Most of us at some point, wonder what it would be like to have a personal caddie for a round or two. A handheld golf GPS is, the next best thing.
A good golf GPS can help you improve your game drastically. Between finding the exact pin location, suggesting clubs, and of course, telling you exactly how far you are from the pin. A golf GPS is really quite priceless. The only problem is deciding which one to get.
Other Golf GPS reviews will tell you to get the most expensive one out there. I’m going to tell you which products I like the best based on the quality, what they offer, and their ease of use. Some are more expensive than others but a lot of times it’s just because they offer more applications.
Top 5 Picks for Golf GPS Systems
A Golf GPS can be a small or fairly large investment based on which one you choose. They all have some similar features, some have more information and design features than others.
It can be confusing trying to figure out which one to get and why. I’m going to cover my top five picks for a handheld golf GPS and why I picked them below.
Garmin Approach G8 Golf Handheld GPS
The mack daddy of all caddies, GPS units, and golf gadgets is here. The Garmin Approach G8 golf handheld GPS is the best golf GPS unit on the market, in my opinion. It has everything you could ever possibly need in a golf GPS and then some. Let’s take a look at what makes this golf GPS better than the rest.
- 3 Inch Display
- Easy to see display
- 2.1×4.4×0.6 Inch Device
- Large enough to see screen easily but small enough to fit in a pocket or golf bag
- PlaysLike Distance
- Distance to every target, even accommodates for elevation
- Club Advice
- Remembers how far you hit with each club and makes recommendations based on this information
- Always shows you the pin, even when you are in a blind spot
- 40,000+ Courses Loaded
- Chances are, your course is on there
- Phone Sync
- Receive alerts for texts, emails, and calls so you can leave your phone put away
- Do away with the tiny pencils and use the G8’s digital scorecard
- Even share with friends
What do all these specs mean for you? How do they apply to your game and your life? Let’s take a look at the highlights of the G8.
Besides the obvious of having a handheld golf GPS, there are so many features that you will find incredibly convenient. Phone synchronization, it’s small size, rechargeable batteries, and it’s caddie like qualities make it the optimal convenient golf GPS device.
I don’t know any player who doesn’t want to improve some aspect of their game. There are a plethora of ways that the Garmin G8 golf GPS does just that.
The Garmin G8 doesn’t just tell you how far the pin is from your position. It can even help you adjust your shot based on blind spots, and elevation. We all know that those hills are located in the most inconvenient places.
This is a major benefit of the Garmin G8. This golf GPS actually logs how far you hit with each club and starts making suggestions for you based on that information. That is about as close to a real caddie as you can get. I think this feature alone is worth every cent.
PinPointer and Green View
Stuck in a sand trap? In a blind spot? No problem. The PinPointer will help you find the pin no matter where you are. Coupled with the Green View, you will have no trouble putting the ball where you want it to. The Green View allows you to zoom in on the green and move it around to figure out the exact placement of the pin that day.
This is such a fun feature. It does just what it says in keeping score. However it actually tracks a lot of your game stats too so it will help you analyze your game better. You can put in everything from your score to how far your drive was on the dreaded Hole 4.
Slim and Trim
The G8’s thin and fairly small size really makes it easy to add to your game. Sometimes, you can get a really bulky device and it’s just an annoyance. The Garmin G8 golf GPS is a great size and is lightweight enough to carry around in your pocket if you’d rather keep it out of your golf bag.
I like that you can upload and share scores with your buddies. I know my friends would heckle me and make those frustrating rounds seem like not as big of a deal. You can also compare yourself to other players who have uploaded their scores for that same course.
- Best Golf GPS
- I stand by this one based on all of the extra features
- Knows You and Your Game
- Keeps track of your stats and makes recommendations
- Small and convenient yet still easy to see
- For Every Age Group
- Font size up feature allows older players to see the screen with ease
- Easy to run but high-tech enough for younger players to really enjoy
- Phone Sync
- Leave your phone behind and just focus on your game without missing any messages or calls
- The price is higher than my other recommendations but I would say it’s more than worth it
- Extra Information
- It does have a lot of extra services besides yardage to the pin.
- There will be updates that will need to be purchased every couple of years or so at an extra cost
- Poor Customer Service
- Some buyers have complained that the customer service is poor
The Garmin G8 golf GPS is my top pick and I bet you can figure out why now. It has the basic amenities you are looking for but offers much, much more. The G8 really is similar to having your own caddie. If you aren’t looking for the extras or don’t want to fork over that much dough, there are less expensive and less elaborate options to choose from, but I do believe you get what you pay for. I still stand by the G8 golf GPS as my favorite pick.
Click Here to check current price on Amazon.
Garmin Approach G30 Golf Course GPS
Are you surprised I picked another Garmin device? You shouldn’t be. The Garmin Approach G30 golf GPS is an extremely close second to the G8. It has most of the same features, minus the PinPointer, and is a little less expensive. Let’s go through the incredible features of this golf GPS.
- Highly Accurate GPS
- Syncs in quickly and accurately to give you the exact yardage
- 2.3-inch Touchscreen
- Beautiful clarity at a decent size
- 40,000+ Courses
- All the information you need to dominate a course
- Green View
- Check out pin position and more to decrease number of strokes
- Digital Scorecard
- Analyze your game and your improvement through this feature
- Phone Synchronization
- Play guilt-free knowing you will never miss a call, email, or text
- Lightweight and Compact
- Small enough to fit in your pocket or golf bag
- Rechargeable Battery
- Don’t waste your time or energy on disposable batteries
What are the most important features of the Garmin G30 golf GPS?
I really like the size of this golf GPS. It’s small enough to be handy but not too small that you have to get a magnifying glass out to see the screen. It’s a nice in between size and really easy to keep in a golf bag or vehicle so you never forget it.
It’s hard to think of a way that the G30 wouldn’t improve your game. It can help you from the tee box to green and everywhere in between. This GPS shows you elevation levels and adjusts yardage accordingly. It even will suggest which club for you to use on each stroke. This can minimize strokes and help you really enjoy your game.
Syncing your phone with the G30 is a great way to disconnect from your smartphone without fear of missing an important call. You can also upload your scores and show to friends and family. There are a lot of ways to stay connected using the G30.
Bells and Whistles
Greenview, LCD color screen, Wifi, Bluetooth, and Club Advice are just some of the many extras that come with the Garmin G30 golf GPS. What more can you ask for out on the course? If only it could hold your beer for you.
- Both the device itself and the programs
- Improved Score
- Club recommendations, GreenView, and more help you minimize strokes and improve your game
- There are so many different features that go far beyond the regular GPS
- Easy to Use
- So easy, grandpa can use it
- While it’s less expensive than the G8, it still costs a penny
- Battery Life
- 10+ hr battery life is great, until you forget to recharge it
- Extra Gadget
- It’s something extra you have to carry around with you, remember to pack, and pay for.
The Garmin G30 golf GPS was a close second pick to the G8. It has almost all of the same features besides PinPoint at a little less the cost. If you think you can do without PinPoint, want to pay a little less, and keep a lot of awesome extras, the Garmin G30 golf GPS is just the right golf GPS for you.
Click Here to See Current Prices on Amazon.
Bushnell Phantom Power Bundle Handheld GPS
Stepping back from the Garmin brand for a moment, the Bushnell Phantom Power Bundle Handheld golf GPS is a great third choice. You are getting it for about half the cost of the G30, getting more than just the GPS unit, and it still has some really great features.
- 58mm x 59mm x 20mm
- Small and convenient
- Auto Course Recognition
- Figures out which course you are at and uploads the information for you
- Auto Hole Advance
- Goes right to the next hole and is waiting for you to start
- Hazard and Layup Distances
- Extra information that is very valuable
- 35,000+ Courses Loaded
- You’d be hard pressed to find a course near you not on it
- Easy To Use
- Nothing crazy here, just straight forward
- Built In Golf Cart Magnet
- Go hands free
- Portable Charger
- No fear of running out of juice during your game
- Multiple Color Choices
- USA (Red, White, and Blue)
As you can see the Phantom is a nice golf GPS. Let’s go over the most important features.
- No Extras
- If you are a no frills kind of player, this one’s for you
- Can Charge on the Go
- An issue with rechargeable batteries or regular batteries is running out of power out on the course. Easily recharge in your cart with the portable charger included.
- Attaches to Cart Easily
- You don’t have to keep it in your pocket or in your bag between holes. Just pop it right onto the cart.
- Uploads Course Automatically
- No fidgeting around and trying to load each course.
- Less Expensive
- A little over $100 for a top notch golf GPS? Sign me up.
- Portable Charger
- No worrying about batteries
- Really User Friendly
- Simple for anyone to use
- Improve Your Game
- Get more accurate adjustments and decrease amount of strokes
- Occasionally Resets
- The #1 complaint is the Phantom will randomly reset and you have to reload everything which can take 5 minutes or so. A major annoyance if you are in the middle of a game.
- Not Any Extra Advice
- It’s just the yardage here, folks. There’s no extra helpers.
The Bushnell Phantom Power Bundle Handheld golf GPS is a great #3 pick. It has the basics of what you need in a golf GPS at only a little over $100. How great is that? The only drawback is that it isn’t going to get you all those extra bonus features you might have drooled over in my first picks.
Click Here to see Current Price on Amazon.
4.Garmin Approach G10 Handheld Golf GPS
We are back in the Garmin realm. It’s hard to stay too far away from the legendary brand name. The Garmin Approach G10 handheld golf GPS was a natural choice for my number four pick. It’s smaller than the other Garmin’s while still holding quite a punch.
- 1.3 Inch Display
- Small display but clarity is still quality
- Weighs in at 1 oz.
- Throw it in your pocket or golf bag without feeling bulky
- Accurate Yardage
- Can make a difference in your strokes
- Points Out Hazards
- Avoid unnecessary frustration
- 40,000+ Loaded Courses
- Find your course and more
- Tracks Your Game
- Scorecard feature allows you to keep track of your game and upload to your computer to analyze and compare with other players
- GreenView and Pin Placement
- Always know where that pin is and be able to move it if needed.
- So easy to bring with you anywhere and everywhere. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and only weighs 1 oz. so won’t get it in the way of your game if you want to keep it in your pocket.
- No complaints on the yardage being off. Seems to be crystal clear every time.
- Upload Your Course
- Master any course with ease
- Greenview and Pin Placement
- Really makes a difference when trying to get that perfect shot and onto the green faster
- Small and lightweight
- Less Expensive
- Around the $100 mark
- Brand Name
- You can trust
- Extra Features
- Like GreenView to improve your game
- Like GreenView to improve your game
- Easy to Lose
- So small that people have claimed they misplace it easily
- No Spectacular Bells and Whistles
- While it does have GreenView and PinPoint, it doesn’t have Club Advice or a huge display screen to get really particular about your game
- Lanyard Too Big
- The lanyard that comes with the G10 is too big for the device so doesn’t work properly.
The Garmin G10 golf GPS wasn’t hard to pick out of the crowd. It is backed by the legendary brand name, compact, and user friendly. You aren’t going to want to leave home without it.
Click Here to Check Current Price on Amazon.
IZZO Golf Swami 5000 Golf GPS Rangefinder
My final pick is no last place golf GPS. It still is a quality product that I would choose over a dozen others any day. Making it in to my top 5 is no easy feat, and the IZZO Golf Swami 5000 fought tooth and nail to get there.
- 2-Inch color LCD Screen
- Nice size and most buyers compliment the screen
- 12 Hour Battery Life
- Don’t have to worry about running out mid game
- Water Resistant
- Go out into all weather, you diehard
- Allows you to track your scores and progress on courses as you get better
- 38,000+ Uploaded Courses
- Find a course near you!
- Takes you to the next hole
- Accurate Yardage
- No hemming and hawing if it’s the right yardage or not
- Hazard Recognition
- Doglegs and water hazards will light up like Christmas on your screen.
Let’s get down to what we really care about with the IZZO, shall we?
- Slim and Sleek
- It’s not bulky but it’s not super tiny either. I really like the size of it. You can fit it in your pocket or bag with ease but you aren’t going to scramble to find it.
- The IZZO is spot on for yardage and courses
- Easy To Use
- Nice interface that is simple and clean
- Improves Your Game
- Keeping track of your shots and score will help you analyze and improve your game.
- Cost Efficient
- A little over $100 and still has a good reputation
- No breaking the bank here
- User Friendly
- Simple and easy to use, can be great for anyone
- Shot tracking, scorecards, points out hazards, and of course yardage all combine to get you a more hands on approach to improving your game
- Well made, durable, and has a ton of great reviews
- Shot Distance
- This is an extra feature they recently added and really improves this golf GPS
- Takes A while to Load Courses
- I would load up before you want to start the game so you don’t have to wait around
- Not a Touch Screen
- Manually using buttons seems a little odd in this day and age but some people enjoy it better than the touch screen
- Screen Can Lock Up
- The last thing you want in the middle of a game is for your golf GPS to be frozen or lose your score.
The IZZO Golf Swami 5000 is a quality golf GPS choice. It is a medium size device, at a great price, with lots of extra features. It’s no Garmin G8 but it is a great 5th choice. I think because of the cost, it is going to be a little slower and not have as many features and that’s just fine. The IZZO Golf Swami 5000 is a great beginner golf GPS or gift.
Click Here to Check Current Price on Amazon.
Why do I need a golf GPS?
Do you want to improve your golf game? That wasn’t really a sarcastic question. It was more of a question on how serious you are about your game. While I think a golf GPS is a great gift, if you are looking for you it’s a good question to ask yourself.
If the answer is, “Hell yes, I want to improve my game!”, then you need a golf GPS. Like I mentioned above, it’s basically like buying a personal caddie.
You can keep track and analyze your statistics to see where your strengths and weaknesses are. Understand your clubs better than ever and start picking the right club for each shot. It’s no Carl Weathers whispering, “Just tap it in,” in your ear but you can’t get much closer.
Which is the best golf GPS for the money?
This is kind of a tough one to answer. On one hand, you get what you pay for. So, if you can afford to pay for the Garmin G8 golf GPS, I would say it’s worth the money. However, I think that the Garmin G30 is less expensive and still has the majority of the features.
How do I pick the right golf GPS for me?
There are a few questions you can ask yourself to find the right golf GPS for you. The most important thing to remember is you are looking for you, not another golfer. Unless of course, you are buying a gift, then keep in mind who you are buying for.
I know this one seems a little out there, but hear me out. If you are buying a golf GPS for an 18 year old, you can go a little more high-tech and less user friendly without worrying if they can figure it out.
On the other hand, if you are buying a golf GPS for a 65+ year old, you are going to want a GPS that you can see clearly with large font as well as great customer support and a user friendly interface.
Are you a novice or an expert? If you are more on the novice end of the spectrum, a golf GPS can really improve your game. On the same hand, you might not be ready to invest a lot of money into your golf gear. You can always start off with something like the IZZO or Garmin G10 and work up to something like the Garmin G30 or G8 if you are going to stick with it.
If you are more towards the intermediate or expert side, you are probably going to want to go with the G30 or G8 right off the bat. You know you are in it for the long haul and the money won’t go to waste.
This one is kind of a no-brainer. If you don’t have as much to spend, you can head to the bottom of my list and pick the IZZO or the G10. If you have more money to spend, I would pick the Garmin G30.
Time Spent Golfing
Are you an avid golfer? Do you go golfing multiple times per week? Then, it’s well worth your money to grab the Garmin G30. If you are a leisure golfer that only gets out a few times per summer, I would pick something a little less expensive.
Every golfer fantasizes of having a Carl Weathers alongside him to improve their game. Having a golf GPS may not be the same, but it comes darn close. Whether you choose the Garmin G8 or the IZZO Golf Swami 5000, you are taking great strides to improve your game and enjoy this excellent sport even more.
There are an overwhelming amount of golf GPS systems available. It can be frustrating trying to sort through them all and find a decent one without selling a kidney. Hopefully, after reading this guide you will feel confident in your choice of golf GPS.