Learn about the best golf GPS’ and rangefinders available in 2020, and shop with confidence by checking out our reviews and guide. Do you take your golf game seriously? Then you absolutely need to consider getting a golf GPS. These specialized devices can come in types ranging from handheld rangefinders to highly specialized spins on traditional smartwatches, but they all fulfill the same fundamental role: helping you better read the course and providing you with meaningful metrics about your own progress as a golfer.
But there’s a pretty wide gulf between the value you can get out of the most accurate handheld GPS and what you’d find in a budget model. Fortunately, we’re here to help. We’re here to break down 12 of the best golf GPS’ of 2020 and provide you with a dedicated guide for shopping.
TL;DR - Best Golf GPS:
- Garmin Approach S20 GPS Golf Watch
- Garmin Approach Z80 Golf Rangefinder with GPS
- Golf Buddy Voicex Talking Golf GPS
- Garmin Approach G8 Golf Course GPS
- IZZO Golf Swami 5000 Golf GPS Rangefinder
- Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS
- Garmin Approach S60 GPS Golf Watch
- GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS/Rangefinder
- Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors
- Garmin Approach G10 Handheld Golf GPS
- Garmin Approach G30 Handheld Golf GPS
- Garmin Approach G80 GPS Device
1. Garmin Approach S20 GPS Golf Watch
The S20 represents something of a Goldilocks model for Garmin's Approach golf GPS watch line. While it doesn't come with the slick design or full compliment of features that you'd find in a top shelf luxury model, it does a good job of mimicking the look of an Apple Watch and includes all the basic rangefinder features you could hope for. And it manages to do so at a very reasonable price. Best of all, it sports one of the longest battery lives around.
That large face is especially useful because the S20 tracks the distance to all major landmarks on the course including hazards, and Garmin has packed in maps for over 40,000 different golf courses for no extra fee. All you have to do is power on your watch and go. These standard golf features are accompanied by general activity tracking features like running and step counting.
2. Garmin Approach Z80 Golf Rangefinder with GPS
Garmin's Approach Z80 is a truly serious golf distance tracker with an equally serious price tag. But if you want a GPS for golf that truly represents the height of what's available, the Z80 is for you. It combines traditional GPS tracking with a laser to provide the best of both worlds. That's rare enough in its own right, but the Approach Z80 does one important thing that few if any other GPS/laser hybrids do. It provides digital map overlays through the viewfinder.
That's a game changer since it doesn't just show distances but also provides you with a better shape of the course landscape you wouldn't get just peeking through a standard viewfinder. This rangefinder can magnify to a zoom of up to 4X, and it comes with a host of useful features like flag finding and pointing to assigned pins when shooting blind.
3. Golf Buddy Voicex Talking Golf GPS
Golf GPS systems are a dime a dozen. But small GPS devices that can tell you all the relevant information out loud are much rarer. GolfBuddy's Voice X has long been the simplest but most effective option for voice enabled golf GPS devices, and it only gets better with the latest edition. The round design is small and lightweight enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but it also comes with a clip for attaching to just about anywhere.
And while you can get all the relevant information a GPS voice offers read out to you, the screen also offers it in a large and bright face display. Just keep in mind that the functionality here is purposefully simplistic. There's no score keeping, but it does come with great pin placement, tracking for shot distance, and the ability to identify both targets and hazards.
4. Garmin Approach G8 Golf Course GPS
The Garmin Approach G8 represents one of the pricier models for a more traditional handheld GPS, but it's also one of the most readable and feature rich models. Trading in the compact frame of something like a GPS smartwatch or the Voice X, this GPS golf tracker instead opts for a design resembling a small phone. While it's a bit less portable, it's easier to navigate and simpler to read than a more traditional design.
That 3" touch screen is fully color and spacious, and it can be easily navigated using a two button interface along the front of the device. It also includes a big numbers mode for reading in brightly lit situations. But perhaps the coolest inclusion is Club Advice which remembers your average shot distances and makes club suggestions based off of your history. It can turn into a very versatile tool when partnered with Garmin Connect.
5. IZZO Golf Swami 5000 Golf GPS Rangefinder
Izzo may not have a lot of crossover name appeal, but their Swami series of golf GPS trackers have long been some of the most well recognized in the business. The handheld Swami 5000 resembles the Garmin Approach G8 on the surface, but it's available at a far more reasonable price point. It may sport a small screen, but it makes the most of that real estate: providing a clear color overlay of the course as well as large and easy to read numbers. The four button interface makes the whole device incredibly easy to navigate.
The feature set here is fundamentally not that different from what you'd find on many other models, but it's worth noting that it does come with a dedicated score card feature and shot tracking. But where the Swami really stands out is in its low price tag and incredibly tight accuracy.
6. Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS
If you want a cheap golf GPS that still offers you the accuracy you deserve, the $100 Bushnell Phantom Golf is one of your best options. These handheld GPS devices may be simple, but they cover all the bases. The interface is about as simple as can be, and the fundamentally basic LCD screen displays the hole number, par, and up to four different distances per hole.
And with a size of just two inches by two inches, it's not going to take up too much space in your bag. It also comes with a magnetic clip that allows it to attach conveniently to your belt or bag as you head out onto the green. There's no doubt that this is a basic device, but that's part of the charm. You can figure out all the fundamentals and be using it like a pro in a matter of minutes.
7. Garmin Approach S60 GPS Golf Watch
The Garmin Approach line is easily one of the most reliable, varied, and recognized brands of golf GPS watches, and the S60 sits alongside the G80 as the pinnacle of Garmin's achievements. This watch for golfers may be on the priciest end of the spectrum, but it packs in just about everything you could hope to find in a golf yardage watch and more. The fundamentals are strong here. Combine a bright color screen, great battery life, and reliable map syncing, and you have a great place to start.
But the features themselves really help this golf yardage watch distinguish itself from the competition. The navigation system is simple and clean, and the screen itself displays distance in easy to read numbers while still providing plenty of space to analyze the full color maps. This isn't a fully featured smartwatch, but it does come with a range of basic widgets and notifications.
8. GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS/Rangefinder
The Voice 2 is technically an earlier version of the GolfBuddy Voice X, but it surprisingly actually beats its younger sibling in a few ways while retaining most of the qualities that make the Voice X great. While it may not be the newest model available, the few distinctions present and the aesthetic differences may make it a preferable choice. That's especially true considering they're priced more or less comparably.
Both golf yardage devices are compact and easy to grip, but the Voice 2 swaps the round, puck-like shape of the Voice X for something a little more squared off. The screen is smaller, but it manages to provide plenty of space for a black and white map. The voice features are nearly identical, and a five button interface makes it simple to navigate. And the slightly simpler interface means that the Voice 2 actually boasts a better battery life.
9. Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors
There are plenty of golf rangefinders that offer you scorecard tracking and stats for post-match analysis, but the Arccos Caddie takes things to a whole other level. Arccos' promise to provide you with a sophisticated digital caddie isn't just boisterous marketing. It's true. The trick comes from the Arccos smart sensors that allow you to equip every club in your bag with metrics that can be tracked across Arcoss' golf GPS apps.
14 of these sensors come with a kit, and they grow with you over time by automatically tracking your performance with each. That's a useful tool in its own right, but when you pair them with the gold course mapping and rangefinder features included, that allows them to help you pick the right club for any swing. Shot tracking is fully automated, and Arcoss is powered by artificial intelligence, making the task of lining up your shot easier.
10. Garmin Approach G10 Handheld Golf GPS
The Approach G series is the flagship line for Garmin's handheld GPS devices, and the G10 represents their entry level model. You can get all the fundamentals you need to improve your golf game for right around a hundred bucks in a compact model that fits comfortably in your pocket. And the addition of a convenient clip built right into the frame allows you to attach it just about anywhere.
This is a budget priced model, and that means the feature set is fairly bare bones, but the quality on here is on point. The high powered GPS system delivers great handheld GPS accuracy even when you're under tree cover, and the G10 provides rudimentary maps in addition to the critical numerical information on hazards, doglegs, and the green. It also offers advanced stat tracking if you're interested in digging deep into post-round analysis.
11. Garmin Approach G30 Handheld Golf GPS
The Approach G30 is a significant step up in terms of pricing from the G10, but it's also a significant step up in terms of quality. And while it sports a larger frame than its kid sibling, it's still small enough to clip comfortably on your belt. The 2.3 inch display gives it plenty of space for a full color map display, and Garmin offers some of the most thorough course coverage of any brand around.
While the Approach G30 offers all of the standard measurements, one incredibly helpful feature is the ability to simply tap a portion of the map with your finger and see the distance. For more strategic players who aren't trying to drive straight to the hole, that's a pretty valuable option to have. This is additionally a device built for group play. It supports score tracking for up to three golfers at the same time.
12. Garmin Approach G80 GPS Device
The Approach G80 is the top shelf model offered by Garmin, and that arguably makes it the best GPS on the market for golfers. If you're comfortable spending $500 on a golf GPS, you'll be well served by this model. The screen is larger and brighter than other Approach models. It packs in all the features you could expect from a golf GPS.
But what really sets the G80 apart from practically any other device on the market is that it comes with a launch monitor included. A launch monitor provides you with analysis of your swing, and the features offered here are pretty robust. Garmin tracks five different important metrics relating to your form. These devices typically cost significantly more than the price tag that the G80 goes for, so getting the feature here is a real steal, even though it can't compete with more high end options.
Golf GPS Buyer’s Guide
A golf GPS is a pretty specialized piece of equipment, and decent ones don’t come cheaply. You should understand the fundamentals before you decide on which to purchase.
Golf GPS vs Rangefinder
One thing that confuses new users is the distinction between a golf GPS and a rangefinder. The difference is pretty simple. All golf GPS’ are rangefinders, but not all rangefinders use GPS. The fundamentals are simple here. A GPS rangefinder will use preloaded maps and your GPS coordinates to measure the distance to the hole, green, hazards, and other features. Some use a pin finder that allows you to set your own distance markers.
There are also laser rangefinders which can offer more accuracy at short distances but tend to be more expensive and don’t work nearly as well in blind conditions. For pure ease of use, something like a golf distance watch will win out, but you may want to consider looking into laser options if you get more serious about your game.
The Limitation of GPS Mapping
One of the biggest disadvantages of a GPS rangefinder is that they rely on uploaded maps to provide you with the critical information you need. If your golf course isn’t in the database, a golf smartwatch isn’t going to do you any good.
And while all of the rangefinders on our list offer tens of thousands of map listings, there are still some gaps in those databases. Some clubs don’t allow their courses to be mapped, and there are simple oversights of coverage from any GPS rangefinder. Be sure to check to make sure the courses you most commonly visit are covered before you invest.
Rangefinders for Tournament Play
If you plan on golfing professionally or semi-professionally, you’ll want every edge you can get. Fortunately, most GPS (and laser) rangefinders are allowed during tournament play. Any of the devices in our golf GPS reviews should be fair game.
Just keep in mind that being legal doesn’t mean that you can use all of their features. Features like club suggestions, distance calculation based off slopes, and active measurement of weather conditions are restricted. Be sure to check with your club beforehand so you know the limitations of what you can do with your rangefinder.
GPS rangefinders may seem like highly specialized gadgets, and that’s because they are. But they can play a tremendous role in improving your game. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, everyone can stand to improve, and rangefinders don’t just help you more accurately improve your game while you’re out on the green. They can also help you tighten up your form and better analyze your strengths and weaknesses.If you liked our article on golf gps, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.