How To Choose The Best Handheld Golf GPS

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As a golf player of any level, you have one basic requirement: keep your ball from going in the water. The best way to accomplish this is never to go too far away from the green. But what if there are just some parts of the course that you don’t want to walkthrough? A golf distance measuring device like a Golf GPS can help you get around without always having to pull out your mobile device!

Surely there must be an easier and more efficient solution than checking with your smartphone each time for distances.  Read on for more information about handheld golf GPS devices and how they can give you the information you need to get back on par.

There are many reasons why handheld golf GPS devices can help you improve your game. For example, they can tell you how close the pin is, distances to different targets on the course, and more – depending on what kind of watch you get.

It’s ideal if you can figure out which models suit your needs best so that you end up with one that gives you exactly what you need when you need it. 

If you want to go over the basics of what makes a GPS device for golf that much useful, then this article is for you! We’ll be talking about all the basics that you need to know, so sit tight and get ready!

GPS In A Nutshell

Before we start discussing the parts of a handheld golf GPS, it’s best to go over what exactly GPS means. People often confuse GPS with a map of some sort, but they can’t be more wrong. In reality, it stands for Global Positioning System, which is an American navigation system.

The U.S. Department of Defense created this technology so that they could track different devices, including missiles and aircraft.

But it was later brought to the public when Magellan introduced their first GPS device in 1989 for the boating community. Since then, GPS has been used for many things, such as tracking vehicles and different kinds of aerial units such as drones and planes.

Nowadays, we can even have GPS for our phones because of how much easier it is in comparison to manually looking up directions on a map! Many people have GPS devices in their cars as well so that they can find their way around even if they’ve never been to an area before.

The Basics Of A Handheld Golf GPS Device

So what is a handheld golf GPS device? Well, it’s pretty much the same thing as the ones we mentioned earlier, but it’s built to be used on golf courses for avid players who just want to have more information about their surroundings. These devices can help you get around your course easier and also give you more information about your game.

Many people think that a handheld golf GPS device is just like the one you have in your car, but they don’t realize that this type is dedicated to golf alone.

If you want to know how a Golf GPS works, this is the video for you

What Can A Handheld Golf GPS Do For You?

A handheld golf GPS device is like a magic wand that will help you play better and get the most out of your game! It’s always good to be on top of every shot you make to improve with each hole.

So if you’re looking to add more to your game, then this is the best way to do it! Even if you’re just starting out, using a Golf GPS device will add some serious style points to your game! Here are some features that every handheld golf GPS should have:

Tell Distance

Much like other Golf GPS devices, a golf watch should be able to tell you how far ahead or behind certain targets on the course are.


You always have to find out where the pin is, right? This should be one of the most important functions of your handheld golf GPS device because it’s going to help you get there as quickly as possible.

Digital Compasses

If you’re not sure about which direction to hit your ball in, then a compass can be very handy! It will especially come in handy if this is a new course for you that you’ve never played on before.

Layup Points

A good Golf GPS device should have the ability to tell you the layup point so that you can get the extra yardage you need.

AutoShot Tracking

This feature will record your swing and show you how it compares to other pros’ swings! The best handheld Golf GPS devices for golf should be able to keep track of your stats as well so that you know where you need improvement.

Summary of Shots Taken

A golf GPS device will help you see the score of your round and give you information about every shot!

Tips For Picking A Handheld Golf GPS

Budget – What is your budget? What’s available in your price range?

Start by determining your budget, which is usually the most important consideration. You can find handheld golf GPS devices for under $100 or over $1000.

If your budget is under $100, there are good options available on the market. These devices typically have no mapping capabilities, shorter battery life, and don’t come with lifetime course map updates. If you are okay with these limitations, then a budget handheld may be perfect for you.

If your budget is $100 to $200, then you have a choice between a device with lower accuracy and distance technology or a device with high accuracy for greens and shorter distances. You may also consider having both types of devices – the inexpensive model for casual walking and the more expensive model for serious measurements (if you are an avid walker).

If your budget is $200 to $300, you may get better quality distance/accuracy technology and other convenient features such as touch screen displays. 

If your budget is $300+, then you can get a handheld device with everything you could possibly need on the golf course. The only limitation is going to be personal preference; you may choose between features such as touch screen display, touchpad, color screen, distance accuracy technology, tilt-sensing technology, color mapping capabilities, and more.

Features – What features are you looking for? What are features available on different devices?

If your main consideration is the price, then this category probably isn’t that important for you. However, if you are willing to pay a little more for additional features, then there are many to choose from.

For example, some devices have Bluetooth capabilities so that you can wirelessly sync your device to the golf course’s golf GPS network and automatically update information on the course. Other devices have battery-saving technology that allows for displaying only the most important data at any given time and provides faster response times.

Accuracy – How much do you care about the accuracy of yardages to every pin on the course? What’s available in terms of accuracy?

If distance accuracy to all pins doesn’t matter to you, fear not – there are plenty of good options available on the market at affordable prices. If accurate distances to the pin matter greatly, you may consider paying more for a device that will give you better accuracy.

Some inexpensive handheld devices may be accurate to about +/-1 yard off the center of the fairway, while other high-end models are accurate within 1 yard or less. If you have very accurate distance technology in your golf GPS device, you may need to calculate some yardages on the course (such as water hazards or bunkers) using your handheld device and your ball marker.

Although best accuracy requires even more time to download, it provides a Big Picture view of all par fours and par fives for any golf course in the world.

Size – Do you want a handheld golf GPS device that fits into a pocket?

If you don’t like to use your cart or bag, or if you tend to walk around the golf course, then having a small handheld golf GPS device with good battery life is ideal.

Some of the smallest devices only have one-hour battery life, but some can be used for up to 10 hours on one charge. You may also want to consider having two separate handhelds – an inexpensive model for casual walking and a more expensive model with better features if you usually walk throughout the day.

Traveling Golfer – Do you play different courses? What’s available in terms of Bluetooth?

If you are a more frequent golfer or a traveling golfer, having the ability to download course maps to your handheld may save you money. Some devices come with lifetime course map updates (which is great for frequent travelers), while others require you to pay additional fees for updated maps.

If your handheld device has Bluetooth capabilities, you can wirelessly sync your device to the golf course’s golf GPS network and automatically update information on the course. This is especially helpful if you are playing at a new course or one that you have never been to before. With some advanced features, you can even sync your handheld device to a digital scorecard via Bluetooth.

Data & Stats – Do you care about downloading statistics?

You may consider tracking key data such as fairway hits, greens in regulation, and putts per hole, but some golfers aren’t looking for this feature and are content keeping track of their stats on paper.

Battery – How important is battery life to you?

All handhelds have a rechargeable battery, which you must remember to charge before and after each round of golf. If you forget to charge your device, then you are stuck with dead battery life. If you tend to spend more time outdoors on your activities, having a handheld device with longer battery life is ideal.

These are just some basic features that a good handheld golf GPS device should have. And now that you know what to look for, it should be much easier to find the right one for your needs.

Check out this review article on the best handheld golf GPS device based on your needs.

Golf GPS Devices Are Like Maps

Handheld Golf GPS devices are a lot like the old-fashioned paper maps that detail the course. If you like to keep your hands free for other tasks while playing, these devices add an element of convenience but not a whole lot more. That said, they’re just the ticket for those who want to avoid looking down at their phones or spending their game in search of lost balls. Check out our article for the best and top-rated Handheld Golf GPS in the market.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you interested in buying one of these devices? Or, If you’re looking for more information about handheld golf GPS units, then this FAQ section below might come in handy.

What are the key characteristics I should look out for in a great golf GPS device?

A great handheld golf GPS device is one that is easy to use, has a large display, and is of decent quality so that it will not become outdated soon. Suppose you are a serious golfer who wants to have an advantage over the competition. In that case, you should look for a device with excellent features such as highly accurate data and course maps of virtually every golfing course in the world. You should also speak to other golfers about their experiences with different devices.

What are some additional features that I may want to consider?

Some handheld golf GPS devices can help you improve your game by tracking how far you hit each club per round, as well as giving tips on how to improve your game. Other devices will even help you plan your practice schedule.

What are some of the benefits of getting a quality handheld golf GPS device?

Handheld Golf GPS devices offer a lot of convenience for those who love to play golf all over the world. These devices do more than tell you how far away the next hole is; they also point out sand traps, hazards, and even water hazards on the course. You can even calculate your handicap on your own and try to improve it over time.

Most of these devices have global coverage, so you don’t have to worry about them not working in other parts of the world.

What are some of the drawbacks of handheld Golf GPS devices?

The two biggest disadvantages of these devices are that they can be quite pricey and/or have short battery life. The bottom line is that a handheld GPS device is an excellent way to improve your game or just have fun on the course every time you play.

But if you’re willing to spend a bit of money for one, I would advise looking for one with an easy-to-use interface, great accuracy, and wide coverage.

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