8 Best Golf GPS Handhelds in 2022 (Reviewed & Compared)

golf handheld gps

The best handheld golf GPS devices make your golfing life easier. They give you accurate distances on the course so you can hit more accurate shots.

Knowing the exact distances on the golf course is essential if you want to improve. Guessing your yardages can only get you so far (and likely into your fair share of trouble).

However, a handheld golf GPS will show you the course layout, including any trouble, like hazards. They give you a map view of each hole, and so much more.

These are the best handheld golf GPS devices in 2022.

Best Golf GPS Handhelds: Our Top Picks

Best Overall: SkyCaddie SX550
Best Premium: Garmin Approach G80
Best Value: Bushnell Phantom 2
Budget Option: Izzo Swami 6000
Best Compact: Garmin Approach G12
Best Older Gen Model: SkyCaddie SX400
Alternate Premium: Garmin Approach G30
Alternate Value: Golf Buddy Voice 2 SE+

SkyCaddie SX550 (Best Overall)

Best Overall
SkyCaddie SX550

This golf GPS handheld has a 5.5” LCD color screen. It gives you full HD golf course graphics. With a 14-hour battery life, you’ll get a few rounds in before it needs recharging.

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Overall, the SkyCaddie SX550 is the best handheld golf GPS. You get a full HD view of the golf course on the 5.5” LCD color touchscreen.

The screen is easy to read, even in sunlight. And you can see how the course looks and view doglegs, etc.

This handheld golf GPS unit gives you the exact shape of the green from your angle. So, you get to see how much green you’ve got to work with for your approach shot.

Also, you can put the crosshair on the green where the pin is. That updates the distance to the pin and gives you a more accurate reading.

The SkyCaddie SX550 is preloaded with over 35,000 golf courses worldwide. It’s nice knowing you can get accurate distances even when you travel to another course.

You can also keep your scores and track your statistics. It’s a good way to know what you need to work on.

Notable Features

  • Rechargeable battery
  • High definition 5.5” touchscreen
  • Hole mapping
  • HD color screen
  • Manual shot tracking
  • Durable case

Garmin Approach G80 (Best Premium)

Best Premium
Garmin Approach G80 GPS & Launch Monitor

Combines GPS and launch monitor tech into one single unit. Take this on the course with you as a GPS handheld, or bring it to the range to use as a launch monitor.

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The Garmin Approach G80 is the best premium handheld golf GPS. The 3.5″ touchscreen display gives you excellent views of the golf course.

Over 41,000 worldwide golf courses are preloaded on the device. That means you get a color view of every hole on those courses.

The slim design makes this handheld golf GPS compact and lightweight. You can conveniently stick it in your bag, or you can put it in your pocket without disruption.

We love the integrated launch monitor included with this device. You can track data on the range or the course, including clubhead speed, ball speed, and more.

If you want accurate distances and the data behind your golf game, the Garmin Approach G80 is a no-brainer.

Notable Features

  • Quick button access to radar
  • Practice and game modes
  • Integrated launch monitor
  • 15-hour battery life
  • Sunlight readable display
  • Hole mapping

Bushnell Phantom 2 (Best Value)

Best Value
Bushnell Phantom 2 GPS

This handheld GPS has over 38,000 preloaded golf courses worldwide. With this current deal, you also get a belt clip with a carabiner and a lens cleaning cloth.

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The Bushnell Phantom 2 is the best value handheld golf GPS. It has improved significantly from the previous model.

You get even more preloaded golf courses worldwide, with over 38,000. Also, the larger display with increased font size makes this device easier to read.

Bushnell has improved the battery life as well. The previous model had a 10-hour battery life while this one has an 18-hour battery life. That’s even more golf per charge.

As always with Bushnell, you get accurate distances. The device gives you yardages to the front, middle, and back of greens.

This handheld golf GPS is extremely convenient. You can clip it to your belt, hook it onto your bag, or attach it to your cart frame with the magnet.

Notable Features

  • Bushnell Golf App included with purchase
  • Up to six hazard distances per hole
  • Automatic course recognition
  • Score tracking
  • Seven different color options
  • Black and white display
  • Front, center, and back of green readings

Izzo Swami 6000 (Budget Option)

Budget Option
Izzo Swami 6000 GPS Handheld

You can view over 38,000 golf courses worldwide with this device. It also tracks your score, while a 16-hour battery life means you’ll get about four rounds between charges.

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The Izzo Swami 600 is the best handheld golf GPS for those on a budget. You get some cool features at a very reasonable price.

With no subscription needed, you have access to over 38,000 courses worldwide as soon as you get the device. Also, you get free updates on this device.

This handheld golf GPS is easy to set up and use. And the magnet allows you to stick it to your cart frame for your convenience.

It gives you accurate distances to the front, middle, and back of greens. You also get layup and carry distances to hazards and doglegs.

With a 16-hour battery life, you’ll get good use from this between charges.

Notable Features

  • 16-hour battery life
  • Score tracking
  • Batteries included
  • Manual shot tracking
  • Blue or yellow color options

Garmin Approach G12 (Best Compact)

Best Compact
Garmin Approach G12 GPS

This handheld golf GPS has over 42,000 preloaded courses. It’s compact and lightweight, so you’ll barely notice it in your pocket or wallet. The clip also allows you to mount it on your belt.

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The Garmin Approach G12 is the best compact handheld golf GPS. You’ll barely notice having this because it’s so small, but don’t let the size fool you.

This device is packed with all the features you need in the best handheld golf GPS. You can expect accurate distances to the front, middle, and back of greens.

There are plenty of display options to choose from. But the ‘big numbers mode’ – where the middle distance displays bigger – is a nice touch.

The compact design means you can choose to clip it pretty much anywhere for your convenience. You can clip it onto your belt, your hat, and your bag, or even just keep it in your pocket.

This device is also compatible with the Approach CT10 club tracking sensors, which are sold separately. You can track your shots and get accurate yardages for each club in your bag.

Notable Features

  • Over 42,000 preloaded courses worldwide
  • Keeps score
  • Green View
  • IPX7 water-resistant
  • Up to 30-hour battery life

SkyCaddie SX400 (Best Older Gen Model)

Best Older Gen Model
SkyCaddie SX400 GPS

This handheld golf GPS has a 4” color HD touchscreen that gives you great visuals. It has over 35,000 worldwide courses and includes shot tracking.

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The SkyCaddie SX400 is also a great handheld golf GPS. It costs less than the SkyCaddie SX550, but it still has many excellent features.

The 4” screen makes it more compact than the other model. However, color HD touchscreen display gives you amazing visual details of the golf course.

You get a clear map of each hole with this handheld golf GPS device. It lays out the shape of the hole and any hazards, so you can choose the best strategy.

Also, you can get a view of the hole from your exact location on the fairway. That shows you the shape of the green from your position.

Notable Features

  • HD touchscreen
  • USB-C port for charging
  • Halve HD course graphics
  • Comes with wall plug
  • Shot tracking
  • Activity tracking

Garmin Approach G30 (Alternate Premium)

Alternate Premium
Garmin Approach G30 Handheld GPS

This handheld golf GPS has a 2.3-inch color touchscreen display. You get distances to greens, hazards, and doglegs on over 40,000 courses worldwide.

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The Garmin Approach G30 is an excellent alternate premium option. You get many great features at about half the price of the Garmin Approach G80.

The 2.3-inch color touchscreen gives you a clear view of over 40,000 courses worldwide. You can view the layout of holes and identify any hazards.

Features like Touch Targeting and Green View offer you more accurate yardages on each hole. With the latter, you can manually position the pin to correspond to its location on any given day, meaning you get more accurate yardages.

This device is compact, so you can easily keep it in your pocket. Alternatively, you can mount it in a number of ways, including on your belt, push cart, or golf bag.

Notable Features

  • Color touchscreen
  • Digital scorecard
  • Measures individual shots
  • Layup arcs
  • Stat tracking
  • 15-hour battery life

Golf Buddy Voice 2 SE+ (Alternate Value)

Alternate Value
Golf Buddy Voice 2 SE+ Handheld GPS

This device gives you audible distances to the front, middle, and back of greens at the touch of a button. It has 40,000 golf courses worldwide and lasts about 18 hours.

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The Golf Buddy Voice 2 SE+ is a good alternate value option. You get distances on 40,000 golf courses worldwide at a reasonable price.

This handheld golf GPS device reads out the yardages, so it’s very convenient on the course. You don’t have to read the display before your shots.

The slope feature is a nice touch. It accounts for the elevation and gives you slope-adjusted distances. You can switch this feature on and off, making this device legal for tournament play.

With an 18-hour battery life, you can get plenty of use between charges.

Notable Features

  • Talking GPS
  • On/off slope feature
  • Distances simultaneously on audio and screen
  • Green view
  • Shot distance measurement function
  • Automatic course and hole recognition

What to Consider When Buying a Handheld Golf GPS Device

When buying a handheld golf GPS device, you should consider accuracy, features, ease of use, size, screen, battery life, convenience, and app integration.

Accuracy

The best handheld golf GPS devices should be accurate. Giving you accurate yardages in their main function.

When you know the distances of approach shots, you can get the ball closer to the hole. That’s a massive help when you’re trying to improve your game.

Also, these devices give you information about hazards on the course. Avoiding that danger helps you lower your scores.

Features

You should consider the features when buying the best handheld golf GPS device. It’s always a good idea to match the features to your needs.

For instance, you might only want distances and aren’t too concerned with viewing the course layout. That means you can get a more basic device and save money.

However, those who want to view the course in color and see the layout of holes, including hazards, need a device with more features. Premium options like the Garmin Approach G80 offer you all the features you’ll need.

Ease of Use

The best handheld golf GPS devices should be easy to use. You don’t want to be battling with technology before every shot.

The device should make your golfing life easier and allow you to concentrate on the shot at hand. A budget option like the Izzo Swami 6000 is extremely easy to use.

You can get accurate distances without any distractions.

Size

The size is another factor to consider when buying the best handheld golf GPS device. You don’t want a device that’s too bulky in your pocket or your bag.

If you like to keep it in your pocket, a bulky device could restrict your movement. It could also make you feel uncomfortable, which is no good.

A handheld golf GPS like the Garmin Approach G12 is perfect if you like keeping the device in your pocket.

Screen

When buying the best handheld golf GPS device, you should consider the screen. If you want to see how each hole looks, you need a screen with a clear display.

Also, the yardages must be easy to read for your convenience. Golfers also like to play in sunny weather, so the best screens will be readable in the sunlight.

Battery Life

The battery life is also an important consideration in the best handheld golf GPS device. A round of golf can last five hours sometimes, so you want something that lasts at least two games between charges.

You don’t want to charge after every game. However, you won’t need to with any of the handheld golf GPS devices on our list.

Convenience

The best handheld golf GPS devices should make your life more convenient on the golf course. You don’t want to have to search your golf bag every time you need a distance.

It’s crucial to get a device that you can clip to your belt or mount to your cart. The Bushnell Phantom 2 has a magnet so you can attach it to the cart frame.

That’s convenient to check before every shot.

App Integration

Many of the best handheld golf GPS devices offer app integration, so it’s something to consider. With app integration, you can link your device and store your data from each round.

There are many golf apps on the market. So, you need to know the best golf apps to get started.

FAQs

Should I choose a handheld or watch golf GPS device?

Your personal needs and preferences will guide you in choosing between a handheld or watch golf GPS device. Some golfers prefer the best handheld golf GPS device because they don’t like wearing watches.

Watches can be annoying for some players when they swing. They can move around, or the feeling on the wrist can just be distracting. So, these golfers will need a handheld device.

However, the feeling of wearing a watch doesn’t bother some players. They can swing away without any distractions.

Also, they like the convenience of having all the info they need on their wrists. These golfers will see GPS watches as the better option.

Figure out what category you fall into, and you’ll know which one to choose.

What’s the difference between a Golf GPS and Rangefinder?

Although both devices give you yardages out on the course, they’re also very different. A handheld GPS device has more features than a rangefinder.

With the best handheld golf GPS devices, you get more comprehensive data and a view of the golf course. You can see the layout of the course on the screen.

That allows you to see where hazards are, even if they are blocked from view. And you get all this from a quick look at the screen.

A rangefinder is different because it allows you to target a specific object, like the flagstick, and get a laser reading of the distance. With a rangefinder, you must scan your surroundings to see the hole layout. However, you can only see areas that aren’t blocked from view.

Rangefinders are extremely accurate and give you exact yardages to the pin. If you’re a better player who attacks pins a lot, a rangefinder is likely the best option for you.

Conclusion

Overall, the SkyCaddie SX550 is the best handheld golf GPS device in 2022. The 5.5” LCD color screen is easy to read and gives you a full HD view of over 35,000 courses worldwide.

It’s packed with features, from hole mapping to manual shot tracking. This device gives you distances to hazards and doglegs, and it also calculates layup distances for you.

And the most critical thing is that the yardages are accurate.

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Joe Morelli

Joe Morelli is the founder of TopRankGolf, a passionate golfer with 25 years of experience playing and coaching golfers around the world. He's dedicated to helping golfers learn and enjoy the game of golf.