The Best Golf GPS Devices of 2023

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Final Verdict

Our best overall golf GPS device is Garmin's Approach G10 for its accuracy, durability, weatherproofing, and relative affordability. For a budget option, we like the Revasri Golf Rangefinder for its long battery life and radar accuracy.

The golf course is a complicated, spread-out piece of geography, with hazards and land features that pose scoring hazards. Even course architects admit they like to trick our eyes into inaccurately sensing distance. Yardages stamped on sprinkler heads help a little, but a good GPS device is a vast improvement over traditional on-course markings.

GPS devices for golf stretch farther each year beyond the primary range-finding function. And golf instruction has growing analytics machinery to dissect your game into strategic advantages and pitfalls—the term Strokes Gained is central to it. For the improvement-minded player, that digital device in their pocket or on their wrist will be integral to inputting, sorting, tracking, and reporting on what’s good or not good about their performance.

All that will take plenty of getting used to for a recreational player. And many will not want to dig into all the data points and readouts. But just about everyone with a club in hand wants some type of digital guidance delivered quickly and clearly. The options presented here have those needs covered and then some.

Check out the top golf GPSes.  

Best Overall

Garmin Approach G10, Compact and Handheld Golf GPS

Garmin Golf GPS

Amazon

What We Like
  • Accurate

  • Affordable

  • Fast-loading

  • Tournament-legal

  • Includes stat-tracking

What We Don't Like
  • No touch screen function

The Garmin Approach G10’s popularity with a wide range of golfers is well-earned, based on the unit’s attractive design, its menu of useful features, and its reliability under all course conditions. The G10’s fast-loading display locates the user accurately amid hazards, landing areas, and green sites, delivering all the graphics and data required to play a shot correctly. It shows yardage to all sections of the green, plus the carry distance to bunkers and water hazards.

In place of a touchscreen capability, the G10 uses a button display that some GPS users may prefer. We find the G10 a durable, waterproof device that can be clipped on the bag or zipped in a pocket. It includes a stat-tracking feature to log your fairway hits, greens in regulation, and other vital performance data.

Price at time of publish: $130

Dimensions: 53 x 75 x 21 millimeters | Weight: 2.5 ounces | Battery Life: 15 hours | Screen Size: 2.3 inches

Best Budget

Revasri Golf Rangefinder

Revarsi Golf GPS

Amazon

What We Like
  • Months of battery life

  • Lightweight and durable unit

  • Superior radar accuracy 

What We Don't Like
  • None of the maps, shot trackers, or other GPS-unit features

Radar is a simple, century-old means of measuring distance that prizes accuracy above all. This nicely designed and super-affordable Revasri rangefinder doesn’t link to satellites but has 1,000 yards of range and an error factor of just one yard. It comes with slope compensation, in the form of a recommended hitting distance, such that 140 yards uphill might translate to 146 yards of carry you’ll want to produce. You can switch that function off when playing in an official tournament. The unit gives a light vibration when a flagstick is locked onto, clearing any doubt about whether you’ve scoped it.

Price at time of publish: $100

Dimensions: 3.8 x 2.6 x 1.3 inches | Weight: 4.3 ounces | Battery Life: 6 months 

Best Watch

SkyCaddie LX5 GPS Golf Watch

SkyCaddie LX5 GPS Golf Watch

Amazon

What We Like
  • Accurate

  • Fast

  • Fully automated

  • Sleek

What We Don't Like
  • Screen is well-designed but watch-sized

New this year is SkyGolf’s next-generation SkyCaddie LX2 golf GPS watch. Sleek and versatile, it arrives preloaded with the company’s 35,000-plus course maps, which are ground-verified and error-corrected to put a complete strategic playbook on your wrist. The LX2 recognizes the course as you arrive and automatically advances hole to hole. It’s your shot-distance measuring device, digital scorecard, stat-keeper, fitness step counter, stopwatch, and pace-of-pay timer. Improved readability in sunlight and optional upgrades to best-in-class green-reading software are part of this watch’s hard-to-beat package of “digital caddie” benefits.

Price at time of publish: $300

Weight: 2 ounces | Battery Life: 10 hours | Screen Size: 1.3 inches

Best App

Arccos Smart Sensors GEN3+

Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors

Amazon

What We Like
  • Fully automatic shot capture and tracking

  • Advanced AI analytics

What We Don't Like
  • Generates information of value primarily to disciplined practicers

It was a red-letter day for Arccos when it recently partnered with industry giant PING on the optional installation of Arccos sensors in any PING set purchased. That ringing endorsement will impress golfers who wish to keep the clubs they have but want the Arccos GEN3+ sensors installed (under the grip caps of each club) and start the intense learning process this app—with a link to smartphones that show course maps—provides. With purchase, you get a one-year subscription to the award-winning Arccos Caddie app. It uses GPS to automatically track and report on all shots, from swing point to finish point and uses artificial intelligence to generate stats, patterns, analytics, and eventually some strategies to save strokes.

Price at time of publish: $200

Sending Unit Dimensions: 2.5 x 1.5 x 0.75 inches | Weight:  0.8 ounces | Battery Life: 10 hours

Best Handheld

Garmin Approach G30

Garmin G30

Amazon

What We Like
  • User-friendly

  • Accurate

  • Versatile

What We Don't Like
  • It could create an information overload for some users

An elegant workhorse of a device, the Garmin Approach G30 could be the difference between a wayward round of golf and the strategically sound game we all want to play. Touch Targeting is one of its most satisfying features, which lets a player tap any spot on the G30’s highly readable display and learn exactly how far it is from where your ball lies. The device dials in the day’s hole locations via its Green View feature. Beyond a primary scoring function (that handles all four players), this device gives you stat tracking—tally up your total putts, fairways hit, and number of greens in regulation. If you want to get technical with your swing—probably best to do that during practice sessions—the G30 has a TruSwing function that generates basic diagnostics such as swing speed and club path angles.

Price at time of publish: $250

Dimensions: 53 x 75 x 21 millimeters | Weight: 2.5 ounces | Battery Life: 15 hours | Screen Size: 2.3 inches

Best for On-Cart: Bushnell Phantom Golf GPS

Bushnell Phantom 2

Bushnell Golf GPS

Dick's Sporting Goods

What We Like
  • Inexpensive

  • Accurate

  • Right there where cart golfers can see it

What We Don't Like
  • Rudimentary map images

  • No shot tracking or analytics data

The magnet-backed, cart-mounted version of golf GPS is a niche within the category that comes at a low price and gives cart riders what they need to navigate. The Phantom 2 from industry leader Bushnell delivers easy-to-read distances to each green's front, center, and back. You can shift from the yardage numbers to a basic green map and cycle through a set of pin positions to gather more specific data. The magnet function of the Phantom 2 is an upgrade over previous versions, and the display is transflective for high visibility even in bright sunlight. As with all of the manufacturer's golf devices, it can be ordered along with the Bushnell Golf app and its array of additional product features and data.

Price at time of publish: $130

Dimensions: 58 x 75 x 17 millimeters  |  Weight: 2.8 ounces |  Battery Life: 18 hours  |  Screen Size: 37 x 37 millimeters

Best Talking GPS

Golf Buddy Voice 2 SE

Golf Buddy Voice 2 SE

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Accurate device you don’t actually have to look at

What We Don't Like
  • The voice itself can be robotic-sounding

You can clip it to your belt or your hat brim, and the GolfBuddy Voice 2 SE will do the rest. It’s a relatively simple golf GPS unit, but it auto-acquires the course you’re playing and will move from hole to hole without needing a command prompt. All three essential yardages—to the front, center, and back of the green—get shared with the user. In this latest iteration, battery life lasts 20 hours or two weekends of 18-hole golf. And that little voice in there is quite a linguist, offering a choice of 11 different languages.

Price at time of publish: $130

Dimensions: 45 x 45.5 x 13.2 millimeters |  Weight: 1.1 ounces |  Battery Life: 20 hours

What to Look for in a Golf GPS Device

Size

Your size preference on a golf GPS will likely come down to where you’ll be keeping the device, perhaps in your pants pocket, clipped to your golf bag (in its case), affixed to the cart, or in one of your bag’s zipper pockets. The golf GPS units made for on-cart use come with a magnetized surface that pins them tightly to the steel post supporting a golf cart roof. Their screens are compact, but the number displays are big and bold.

This point may sound trivial, but golfers selecting a GPS should honestly evaluate how prone they are to losing things. GPS units are notorious for being left in golf carts or falling out of unzipped cases attached to golf bags. A watch stays on your wrist, where you can’t lose it. A conventional laser rangefinder costing under $75 wouldn’t be all that painful to misplace, but a fancy handheld GPS unit would be.

Features

Most would agree that golf GPS units have features that come in tiers—from the core elements to the features geared toward training and improvement to the more or less fringe features involving battery life, chargers, and connectivity to your cell phone for incoming call and text notifications. You'll be glad to pay more for a large, vivid, and readable screen in sharp sunlight if you're a very visual person. If you're devoted to game improvement through analytics about your strengths and weaknesses, those amenities will likely cost you some annual subscription fees. And if you're into gadgets generally, and you're a step-counting fitness enthusiast, you'll very rightly include features of that sort in your shopping process.

Price

Someone who loves golf, loves personal tech, and spends freely on both could gravitate to the handheld golf GPS devices that run $500 to $600 or even higher. But it’s also possible to spend half that amount and get a handheld that meets all your needs and is a pleasure to use. The same price profile applies to golf GPS watches, although—this being the wristwatch market—you could also spend $2,000-plus for a prestige watch brand that’s extended its line to include a golf product.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What are the benefits of using a golf GPS?

    Feelings of doubt or confusion can lead to awkward golf swings and wayward shots—precise knowledge of where you are and which club to hit is a significant advantage, one that really adds up over an 18-hole round. A golf GPS device gives you the yardages and the visual picture you need to prepare for a shot, showing the all-important calculation of risk versus reward. Having a GPS device, by definition, speeds up play, which is a positive for your group and those behind you. The units equipped with shot-tracking offer a significant benefit to players who take a serious approach to improvement.

    “We see students at our academy who want to know their on-course stats and how to fix the weaknesses those numbers represent,” says Cheryl Anderson, an Orlando-based instructor, annually listed as one of GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers in America. “If you have that interest and take golf lessons, the stats from your GPS can really help your teacher decide what to work on with you.”

  • How accurate is a golf GPS?

    Advancements in satellite-based mapping have combined with refinements in golf GPS devices to dial in yardages on the links with outstanding reliability, down to an error margin of just a few yards on a full shot with a middle iron. The magic of the modern golf GPS unit is in the on-screen map imagery that positions a player X number of yards from any number of points on the hole. If you want to shave the yardage error factor down to an absolute minimum, instead of a GPS, you would use a laser rangefinder—we include one in this report—but you’ll be limited to physical objects you can “scope” and your information will be simple numbers, not any sort of map.

  • What type is best for me?

    As with tech devices of all kinds, your golf GPS gadget should be chosen based on handheld versus wrist-mounted and, in turn, your sense of how deep a dive you want to take into the many features and functions now available. How much you want to spend is a consideration as well.

    Dan Lockhart, a teaching professional at Gardiners Bay Golf Club in Shelter Island, New York, has noticed that golfers gravitate toward various GPS options based on how serious they are about scoring and how tech-oriented they are in general. “The very analytical golfer who’s willing to study their shot patterns and scoring patterns is a good fit for the advanced GPS devices and services,” says Lockhart. He would advise someone shopping for a device to pay attention to how fellow golfers who own one use it on the fairways. Based on what a golf buddy is experiencing and how much sense it makes for your own game, a sound decision can be made about what to buy.

Why Trust TripSavvy

David Gould is a golf journalist with long experience covering professional tours and industry trends. He was the lead equipment writer for a Golf Digest publication widely read by golf professionals at top clubs and public courses throughout the US. Gould interviewed engineers and executives behind the original golf range-finding devices and has followed the development of this product category ever since. He has played demanding golf courses in many a foursome where multiple GPS devices were used, and their features could be compared on the fly.

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