Golf Guru Color Guru

The Golf Guru Color Guru is rich in features but the design of the hardware, user interface and packaging all could use a lot of polish. It ranks highly with respect to the amount of data that users can add to existing course maps, but the interface to add this data is challenging for those who are not gadget-oriented. The device has a nice color screen, but the data presented by the device is largely text based and doesn’t fully utilize the color functionality. Lastly, the manufacturer made a puzzling design decision that will have you consistently holding the device upside down.

Even with the second lowest three-year cost of any product, we think most consumers would be well-served to check out whether one of the more user-friendly alternatives to the Golf Guru Color Guru would be a better fit for them before making this purchase.

Course Availability
Ease of Use
Course Details



Retail price: $399.95

Availability: Discontinued; replaced by the Golf Guru 4

78 / C+


The Good: Setting up the Golf Guru Color Guru is like putting duct tape on your muffler to pass a smog test – it ain’t pretty, but it doesn’t take too long, and it works.

The Bad: Clearly Golf Guru’s technical writer has gone on to an illustrious career of writing unintelligible assembly instructions for Scandinavian particle board bookshelves. Take the Quick Start Guide and throw it in the trash, as it contains references to a download URL that no longer exists, a CD that isn’t included, and technical specs that don’t mention that Apple computers are supported (they are). Turn instead to the User Manual, which looks as if it was created in about an hour. While you may eventually find that you want to throw the User Manual in the trash as well, at least it contains up-to-date information. The lack of attention to detail is clear throughout, and we don’t think anyone wants to read a manual that outlines how to alternate between the “center, near and fart [sic] measurements by scrolling the joystick…” (insert your own joke about the bean burrito at the turn here) . We wish we were kidding.


Suggestion Box: It would have been to nice to have a light on the device to indicate that the unit has completed charging – the only way to check seems to be to power on the device, wait for it to boot up, and look at its battery indicator meter on the screen – a bit of a clunky process.

What’s in the Box: The Golf Guru Color Guru comes with:

Required Downloads: The user must download:

100 / A+

Course Availability

Critical Golf Test: In our course coverage test, the Golf Guru Color Guru finished at the top with perfect 100% coverage. Nothing more to add to that!

Manufacturer’s Claims: Golf Guru claims to offer about 20,000 courses for download, which puts it in the middle of the pack among devices tested.

80 / B-

Ease of Use

The Good: The Golf Guru Color Guru is relatively easy to use. With just a little bit of experimentation (because even if you are one of those three people in the world who reads a manual before using a device, trust us that this is NOT the manual to read), users can quickly learn to explore the wealth of functionality that is available.

The Bad: Users will be naturally inclined to hold the Golf Guru Color Guru upside-down, because contrary to the design of every portable device on the market ranging from calculators to cell phones to iPods, the designers of the device opted to put the buttons ABOVE the screen instead of below it. This means that the screen will be blocked by your fingers when navigating menus, and that you will quickly see smudges on the screen from your hot dog condiments at the snack shack. It is truly maddening. In theory this is to provide stronger signal strength for the GPS antenna, but we didn’t notice any advantage in accuracy over the other devices tested.


90 / A-

Course Detail and Mapping

The Good: The Golf Guru Color Guru displays better than average detail on the courses during the play of a round. For those users who have the initiative, it also provides remarkable flexibility for adding and saving additional targets to the course maps.

The Bad: The device sometimes omits distances to certain obvious targets or provides only half of the equation. For example, it will often provide the distance to a bunker, but not the distance to clear the bunker, even when the bunker is clearly in play. And unlike some of its competitors, the Golf Guru Color Guru does not provide distances to layup points (100 yards from the middle of the green, 150 yards, etc.).


91 / A-


The Good: The Golf Guru Color Guru is one of the more feature rich devices available, with particular strength in tracking statistics during play (fairways hit, greens in regulation, etc.). The statistics can be synced to your computer (albeit in a not-so-user friendly process) to be tracked over time.

The Bad: There’s a nice color screen, but the device doesn’t take advantage of it. The polish of the text and graphics are less sharp than desired. Also, although Golf Guru trumpets the ability to upload saved scores from your computer to, they fail to mention the annual fee ranging from $4.95 to $21.95 (depending on whether you want to maintain a USGA handicap, and whether you want easy access to all of your statistics from the web).


For more details, check out the Critical Golf comparison of golf GPS features.

94 / A


Device Accuracy: The Golf Guru Color Guru’s GPS receiver has 16 channels, and our test of device accuracy showed it to be accurate to within three to four yards – as good as any other golf GPS device.

Mapping Accuracy: At a high level, we did not see any accuracy issues with Golf Guru’s course mapping. We would note that the device stops displaying distances to a target once the user is within 50 yards of the target, which makes it difficult to get a real feel for the accuracy of their mapping.

92 / A-


Retail Price: The Golf Guru Color Guru retails for $399.95.

Fees for Access to Course Database: None! No annual fees, and no per course download fees. Now that’s a price we can live with!

Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: The three-year total cost of ownership (which makes certain assumptions on the number of new courses a user will add each year) is the most relevant calculation of cost in our estimate, and the Golf Guru Color Guru shines due to its lack of any additional annual fee or course download fees. With a total cost over three years of $399.95, the Color Guru has the third lowest three-year total cost of GPS devices reviewed.

Value: Notwithstanding the nice three-year cost of ownership, we think that consumers considering purchase of a Color Guru should take a serious look at its grayscale little brother, the Original Golf Guru. Retailing for $249.95, the Original Golf Guru will save you $150 and matches the Color Guru in functionality, with the two primary differences being the lack of a color screen and less storage to hold courses on the device (40 courses vs. the Color Guru’s 200 courses), neither of which are dealbreakers in our estimation.

Availability: Discontinued; replaced by the Golf Guru 4