Easy-to-Read Golf GPS Models

It’s not at all uncommon for us to hear from users about the difficulting of reading the numbers on their golf GPS devices. That’s why we keep a current list of Easy-to-Read Golf GPS Models.

Our main considerations in ranking these units are: the size of the numbers, the ease of use, the quality, and the price. For users who need big numbers on the screen, we believe that other features are less likely to be utilized, so for the most part, that is not a consideration. We also recommend checking out our Best Voice Golf GPS picks.

Easy-to-Read Golf GPS Models
Izzo Swami 6000 - Read Full Review

This is one of our favorite golf GPS devices to look at. The screen is bright and colorful and the numbers are large and easy to read. It's also at a price point that we love! Even with the large bright screen, the battery life is still up to 16 hours. Although it has a scorecard, we don't think it's user-friendly and would not recommend this model to anyone looking for a scorecard feature. In truth, most users don't use their golf GPS devices for scorekeeping. If that is important to you, we suggest checking out models from Garmin. The Swami 6000 comes with a strong magnet for easy mounting to your cart or the included belt clip. It has distances to hazards and doglegs, and it has an IPX3 rating which should be good enough for most rainy weather conditions.

Rating: 4.42  
Weight: 3.4 oz.   Legal: Yes
Izzo Swami 6000
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Garmin Approach G30 - Read Full Review

This full-featured little golf GPS unit comes preloaded with over 40,000 golf courses. You'll get full hole views of every hole and touch targeting to anywhere on a hole. When you bring up Green View, you can even adjust the pin placement for more precise distance. Although the G30 drops the "Plays Like" feature found on the Garmin Approach G8 that adjusts for elevation, it does connect with your smartphone to display, text messages, emails, etc. It is small enough to carry in a pocket but also comes with a clip and a lanyard for your belt or golf bag. This model also has 'Big Numbers' mode for distances to the front, middle, and back of the greens.

Rating: 4.38  
Weight: 2.5 oz.   Legal: Yes
Garmin Approach G30
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The Distances on My Golf GPS are Wrong!

Golf GPS is not 100% accurate.It’s important to say that most golf GPS owners have far more good things than bad to say about their devices. However, there are always a few complaints for every device that say something like this… “The distances on my golf GPS are wrong!” OR “The yardage is way off on the 5th hole at my course” and other variations on this theme. Make no mistake, getting the distance right is the most important feature of these devices, so this is a big deal.

The first thing you need to understand is that there aren’t any golf GPS devices that are perfect. All of them are “off” some of the time. Unlike laser, GPS isn’t always accurate down to a couple of yards. Apparently things like weather and trees and course maps all affect your golf GPS, yet amazingly, most of them are accurate to within about seven yards (I’m guessing) most of the time.

There are a few things you can do to improve the performance of your golf GPS.

  • Make sure you update the maps once or twice a year. Not only are courses being added all the time, updates to the existing maps are being made as well. While you’re at it, check to see if there are any firmware updates that can be made to your device.
  • If you find a hole or a course that has bad distances, report it to the manufacturer of your device.
  • On some devices you can update the locations on your device of the front, middle and back of the greens. Some of them also allow you to add points to the maps. If you have a consistent problem on a course you play frequently, you’ll want to use this feature.
  • Wait for it! It takes most GPS devices a few seconds or more to “settle”. Don’t pull up in your cart and assume the distance will be immediately correct, just wait a few seconds before pulling your club.
  • Take in your surroundings to see if there are any easy to see clues that might reassure you of your distance. You might see a 150 yard pole ten yards in front of you or a sprinkler head nearby.
  • If your distances seem to be way off all the time and your device is under warranty, you’ll probably want to return it as it may be defective.

For most of us, a golf GPS is going to help us way more often than it hurts us and being “off” a few yards now and again won’t even be noticeable. However, low handicap golfers and others who desire accuracy to within a couple of yards every single time, will likely be much happier with a laser rangefinder.

Golf GPS vs Rangefinder

Image of Golf GPS ans Laser RangefinderOccasionally, I get a question from someone wondering which is better, a golf GPS or laser rangefinder. If the question had to do only with accuracy, then the clear answer would always be the laser rangefinder. Lasers are always accurate to within a couple of yards of whatever target you hit. Although golf GPS devices are generally fairly accurate, they’re going to let you down once in awhile. Besides that, they can’t give you distance to a flag, only to set points that do not move.

Does that make a laser rangefinder “better” than a golf GPS? Not entirely. Laser cannot measure a target that can’t be seen. If you have an elevated green and can’t see the flag, you’re out of luck. GPS on the other hand, will be able to give you distance to the front, middle and back of the green and maybe additional hazards and layups as well.

Besides that, there is less opportunity for human error with GPS. Some people really struggle to hold a laser rangefinder steady enough to acquire an accurate distance. If you hit the wrong target, you’ll get the wrong distance. Today’s rangefinders do a good job of locking onto the flag, but I know plenty of people who haven’t had much success with using a laser.

So in the battle of Golf GPS vs Rangefinder, well it depends on your needs and ability. If you have fairly steady hands, I would recommend laser over GPS. Even better though – the best of both worlds can be found in the Bushnell Hybrid. It’s a laser and GPS all built into a single unit and it’s still tournament legal when distance measuring devices are allowed.

If your not confident in your ability to hit the right target with a laser and the Bushnell Hybrid isn’t in your budget, then let us help you choose the best GPS for your style of play.

GPS or Laser, either way is definitely better than no distance measuring device at all.

Four Tips for Saving Shots with a Golf GPS App

golf GPS app screen shotUsing a golf GPS app can be helpful to your game, but it can also be a big distraction. Here are four tips that can help you save shots, rather than blowing them because you were so busy trying to figure out how to measure your shot distance or enter your score. Getting too wrapped up in a golf app can take time away from your enjoying a beautiful day or good company and it can definitely take you out of the rhythm you need to play your best.

  1. Download the app at home and spend some time learning how to navigate it. There may be a demo, or you can usually download a nearby course to check out the features. Read the instructions whether they are as a Help link within the app or on the manufacturer’s website. Make sure you know how to navigate between holes and how to get back and forth between any of the features you think you will want to use. Write down notes on how to do all these things and take them with you.
  2. Make sure your phone is charged fully – a golf GPS can drain battery in a hurry. You might want to turn off Wifi and Bluetooth to conserve power.
  3. Start slow. The first few times you use your new golf GPS app, arrive at the course early enough to get your course set up so you’re not doing it on the first tee. Then keep it simple – use the distances that it presents you and don’t mess with the scorecard or shot measuring features. Try to spend as little time as possible looking at your phone. Just let it do it’s most basic job and get good at utilizing that information.
  4. Save the advanced features for a day when you have time… either when you are playing alone or when you are waiting on every shot. Refer to those notes you took when studying the instructions. Try to practice it so you get really fast at accessing any information you want, but don’t use features just because they are there. Use only the ones that you feel will really benefit your game.

One of our favorite golf GPS app is Mobitee. Download it and give it a try.

Waterproof Golf GPS

Even the most fair-weather golfers get caught out in the rain once in awhile. That’s why it’s a good idea to buy a waterproof golf GPS unit.

Different manufacturers use different labels, so it’s a little confusing. The most useful waterproof/rainproof information comes IP Ratings, but not all golf GPS models use it. Some just use “rainproof” or “waterproof” and some don’t even say. Below is a list of golf GPS devices that claim some level of water resistance.

Waterproof and Rainproof Golf GPS
Bushnell Phantom 2 - Read Full Review

The Bushnell Phantom 2 is ready to go right out of the box. It has everything you need with no fuss. You turn it on and it finds the course and the hole and is typically ready for play in less than a minute. The large font and transreflective display make it easy to see in all conditions. The new stronger and larger BITE magnet holds firmly to your cart. If you’re walking, the included belt clip or carabiner will make it easy to find distances when you need them. It also has a new GreenView feature that allows you to get a more precise distance to the pin location. It has up to 18 hours of battery life and charges in less than three hours. And, by the way, it's fully waterproof so you can leave it up on those rainy days!

Rating: 4.55  
Weight: 2.75 oz.   Legal: Yes
Bushnell Phantom 2
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Garmin Approach G12 - Read Full Review

As expected, Garmin impressed us with this feature-pack golf GPS device. The most exciting thing about the Garmin G12 is the 30-hour battery life! That doubles the battery life of the Garmin G10 and it's 10 hours more than the Bushnell Phantom 2. At this price point, this will be the deciding factor for many golfers. Others will choose this model to use with the Garmin Approach CT10 Club Tracking System. The Garmin Approach G12 matches or exceeds the features of other golf GPS units in the same category. The price is a little bit higher, but if it's in your budget, the battery life, stat tracking, and analysis tools, make this worthy of your shortlist!

Rating: 4.48  
Weight: .9 oz.   Legal: Yes
Garmin Approach G12
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Izzo Swami 6000 - Read Full Review

This is one of our favorite golf GPS devices to look at. The screen is bright and colorful and the numbers are large and easy to read. It's also at a price point that we love! Even with the large bright screen, the battery life is still up to 16 hours. Although it has a scorecard, we don't think it's user-friendly and would not recommend this model to anyone looking for a scorecard feature. In truth, most users don't use their golf GPS devices for scorekeeping. If that is important to you, we suggest checking out models from Garmin. The Swami 6000 comes with a strong magnet for easy mounting to your cart or the included belt clip. It has distances to hazards and doglegs, and it has an IPX3 rating which should be good enough for most rainy weather conditions.

Rating: 4.42  
Weight: 3.4 oz.   Legal: Yes
Izzo Swami 6000
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GolfBuddy Voice 2 SE - Read Full Review

GolfBuddy increased the battery life in the GB Voice 2 SE to 20 hours. That's six more than the previous model and we are thrilled! Its ease of use is what makes it so popular. This compact, lightweight model has an LCD screen with distances to the front, middle, and back of every green. You can also switch to see the green shape. There are over 40,000 courses preloaded and you can update it with new courses anytime using the GolfBuddy GB Manager.

Rating: 4.41  
Weight: 1.1 oz.   Legal: Yes
GolfBuddy Voice 2 SE
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Garmin Approach G10 - Read Full Review

The Garmin Approach G10 packs a lot into a very small package. Besides the expected distances to the front, middle, and back of every green, you'll get the shape of the green and manual pin positioning. There's also a scorecard with stats that can be uploaded to your Garmin Connect account, providing you with historical data and game analysis. We love the price and overall, user reviews are quite favorable.

Rating: 4.42  
Weight: 1 oz.   Legal: Yes
Garmin Approach G10
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Garmin Approach S10 - Read Full Review

We are thrilled that Garmin finally has a new basic golf watch. We think this will be the best-selling golf watch on the market for awhile to come. Why? Because it does everything most golfers want in a golf watch and it's lightweight and compact. On the main screen, you will see distances to the front, middle, and back of the green, plus the hole number and par. The shape of the green is also right there on the same screen. If you need hazard information, it's one screen away. Many golfers won't ever touch the watch after starting a round. A simple glance will tell them what they need to know. You can also keep score on this watch and upload your scores to Garmin Express so your playing history is always available. It doesn't offer a way of tracking your stats, so if you are looking for that feature, check out Garmin's other golf watches.

Rating: 99.00  
Weight: 1.2 oz.   Legal: Yes
Garmin Approach S10
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GolfBuddy Voice 2 - Read Full Review

Every time GolfBuddy comes out with a new Voice model, it seems to get a little bit better. The GolfBuddy Voice 2 makes a huge leap with extended battery life. It boasts 14 hours which makes it the first one to be able to make it thru three 18-hole rounds. They've also added a choice of male and female voices. It's water resistant, has distances to the front, middle, and back of each green, and a shot measuring feature. The watch band can be ordered separately on Amazon.

Rating: 4.40  
Weight: 1.02 oz.   Legal: Yes
GolfBuddy Voice 2
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GolfBuddy Voice X - Read Full Review

We've been a fan of the GolfBuddy Voice line of GPS rangefinders for a long time. Each new iteration seems better than the one before and we hope that holds true for the new GolfBuddy VoiceX. The VoiceX adds quite a few features and a design change. Our favorite new feature is the automatic course update via Bluetooth and your smartphone. We also like the Big Numbers mode and manual pin positioning capability. Additionally, the new activity tracker could be a hit with walkers and runners. Watchband is available separately.

Rating: 99.00  
Weight: N/A oz.   Legal: Yes
GolfBuddy Voice X
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Garmin Approach S60 - Read Full Review

Garmin's newest golf watch looks to be a sophisticated golf watch, fitness watch, and smartwatch. It will be released in the summer of 2017 and we look forward to exploring all the features here very soon!

Rating: 3.86  
Weight: 1.8* oz.   Legal: Yes
Garmin Approach S60
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Garmin Approach G30 - Read Full Review

This full-featured little golf GPS unit comes preloaded with over 40,000 golf courses. You'll get full hole views of every hole and touch targeting to anywhere on a hole. When you bring up Green View, you can even adjust the pin placement for more precise distance. Although the G30 drops the "Plays Like" feature found on the Garmin Approach G8 that adjusts for elevation, it does connect with your smartphone to display, text messages, emails, etc. It is small enough to carry in a pocket but also comes with a clip and a lanyard for your belt or golf bag. This model also has 'Big Numbers' mode for distances to the front, middle, and back of the greens.

Rating: 4.38  
Weight: 2.5 oz.   Legal: Yes
Garmin Approach G30
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