How to Buy a GPS Navigation System

By Richard Kalinowski
A GPS system on the course may help you map out your strategy for the next hole, if you know what you're getting and how to use it.
A GPS system on the course may help you map out your strategy for the next hole, if you know what you're getting and how to use it.

GPS navigation systems allow golfers to calculate driving distance and course topography. They are invaluable for any high-tech golfer. However, if you don’t know what to look for in a GPS system, you may end up with little more than a fancy paperweight. While some GPS systems work fine for driving your car, they may be utterly useless for golfers. It is important to keep certain factors in mind when buying any new GPS system for golf.

Look specifically for golf GPS systems, as indicated on the packaging. GPS systems designed for golfers will include valuable driving distance calculators, allowing you to accurately judge the distance between your current location, any hazards on the course and the green. Automobile GPS systems often rely on cityscape locations, such as homes, businesses and surface streets, offering little detail or functionality for judging distance between two points on a golf course. As explains, driving distance calculation is the primary feature of any good golfing GPS unit.

Consider battery life. Golf GPS navigation systems often indicate average battery life on the product’s packaging. Avoid a system with dismal charge duration even if it boasts stellar distance calculator features. You’ll want to ensure the GPS unit lasts for at least a few hours beyond the duration of your average game of golf.

Look for “caddy” features if you are a beginner. While advanced golfers will rely on a GPS specifically for distance calculations, newer golfers may want to spring for a system with on-screen recommendations. The so-called “caddy” feature on many higher-end GPS navigation systems will not only detail topography and driving distance, it will also recommend clubs and stances based on the terrain.

Make sure your favorite golf courses have been mapped for the system you are purchasing. Golf GPS navigation systems require accurate course mapping for effective usage. GPS systems often have thousands of premapped courses built into the unit, but there is no one unit that boasts a complete listing of every course on the globe. Ask a sales associate or read related product specs to determine whether the GPS system you are considering will work at your favorite greens.

Consider size and weight. Though most GPS navigation systems only weigh a few ounces and measure a few inches around, some are a bit bulky. Make sure you handle a store model, or at least read the dimensions on the packaging. Any GPS unit you select should be easy to carry; the unit must be an asset to your game, not a heavy hindrance.

Home ×