Updated: May 29, 2015
Golf GPS Reviews:Playing the game of golf is hard enough and when you are guessing your yardage into small greens or narrow fairways it makes it that much harder. That is why manufacturers have created the golf GPS devices like the Garmin Approach which eliminate the guesswork and give you more control of your club selection and yardages. Some courses I play are not marked properly and often I'm wondering if the yardage I see on the sprinkler head is even accurate. One of my weekly playing partners recently purchased the Garmin Approach G8 and we have been enjoying using it. It's the type of golf gadget that guys love and at roughly $400 seems like a relatively inexpensive investment compared to the $300+ golf drivers people are buying. Most amateur golfers don't need to worry about having the right yardage since they rarely hit the ball accurately anyways, but as you get better, your iron play will improve and being able to pinpoint approach yardages could save you a few strokes per round. I have found that being able to judge distances to bunkers and hazards around the greens has saved me a lot of times.
The main products in the golf gps market are the GolfBuddy, Garmin Approach GPS Watch, Sky Caddie, IZZO, and Bushnell. I've seen the Sky Caddie advertised in magazines and on TV quite often but the others aren't as recognized. The GolfLogix by Garmin is a top rated gps device for the golf course with an easy to use interface, it's able to store lots of courses at one time, and you can download more course layouts all the time off the website. We found great reviews for these products on Amazon.com, Golfsmith.com, and Thesandtrap.com. All golf gps devices have their good features and a few have some issues that may make you think twice. The first one that I came across was being able to get coverage from satellites on overcast days. In reviews, the SkyCaddie gets more knocks for this than does the Garmin Golflogix. Another issue that came up regularly in online reviews by consumers was that the gps devices don't hold enough courses in their software at one time. No one wants to have to go and download more courses all the time. Some owners reported that even getting the device hooked up on the computer and downloading course information and mapping wasn't always easy. When working, I must say Golflogix and SkyCaddie are pretty amazing at what they do. You can get exact yardages for hazards, how far you need to carry water, green depths, and much more. Many owners say they like the fact you can keep track of other statistics (men love stats) like fairways hit, how far you hit each iron on average, etc. UPDATE Sept 2014 - The latest golf gps system is the GPS Golf Guru Grayscale GPS Unit which sells for less than $250 on Amazon.com. There is a color version available for $400, but we say stick with the non-color version since it delivers "great value". Reviews are incredibly positive for the Golf Guru and we say it's worth checking out.
The Bushnell Yardage Pro Golf Pinseeker 1500 Laser Rangefinder ($360) is offered on Amazon.com and is a great alternative to these GPS devices that require a yearly fee to get the course information which can add up over time. The Bushness Pinseeker is very accurate (+/- 1 yard) and works incredibly at giving you the distance to the pin without allowing trees and other objects in the distance interfer with it's readings. Right now all the these products listed no this page are illegal to use in a competitive USGA event, but golf courses are turning more and more to GPS golf carts and similar devices to speed up the play of golf. With the average round close to 5 hours, if courses could speed up play to just over 4 hours they could make more $$ on any given day by having more players tee off. I have found that our Saturday foursome definitely plays faster than before since we have accurate yardages that we can rely on and hit our balls with confidence. Golfgpssource.com is a good online store to start with in terms of searching for the lastest golf gps equipment. Amazon.com also carries the big brand names and they offer invaluable feedback from actual customers on how well the product performs. If you go to a golf retailer like GolfSmith, you may just get fed a line of garbage about whichever product they are trying to push off their shelve at the time. In regards to the fees that are charged on a yearly basis to get course details from a manufacturer like SkyCaddie, you will pay $29.95/year for your state, $49.95/year for unlimited courses in your country, and $59.95/year for unlimited courses in the world. Keep in mind not all courses have been mapped, but the vast majority are listed and more are being added each day. You simply log into the site, connect your device and click "add to playlist" to get your course stored on the SkyCaddie. Course memory on even the most expensive SkyCaddie is 10 courses at a time while the new 2008 Garmin Golflogix holds up to 20 courses. You get the picture, each gps device has it's own standout features. See some recommendations below. View the list of best-selling golf GPS devices here.