The best of the best! We roundup the best golf GPS's for 2023

There are currently so many different types of golf GPS’s available on the market. From golf watches to smaller units which can be attached to your golf bag. Alongside this, there is then the struggle of narrowing down which brand you should go for.

No matter if you’re a beginner or an elite golfer, a golf GPS is a very handy piece of kit and so our testers have walked many fairways with many different devices to see which are actually worth taking out onto the course.

Best Golf GPS’s 2023

SkyCaddie SX550 GPS review

4.5 star review
SkyCaddie SX550 review

Reviewed by Dan Murphy

I should start by declaring that I know and respect SkyCaddie’s handheld GPSs and have done for several years. I am looking for more than just a number to the centre of the green so I love the visuals and the large screen on the SX550. It’s really easy to work out, for example, how far away a certain hazard is or what the carry is to clear it. The touchscreen is intuitive and behaves in much the same way as a smartphone.

I’ve already played several rounds with my SX550. Because I like to have a full picture, I also carry a Bushnell laser. The two devices work perfectly together for me. They allow me to triangulate information. I don’t see one as being better than the other – I see them as being complementary. I suspect I use my SkyCaddie more often per round than I do my laser. That’s down to gradually gaining trust in its numbers couple up with the ever-growing awareness that the middle of the green is plenty good enough for me in many more situations than it is not.

The bread and butter of a GPS is that distance to the middle of the green and whether you need a 7-iron or an 8-iron. However, I very often get my SkyCaddie SX550 out on the tee, especially when playing a course I am not overly familiar with. It really helps to know that a fairway runs out at a certain distance on a certain line, or that a visible hazard is actually not in play.

On a full charge, I reckon I could get two days of full play from this device, which is great.

When you arrive for your round, power on the SX550 and give it a minute to work out where it is. A couple of verifying taps through various menus and you are ready to go with the 1st hole shown. Thereafter, you shouldn’t need to touch it again all round if you don’t want to. It automatically updates to the hole you are playing.


  • Numbers that you can trust – and the ability to calculate lay-up distances and run-outs
  • Brilliantly clear, at-a-glance visuals from the big screen
  • The battery lasts for at least two rounds per charge and in practice much more


  • An annual subscription is required to access all the features


More info: SkyCaddie Website

GolfBuddy Aim W12 GPS watch

4 star review

Reviewed by Jonathan Taylor

Out of the box this round faced watch looked pretty appealing. I liked the all black appearance. The size of the face (45mm) looks large enough but not too large. There is a premium leather strap which was very comfortable to wear. It felt pretty lightweight as well – it’s 51 gms to be precise. I was pleased to see just one button to press on the right side.

I don’t know about you but I’m not a great one for reading instruction manuals and I can happily report that this watch was mostly a doddle to work out. There’s the usual Front/Middle/Back distances, adjusted for slope, if you aren’t playing in a competition. A touch IP feature allows you to tap on the map of the hole to determine lay up distances. On each tee you get a 2D flyover over the hole you’re about to play. There is a green undulation feature (not available on all courses) which is intended to aid your approach play. The list goes on. So how did perform on the course?

The picture above shows an example of the graphic that greets you on each tee. This watch has over 40,000 courses preloaded onto it which sounds plenty. It certainly had no difficulty recognising the four courses we played up in the glorious Scottish Highlands. The GPS satellite can take a few minutes to identify where you are. This may be an issue if you’re the type to screech into the car park and rush onto the first tee. But front, middle and back yardages are probably irrelevant as you try to find your game over the first few holes.

Out on the course, the aim W12 recognises when you have reached the green. It would often ask if you had finished the hole when near the green. If you ignore the question it will automatically progress onto the next hole when you’re on the next tee. This is a really useful feature if you’re using the watch purely for distance. You can set things up on the first tee and just let it run through the round.

Although I don’t think this will replace my standard wristwatch, the aim W12 was comfortable to wear and not too bulky. I could see myself wearing it on, for example, a golfing holiday and leaving my standard watch at home. And I do think I’ll still be packing my trusty laser – it’s part of my pre-shot routine after all!


  • Accurate measurements.
  • Slope function.
  • Easy to use.
  • Green undulation feature (not all courses).


  • Hazard distances not helpful.
  • Quite pricey.


More information: GolfBuddy Website

SkyCaddie LX5 GPS watch

4 star review

Reviewed by Jonathan Taylor

Out of the box, this watch looked big and bold. You mighty say it looked a little brash. I liked the large and bright screen. The rubber strap didn’t have a particularly premium feel but was comfortable and easily adjustable. Although I felt that the watch looked just a little large for my slender wrist, it felt ok. Considering the amount of features contained in the package (essentially the same as in the SkyCaddie SX550 GPS handheld) I think this is a pretty impressive feat of engineering. It weighs in at a reasonably lightweight 65 gms.

There are two buttons to the right of the watch. The first is just an on/off button , and the second accesses all the features and settings. Now I have to say that this watch took a bit of learning and was not as simple/intuitive as others I have tested. I did find myself referring to the instruction manual in the early days of testing. But perseverance is rewarded because this piece of kit is jam-packed full of features and detail. As well as the standard Front/Middle/Back distances , there is a so-called dynamic holevue system that gives detailed preview of the hole with suggested drive placement. This comes with a small adjustable (touchscreen) target to enable you to plan lay up distances, and then green distances. The graphics are really good but the touchscreen can be a bit fiddly to operate accurately.

The picture above shows an example of the graphic that greets you on each tee. This watch has over 35,000 courses preloaded onto it. All courses are hand mapped out by experienced technicians which ensures that you get unrivalled accuracy from SkyCaddie kit. The GPS satellite can take a few minutes to identify where you are. This may be an issue if you’re the type to head straight from the car park to the first tee. But front, middle and back yardages are probably irrelevant as you try to find your game over the first few holes.

Although the graphics are absolutely first-class, the touchscreen did not always respond, and occasionally required a few taps to wake it up. There’s also an auto-dim function, presumably to protect battery life. One of the competitor watches has a motion function which automatically brightens the screen when you turn your hand to look at the screen. That would be a useful feature.

Regarding battery life, I’m not convinced this would be good for 36 holes, admittedly a rarity these days, but that might be a relevant consideration for some.


  • Accurate measurements.
  • Large and clear screen.
  • Useful hazard warning screen.
  • Timer and fitness features.


  • Tricky to get best out of hole maps.


More info: SkyCaddie Website

Bushnell Phantom 2 Slope

4.5 star review

Reviewed by Nicola Slater

The Phantom 2 Slope is as per the name the slope edition of the Phantom 2. This handheld GPS device can easily fit in the palm of your hand which is incredible for something with so much technology. It comes with 38,000 pre-loaded courses!

Unlike some GPS devices, this one isn’t touchscreen. There are four buttons overall that control the Phantom and once you figure out what does what, which didn’t take too long you’re good to go. For me I didn’t think the graphics on the Phantom were great but it was clear enough to read.

Getting to the course and setting the Phantom up was quick and easy. I didn’t really have to wait for it to load which is great for those get out of the car and go golfers. When you get out on the course the main screen displays the par, hole number, and in the top right corner, your score. The middle left button can be pressed to display the hazards as well as the time and the pin position option. Unlike some devices, there isn’t a visual display of the hole, just a list stating the hazard and its distance.

Out on the course, the numbers were basically identical between both my laser and the Phantom. The Phantom was so quick and easy, considering I didn’t even have to touch it when I got to my shot unless I wanted to check a hazard distance or alter the pin position. If you just wanted the front, middle, and back distances, the automatic hole progression means you wouldn’t have to touch it at all.


  • Very small
  • Records your stats
  • Loads up quick
  • Slope mode is handy


  • Not touchscreen


More information: Bushnell website

SkyCaddie LX2 GPS Golf Watch

4 star review

Reviewed by Nicola Slater

Design-wise I thought it was very handy that there were two strap loops to feed to strap through. With only having a small wrist and the watch coming with only one length strip, there was a fair bit of the strap lose. The extra loop was great for keeping this secure and stopping it from possible interference.  

The 1.28 inch JDI colour touchscreen display uses sunlight readability, meaning that the display is much more visible when outdoors. This works great when using outside but made setting it up inside a little tricky.

The LX2 was a little slow off the mark when it came to loading up courses. For reference, I tried this watch at 3 different courses to see if it was the GPS signal that determined the speed. Whilst the wait for the courses to load up didn’t bother me as I went to warm up before my rounds, if you’re someone who walks from the car park to the first tee, this may be slightly more problematic.

The watches main golf display shows distances to the front, middle, and back of each green. These can be altered between yards and meters, depending on your preferred choice. The bottom panel of the screen displays the hole number, the par and the stroke index. By pressing this panel, you can then see the battery life as well as how many steps you have completed and the elapsed time of the round.

Out on the course, the LX2 would recognise when you had made it to a green. It would often ask if you had finished the hole when near the green however, if you left this notification it would automatically progress onto the next hole once on the next tee. This is a great feature if you’re using the watch purely for distance, it can be set up in the car park and not touched again until the end of the round.

Aesthetically, the Sky Caddie LX2 matches the designs of many smartwatches. As previously mentioned, it goes beyond the features of a stand-alone golf watch and has a range of different features such as alarm and step count to make it a great fitness/golf watch hybrid…especially for the price.


  • Battery last for 2 rounds
  • No annual fees with GOPLAY
  • Auto-hole advancing
  • Tracks your steps


  • Slow at finding courses


More info: SkyCaddie Website

Shot Scope Pro LX+

4.5 star review
Shot Scope Academy

Reviewed by Hannah Holden

Wow! I love this concept. I always use the combination of a GPS and laser in competitions to help with shot selection and having them both together on one device would make this so much easier.

If you want GPS, the Shot Scope H4 Handheld can give you everything you need. The small compact sizing is excellent, and it is so handy to clip it on your belt and have all the numbers at your fingertips. As well as giving you distances to the greens and hazards I really like the new feature which tells you how far you need to hit your tee shot to lay up to certain key distances from the green. On tricky tee shots like dog legs, it can make it much quicker and easier to pick the right club.

The Shot Scope H4 Handheld combines GPS and performance-tracking technology.

The GPS provides distances to the front, middle and back of greens as well as front and carry distances for every hazard.

It comes with more than 36,000 pre-loaded golf courses so you are ready to go wherever you’re playing.


  • 2 in 1 product doesn’t add extra weight to your bag
  • Has slope technology
  • Performance tracking capabilities


  • Expensive if you don’t want all features


More info: Shot Scope website

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Nicola Slater

Nicola recently graduated from Stirling University where she studied Sports Studies, she wrote her dissertation on barriers to participation for women in golf. Nicola plays her golf at Hickleton and Woodsome Hall Golf clubs, she currently plays off +3. She plays for Yorkshire Ladies and has represented England at junior and senior level.

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