Golf GPS Reviews

If you’ve stepped on a golf course in the last several years you’ve probably noticed how golfers have become increasingly reliant on the latest technologies. Heck, even my 73-year-old father hesitates to play these days without his GPS unit and a set of hybrid clubs.

A golf gps is an invaluable way to keep up with the competition, but with so many units available it can be a challenge to find the one that meets your needs. Here’s our attempt to compile the best golf gps reviews all in one place. Lets start with our current recommended units:

Best Golf GPS Systems for 2016

NameGarmin Approach G6GolfBuddy World GPSGolfBuddy Tour
Size2.1" x 3.7" x 0.8"2.2” x 4.1” x 0.7”2.25" x 4.25" x 1"
Screen TypeColor Touchscreen Color TouchscreenColor LCD
Course Library27,000 Courses (worldwide)40,000 Courses (worldwide)20,000 Courses (US & Canada)
PowerRechargeable Lithium BatteryRechargeable Lithium Battery With AAA BackupRechargeable Lithium Battery With AAA Backup
Battery LifeUp to 15 hoursUp to 12 hoursUp to 12 hours
Original List Price$299.99$329.99$249.99
SubscriptionFreeFreeFree
CompatibilityPC/MacPC/MacPC
ReviewComing SoonOur ReviewOur Review
BuyMore InfoMore InfoMore Info

 

People are always asking which features are really the most important when buying one of these units. Here are a few things I consider critical when conducting your own golf GPS comparison.

Accuracy

This is obviously an important factor. What good is a golf GPS unit if you can’t rely on the readings that it takes? GPS technology is typically very accurate, often providing the distance to your target or hole within one yard or less. Of course some models are going to be more accurate than others, so it is important to research a unit’s accuracy before making your purchase. The Garmin Approach G6 is one of several golf GPS systems known for having razor-sharp accuracy.

Maps & Course Availability

Will the GPS work at your favorite local courses or is it only good at courses where you are unlikely to ever play? A GPS can have all the bells and whistles in the world, but if it doesn’t have a map for your favorite course it is nothing more than a fancy brick. There are two ways that course maps can be incorporated into a golf GPS. Some units come preloaded with a library of courses, so it is ready to be used right out of the box. Other models require a subscription to add additional courses. It’s important to consider this as you comparison shop.

Portability

An often overlooked factor, but no less important. If you’re going to be carrying your GPS around for 18 holes you will want one that is lightweight and can either attach to your bag or belt or slide effortlessly into your pocket. On the other hand, it needs to be large enough that you can easily read the display and operate the controls. Check out the Bushnell Neo for a highly-rated, ultra portable golf GPS.

Battery Life

Does the GPS have enough juice to last a full 18 holes? What about 36 holes? Yes, it’s true that some of the best golf GPS units perform better than others in terms of battery life. If you’re the type of person who is always forgetting to charge your cellphone then you’re certainly going to want a GPS with excellent battery life.

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Golf Buddy World Platinum GPS Review

Golf Buddy World Platinum GPSThe Golf Buddy World Platinum is the latest golf GPS device from Golf Buddy, the folks who brought us the popular Golf Buddy Tour a few years back. There’s been lots written about this unit over the past year or so and thanks to my buddy Jack I was finally able to give this new unit a test drive. The first neat thing I noticed when I fired up the device at home was that it was very quick to latch onto the satellite signal, taking no more than a minute or so.




Golf Buddy World Platinum GPS

Not only that, but it soon displayed a list of courses in my area from its database of 40,000+ courses. Now, being an avid golfer I am already familiar with all the courses close to my house, but I can see how this would be useful when going to visit the in-laws or when out of town on business.

In fact, the World Platinum has course maps for over 90 different countries. The US and Canada are well covered, as you’d expect, but you can also find courses in England, Scotland, Singapore, the Bahamas, even Zimbabwe. Not that I have plans to travel to Zimbabwe anytime in the near future, but it’s nice to know if I ever do I can easily find a spot to put in a few rounds.

Click HERE to Check the Price for the Golf Buddy at Amazon.com

GB World Platinum graphics

Functionality on the Course

After the initial fooling around it was time to try this baby out on the course. Once again I was pleased with the response time as the unit picked up the satellite signal rather quickly. The Golf Buddy instantly recognized the course I was on and was ready to go with a full graphic layout of the course at my disposal.

Another useful feature is that the display changes automatically as you move around the course, so there’s no need to manually adjust the display to reorient yourself to your new position. The monitor is clear and yardages are easy to read. Screen brightness could be a bit better, but of course this is done for a reason–to conserve battery life. The device works fairly intuitively, with a touch screen and menus that are easy to navigate. Just put your finger on the target point and yardage info is quickly displayed.

Additional Features

  • Shock & water resistant design
  • High-resolution color touch screen display
  • Pin placement functionality
  • Four-player score and distance tracking feature
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (no clumsy AAs needed)
  • Power management settings to conserve battery life
  • Zoom functionality

View the Full Feature List and Check the Latest Price at Amazon

Perhaps the most impressive feature with the Golf Buddy is the company’s extremely responsive customer service. When playing my local course I noticed that one of the hazards, a small sand trap on the right side of the fairway, was nowhere to be seen on the map for that course. Anyone familiar with golf GPS systems knows that it is not uncommon to find some minor discrepancies from time to time. When I got home I decided to fire out an email to Golf Buddy customer support letting them know of the problem. I checked back about a week later to find that the correction had been made.

Just a tip for prospective Golf Buddy owners: make sure to connect your GPS with your computer for regular updates. Updating the maps and firmware is important if you want to enjoy a hassle-free experience. It seems to me that many of the people who report issues with this device are those who have not updated from the default install. Updates are free, so there is no excuse!

Conclusion

The Golf Buddy World Platinum certainly ranks as one of the top golf GPS units available right now. Those familiar with my reviews know that I am partial to GPS units that offer free course maps and no subscription fees. I’d rather pay a little more upfront and be done with it than spend $60 a year just for the “privilege” of downloading courses from their database (SkyCaddie I’m looking at you). The GolfBuddy puts a world of courses in the palm of your hand with no additional fees to spend. It also looks great and is intuitive enough for new users to figure out. All around a very solid GPS unit.


Find the Best Price on the Golf Buddy World Platinum at Amazon.com

Note: This review is for the Platinum version of the Golf Buddy World. You may also wish to consider the regular Golf Buddy World, which is similar in function but lacks some of the advanced score tracking features of the Platinum version.

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Garmin Approach G3 Review

Garmin Approach G3The Garmin Approach G3 is a slightly-smaller version of the tremendously popular Approach G5. The G5 has been a favorite around these parts for over a year now, so I was curious to see how it’s mid-range younger brother would stack up. In the end I came across quite impressed. While it lacks a few of the extra features of the G5, it performs similarly during game action, with a simple interface and a solid build. It is a worthy alternative to not only the G5, but to SkyCaddie’s line of products as well.


Garmin Approach G3 GPS

Fits In Your Pocket

The main difference you will notice between the two Garmins is that the Approach G3 is a bit smaller. It’s not a dramatic difference, but you will find that it slips into a pocket easier than the G5. Garmin managed to take about a half inch off the previous unit’s length and about a tenth of an inch off its width. This does mean, however, that the G3’s touchscreen is a bit smaller, with a 2.6″ diagonal compared with the the G5’s 3″ monitor.

I know a lot of my buddies will find the smaller size more appealing as it makes it easier to carry around, but I did find myself missing the larger, higher resolution screen of the G5 after awhile. Still, the Approach G3’s touchscreen is very responsive and operates as well as the larger G5. If portability is important than you are likely to be quite happy with the G3.

No Extra Fees

The Approach G3’s most obvious competitor is the SkyCaddie SG5. While the SG5 may be a bit less expensive up front (it currently retails for around $200), it requires an annual membership fee ranging from $30 to $60 per year depending on the geographic location of the courses you play. The Approach G3, like the G5, has no additional fees. With your purchase you receive maps to over 16,000 courses across the US and Canada without ever having to pay an additional fee. When new courses are added you can download them free of charge. So don’t forget to factor subscription fees into the equation as you compare prices.

Accurate Readings

Another thing I liked about the Garmin Approach G3 is that the measurements came out to be very accurate. One thing I like to do when evaluating golf GPS systems is to stand at the 100 yard marker and check and see if the unit spits out a 100 yard measurement. Each time I tried this with the G3 I got a measurement of either 100 or 101, which is superb.

For More Information on the Garmin Approach G3 Click HERE

Additional Features:

  • Unit comes with a belt clip, USB cable and manual
  • Estimated 15-hour battery life with two AA batteries
  • Green view lets you zoom in on the green for a closer look
  • Shot tracking feature keeps track of shot distances
  • Basic scorekeeping feature for up to four players

Conclusion

Now some of you may be wondering how the G3 and G5 differ besides the smaller size of the G3. There is one feature that didn’t make it over to the Approach G3. The G3 does not come with stat tracking software to track things like fairways hit, putts per round and average distance for individual clubs. For this you will want to go with the G5.

That said, the Garmin Approach G3 is one of the top golf GPS units in its class. While I love my G5, those looking to save a few bucks–or those shopping for a gift for a casual or semi-regular golfer–will be well satisfied with the Approach G3.

Get the Best Price on the Garmin Approach G3 GPS HERE

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