Long gone are the days of searching for a marker post, pacing out the distance to your ball, and then trying to work out where the flag is on the green. There are many different types of distance device on the market, and it can be hard to decide which GPS you should buy. You might say: “Who needs a GPS? Golf got on fine without them!” That’s true. But if you’re serious about improving, why wouldn’t you take this extra help? And if there’s no doubt it’s 163 to the flag, you’ll pick the right club and commit to your swing.
With so many models to choose from, we picked 20 of the most popular for this test.
We split the test into three categories: GPS watches, handheld devices and lasers. Two TG readers joined Equipment Editor Joel Tadman in testing all three types of DMD. We asked all the leading brands to send us the GPS and rangefinders they wanted to submit and all but a handful made the final cut. We didn’t place a limit on how many they sent in, so some brands have more than one model in certain categories.
To form an assessment, we asked testers to play two rounds with each to put the devices through their paces on the course. We formed our assessment in a variety of ways: We noted how each device stacked up against markers on the course. We used a rangefinder to ascertain the exact distance to the fronts and backs of greens (placing a target in the exact spots beforehand) and noted how the GPSs compared. We considered things like the speed at which the device picked up the course, switched holes correctly and came to its final yardage. We assessed the ease of use of each device, and how easy it was to set-up and start using. All the devices were fully-charged and loaded with the host course.
We tested GPS devices and lasers at the Hertfordshire Golf and Country Club, designed by Jack Nicklaus’ son Gary. It boasts a 27-bay floodlit driving range, health and fitness club and outdoor tennis courts. Call 01992 466 666 or visit www.thehertfordshiregolf.co.uk for more info.
Click through the links below to read each our expert reviews of each distance device.
Gold Award: SkyCaddie LINX £199.95
Silver Award: Garmin Approach S4 £289.99
Bronze Award: Golf Buddy WT3 £229.95
Bushnell Neo XS £159
Shotsaver SG255X £159.99
IZZO Swami £149.99
Gold Award: Bushnell Tour v3 £279
Silver Award: Golf Buddy LR3 £219
Bronze Award: Nikon Coolshot £239.99
Nikon Coolshot AS £369.99
Bushnell Pro X7 JOLT £439 (Slope £499)
Shotsaver SLR500 £179.99
Gold Award: Garmin Approach G8 £369.99
Silver Award: Golf Buddy PT4 £299
Bronze Award: SkyCaddie SGXw £299.95
Shotsaver S340 Revolution £249.99
SkyCaddie AIRE £129.95
IZZO Swami 4000 £129.99