Best Handheld Golf GPS | 5 Options Worth Considering
Rangefinders devices come in are available in various types of devices these days. These include laser rangefinders, golf GPS watches, mobile apps and handheld golf GPS devices. A lot of golfers aren’t keen on laser rangefinders and do not like golf watches, which make them the perfect fit for a handheld golf GPS. They can be kept in your pocket, clipped to your bag or stored away in your golf bag. Here’s my recommendations for the Best Handheld GPS for Golf.
Best Handheld Golf GPS Reviews
Rangefinders devices are becoming a standard addition to every golfers bag, regardless of skill level. Distance devices take guessing yardages out of your game, giving you accurate distances, allowing you to make better club decision and focus on your swing.
These are what I feel are the Best GPS Devices For Golfing. I go in depth about each one below.
Please note that some of the links on thegolfinglad.com are affiliate links. I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase from one of the websites I recommend.
Garmin Approach G80
I’m going to jump straight to it. The Garmin G80 is the bees knees and probably the best handheld golf GPS you can buy (alongside the SkyCaddie SX500).
The Garmin G80 (Affiliate Link) is their flagship handheld GPS for golfing. It boasts an amazing list of GPS features that golfers will love, but there’s one that stands out more than the rest.
Not only is the G80 one of the best handheld golf GPS devices, it’s also a portable launch monitor.
Yes, you read that right – a LAUNCH MONITOR. I will go into more on that below.
The design of the G80 is very much like like a smartphone. It’s 3.5″ sunlight display is easy to read with adjustable text sizes. With a colourful bright colour screen, the G80 maps were clearly displayed in great detail.
The touch screen is very responsive and can be used with a golf glove. This was perfect for me as I play golf left handed but I am actually right handed (glove on right hand).
This will be the same for any right handed golfers who are actually left handed. I hate having to take my glove off to use a touchscreen, so the G80 was a pleasant surprise.
The G80 is not too bulky and comfortably fits in your pocket while playing. There’s a little lock button like you have on a smartphone so it won’t bounce between holes in your pocket.
There’s also a clip that comes with it to clip onto your golf bag. If you have an electric trolley, there’s a holder that comes with this set HERE (Amazon Affiliate Link) that lets you clip in and mount on your electric trolley.
If you are paying top dollar for one of the best handheld GPS for golf, then you would expect it performs well. The G80 does just that and more.
The G80 (Amazon Affiliate Link) will come preloaded with detailed colour maps of over 41,000 courses from around the globe.
You will get a complete sky view of each hole to view the hole layout, green shapes and clearly identify hazards, etc. Which is brilliant for playing courses for the first time.
One of my favourite things abut using good handheld golf GPS devices is the touch target yardage features. This is only on some of the premium GPS devices, but the G80 is one of them.
Simply tap any part of the map on each hole and you will get a yardage to that location based on yours. This is really good for getting yardages to hazards and lay us for par 5’s or short par 4’s.
The touch target also works with Green View. You can zoom in on the green to move the pin position for deadly accurate yardages for approach shots.
I must note also that the battery last for 15 hours in GPS mode which is very good for the performance it pushes out. 15 hours will get you at least 3 full rounds of golf.
Slope & Play’s Like Feature
The Garmin Approach G80 can also adjust for slope and offers a plays like yardage based on the uphill or downhill elevation change. This feature is not legal for tournament play but can be easily turned off.
If you are unsure on the rules of using rangefinders golfing, I have a post on that HERE or you can check out what the R&A have to say HERE.
Garmin G80 Portable Launch Monitor
Now this really is something different. Rangefinders have got more and more innovative over the last few years with GPS watches, laser rangefinders and now handheld golf GPS units.
The G80 is the worlds first portable GPS and launch monitor system. The launch monitor offers multiple modes that can make any practice session entertaining.
What I was surprised at was that you can actually virtually play any of the 41,000 pre loaded courses. Now this isn’t like one of those simulator type monitors you see at the golf shops or the cool home golf simulators but still a cool feature none the less.
The warm up mode is the one that really stands out to me, especially if there’s a range at your golf club. Simple place the device on a golf ball with the G80’s screen facing you perpendicular to your golf ball. From their you just start swinging.
The G80 will show you key swing metrics like ball speed, club head speed, tempo, smash factor and estimated distance. This is really good for fine tuning your swing before hitting the first tee.
Even if you only have a golf net at your course for warming up, it will allow you to get your club speed and tempo right.
Since it’s so small and compact, you can easily use this when playing a quick 9 holes. It only takes 2 seconds to set up and place down by the ball. It’s great for transitioning your swing changes or drills from the range to the course.
However, don’t expect this little portable rangefinder to be a portable trackman or home simulator quality. It won’t give you metrics like face angle, launch angle or club path (lets not get too greedy).
The key thing I like here is the swing speed, tempo and estimated distance. It’s great for getting to know your yardages for your scoring irons.
It really is a brilliant little device to help with your pre round routine and nail your timing before hitting that first tee.
Ok! I gave you all the good stuff, it’s a class device that any golfer would love to half, right?
But it doesn’t come cheap. Although it’s probably the best handheld golf GPS that you can buy, it’s also one of the most expensive.
Right now, the G80 will set you back around $420, and around $520 if you get the bundle pack HERE (Affiliate Amazon Link)
Garmin Approach G80 Pros & Cons
|Detailed Maps In Colour||Expensive|
|Tab Target Yardages||Need to Buy Accessories With It|
|Excellent Hazard Info|
|Shot Counting & Statistics|
|Potable Launch Monitor|
|Sun Readable LCD & Great TouchScreen|
|Rechargeable battery lasts up to 15 hours with GPS|
If you are looking for a simple handheld golf GPS device with no fuss an does the simple things right, the Bushnell Phantom could be your answer.
The Phantom in particular is popular with the older generation who aren’t all that interested in the fancy features a lot of GPS devices have right now.
I really like the magnetic back on it that lets you stock to any metal object. Handy if you use a golf cart a lot.
The Bushnell Phantom (Amazon Affiliate Link) comes preloaded with over 36,000 courses from around the world.
If your course is not available (which is unlikely) you can contact Bushnell and they will add the course information. Course changes can also be updated via bluetooth.
The Bushnell Phantom will show you the yardages to the front, middle and back of the green in big bold text.
You should be able to see it within standing distance from the golf bag, so you don’t have to disconnect it from your bag or anything like that.
Players will also be able to see distances to up to four hazards. You will get short descriptions for each hazard type. You just need to have a quick check at the manual to see what each one is. For example RFB = Right Fairway Bunker.
What I love about Bushnell is how they go the extra mile. If your course in missing a hazard or maybe a new one was added, give them a call or email and explaining the hazard and they will update it right away.
The Bushnell Phantom (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a very similar to the Garmin G10 (reviewed below). Which you choose is up to you, but I would maybe check the reviews of both.
More Features Available If Needed
I mentioned that this is a no fuss kind of device that gives you yardages to the green and that;s it really. But this thing works with the Bushnell App that will allow you to take it a a little further.
For example you will be able to get hole flyovers with yardages to greens and hazards via the mobile app. This is just handy in case you want a little more info or maybe are playing on a course you’ve never played before.
Remember hole flyovers and maps are usually more premium features that cost a lot more on some of the best handheld GPS devices for golf.
Along with being one of the simplest handheld GPS devices for golf, it’s also one of the cheapest, costing in around $130. Check Price HERE (Amazon Affiliate Link).
I would also have a look at the reviews to see what many other golfers have to say.
Phantom Bushnell Pros & Cons
|Easy To Use||No Colour Screen|
|Large Bold Text For Easy To Read Yardages||Hole Layouts & Green Views Can Only be Viewed Via Bushnell's App|
|Small Enough to Fit in Your Pocket While Playing|
|More Features Available Via Bushnell App If Required|
|Can Be Clipped to Your Golf Bag|
Garmin Approach G30
The Garmin Approach G30 (Amazon Affiliate Link) is the perfect golf GPS device for any golfer who does not like the big chunky golf GPS devices or golf GPS watches but wants a high performing device. The Garmin Approach G30 is small, light and has plenty of premium features.
It really has the higher quality feel and performance making it a brilliant handheld GPS for golfing. The outer edge of the device is surrounded by a light layer of rubber to protect against accidental drops.
The design is very modern with only 1 single button for power and with the rest of functionality solely on the touchscreen.
Garmin G30 Performance
The Garmin Approach really has that Garmin quality touch that they bring with all their Garmin devices.
It’s so quick and easy to use. Simply pop it out of your golf bag and it quickly finds your golf course based on your location within seconds. If it doesn’t pick up your location automatically then you can use the search function.
Like most of the best golf GPS devices you get a hole overview. The G30 presents you with red. white and blue lines that represent key yardages to the hole.
The Garmin G30 also gives you a green view to check the layout of the green and move around the pin to match the exact location of the pin on the green for an even more accurate yardage.
Track your scores for up to four plays with each score displayed on the score screen (see image below).
You can also track key stats like fairways hit, GIR and putts per hole. You can then upload this data to Garmin Connect to view on your smartphone or laptop.
Similar to GPS watches, you can also pair the Garmin G30 to your smartphone to view key notifications like incoming calls, texts and emails.
Impressive Battery Life
The Garmin Approach G30 also boasts a very impressive battery of 15 hours. This is brilliant when you compare it to the battery life of GPS watches which might only last for 2 rounds on GPS mode.
At 15 hours you are getting over 3 full rounds with the G30, which is handy if you forgot to charge it before a round.
For the features you get with the G30, which are fairly premium if you ask me, you are getting one of the best handheld golf GPS devices for a mid budget price range.
Think of it as the scaled down smaller version of the Garmin G80 mentioned above. It does pretty much the same thing minus the launch monitor feature and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper.
It’s a huge step up from the Garmin G10 or Bushnell Phantom I think for roughly an extra $100. You can hole overviews, color screens, movable pins and shot tracking. Pretty impressive for this price I think.
Check the price HERE (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Garmin Approach G30 Pros & Cons
|Small Compact Design||Small Size Will Put Off Some Users|
|High Quality & Protective Layer Against Accidental Drops||Expensive|
|Very Responsive Touchscreen||Hole Overview Animation Looks Dated|
|Garmin Connect App For Post Round Analysis|
|Move Pins Around The Green|
Please note that some of the links on thegolfinglad.com are affiliate links. I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase from one of the websites I recommend.
Garmin Approach G10
The Garmin Approach G10 (Amazon Affiliate Link) is very similar to the Bushnell Phantom I already recommended above. It has a similar small compact style with black and white screen and big bold text.
The G10 is perfect handheld GPS for the golfer looking for one thing – accurate yardages quick and fast. That’s exactly what Garmin were trying to do with the Approach G10.
The small and compact design (0.7 x 1.5 x 2 inches) makes it perfect that fit right in your pocket. To be honest, I wouldn’t even clip this to my bag, I would carry it in my pocket.
You wouldn’t even notice it. In fact Garmin have designed this to clip to golfers belts while golfing. You can also clip this to your belt buckle with the clip provided.
With 15 hours battery, you can comfortably fit 3 full rounds of golf. A long battery life is a key feature I look for when buying a handheld GPS for golfing.
The key goal of the G10 is provide quick and easy yardages. That’s it really. Anything else is just a bonus I think.
With over 40,000 pre loaded courses, the G10 should pick up your course based on your location on it’s own, if not can simply search for your local course.
The Garmin G10 (Amazon Affiliate Link) will display yardages to the front, middle and back of the green.
What makes it even better is that you can more the pin around the green by selecting one the preset locations. At least this lets you get the most accurate yardage possible.
I love this feature as it takes away and uncertainty over the yardage to the pin if it’s tucked away in the back corner of a large unusual shaped green.
Not having this feature is a reason why a lot of golfers turn to laser rangefinders rather than GPS devices. I was really impressed that Garmin offered this feature for such a low priced device.
Not only can you get accurate yardages to the pin, but you can also get accurate yardages to key hazards, doglegs and also lay ups yardages at 100, 150 and 200 yards.
There’s a digital scorecard feature that can track your shots and stats for each round. This info can be uploaded to the Garmin Connect App for post round analysis.
What can I say, the G10 is probably the best value any golfer can get for a handheld GPS. It’s extremely accurate, offers yardages to different pin locations, hazards and lay ups. All of this for less than $120.
If you are looking for one the best handheld golf GPS devices that it cheaper than most but performs far better than it should for this price, you cannot go wrong with the Garmin Approach G10 .
I would check out the reviews on Amazon HERE (Amazon Affiliate Link), there’s over 250 reviews from everyday golfers. The majority of them seem to be in the same position as I am.
Garmin Approach G10 Pros & Cons
|Excellent Value||Limited Features|
|Cheap||No hole overview|
|Accurate Yardages to front, middle and back|
|Can be clipped to belt|
|Ability to change pin location|
|Green shape displayed|
This device is probably the closest competitor to the Garmin G80 mentioned above. It’s high performing, has a high resolutions touch screen and detailed maps. Oh and it’s also expensive (just making that clear now).
The SX500 is big. It has a 5″ display screen which is bigger than most peoples’ smartphones. But the display is amazing. The display is better compared to the Garmin G80 I think. It just looks amazing.
If you are one of those guys who has their smartphone set to the big huge bold text, that option is also available on the SX500. This option is very handy for when your playing at your home course where you know all the key features of the course, and all you really need is the yardage to the green.
The frame of the SX500 has a strong rugged design, a lot stronger than any other handheld GPS it must be said.
It’s some what like the rugged style phones you see a lot of builders have on their smartphones and tablets. The strong cover will protect you against any accidental drops.
The SkyCaddie SX500 (Amazon Affiliate Link) has probably the most detailed maps available. Did you know that the guys at SkyGolf are the only company in the world that actually walk every single course.
SkyGolf do this to make sure they all the satellite referenced information to hazards like bunkers, water, and even fairway run offs are accurate. Now that’s a lot of man hours if you think about.
The SX500 has a yardage pointer highlighted in the screen that you essentially drag and drop for your desired yardage. This is great for off the tee on short 4’s or holes with hazards.
The SX500 gives golfers the opportunity to do some proper course management to lower their scores. As you walk down the fairway of each hole, the device will zoom in automatically and look towards the green for your next shot.
The SX500 will give you the yardage based on where you have the cursor, but it will also highlight other key yardages for you.
For example if you are playing into a dogleg, it will give you the yardage to the cursor but the run off areas will also be highlighted with a little yardage displaying above the highlights dots. Really cool I must say.
Best Green View Available
I mentioned above how the guys at SkyGolf actually walk every course. Because of this they without a doubt have the best green views available in on any golf GPS devices, be it handheld or wearables.
With the SX500 (Amazon Affiliate Link) you will be shown an exact view of the green and area surrounding the green. They also walk the greens to make sure the green outline is accurate.
The SX500 will rotate automatically to show you your angle of approach (for example left of right side of the fairway).
The Sx500 will give you the accurate yardage to the pin and also show how far on it is from all side of the green. This feature I think is really cool. This is something none of the best laser rangefinders can do.
On select golf courses, the SkyCaddie SX500 will actually display mounts, tiers, and false fronts. I haven’t seen this on any other handheld golf GPS device yet. This certainly helps with golfers approach shots.
They do say it’s on ‘Select Courses’, so if this feature is make or break for you, it might be worth contacting them and asking maybe to see if your home courses in listed.
No Slope feature
I was amazed that this is not included. It’s not legal for tournament play, but if your paying this much for a device, you would assume it’s a feature included.
The slope is very handy for taking notes on your own course and then bring that info from your practice sessions to competition level.
If you are playing practice rounds for a big competition coming up, it would be great to know this info wouldn’t it. It could be the difference of having a 10 ft putt for birdie or coming up a club short dead on line to the hole.
If you are playing a course for the first time with your buddies that is pretty hilly. You will bet you would want that slope feature when there’s 6 skins riding on this hole and you have a 150 yard approach shot downhill (but how much downhill?).
The SX500 has a very good shot tracking feature. There’s an option on the touchscreen to mark the golf ball.
Select the club you are hitting and it when you mark your next shot, it will show you the distances you hit each club when you reviewing post round.
To be honest, I am not a huge fan of this feature (on any device). Don’t get me wrong, it works great on the device, but it’s a preference for me to be honest. I think it’s far too time consuming.
If you play a lot of golf, you should know your yardages or at least have some idea within reason +/- 10 yards. My yardages also change depending on the shot – draw/fade, high/low, into or against the wind.
If you want to track distances, maybe the Flightscope (Amazon Affiliate Link) could be the right thing to use on the range to dial in your yardages.
Scores & Stats
You will also be able to track key stats to monitor your game and find ways to improve your golf. The SX500 will track fairways hit, GIR, putts, etc. Record your scores during the round and upload them to your SkyGolf account.
I like to monitor my scores and stats. Without even looking at my scores, I will know how I would have done based on my stats. But this might be more beneficial for lower handicap or more serious players.
For me, my driving is do or die. If I drive to ball some way accurately on the day, I shoot well. I used to draw the ball. But my big miss is a huge block to the left (left handed), which can ruin my round. I’m talking 50-70 yards left of the fairway.
However, after noticing this by reviewing my stats and the amount of times I missed left, I worked a lot on my swing path and tried to work with a small fade rather than a draw. It has helped my game tremendously.
Subscription Required After One Year
The Sx500 is shipped with a premium 1 year subscription which is great, but after that you need to start paying up.
Is this fair? Well it depends. I hate paying for subscriptions when I have bought an expensive device. But let’s remember that these guys walk every course to ensure that the information os accurate. So I will leave it up to you.
You can find info on their memberships HERE. There’s different options available depending on what you need.
SkyCaddie Sx500 Pros & Cons
|Excellent Course Maps||Required a paid membership after 1 year|
|Detailed green views and slope/mount identification (Best I've seen)||Battery port isn't great|
|Rugged design for accidental drops||No slope readings|
|Tap yardages and highlighted core surround yardages|
|Brilliant hazard and fairway run off info|
|Shot tracking and statistics|
|Large color screen|
Best Handheld GPS For Golfing
You might be wondering that I only limited my list to 5 devices. Well to be honest I didn’t want to overload you with information and more importantly, I wanted to only offer the best handheld gold GPS devices worth considering.
I hope you like this post and it was helpful to you.
Please note that some of the links on thegolfinglad.com are affiliate links. I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase from one of the websites I recommend. These commissions allow me to purchase and test products that I recommend. I only recommend products I believe in and don’t get paid any money to post about products. Please research each company before making a final purchase and only buy if you really believe the product or service can help you achieve your desired end result.