What is the Best Golf GPS System on the Market?
SkyCaddie, Sureshot, IGolf, Golf Guru, Golf Buddy or Golflogix?
So what is the best Golf GPS system in the market? Well from having done extensive research into just about every golf GPS available, including all the major brands, SkyCaddie, Sureshot, IGolf, Golf Guru, Golf Buddy and Golflogix. The question you should really be asking is, 'What is the best golf GPS for me?' With ranging prices, features, benefits and a constantly changing market with our technology advancing like a speeding rabbit, its hard to rememeber the reasons we intended to buy a GPS for.
So I’m here to tell you the best golf GPS system is actually the one that best fits you, you needs and your desires.
Therefore the best way to find the most appropriate golf GPS system for you is to find out exactly what you want it to do and identify any specific requirements you may wish it to have.
Moreover, why do we even want a golf GPS unit? The initial reasoning behind the invention of golf GPS unit was to give the golfer accurate distance readings from any position on the golf course to any position they desired so they wouldn’t have to painstakingly judge the distance or walk it. Thus the GPS system would increase the speed of the game, eliminate the boring bits and help you make better club choices and ultimately lower your handicap. Hoorah for golfers! Over the years, this basic fundamental reason has not changed except for manufacturers developing a few expensive bells and whistles to distinguish themselves from the competition.
Consequently, the basic features we need in a golf GPS device is:
• Needs to accurately tell us the distance to the front, centre and back of the green and other hazards.
• Have the “Shot Distance” feature to allow you to know how far you hit with each of your clubs, to determine the best club to use in every situation.
• Be easy, quick and convenient to use.
And that’s more or less the basis on what you need in a golf GPS unit.
Now in today’s models, there is a great array of features available to golfer. Here a few:
• Plotting individual points not previously mapped.
• Recording personal statistics such as fairways and greens in regulation, putts per round etc. for later analysis.
• Colour screens.
• Shot distance feature which tells you exactly how far you hit each club in your bag. (as above)
• Incredibly clear graphics. One model even offers a video flyover view – it’s like sitting in a helicopter and flying over the hole.
• Number of courses that can be stored on the unit itself. This ranges from 5 to an incredible 20,000.
• Digital scorecards holding a multiple number of player's scores in each round.
• Sophisticated software to show the exact outline of the green. In some cases you can even "move" the pin on the green to give and even closer reading than the standard 'front, centre or back' of green readings.
• All kinds of wacky features to keep you amused for 15 minutes.
Furthermore before jumping in the deep end, the next thing to do is to consider your budget.
The following are a few things to consider:
• Annual Fee's : Some companies offer an annual fee which entitles you to certain benefits. Some don't have an annual plan at all and others are compulsory.
• What is it power source and how long will a full charge last? This can vary quite a lot from model to model. It is important to know you won't run out of power before completing your round.
• Where can the GPS be used? Just about all of them can be used anywhere in the world whilst there are one or two that cater only for the North American market.
• How easy is the GPS to use? Simple, easy, straightforward or just too damn confusing? If it look like some gameboy of the future with more than enough buttons and cables to keep you busy for a month, be wary. Try focusing on more basic layouts with user friendly operations. They tend to be a lot easier to use and are more suited for the non-technological savvy user.
• How large is the course library from which to download courses? Most are pretty extensive and all companies are happy to plot courses on request. As such these libraries are growing daily.
• Customer service. This is an important issue and one that should not be overlooked. In a highly competitive market if the company is not looking after you when you need assistance it may be time to change.
• The price of dedicated golf GPS models range from $149.95 up to $850.00. However some software is available for use on your mobile phone. This is sometimes free or a lot cheaper.
• The accuracy of the given distances. This is determined by the method of mapping and by the number of satellites that the unit can access. However most models are accurate enough for the average golfer.
Now you can start to see how the best golf GPS for someone else, isn’t necessarily the best one for you and your individual circumstances.
The problem is, new models are coming out regularly and existing models are undergoing consistent updates and improvements quicker than we can play a round of golf. My point is, with today’s top models most likely being obsolete in 6 months time, is it really worth spending a small fortune to have the very latest and greatest? The answer maybe yes for some, but those who see the greener grass on the other side will get the device with the most bang for their buck, and then wait the six months if the bells and whistles are really worth it.
When asked what is the best golf GPS on the market, I always tell people to start with a budget. It is far easier to narrow the field of the devices your comparing with price range first and then their features. Comparing apples and apples has always easier than apples and oranges.
The next thing to do once you have decided your budget is to decide on the features you’re looking for. We have already discussed some of the “must haves” earlier, without these you’re wasting your money. Categorise the features into “must haves”, “would be nice but not essential” and “under no circumstances”. For example, a “must have” would be the shot distance feature, a colour screen “would be nice but not essential” and a compulsory annual fee would be “under no circumstances”. A good tip to remember, some colour screens are not as easy to see in full sun and are a heavy drain on the batteries. Black and white screens can provide more contrast and tend to stand out easily out on the course. Colour screens may look great indoors, but out on the course they may do you a dis-service.
P.S. Buying any golf GPS that has compulsory annual fees such as Sky Caddie is not a wise decision. What’s more unlike other systems, any maps downloaded will be disabled if you refuse to pay their annual fee, rendering the device useless. Think twice before spending half a grand on a dust collector.
Although if I had to choose a golf GPS that would satisfy most golfers I would have to pick the iGolf Neo GPS from iGolf. I have chosen this device on the basis that it does the essentials very well comparing to the top end models and at quarter the price.
To name a few reasons why I chose the iGolf Neo GPS:
• Sky Caddie is a well renowned golf GPS brand for its accuracy, however it comes with a big price tag and a bigger compulsory annual fee. The iGolf Neo GPS has been reported by many golfers around the world that their accuracy is comparable; thankfully their price tag is not.
• The iGolf Neo GPS has most of the features the top end models have.
• No compulsory annual fee. Furthermore, if you decide not to continue your annual subscription you get to keep all your maps!
• It’s a small and convenient device to use that fits nicely on your belt or in your pocket. Devices such as laser rangefinders and others are quite cumbersome.
• Less than Half Price to Sky Caddie’s $400-550 and likewise with Sureshot’s $400. Yet has their best features.
• iGolf has the largest golf course map selection in the world.
• The iGolf Neo GPS Holds up to 10 golf courses. A recent survey found most golfers reported that they wanted their golf GPS to hold more than 5 golf course maps. Most devices, including Sky Caddie can only hold anywhere from 0-10. iGolf has this one in the bag.
• Able to input up to 4 custom points on each hole. Many users and I felt that Sky caddie wasn't quite adequate supporting up to 3 user defined points.
To find out more about golf GPS devices, the iGolf Neo GPS or other golfing articles please check out my other guides and my listings.
Thank you for reading and if you found guide helpful or interesting please click yes below so I will know if you would like to know more.