What is Better a Golf GPS Watch a Golf GPS Handheld or a Golf Laser Rangefinder?

What is Better a Golf GPS Watch a Golf GPS Handheld or a Golf Laser Rangefinder?

So you are thinking of buying a new GPS watch, GPS handheld or a laser rangefinder?

 Well you have come to the right place with this buyers guide. on what is better a Golf GPS watch a Golf GPS Handheld, or a Golf Laser Rangefinder.  If like me you have spent hours looking and comparing different devices but are still unsure then we will hopefully break it down to what is right for you. 

You could just do what I did and buy one of each!

The current technology available in the tables, and the individual reviews below have changed the way amateur and professional golfers understand yardages.  

Back in the day we could only look at the 200, 150 or the 100 yard marker and estimate the distance.  

Constantly I didn’t take into account if the markers were correct, also the size of the green. Visiting other courses I would not know if the markers were to the front or even the middle of the greens, so again I would be estimating.  

If after reading the article you are still unsure, you could always buy an Electric Trolley with a GPS fitted. Please read our review of the PowaKaddy CT6.

Well now we have no excuse, distance measuring devices come in various semblances ranging from stylish cross over GPS watches (that also look great down the pub, and have features which crossover sports like running, cycling and swimming), to others that are compact and can clip to your hat or be more akin to an Apple IPhone in size.  

Then we have Laser Rangefinders, at a variety of price points, features and brands.

There are many deciding factors when choosing a laser rangefinder, a GPS handheld or a GPS watch. 

If you just want a cheap GPS then read our article here

Table of Contents

The basic differences of a watch over the other two types of device is the simplicity and the use of the watch is much more convenient. With a quick glance at your watch, you know the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green.

This investment is one to get right, as the cost can be very expensive.  

The benefits of having a GPS device like a GPS Watch, Laser Rangefinder or GPS Handheld is receiving accurate distances to all areas of the golf hole.  

Which once you know the correct distances, it should make committing to your shot easier and with more confidence.

So what should you consider when deciding on a Golf GPS watch, a golf GPS device or a Golf GPS range finder?

The GPS watch in my opinion is by far the easiest to use on the golf course, if you are happy wearing a watch.  

You only need to look at your wrist and you receive instant information to various hazards, layup spots or the green.

If you play a lot of courses with blind shots, or golf holes incorporating doglegs then a watch or GPS Handheld could be advantageous over a laser Rangefinder.

While a GPS handheld device has the functionality of a GPS watch. The much larger screen in some instances, can give you greater detail, and easier to view. GPS Golf range finders will give you more accuracy and pick out flags with precision, some models provide slope readings, which is great to understand how degrees of slope can affect distances.

Another great feature of rangefinder is the longevity of the battery, while Golf GPS devices require regular charging the GPS rangefinder may last three to nine months.

Below are some of our favourite Golf GPS watches, Golf GPS devices and Golf Laser Rangefinders, so this is where eatsleepgolfrepeat.co.uk can help to assist in which of these devices is right for you.  

Golf GPS Watches

The Golf GPS Watches now come with so many features it is mind boggling, it is difficult to make a choice with so much variety.

These features include where all hazards are on the golf hole,  to dog-legs on golf holes, and various other features and benefits.

With functionality to pair with your smart phone and receive calls, text messages and even have the ability to pay for items at the half way house.  Please see below a lift of our favourite Golf GPS watches.

Style & Look Screen Size " Battery Hr Colour Screen Courses Rating
Garmin Approach S62 1.3 20 Yes 41,000 5 Star
Golf Buddy Aim W10 1.3 10 Yes 40,000 3 Star
Bushnell Excel 1 14 Yes 36,000 3 Star
Shot Scope V2 1 7 No 40,000 4 Star
Garmin Approach S60 1.2 10 Yes 40,000 5 Star
Garmin Approach S40 1.2 15 Yes 41,000 4 Star

Garmin Approach S62

Who is Garmin?

Garmin are a market leader in various fields and manufacture quality navigation products from 65 offices worldwide, everything Garmin manufactures is in house and they pride themselves on quality, design, best value and innovation. 

The Garmin Approach S62 is a premium GPS golf watch, which has tons of features,  and the reassured Garmin quality. The clarity of screen, and the contrast of colours is very good. 

The watch has quite a large display. I have the older model, the Garmin Approach S6 and as much as I have liked the watch, the display size was quite small, where the new Garmin Approach S62 has a much larger display which makes it much easier to use on the golf course. 

You can also change the strap for other occasions. The battery life on this model is seriously improved on the Garmin Approach S62, with 20 hours of golf use. 

The main new feature of the Garmin Approach S62 is the revolutionary virtual caddie, which can analyze wind speed, your past swings and the course layout.

It will then offer you a club selection.

How it works.

The virtual caddie will analyze your game after five rounds of golf, and understand how far you hit your golf clubs,  then the virtual caddie will give you options, and will select your club for that hole.

The caddie will give further information like wind speed and direction.

Garmin pay is also included on this watch, so you have the ability to pay contactless for items with just your watch. 

Golf Buddy Aim W10

Who is Golf Buddy?

Golf Buddy is an American based manufacturer based in Santa Fe Springs, California, they started in 2003 and now manufacture multiple devices for the Golf GPS and Laser rangefinder market.

Golf Buddy Aim W10 watch is a nice looking golf GPS Watch, if not a bit bulky, again with many features such as bunkers and water hazards in play. 

,You can move the pin to show placement on the green. The Golf Buddy Aim W10 has Bluetooth which can pair with your phone, to give notifications from your phone. 

The watch is a middle of the range golf GPS watch, at a decent price, it has a large screen and a lot of features.  The screen is clear but doesn’t feel as solid as some of the more premium golf GPS watches on the market. 

When you swipe right on the screen you get to see the hole information like hazards, bunkers and incorporates a zoom feature. This is a good all round GPS watch, at an attractive price point.

A couple of negatives of the watch is you cannot download your scores off the watch, the strap is good quality but you would struggle fitting it on a small wrist.

Who is Bushnell Golf?

Bushnell is the leader in high-performance sports optics and has been in this field for 65 years, they are high quality. Bushnell golf has great innovation and develops great Golf GPS devices, and laser rangers. Great watch for the price, has all the basic golf yardages to the front, middle and back of the green. 

This watch has Bluetooth capabilities to receive messages from your phone.
The Bushnell Excel 2019 is a very clean looking watch, and simple to use. 

It has a featured hole by hole detailed information for up to ten different courses.   

The Excel has a shot distance function so you can check your gapping for your yardages. The watch is quite smart to look at, the display not as clear as some of the others on the market, and sometimes can be quite difficult to see and read in sun light. 

Other points to note,  it does come with an app and you can use it to watch fly overs of each golf hole. 

Very accurate, a good option if you just want an entry level GPS watch. 

Who is Shot scope?

Scotland based company which was founded in 2014 based in Edinburgh. Shot scope had an aim and that was to improve how golfers both professional and amateur analysed data and statistics.

The Shot Scope V2 is a new released watch, from the successful previous V1.

The Shot Scope is still a GPS watch but the main feature is the shot tracking system, so you can monitor your golf and your statistics. 

First off the watch aesthetics are in my opinion not as pleasant on the wrist as other watches on the market, and I found it a little ugly.
The GPS side of the watch has the usual yardage basic functions for accurate front middle or back yardages
On opening the box it does seem a little daunting and quite a lot of written instructions, however if written instructions is not your thing then they have self-help videos, which are easy to follow.

The tracking feature of the watch is for golfers who are demanding  improvements in their game.  As the more rounds you use the Shot Scope V2 the better the return on data.

The data this device gives is first rate. You have the ability to review your round hole by hole and shot by shot if required.
Personally I feel it takes a little bit of getting used to it and the routine, having the grip tags fitted to your clubs and tapping your watch after each shot. Once you get used to this it becomes second nature.

The Shot Scope V2 is really designed for the better player, who is trying to understand their common misses.  This could be invaluable for your game, and at this price seems a steal. The Shot Scope V2 is definitely worth checking out.

Who is Garmin?

Garmin are a market leader in various fields, and manufacture quality navigation products from 65 offices worldwide, everything Garmin manufactures is in house and they pride themselves on quality, design, best value and innovation. 

Garmin excels with lots of features, there are more features on the approach range than I would know what to do with. 

They are also a great crossover watch,  you can have all the fitness features as well, including runs, steps, bike and swimming.

The Garmin Approach S60 has over 40,000 courses already loaded, the screen is clear, easy to read in sunlight.  The touchscreen is fully zoom capable, movable pins etc. 

The Garmin Approach S60, is a great looking watch, I love the styling and the design. 

A nice touch to this watch is the pin pointer, so if you are in a blind spot on the course and  unsure of the flag position, the S60 will give you a visible pin direction. 

The Garmin Approach S60 has clear visuals, and decent layup markers which are easy to see and understand from a glance. This watch also has a nice shot tracker which is on the main screen which is quite a nice touch.

Great watch, I really like it and it is definitely worth checking out.

Who is Garmin?

Garmin are a market leader in various fields and manufacture quality navigation products from 65 offices worldwide, everything Garmin manufactures is in house and they pride themselves on quality, design, best value and innovation. 

The Garmin Approach S40 is at a completely different price point to the S60 and the S62. 

It is not as nice to look at as its big brothers, and also has styling options like strap swap.

The Garmin Approach S40 still has fantastic features like hazard distances and lay up statistics all on the one screen.

It also indicates the Autoshot game tracking feature so you can see by a glance how far you hit your last shot, and can record how far you hit each club.

The watch is preloaded with 41,000 courses like the latest S62, it also has the fitness tracker installed.


The Garmin Approach S40 is extremely clear to look at and the hazard details are clear and easy to read.
The watch is a really solid golf GPS watch, and  if you only want a golf GPS, then this one is worth looking at.

Golf Laser Rangefinders

On any golf course I play on these days, you see plenty of golfers using these Laser Rangefinders, from my personal experience they are normally  used by the better player.

The golfer that normally wants a Laser Rangefinder is requiring more precision and accurate distances to the pin.


Please see below a lift of our favourites at Eat Sleep Golf Repeat

Style & Look Range YD Slope Waterproof Case Magnification Rating
Bushnell V5 1300 No Splash Hard 6 x 20 5 Star
Bushnell V4 Tour Shift 1000 Yes Splash Hard 5 x 20 5 Star
Golf Buddy Laser 1 880 No Splash Hard 6 x 20 4 Star
Bushnell Pro XE 1300 Yes Yes Hard 7 x 20 4 Star
EasyGreen 1300 1300 Yes Yes Hard 6 x 20 5 Star

Bushnell V5 Laser RangeFinder

The Bushnell V5 is the latest model. Like the past Bushnell Laser RangeFinder they really know how to make these devices innovative and Great quality, read the Bushnell V4 Review below.  These are the added features on top.

Features

• Quality unit
• Nice and compact
• Hard Case
• 6 X lens magnification
• Maximum range of 1300 yards
• JOLT technology with Pinseeker
• BITE Technology (7lbs Pull Strength)

The New Bushnell V5 has the new additional features. 

The main development is the BITE Technology, now incorporated into the V5. Meaning you can attach the Rangefinder to anything metal, for instance your golf cart.  You can have confidence it will stay attached with 7lbs of magnetic pull strength. 

Another great feature is the JOLT Technology which has been developed further. Now the JOLT incorporates the new visual JOLT PinSeeker, which is a visual red ring that lights up when you have correctly targeted the flag.

Who is Bushnell Golf?

Bushnell is the leader in high-performance sports optics and has been in this field for 65 years, they are high quality. Bushnell golf has great innovation and develops great Golf GPS devices and laser rangers.

Features 

• Very Compact
• Excellent Quality
• Bushnell Hard case, very solid and great quality
• 5 X lens magnification
• Maximum range of 1000 yards, trees at 700 yards and pins at 400 yards

Bushnell are in my opinion the standard producer of Laser Rangefinders.

In the past I have personally used Bushnell for many years. The Bushnell Tour V4 Shift is a fantastic piece of kit, feels great in the hand. 

It incorporates an LCD display. The Tour V4 Shift has a clever top press button which helps toggle through various options on the LCD lens. 

The Bushnell Tour V4 Shift has slope functionality and is activated by moving the logo on the side which I really like. 

It is very easy to zoom in on target and focus with a top slider. When I used this it was easy to do this with just the one hand. 

The Bushnell Tour V4 Shift is really easy to operate and I found it could hit pins with ease and had a very satisfying pin seeker jolt to confirm you had indeed hit the pin.  

The slope functionality is great, I have used the slope on my previous Laser Rangefinder for many years and even though is it not allowed in competition play, when you use it in practice rounds or general social golf, it really helps  you understand how hill and slope effect the golf ball.

The Slope functionality is great, helping explain how the degree of slope in both directions will add or subtract from your distances. I found the Bushnell Tour V4 Shift to be excellent and quick at giving the readings with that reassuring jolt.

Golf Buddy Laser 1

Who is Golf Buddy?

Golf Buddy is an American based manufacturer based in Santa Fe Springs, California, they started in 2003 and now manufacture multiple devices for the Golf GPS and Laser rangefinder market.

Features

Quality unit
• Nice and compact
• Hard Case
• 6 X lens magnification
• Maximum range of 650 yards

The Golf Buddy laser 1 arrived in a very sturdy packaging box , the Golf Buddy Laser 1 comes with a sturdy hard case with elastic strap which is very similar to the Bushnell type hard cover. 

When holding the device it feels solid to the touch and has nice rubber grips, the Golf Buddy laser 1 is compact in the palm, and seems from first impressions a nice laser rangefinder. 

The battery compartment is below the view finder, and an easy screw in type.

 
On using the Golf Buddy laser 1, it has a lock on feature with vibration to the pinsI found the device accurate when using and nice and simple to use.

Worth Checking Out.

Who is Bushnell Golf?

Bushnell is the leader in high-performance sports optics and has been in this field for 65 years, they are of the highest quality.

Bushnell golf has great innovation and develops solid Golf GPS devices and laser rangers.

Well when Bushnell state “The best golf laser rangefinder we’ve ever made PERIOD.” You need to sit up and take notice.

The price tag on this Rangfinder is hefty, but you know from the off that they mean business with this one. 

So what is different with the Bushnell Pro XE to justify the price tag?

Well the device has a new innovative function and that is what the E stands for in Pro XE. The “E” is for Elements which can check the current elements. The processor will adapt and adjust the distances to the green .

Bushnell are stating they give the most accurate distances to the green.  Which have been compensated for not only by the Slope readings but also through checking the barometric pressure.

The Bushnell Pro XE has the proven jolt technology which gives you the reassuring buzz when you hit the pin.  Now the Bushnell Pro XE will give you a visual indicator in the lens of an expanding and contracting red ring.

For those golfers that like to use golf buggy’s the Bushnell Pro XE incorporates BITE technology so you can mount the XE on the side with 7lbs of pull strength. 


So the Bushnell Pro XE is quality, Bushnell rarely fails to produce great laser rangefinders but this one if in a different league to anything on the market. 

The magnification is off the chart and so clear when using the device.


So not really anything to complain about with this device, worth considering if you are serious about your game, and want to spend top end money on a Laser Rangefinder. It may seem a lot but really you are using it on every shot except.  Definitely worth checking out!

The Easygreen 1300 is a laser rangefinder that is a great option for all golfers. 

The Easygreen has so many of the features that you would associate with a Bushnell product, but at a massively reduced price point.

The case is plain but nice, solid feel and I like the black colour. 

This RangeFinder has Slope technology so can be used in practice play. Other features this RangeFinder has:

  • Lock on flag technology
  • Pin tracker to 400 yards
  • Vibration Feedback
  • IPX4 Waterproof

This Easygreen 1300 is a nice bit of kit, you would think the price point should be higher.
Great features – this unit defiantly makes the shortlist.

Golf GPS Handheld Rangefinders

Golf GPS handhelds have emerged on the market because the golfer in 2020 demands more data and detail, and a device that is easy to see. 

No longer will a 150 yardage marker do, we want to know hazard locations, green dimensions, layup yardages and a multitude of other features. So who would benefit from a GPS Handheld Rangefinder? 

Well any golfer that is serious about golf, and demand accurate data. These devices are easier to read over a GPS Golf watch. Golfers who need glasses will benefit with a GPS Handheld. The GPS handheld devices are easier to use with your fingers than a watch as the size of the screens is much larger. 

On the opposite side some Golfers may find the size of the GPS handheld much more bulky and difficult to use than a watch, so it really is personal preference.  

If you use electric trolleys, we would recommend also purchasing the holder if the one you are thinking about does not have one included.

Have a look at our favourites below and see what you think.

Style & Look Screen Size" Battery hr Waterproof Courses Yearly Plan Rating
SkyCaddie SX400 4 12-14 Yes 35,000 Yes 4 Star
Garmin Approach G80 3.5 15 Yes 41,000 No 5 Star
SkyCaddie SX500 5 12-14 Yes 35,000 Yes 4 Star
Garmin Approach G10 1.3 15 Yes 40,000 No 4 Star
Bushnell Neo Ghost 1.3 15 Yes 38,000 No 3 Star

SkyCaddie SX400

Who is SkyCaddie?

SkyCaddie or Skyhawke Technologies is a UK based company who specialise in the development of GPS devices for use on a golf course.

Their aim is to provide reliable information to mirror what a PGA Tour Caddie could provide.

The SkyCaddie SX400 has the patented Intelligreen technology, this Technology  has been mapped by people.  These mappers visit each hole and measure with backpack GPS units.

The SkyCaddie SX400 has a 4” screen which is really nice and clear to use.  It really comes into its own when faced with a  blind golf shot.

SkyCaddie SX400 is reassuring and the confidence from checking the screen that all distances are correct.

The touch screen is responsive with full HD graphics.

The screen is easy to navigate by touch, and the marker is easy to move around the screen.

The SkyCaddie SX400 does give you the certainty to commit to your golf shot.
The unit is water resistant and more compact over the larger SX500.  The device has over 35,000 preloaded courses.

One aspect of the SkyCaddie that I do not like is the yearly subscription charges.

Who is Garmin?

Garmin are a market leader in various fields and manufacture quality navigation products from 65 offices worldwide, everything Garmin manufactures is in house and they pride themselves on quality, design, best value and innovation.

So the Garmin Approach G80 is not just your typical GPS golf device. 

It is the Swiss army knife of Golf GPS Handhelds.

The G80 has all the normal features you would expect of a GPS device.

Then the G80 is a tempo trainer and a warm up tool.  Most people would be happy with  those features.  The G80 has the added features of playing a virtual round with the integral launch monitor!

 

The screen on the G80 is bright and clear. The screen is slick to move the cursor around and is easy to locate the bunkers and hazards on each golf hole.

So let’s check out the launch monitor features.

The virtual golf aspect of the unit, the Garmin Approach G80 has some nice features.

First of all you position the unit on the floor, and sit it on a golf ball.

The screen then will measures the carry distance, club head speed, ball speed, smash factor and finally the tempo.

When this has been tested against GC quad and Sky Track the Garmin Approach G8 is within the plus or minus 5 yards which Garmin claim.

My personal opinion on this is even though it is expensive; it is a great bit of kit. If you are a keen golfer, the Garmin Approach G8 could be a solid purchase.
Personally I like this unit with all these features.

My practice sessions at the driving range have been transformed, you can use the virtual round application. Play your home course to make the sessions more real.

If you prefer then play one of the 41,000 preloaded other courses.

There is also a two player mode.

Really rate this unit, definitely worth checking out.

One of other point to mention is it comes with a handy clip on holder to fix to your electric trolley.

Who is SkyCaddie?

SkyCaddie or Skyhawke Technologies is a UK based company who specialise in the development of GPS devices for use on a golf course. Their aim is to provide reliable information to mirror what a PGA Tour Caddie can provide.

The SkyCaddie SX500, this unit is more custom to the size of smart phone.  

Very large 5” display. The screen quality is great, nice and bright.

The GPS yardage is very accurate, and has a nice solid feels to it.  The screen is very easy to navigate.

The hazard list is excellent and easy to use, it displays in a list.

Another nice function of the Sky Caddie is the ability to input the pin positions before you start play if the golf club you are visiting has this information.

The SkyCaddie SX500 also has the patented Intelligreen technology. This is where people have walked each of the 35,000 preloaded courses and mapped each hole.

These mappers visit each individual golf hole and walk with their GPS backpack.

The level of detail on the SX500 is terrific and easy to view.

The holder is a must accessory purchase if you use an electric trolley. 

Again the yearly subscription is a little disappointing. 

Who is Garmin?

Garmin are a market leader in various fields and manufacture quality navigation products from 65 offices worldwide, everything Garmin manufactures is in house and they pride themselves on quality, design, best value and innovation.

The Garmin Approach G10 is the entry level handheld for Garmin. The size of the screen is the same as the larger GPS watches.

These are designed to be clipped to your belt or hat.

The screen is visible in sunlight.

The G10  is very simple to use. The features are basic but that is what I would expect from the price point.

The G10 displays  the distances to the front, middle and back of the green.

It also has hazard distances and lay up yardages.

Garmin have also included a green which you are able to track the pin, and check exact distances to various points on the green.

Why have Garmin brought this out?

My view is for the  golfers that do not like or want to wear a watch while golfing. 

Is the Garmin Approach G10 as good as the top rated Garmin GPS devices?

Obviously this will not be anywhere near as good or have the same features as the better models in the Garmin range.

The G10 is designed to give the golfer good solid basic information.

In relationship to the market, I feel this little unit is great with the amount of pre-programed courses on, it is a good choice for the golfer that is starting to really get into golf or the golfer that just wants basic data.

Who is Bushnell Golf?

Bushnell is the leader in high-performance sports optics and has been in this field for 65 years, they are high quality. Bushnell golf has great innovation and develops great Golf GPS devices and laser rangers.

Bushnell’s entry level GPS Handheld with over 36,000 courses already installed.

The device is very small and compact, it does not have a touch screen.

You control the unit with the side buttons. The Bushnell Neo Ghost Phantom comes in four Colour options, and has the usual front, middle and back of the green distances.

The device also has four hazard distances per hole.

Another nice touch is the BITE magnet on the rear of the unit, so will stick to any metal.

If you are not using a buggy the Bushnell Neo Ghost Phantom is included with a handy clip.

The unit is very basic and will appeal to people on a budget, also to golfers who only want basic information from the unit.

The little unit is also able to connect to your phone through an App.

If you require more information you can connect through Bluetooth for wireless course updates.

The Bushnell Neo Ghost Phantom is a really nice unit for the price point.