Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between golf GPS systems and rangefinders?

A golf GPS uses satellite technology to determine your location. It then provides you with a map of the hole and distance estimates to critical points. A rangefinder shoots a laser out to different points to determine the distance. I personally prefer GPS because I find the overhead map to be incredibly useful when planning my strategy. However, if you’re just looking to measure distances a rangefinder can be very accurate.

Are iPhone/Android golf apps as good as a dedicated golf GPS device?

I’ve tried several iPhone apps and found them to be quite useful, but there are a few drawbacks to using an app. For one thing, having your phone’s GPS running while you play can drain the battery in a hurry. If you need to be able to take calls as you play you will have to carefully monitor your battery usage, and be prepared to shut off your GPS before finishing the round. Also, golf apps lack many of the features of dedicated devices, such as advanced stat tracking and the ability to measure to any point on the course.

Is the (insert model here) any good?

The best way to answer this is by pointing you to some of my golf GPS reviews on this site.

Garmin Approach G3

Garmin Approach G5

Golf Buddy World

Callaway uPro

Are GPS units allowed during tournament play?

It depends on the tournament. The USGA changed its rule a few years back to allow GPS units and rangefinders in tournaments if the tournament’s rules committee votes to allow them. However, advanced units that determine wind speed, course gradient or include a club recommendation feature are still prohibited. If you’re thinking of playing in a tournament you will want to check with the rules committee to find out if your GPS is allowed.

Can I use my car GPS as a GPS for golf?

No, not unless you’re playing golf in the street–which I don’t recommend. A golf GPS provides detailed maps of thousands golf courses, which you won’t find in any other type of GPS unit.

Check out the rest of our golf GPS reviews here.