We tested golf GPS devices to see just how easy they are to use on the course. Beyond just holding the device, is it easy to read the yardages and graphics on the screen, and is it easy to navigate the device?
To provide a quick overview, Table 1 highlights specifications related to ease of use.
- Course storage: the more courses you can store, the less uploading of new courses and deleting of old you have to do. And less chance you will arrive at a course only to realize that you forget to upload the course map before you left to play.
- Dimensions and weight help give an idea for the comfort of carrying the device in your pocket, or attaching it to your bag. All devices were weighed with batteries installed. For reference, three golf balls weigh approximately 4.9 oz.
- Screen area for the majority of devices was very close, though if the overall device size is small, a bigger screen will win the day.
- Batteries and operating time will determine if you need to bring your charger with you for trips or if you can just toss a couple of extra batteries in your bag. The table below uses the manufacturer CLAIMED operating times, so take with a grain of salt – make sure to leave yourself a 10-20% buffer of operating time at a minimum. For example, if operating time is estimated at 12 hours, assume you will have enough power for approximately 9.5-10.5 hours of use.
Table 1. Golf GPS Device Specifications – Ease of Use
|Golf GPS Device||Course
|Batteries||Operating Time (hrs)|
|Bushnell Hybrid Laser GPS||16,000||2.1 x 2.6 x 4.3||8.2||1.2||Rechrg||14-16|
|Bushnell NEO XS Watch||33,000||TBD||1.95||TBD||Rechrg||12||Callaway GPSync||30,000||TBD||2.35||0.77||Rechrg||10-12|
|Garmin Approach G8||30,000||2.1 x 4.4 x 0.6||4.0||3.9||Rechrg||<15|
|Garmin Approach G7||38,000||2.1 x 3.7 x 0.8||3.4||3.1||Rechrg||<15|
|Garmin Approach G6||30,000||3.7 x 2.1 x 0.8||3.4||3.1||Rechrg||<15|
|Garmin Approach S4 Watch||30,000||1.8 x 2.5 x 0.6||2.1||0.8||Rechrg||<10|
|Garmin Approach S3 Watch||28,000||1.8 x 2.7 x 0.6||2.1||0.8||Rechrg||<8|
|Garmin Approach S2 Watch||30,000||1.8 x 2.7 x 0.6||2.0||0.8||Rechrg||<8|
|Garmin Approach S1 Watch||30,000||1.8 x 2.7 x 0.6||1.9||0.8||Rechrg||<8|
|GolfBuddy Platinum||40,000||2.5 x 4.3 x 1.0||5.5||4.1||Rechrg||18|
|GolfBuddy Voice||40,000||1.7 x 1.7 x 0.4||1.0||0.5||Rechrg||9|
|GolfBuddy World Platinum||40,000||4.3 x 2.4 x 1||5.2||4.0||Rechrg||10|
|GolfBuddy World||40,000||2.2 x 4.1 x 0.7||4.4||3.6||Rechrg||<10|
|IZZO SWAMI 3000||19,000||3.75 x 2.0 x 1.0||2.9||1.8||Rechrg||12|
|Matrix SHOTMATE Voice||22,000||1.75 x 1.75 x 0.5||0.9||N/A||Rechrg||9|
|SkyCaddie Aire II||35,000||3 x 2 x 1||2.4||TBD||Rechrg||TBD|
|SkyCaddie Breeze||30,000||4.8* x 2.5 x 0.8||5.4||3.9||Rechrg||TBD|
|SkyCaddie SGXw||30,000||4.8* x 2.5 x 0.8||5.3||3.9||Rechrg||14|
|SkyCaddie SGX||30,000||4.8* x 2.5 x 0.8||5.5||3.9||Rechrg||14|
|SkyCaddie LINX Watch||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD||Rechrg||TBD|
|Sonocaddie V500||100*||4.6 x 2.3 x 0.8||4.4||4.1||Rechrg||<12|
Garmin Approach S1. The Garmin Approach devices are marketed as having “unlimited” course capacity, defying the laws of computer memory. We have set storage at 30,000 courses, matching the SkyCaddie SGX.
SkyCaddie device heights exclude the antenna, which protrudes slightly from the top of the device.
Sonocaddie V500. The Sonocaddie V500 holds up to 100 courses with satellite imagery and video flyovers, as well as 100 scorecards.