Reviews of the Best Handheld & Golf Watch GPS Devices of 2017

Are you looking for a Golf GPS that will help transform your game?golf-gps-rangefinder

Maybe you are trying to decide between a handheld GPS or a golf GPS watch?

We have reviewed a selection of the best Golf GPS devices to help you decide which one is going to make the most impact on the course.

If you have questions about charge time, battery life, course coverage, touchscreen & audio functions. We have the answers for you right here!

 

Best Golf GPS of 2017

Bushnell Neo Ion Golf GPS Watch

bushnell neo ion golf watchAh, yes. The brand that offers everything you could ever want out of a rangefinder GPS watch without the pesky additional membership fees! With just the purchase of the GPS watch, you’ll have access to over 35,000 golf courses around the globe! That’s more than 30 countries for you to indulge your golfing hobby in.

It’s a tournament legal watch that you can have with you on the course at all times. If you’re worried about play time, this unit has 16 hours of battery life to get you through three games of play without batting an eye!

You’ll have distances in a jiffy with Auto Course Recognition and Hole Advance features to get you set as you walk or cart the course. The easy to read front, back, and center green distances will be on display as well as hazard and layup distances – up to four per hole!

Extra features also include a round odometer and a shot distance calculator so you can constantly improve your strokes.

The watch is super easy to charge since Bushnell throws in the USB cable that allows you to update your watch as well. Let it sit for 2.5 hours while you cat-nap and grab a bite to eat.

Complete with a 1-year warranty, Bushnell has you covered!

Read the Full Review

Golf GPS Watch VS Handheld

Size matters… you golf players know that. And, in this sport, bigger isn’t necessarily better. With this in mind, which is the best GPS golf rangefinder option – a handheld device or wearable watch?

The handheld GPS devices, whether it’s a touchscreen or conventional GPS unit, are small and compact in design. Even though both types of handhelds weigh barely anything up to a half pound, compared to a, pretty much, weightless watch, it’s obvious who wins the “who’s lighter” debate.

Which is More Convenient?

But, when it comes to handhelds, it’s all in the convenience of having it when you want it and putting it away when you don’t.

Handheld rangefinders are all palm size or smaller. With dimensions like these, they can be easily stowed away in the pockets of your golf slacks. Most of the time they also come with cases and clips that can attach to your belt or golf bag. Some of them can even attach to the brim of your hat or the hem of your sleeve.

Less frequently used are the neck lanyards that you can attach your handheld to. This isn’t a very popular option since it can interfere with your swing.

But, the wearable watch isn’t immune to this issue either. Sometimes the easily pressed buttons on a bulky GPS golf watch can be accidentally activated when swinging or simply using any movement that involves the wrist.

However, the watch is undoubtedly the easiest device to stow and pull out when you need it because it’s all available at the turn of your wrist. Its wearability factor makes it the most practical golf GPS rangefinder to have while on the green.

Which Has More Features?

But, if you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned if there’s a difference in features between the two, it’s because there really isn’t any.

Although it may seem like the handhelds would have a lot more features, you’d be surprised to know that GPS watches have come a long way from their basic functioning days.

They’re now just as competitive as handhelds, including the touchscreen factor too. Intrigued? Read on to see what took first place as the best golf GPS watch.

But First...

I do have to mention that a qualifying factor to determine which were the best GPS rangefinders was if there were any annual or membership fees involved.

Since paying additional fees isn’t necessarily popular among most consumers, probably like yourself, it acted as a detriment. If there were fees involved, course coverage and availability as well as overall functionality was taken into consideration.

To have to pay more each year, you should expect the absolute best. So, did any of these GPS devices with additional fees make the cut? You’re about to find out.

Top 3 Handheld Golf GPS Units

GolfBuddy-CT2-Micro-GPS
  • GolfBuddy Micro CT2
  • LCD Display
  • 40,000+ Preloaded Courses
  • No Membership Fees
  • 4.5/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    Pin Placement Technology
    17 hrs Battery Life per Charge
    Statistical Tracking Features
Garmin-Approach-G8-GPS-Rangefinder
  • Garmin Approach G8
  • 1.5 x 2.6 Inch Color Touchscreen
  • 38,000 Preloaded Courses
  • No Annual Fees
  • 4.1/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    PinPointer Technology
    PlaysLike Distance for slope adjustment
    Bluetooth and WiFi Connectivity
    Club Selection and Big Numbers Mode
GolfBuddy-Voice-GPS-Rangefinder
  • GolfBuddy Voice GPS
  • 1 inch LCD Screen
  • 38,000 Preloaded Courses
  • No Membership Fees
  • 4.5/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    Voice Distance Readout
    9hrs Battery Life Per Charge
    Green View Feature
#1 Handheld Golf GPS

Garmin Approach G8

garmin-approach-g8-golf-gpsSince Garmin is a world leader in providing excellent quality GPS devices, it’s not a surprise that their Approach G8 has the premium spot for being the best handheld golf GPS rangefinder.

When it comes to Garmin, you should expect nothing less than top-notch functionality, superb accuracy, and the latest technologies to create a high-performing GPS golf rangefinder, and as expected, the Approach G8 has it all.

Trying to list all of its features would take another, give or take, 500 words – yeah, it’s that cool.

So, to highlight what makes it better than the rest starts with its 3 inch color touchscreen, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, Slope Compensation, and Club Selection features.

Luckily for you, it has a serious case of the “I’m-better-than-the-rest” attitude, and with confidence like that, there was no other choice than to place this bad boy at the top as the best GPS handheld rangefinder.

Again, there are no additional yearly fees with this device.

Read the Full Review >>

#2 Handheld Golf GPS

GolfBuddy CT2 Micro

ct2-micro-handheld-gps-rangefinderOnce again, GolfBuddy claims another spot in the GPS rangefinder match.

The CT2 Micro is the sharpened version of its sibling, the Voice, but without the voice part.

As a mid-level GPS rangefinder it has all the standard features plus a little bit more, all without any membership or annual fees.

A digital score card, clock, GPS odometer, pin placement, and distances to hazards.

I think one of the most notable features it has that’s worth mentioning is that it displays the front/center/back of the green distances in one screen.

This smooth upgrade is indeed noticed by players and much appreciated because it means less finger action and more time playing.

Other praiseworthy features include water-resistance up to 10 meters, yeah, I know you’re impressed, but wait for it, there’s more.

It has 17 hours of GPS game time. That’s certainly one of the longest operating battery lives I’ve seen in a golf GPS rangefinder.

There’s no doubt here that the GolfBuddy Mirco CT2 deserves this spot amoung the top golf rangefinders.

Read the Full Review >>

#3 Handheld Golf GPS

GolfBuddy Voice

golfbuddy-voice-gpsThis nifty little Voice GPS was the hands-down winner for being the best entry level GPS golf rangefinder. I bet you can guess why – it talks!

This feature alone is what attracts its many, and I mean many, fans.

It’s certainly very easy to use with its voice readout of the distance to the hole, distances to the front/middle/back of the green, shot distance measurement, and even a green view.

It’s equipped with all the standard features you should expect from a GPS unit, plus, it can speak in eight different languages.

It’s so unobtrusive during game play that you don’t even have to look at it if you didn’t want to, thanks to the voice factor. Just press the button and listen for the readout.

It also wouldn’t have won this spot if it wasn’t affordable. For less than $100 and no additional yearly fees, the GolfBuddy Voice is definitely a rangefinder worth trying out.

Read the Full Review >>

Top 3 Golf GPS Watches

Garmin-Approach-S4-Golf-GPS-Watch
  • Garmin Approach S4
  • 1 inch Touchscreen Display
  • 38,000 Preloaded Courses
  • No Annual Fees
  • 3.9/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    Manual Pin Placement
    Bluetooth Connectivity
    Multiple Modes and 1ATM Waterproof
Garmin-Approach-S6-Golf-GPS-Watch
  • Garmin Approach S6
  • 1 Inch Color Touchscreen
  • 38,000 Preloaded Courses
  • No Annual Fees
  • 4.1/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    Target and PinPointer Technology
    Swing Analysis
    Bluetooth and WiFi Connectivity
    5ATM Water-Resistance
Bushnell-NEO-XS-Golf-Watch
  • Bushnell Neo XS GPS Watch
  • 23 x 23mm Display
  • 33,000 Preloaded Courses
  • No Membership Fees Required
  • 4.4/5 Customer Rating
  • Features
    Built-in Backlight
    16 hr Battery Life per Charge
    Inexpensive at approx $120
#1 Golf GPS Watch

Garmin Approach S6

garmin-approach-s6Garmin again sets itself apart from the rest, with no annual fees as well. Are we seeing a pattern here?

The Approach S6 golf watch seems like something too smart for its own good. But, you’ll definitely want it if you’re the type to crave high-tech and fully loaded devices.

Think of a watch combined with smartphone-like performance, and you have an innovative and first-class piece of technology called the Garmin Approach S6.

The S6 is by far the best golf watch you can buy.

It has everything the S4 has, and some! Its high resolution color touchscreen adds to the ingenious Auto Zoom to get a full, overhead view of the hole.

On top of that, Target Technology allows you to point to any landmark on the course and get a distance that makes for less time fiddling and more time playing.

The PinPointer is your compass to the hole, so you’ll never be lost over the hill and behind the woods again.

On top of the Bluetooth connectivity, it can connect to Wi-Fi too!

But, the focal points of the S6 are the Swing analysis features that just floats it way above the rest of the competition. You have a tutor, lessons, caddie, and super-duper, long tape measure all in one.

Should I remind you that it’s a watch, not a handheld? Wow, right? It really can’t get more sophisticated than that.

Read the Full Review >>

#2 Golf GPS Watch

Garmin Approach S4

garmin-approach-s4-gps-golf-watchThe Approach S4 golf watch will serve you admirably if you’re in the market for a mid-level golf rangefinder.

It has touchscreen capability, manual pin placement, and a digital score card, stat tracking, and Bluetooth connectivity to pair with your Apple iPhone.

Although it does have pre-mapped distances to layups/doglegs, it doesn’t provide for hazards.

Despite that, its 10 meter waterproof factor and all the standard features you’d want from a golf watch put the S4 just one notch atop the Bushnell Neo XS.

Plus, like the Garmin S6, it has no additional fees.

Read the Full Review >>

#3 Golf GPS Watch

Bushnell Neo XS

bushnell-neo-xs-gps-golf-watchIn the watch industry, Bushnell has the top lead on dishing out the best GPS golf watch to date.

Golf players love Bushnell for their laser rangefinders, and their watches are no exception.

It’s a pretty competitive market and the Neo XS stakes its claim by boasting of its long 16 hour GPS battery life and even providing up to four hazards or layups per hole.

That’s pretty fancy for an entry level GPS watch.

The Neo XS is very affordable and there are no annual or membership fees, ever! In fact, it’s one of the cheapest GPS watches you’ll find at barely over $100.

Its simple and handsome design, odometer, and shot distance calculator just add to the its already impressive scoreboard.

Read the Full Review >>

 

Features to Consider in a GPS Device

GPS devices are increasing in popularity in the golf industry and more innovative as technology evolves. You will need to ask yourself if you prefer a watch, touchscreen, or audio capable device.

They tend to be cheaper than a laser rangefinder with more jam-packed features too. This may be the convincing nudge you’re looking for when trying to decide between the two.

When it comes to a GPS golf rangefinder, here’s a few features you’ll want to consider before buying:

  • Ease of use/functionality/navigation
  • Accuracy
  • Speed of operation
  • Setup/syncing
  • Any annual fees or membership dues
  • Setup/syncing
  • Available charging equipment
  • Course details and availability
  • Features
  • Cost/value

These features are all discussed in detail in each of our reviews so click through to the device you are interested in to find out more.

Which is the Best Golf GPS for You?

Deciding which GPS device is best for you is influenced by many factors.

Do you want a device that is touchscreen? Would you prefer a watch or a handheld device? Is being able to obtain audio distance readouts important to you?

Because each of these features are a matter of individual preference, I can’t tell you which you need to take your game to the next level. What I can do is point you in the direction of top-rated golf GPS devices in a variety of categories that will fit your budget.

If you are new to golf, or to the possibility of using a GPS device to enhance your game, you just need a device that is going to give you the basic features to help you get the distance to the hole.

In this instance you might consider one of the following entry level devices:

If you are looking for a device with a few more features, you may be looking for a mid-range GPS. A mid-level GPS device would offer more distances to hazards and maybe even a manual pin placement feature so that you could input distances yourself.

The mid-level devices you may want to consider are:

And finally, if you want the best-of-the-best regardless of price, you will be looking at one of the top-level GPS devices – those in position one in the tables above.

Here are the top-level devices to consider:

There is a GPS device for everybody, it is just a matter of deciding what is important to you, what you are willing to spend – and then going for it!

The satisfaction of knowing the distance every time and taking your game to the next level will be worth the investment.

Golf Tamers