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The best golf GPS devices for tracking your game in 2024

We’ve all had the dream where we’re running towards something, only for it to get further and further away as we run. The same thing can happen easily in golf. People just aren’t that great at eyeballing distances. A good golf GPS device can help. Much like in Mario Golf or any other golf video game, you have the chance to see a true to life “mini map” of your position and surroundings, plus can get an accurate to-hole distance check.

And that’s just the beginning. The best golf GPS devices will also give you the ability to know where every trap and bend on the course is. That includes that sneaky sand pit on the other side of that innocent hill over yonder. Some are even able to keep track of your score, tell you the slope of the land and more. Try one of the following best golf GPS devices to get a big leg up on your game in 2024.

The best golf GPS devices in 2024

  • Buy the for the best golf GPS watch.
  • Buy the for the best golf GPS handheld.
  • Buy the for a good mid-priced golf GPS watch.
  • Buy the for a good mid-priced golf GPS watch.
  • Buy the for a quality budget golf GPS watch.
  • Buy the for a quality budget golf GPS handheld.
  • Buy the for an affordable big numbers golf GPS.

Garmin Approach S70

Best golf GPS watch

A hole on the Garmin Approach S70 golf GPS watch.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Bright AMOLED display Expensive
Tracks wind and green contour
Functions as smartwatch with health monitoring

The Garmin Approach S70 is the best and newest of the Garmin Approach golf GPS watch series, a premium model designed to take care of everything you need. Coming in two sizes, a 42mm wrist size or a 47 mm wrist size, the Garmin Approach S70 will have either a 1.2 or 1.4 inch display. A bright AMOLED screen will make it easy to understand details and course layouts even on the sunniest days on the course. The GPS watch comes with over 43,000 courses preloaded into it, can show accurate green contours with a Garmin Golf subscription, and can take detailed measurements about your clubs and swings with the .

For your game, there are quite a few above and beyond features that you should know about. As an example, you won’t just see a map and have to figure out the rest for yourself. At the most basic, there is the “PlaysLike” distance feature, which converts distances into what they’ll actually play like based on elevation and some environmental factors. A 50 foot shot on a level surface, as it were, is different than one from an elevation 20 feet below that of the hole. You know this, the Garmin Approach S70 knows this, and ultimately the ball knows this, but raw GPS coordinates do not. For more knowing, you’ll also like the virtual caddie service. This AI (not the GPT kind) feature learns how you play golf, looks at the wind, and the shot ahead, and can recommend clubs and approaches just like and experienced caddy can.

Finally, take a look at how the Approach S70 works as a smartwatch. As you may know, Garmin is already the creator of a few of the best smartwatches for men, so it makes sense to go ahead and put the features of a great health tracker in with the rest. You can get information about your heart rate, pulse, stress, and sleep quality among other stats. There are modes and apps for everything from yoga to cycling, as well. Of course, having this in addition to a fantastic golf GPS makes the price rather high, so there is one drawback to the fantastic combination. There is a reason, after all, that Garmin describes this as a premium GPS golf smartwatch.

Key Specifications
Form factor Watch
Screen size 1.2 or 1.4 inch display
Resolution 390 x 390p or 454 x 454p

Garmin Approach G80

Best golf GPS handheld

A golf hole being displayed on the Garmin Approach G80.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Highly readable screen Expensive
Touch targeting
15 hour battery life

One of the most premium handheld golf GPS devices also comes from Garmin, this time in the form of the Garmin Approach G80. It has a large, 3.5 inch touchscreen with a transflective color touchscreen that is meant to be easily readable in the sun, and an IPX7 water resistant chassis to keep it safe even when and unexpected rain hits you on the back nine. Much like the Garmin smartwatch GPS golf device, the Garmin Approach G80 has over 41,000 courses preloaded into the device, PlaysLike distances, and green contour data with a Garmin Gold membership.

You’ll additionally like the ability to pop into big numbers mode, where the hole, back of green, and front of green distance numbers are displayed in a large and easy to read display. A green view feature, which works well with these numbers, will show the real shape of the green from wherever you are, too. The large touchscreen area is also highly usable, such as by the touch targeting feature. This allows you to tap any part of the displayed hole with your finger and get a detailed readout about distances to it and its surroundings, letting you strategically plan your approach to the green.

The Garmin Approach G80’s compatible golf club device is the , which clips on to the metal of your club, just below the grip. This allows you to get detailed data about your swing tempo, speed, and the club path you take as you swing. Combine this with the Garmin Approach G80’s built-in practice mode and you’ll be able to use the device to not only learn more about your geographical location but also to improve your swing and score.

Key Specifications
Form factor Handheld
Screen size 3.5 inches
Resolution 282 x 470p

SkyCaddie LX5

Best mid-priced golf GPS watch

The display of the SkyCaddie LX5 GPS golf watch.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Nice watch screen Shorter than expected battery life
Important stats easy to find
Includes 3 year membership plan (see 35,000+ course maps)

The SkyCaddie LX5 does a phenomenal job at making golf more like a game and less like a chore. For example, the Dynamic RangeVue mode will give you arcing lines down the fairway to give you a good idea of where different clubs — when used properly — will place the ball. Then, Dynamic HoleVue will give you information about distances to traps, hazards, and the hole from any location you choose along the path. Before you even begin to swing, then, you’ll know what you’re doing. A couple of strokes down the line, when you finally do need to tap yourself onto the green, you’ll have multiple options to do so. You can take a large big numbers mode, or an up close and personal image of the green. The SkyCaddie also makes sure to rotate the green based on your orientation and approach instead of using a static image, giving you a more accurate shot.

It’s also really worth going into how great the screen is on this golf GPS watch. While tiny, the display is Full HD (1080p) which is as good as the . In a product category that is typically more focused on delivering data than the presentation of that data, this is worth something. It’s AMOLED, too, and visible even on bright days.

You can also use the SkyCaddie LX5 as a smartwatch as its screen can transform into several beautiful watch faces and it even comes complete with basic health monitoring stats like heart rate and step counting. However, we don’t necessarily recommend doing so. The reasoning is simple, it has an estimated 10 hour battery life. While perfect for a day on the course, its not necessarily the best for monitoring your health and fitness. Get a great health tracker for that instead and keep this reasonably-priced golf GPS for what it is, a golf tracker, not a full biometric scanner.

Key Specifications
Form factor Watch
Screen size 1.39 inches
Resolution 1080p

SkyCaddie SX400

Best mid-priced golf GPS handheld

A hole being displayed on the SkyCaddie SX400 handheld golf GPS.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Dynamic, rotatable maps  Finicky setup and pairing
Convenient shot and score tracking
Membership included

SkyCaddie’s handheld, the SX400, is a great mid-tier golf GPS device. Much like with their LX5 smartwatch, this device has over 35,000 courses preloaded with subscription, gives hole view and range view for your planned shots, and can quickly give you stats about hazard proximity to any targeted shot location. You’ll also find that the screen is quite similar, also in HD, but this time much larger as a 4 inch rectangular screen, more akin to a smartphone.

And in this form factor is where we find a lot of the SkyCaddie SX400’s charm. For one thing, it is no longer trying to play double as a smartwatch and health tracker, so we can actually praise the 14 hour battery life this time around. You’ll also find that features such as shot tracking and score recording are much nicer on the SX400. Something about a large rectangular display just does better for scorecards, reminding us of the traditional pencil and paper editions. Oddly, though, for something so phone-like in appearance, we found that some uses reported some difficulties with initial pairing and syncing of the device.

Key Specifications
Form factor Handheld
Screen size 4 inches
Resolution 1080p

Bushnell Ion Elite

Best budget golf GPS watch

A green being displayed on the Bushnell Ion Elite GPS watch.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Touchscreen handling Less engaging screen
Includes slope tech
Dynamic green mapping

The Bushnell Ion Elite is a lower cost way to get a good read on your golf game in a smartwatch form factor. While the screen isn’t as beautiful as the more expensive competition, you’ll find that the information at hand is still of high quality and usability as you golf. Surprisingly, it is controlled via touchscreen, with buttons often popping up in the four “corners” of the circular screen (think 10, 2, 4, and 6 around the clock) so you can thumb mash them with some accuracy. It also has dynamic green mapping, measuring the big numbers based on your green approach angle. Slope tech gives you accurate distance reads based on actual topography.

And while the screen is, again, not the most fanciful on the list, you’ll still have access to features like a green view with a movable pin placement based on the drag of a finger. If you’re wanting to get started with golf GPS technology and love the smartwatch form factor, start with Bushnell to keep your wallet in check. As you find yourself relying more or less on the features presented, you can make the decision to upgrade (or not) at a later date.

Key Specifications
Form factor Watch
Screen size 1.28 inches

Izzo Swami 6000

Best budget golf GPS handheld

The Izzo Swami 6000 golf GPS device attached to a man's belt.
Pros Cons
38,000 pre-loaded maps with no subscription fees Not many extras
Easily navigable
Belt clip or magnahold storage

The Izzo Swami 6000 is a feature-lite golf GPS device that has a pleasant, colorful interface to give you access to all of the key numbers important for your day of golfing. A special hazard menu will simultaneously tell you the near and far distance for multiple targets that include sand, water, and trees. You can also get info about critical distance points for doglegs along the course.

Perhaps the greatest, most noticeable part of the Izzo Swami 6000 is how easy it is to take it with you. There are a few options. It is a handheld, of course, so you can just hold it. There’s also a belt loop in case your pocket room has been taken over by the essential three of wallet, keys, and phone. Then, there’s the “magnahold” storage technique. With this, the powerful magnet on the back of the device can hold itself to your cart frame.

We really like how the Izzo Swami 6000 gives you access to information about 38,000 pre-loaded golf courses with no subscription. There aren’t a ton of features that come with this handheld golf GPS device — it’s mainly information about distances to the green and traps, plus a scorecard — but what you get you get to key without continuously paying for more, a big bonus in today’s world and an excellent feature of a budget pick.

Key Specifications
Form factor Handheld
Screen size 2 inches

Bushnell Golf Phantom 2

Best big numbers golf GPS device

The front screen of the Bushnell Golf Phantom 2 GPS device.
Pros Cons
Dynamic big numbers Very minimalistic (could be a plus)
Great battery life
Quick access to essential info

Sometimes too much info takes away from the game, playing, and the sense of discovery of golf. Hitting a ball, seeing where it lands, and whacking it again are the heart of the game after all. With too much information at your fingertips you can lose sight of the game and overanalyze. The Bushnell Golf Phantom 2 dials back the excess and brings the pairing of you and the golf course to the fore.

After selecting which local course you’re playing on, you’ll quickly find yourself on a classic big numbers readout. Despite the simplicity of the UI, there is quite a bit of worthwhile information here, and the big numbers change depending on your approach angle to the hole. For example, if the green is long and narrow, you’ll get much bigger near and far numbers if you’re tackling it straight on versus from the side. Additionally, with a little bit of extra work, you can track distances to up to six features (water, sand, etc.) per hole.

While we don’t think this golf GPS style is for everyone — its main hole visual is a green picture — it will appeal to you if you avoid overthinking and want a swing strength adviser, not a cartographer. This is all about low distraction golf.

Key Specifications
Form factor Handheld
Screen size 2.2 inches
Resolution N/A

How we chose these golf GPS devices

There’s a lot to think about before getting a golf GPS device. Here are the things we gave the most attention to on our quest to find the very best ones.

Form factor

One of the most obvious ways to split commercial golf GPS devices in half is by their form factor. If you were to grab a handful of them at random, you’d be able to easily sort them into two primary categories — the watch-like and the handheld. Both of these types have great advantages and, like most things, a couple of disadvantages.

Watch golf GPS devices fit in a very convenient spot, your wrist. They make it incredibly easy to check up on your location without taking up hand (or pocket) space. On the contrary, however, they are smaller so if your vision isn’t that great, they might require a fair dose of squinting to see everything. And, if you’re a golfer that wears watches of the time-telling sort, things could get pretty awkward on your wrist.

handheld golf GPS, then, might be the best golf GPS for you if you don’t mind carrying something around and having another device bouncing around in your pocket. The larger screens of handheld golf GPS devices are easier to parse and are often easier to control, as they often have touchscreen controls.


How can you use your golf GPS device? That’s pretty important, as there is often more to these devices than just getting the distance to the hole. Here are commonly featured modes that we saw and, likely, commented on.

Illustrated course overview

Most of the best golf GPS devices on the more expensive end will have fantastic visual displays of the hole you’re on. Expect to see traps, distances, and even analysis based on your past shots. You may even get data such as slope and elevation-based distancing and how the live wind conditions are likely to alter the path of your ball. The more expensive the golf GPS device, the more advanced the illustrated course overview, if it was present. We’ve made sure to detail the main abilities of each of the above golf GPS devices that contained an illustrated hole overview so you can understand how they are likely to improve your golf experience.

“Big numbers” modes

While Garmin refers to this mode as “big numbers mode” and SkyCaddie literature might refer to “big number mode” there is no real universally accepted jargon. A quality big numbers mode gives you three numbers in a BIG size so you can quickly parse the needed strength of your next shot. The numbers you’ll see are:

  • The distance from your current location to the far edge of the green.
  • The distance from your current location to the hole. (Usually, the BIGGEST of the big numbers.)
  • The distance from your current location to the near edge of the green.

Most golf GPS devices can also track a number of hazards on the hole as well. Here, you’ll receive two numbers — one for the distance to the near side of the obstacle and one for the far side of the obstacle from your current location — and usually an indication of which obstacle is being discussed.

For these modes, we look for large, clear pictures. Many golfer may prefer big numbers modes to more complex digital maps, especially on more simple courses, and we emphasized this mode more on golf GPS devices that cater to this demographic than on others.


It should also be mentioned that most golf GPS devices have a sort of score reporting mode, though we’ve typically avoided going into exhaustive details about these modes in lieu of focusing on GPS-related features.

Editors' Recommendations

John Alexander

John Alexander is a former ESL teacher, current writer and internet addict, and lacks the wisdom to know what the future holds. His writing has appeared in PopSci, HeadPhonesty, WIRED, and Digital Trends. When not working, he can be found playing board games, drinking too much tea, taking long walks, and attempting to read foreign language books.

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