Devices

Favored by the more serious golfers, handheld GPS units have big and colorful screens that are not available in smaller GPS watches.

As a result, they provide more precise details for readings and analysis of the course and your shots.

They allow golfers to see the hole view from above and to find the center of the green with their approaches.

They are also useful for blind spots and pack a bunch of features like scorecards and advance stat tracking.

GPS Watch

GPS watches are smaller, lighter and easier to carry around.

Even when not on your wrist, they can be attached to belts, pockets or other apparels with clips.

Because they do not have a big screen, GPS watches provide more barebones data.

However, with advancements in technology, GPS watches now come with many features dog-legs, hazards, shot tracking and statistics.

On top of that, the newest GPS watches look seriously slick and cool, best for showing off to your friends.

GPS Smartphone App

These are much cheaper than GPS watches or handheld devices and provide an alternative if you prefer to stick to your phone.

They provide hole views and basically does what a GPS should do, but they can be less accurate than the other golf GPS devices.

Additionally, they drain your smartphone battery life fast.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Golf GPS

Golf GPS provide many benefits on the course, but there are inherent limitations, especially when compared to Laser Rangefinders.

Advantages

  • Provides accurate distances within inches to target
  • Doesn’t need to be in sight with target
  • Quick and easy distance readings
  • Readings not affected by light conditions
  • Ability to sync with other devices to update course information and notifications
  • Assists players on unfamiliar courses
  • Score and statistics tracking (some models)
  • Club recommendation (some models)
  • Stroke execution recommendation (some models)

Disadvantages

  • Accuracy of device and number of distances is dependent on manufacturers
  • Not as accurate as laser rangefinders for clear line-of-sight measurements
  • Possible additional membership or subscription fees

Factors to Consider before Buying

Accuracy

Perhaps the most important aspect of a GPS device is its accuracy. Otherwise, what’s the point of getting one?

There are 2 types of accuracy – device and mapping.

Device accuracy is the device ability to pick up satellites information and determine its current location.

Mapping accuracy ensures information on the course is properly mapped.

Accuracy really depends on the manufacturer, hence go for a trusted brand.

Display

Is the screen big and bright enough for you?

Are the colors vibrant? Do the figures contrast with the background?

Is it easy to read under the sunlight?

Size

Is the device small and light for you to easily carry around?

Having a GPS watch definitely ticks this criteria. What about handheld devices?

Is it small enough to fit into your pocket (like a smartphone)?

Can the device be clipped onto your belt or hat?

Is it light enough to not affect your swing?

Ease of Use

Sure, having multiple features is really great but what use is it if you have to fiddle through multiple buttons and menus to get what you want?

It should be simple to start and navigate especially on new courses.

You do not want a device that is so hard to use, you give up and leave it to dust.

Features

Besides basic distance measurement, what other features does the device provide?

How does it distinguish itself from the other GPS devices?

Some to consider: stats tracking, score keeping, rotating greens, aerial flyovers, green points mapped, club recommendation and waterproof capability.

Course Availability

Most manufacturers claim there are thousands of courses loaded into their GPS device, but how many of these courses are ones you actually play?

Of all these courses, do they include the features that were advertised?

Course Detail and Mapping

How much information about the course you’re playing does the device provide you?

How many hazards and bunkers are displayed?

What about views, distances to various marked points, including trees, creeks, bunkers, the end of the fairway on a dogleg, and even lay-up points?

Can you add additional hazards to the course you’re playing?

Can you map your own course if it’s not available?

Setup

How quickly can you get up and running with the device?

Does it require software installation or updates?

Do you need to connect it to your computer?

Can a non-technical person do it without pulling his hair out?

Battery Life

If you’re using a GPS watch, it can run out of battery quickly depending on how long you use it.

Do you have to bring a charger or additional batteries along?

What are the manufacturer’s claimed operating time and how much buffer should you include?

Value for Money

Golf GPS devices range from $100 to $400. What is your budget?

Do you require all the features or just some of it?

How does the manufacturer charge for the courses? Unlimited or pay-per-course?

Is it a trusted brand known for premium quality?

Subscription Fees

Do you have to pay additional fees for future updates or download additional courses?

Are the fees one-time payment or recurring?

Are you prepared to pay the additional fees?


Quick Summary of the Best Golf GPS in 2020

NAMEEDITOR'S CATEGORYPRODUCT
Izzo Swami 6000Our pick (Handheld)Izzo Swami 6000
GolfBuddy Voice 2Budget pick (Handheld)GolfBuddy Voice 2
SkyCaddie SX500Upgrade pick (Handheld)SkyCaddie SX500
NAMEEDITOR'S CATEGORYPRODUCT
Garmin Approach S20Our pick (Watch)Garmin Approach S20
Garmin Approach S10Budget pick (Watch)Garmin Approach S10
Garmin Approach S60Upgrade pick (Watch)Garmin Approach S60
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As we can see from the features and benefits Golf GPS gives us, these little navigation devices have become essential training aids, just like their counterparts in vehicles have become an essential device for bringing us around.

Last update on 2020-06-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API