We take you through the best golf GPS devices 2018 has to offer to help you make a decision on which is right for your game and your bank balance.
Best Golf GPS Devices 2018
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.
What will I need to consider?
– Your routine A glance at a watch is 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.
– Added extras The larger GPS units often include scorecard and stat tracking capabilities, while some devices measure shots or steps taken, so bear all this in mind.
– Battery power Laser rangefinders run on powerful batteries that are easily replaced every six months to a year, while 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.
Best Golf GPS Devices 2018
GOLF GPS WATCHES
GM Says: The GolfBuddy WTX delivers all the functionality associated with a handheld GPS unit in a versatile, compact watch. It combines a full colour screen and touchscreen functionality with a complete hole layout that shows the golfer’s position, as well as dynamic green view, which provides accurate distances from the specific angle of approach. There’s also shot distance measurement, pin position selection and extra ‘skins’ for stylish watch options when not in GPS mode.
GM Says: The SW2 is slimmer and lighter than its predecessor with improved battery life and no annual fees. It comes is pre-loaded and ready-to-play with golf’s only ground-corrected precision course maps exclusive to SkyCaddie users, providing at-a-glance distances to the Front, Centre and Back of every green on its bright, easy-to-read display. It will automatically detect your course and advance holes and also includes a host of fitness features as well as a pace-of-play timer.
Garmin Approach S20
GM Says: A sleek and lightweight GPS watch with features including hazards, doglegs and layups plus Green View and the new Garmin AutoShot round analyser for detailed game analysis on Garmin Connect. The watch also doubles as an activity tracker while the AutoShot feature automatically detects every swing, measures your shot distance and records each shot’s location for post-round analysis on your Garmin Connect account.
GM says: This traditional looking watch utilises yardages that have been mapped on foot to provide distances to the front, middle and back at over 35,000 pre-loaded courses. The annual membership isn’t ideal at £39.95, but it does add up to 40 hazard and lay-up distances and IntelliGreen – which shows the green’s shape – to the package.
TomTom Golfer 2
GM says: The ultra-slim upgrade to the TomTom Golfer is designed to help golfers improve their game by detecting tee and approach shots automatically, which can then be analysed after your round using the MySports app. The watch shows distances to reach and carry hazards as well as lay up points, while the auto scorecard tracks your score. The post-game analysis gives insights into shot patterns and greens in regulation. Rounds can be studied hole-by-hole in order to build on your strengths and improve your weaknesses.
GM says: The WT6 is a simple GPS watch offering that delivers simple, accurate GPS numbers for the golfer that just wants yardage at a glance. It can provide nine hours of battery life in golf mode and up to two months in watch mode as well as the usual front, middle and back distances as well as hazard information. The WT6 also boasts Dynamic Green View for improved accuracy after an errant drive.
GM says: Pairs via Bluetooth to the Bushnell Golf App to allow the golfer to book tee times, pay, confirm and set tee time notifications all from their smart phone. There is also the option for 3D course flyovers to give the golfer a birds-eye view of the hole. The Excel also has improved battery life – lasting three plus rounds before needing a charge. Additional features include a full frontal optical mounted colour display with auto brightness adjustment, pedometer, odometer and the ability to get up to four hazard distances per hole.
After a host of recent launches, we showcase…
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SkyCaddie Linx GT
GM says: This is the first GPS watch on the market with a built-in club tag sensor to track the club, location and distance of each shot. The watch wirelessly syncs with SkyCaddie Mobile in real-time, displaying your shots in vivid HD on your smartphone. You also get full colour maps and distances to the front, middle and back of the green on your watch for at-a-glance distances.
Garmin Approach S60
GM Says: It comes with a sunlight readable touchscreen display that integrates detailed CourseView mapping and yardages in full colour. Popular QuickFit watch bands that can be easily interchanged without the need for any tools. Garmin AutoShot game tracking technology, players can easily review, map and analyze all of their shots from each round they play. Touch targeting allows golfers to measure the distance to any other point on the course. It also receives smart notifications from compatible smartphones, so users can stay connected with notifications for call, texts, emails and more right on their watch.
GPS HANDHELD DEVICES
GM says: Replacing the Touch, the SX500 features a 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. It also features multiple yardage arcs overlaid on the fairway landing areas and greens and a built in 13-megapixel camera. The SX500 could well be one of the most complete handheld GPS devices ever made but be weary of the annual membership costs that apply after a year.
Garmin Approach G30
GM Says: 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.
Bushnell Neo Ghost
GM says: This pocket-sized GPS comes pre-loaded with over 33,000 courses, and as well as the front, centre and back yardages you’d expect, it also offers measurements to hazards and run outs, all for less than £100. Auto-course and hole recognition make it user friendly, while its shot measurement feature and different colour options are other handy extras.
GolfBuddy Tour VTX
GM says: Pre-loaded with over 38,000 courses, the GolfBuddy 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, GolfBuddy’s Dynamic Green View will adjust to provide an accurate yardage, so there’s no guesswork involved or uncertainty when stood over the ball.
GM says: This is the largest unit in this showcase, but that also means there’s more space on the four-inch LCD screen for extra features, like a pinch and zoom hole view that gives you a closer look at hazards and landing areas, arcs that display clear lay-up points and the option to move the pin around the green. Stat collection and scoring is also easy to input.
Garmin Approach G8
GM says: The G8’s large colour touchscreen can give you distances from any position on 38,000 pre-loaded courses, all of which are displayed via some of the best hole graphics on the market. Its stat collection and digital scorecard are also great features, however, the non-legal ‘plays like’ distance function that accounts for slope will put many off as it can’t be disabled.
SkyCaddie AIRE II
GM says: The SkyCaddie AIRE II comes loaded with stroke-saving features and is ready-to-play with over 35,000 error-corrected courses. Its intelligent automation (auto-course select, auto-hole advance and auto-distance) keeps your hands free. It is perfect for those looking for green information who don’t want to go to any extra effort to get those yardages. If you have been sceptical of GPS devices in the past then this is a great entry model that will give you the perfect alternative to using yardage markers on the course, and will actually speed up your play compared to the old method.
GM says: The world’s first golf GPS band is slimmer and lighter than a watch and displays its front, middle and back yardages via a tickertape-style LED dot display. Using the BB5, golfers can also measure their shot distances, record the number of steps they take and tell the time.
Garmin Approach X40
GM Says: Combines comprehensive golfing data for more than 40,000 international courses, Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate and daily activity tracking. Among the plentiful features, the new AutoShot game tracking feature automatically tracks shots along the fairway and measures distances for detailed post- game analysis on Garmin Connect.
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