Best Golf GPS Watches: Winner Is?
Golf GPS Watch Review: Who Makes The Best One?
How Golf GPS Devices Work
Understanding How Golf GPS Devices Work
You may have heard about them, or seen them in use, but may simply do not understand how a golf GPS works and how it can improve your game. If you need more information about golf GPS units and how they work, read on.
If you have a GPS system in your car you know that it automatically detects where you are. If you let the system know where you want to go, it will show you how to get there the fastest way. It is the same with golf.
The GPS system will detect where you are along with your golf ball and you simply need to let the device know where you want the ball to go. It will show you the distance and any obstacles in the way. This gives you the chance to choose your club accordingly.
A GPS golf device can give incredibly accurate results. While the distances are not 100%, they are very close and will greatly increase your chances of reducing the amount of strokes needed to get to the hole.
Satellites and golf GPS systems
GPS systems were first developed for military use and have since been opened to the public. This technology uses 32 satellites that circulate around the earth constantly. If you have any type of GPS unit it will be able to mark your exact location and time anywhere on the earth.
A golf GPS unit has been designed to mark your location on a course and various courses from around the world either with a download from the Internet or with pre-programmed data in the device itself. Once the GPS has located your exact position, most devices will automatically pull up the course you’re on so that you can start your play immediately.
Like a caddie
A GPS golf unit is much like a caddie in that it can tell you an approximate distance to your target so that you can choose the right club. It will also let you know if there are any water obstacles, bunkers or trees in your path. You’ll be able to see the layout of the course and make better judgments as you play a round of golf. In many cases, these judgment decisions will result in a better golf score.
This is quite often the hardest part of playing a game of golf. GPS devices simplify the golf game by providing the information you need to know in a matter of seconds. You can also measure the distance of the fairway and how far you would have to shoot to avoid an obstacle.
Get your game on
If you have been hesitating about because you weren’t sure how they worked, the time is now to invest in one. The technology is constantly improving and as these improvements take place the prices are also going down. If you want to raise your golfing level, the price is really a small investment when you consider how important the game of golf really is to you.
So why buy a Golf GPS and what is the best Golf GPS for you?
The main benefit to your golf game is that a GPS unit can tell you the distance to the pin on any hole you are playing anywhere on your chosen Golf Course. Most people don’t know the distance from where they are addressing their shot to the pin or to get past a hazard such as a bunker, water or trees.
One problem you might come across when using this system is the weather, on occasions in bad weather it could block the unit from receiving the satellite signal, but if the weather is that bad then you probably should be in the clubhouse any way.
Garmin Approach S20, GPS Golf Watch with Step Tracking - Preloaded Courses
- AUTOSHOT Round analyzer measures shot distances with auto recording for post round analysis on your Garmin Connect account
- STYLISH COMFORT Fully hinged, sleek watchband design with comfortable fit. Display resolution: 128 x 128 pixels
- TRUSWING COMPATIBLE When paired, Garmin TruSwing golf swing sensor provides metrics to improve your swing consistency. Display size: 0.9 x 0.9(inches)
- ACTIVITY TRACKING Reminds you to stay active on or off the course with move bar alerts. Displays steps, calories burned, distance and time of day, plus it monitors hours of sleep
- STAT TRACKING Enhanced stats keeps track of fairways hit, greens in regulation and putts per round.Strap material:Silicone
- Sunlight readable, high resolution, monochrome. Connectivity : Bluetooth Smart and ANT+
Approach S20 is the golfing partner that doubles as your everyday watch. Stylish, sleek and lightweight, this versatile GPS device features more than 40,000 courses plus automatic map updates, daily activity tracking and smart notifications to connect with your healthy lifestyle.
On the course, you’ll see precise distances to the front, back and middle of the green, as well as hazards. Garmin AutoShot round analyzer measures your shot distances and auto-records them for review on your Garmin Connect account. In addition, receive smart notifications for calls, texts, emails and other alerts right on your wrist.
GPS Watch/Device vs. Laser Rangefinder
Typically, rangefinders utilize a laser to determine distance. This feature goes against something like a GPS device or watch that depends on a satellite for your yardage. Most golfers prefer a laser-guided rangefinder because they are potentially far more accurate than a GPS device.
Laser rangefinders have an undeniable appeal. As David Owen for Golf Digest writes, “A laser range finder is straightforward. You aim it at a flag, a hazard stake, the lip of a fairway bunker…press a button; read your number; select exactly the right golf club; and make your normal…swing.”
GPS devices do have a technological advantage. As Owen writes, “GPS units are more diverse. Most popular models also let you do stuff like keeping score for your foursome, tracking your club selection, and measuring your drives.” That said, the main complaint about GPS devices is that their accuracy can stray off the mark by a few yards.
Admittedly, laser rangefinders do require a bit of care. You can’t leave them in the trunk of your car or out in freezing weather without it potentially affecting the accuracy of the laser. Same goes for GPS devices and watches as they need an equal level of maintenance and care to keep their effectiveness.
If there is a deciding factor in the war between the two devices, advanced golfers greatly prefer laser rangefinders inside 150 yards. The improved accuracy helps gauge the correct distance for a shot into the green. You may not think that it is important, but a birdie putt from 20 feet may have less than a 5% percent chance of going in, whereas the same golfer has a 30% accuracy from 10 feet.
How does a golf rangefinder work?
A golf rangefinder works similarly to a pair of binoculars. Using both hands, the golfer looks through an eyepiece to focus on a specific spot on the fairway or green. Then, the golfer presses a button, and a laser determines the distance to the landmark.
Much like binoculars, the golfer must hold the rangefinder steady to lock in the area that the laser will be measuring.
Some rangefinders have more detailed features, such as accounting for elevation changes that come in handy when, for example, the golfer hits the ball into an uphill green. If those features are utilized, then the golfer will have to hold onto the laser locating button a tad longer to get a reading.
One of the negatives of laser rangefinders, as opposed to a GPS device, is that you need a clear line of sight to measure the distance. So the rangefinder can stumble when trying to use the laser on a dogleg where trees create a barrier.
Do you need slope on a rangefinder for golf?
If you are using your rangefinder during practice rounds, then a slope feature comes in very handy. The more sophisticated devices factor in the uphill or downhill trajectory of a shot and then factor in the slope for an accurate yardage reading.
While you can’t use the slope feature during tournament play, using slope while practicing can really help a golfer determine how elevation change affects their shotmaking. More practice focusing on how different approaches counteract slope will definitely instill confidence during tournament play.
Even if you cannot use rangefinders in tournaments, the device certainly can help with shaving the rough edges off your games to lower your scores. If you are looking for a quick primer on how slope affects shotmaking, we’ve tagged a terrific video by Mark Crossfield that can be found here.
Do golf pros use rangefinders?
According to GolfWeek Magazine, Before the 2012 season, the PGA officially banned the use of rangefinders during tournament play. However, players are free to use them during their practice and Pro-Am rounds in the days before the tournament officially begins.
Most players on tour use the rangefinders during the practice round to find exact yardages from the various landing areas they expect to hit their second shots from during each of the four rounds. By annotating these yardages in their yardage book ahead of the tournament, the golfer can feel confident that they are hitting the right club on each shot.
The rule extends to caddies as well. Tour caddies cannot use the rangefinders during a round, or the golfer will be penalized a two-stroke penalty. Any additional rangefinder use violations by the golfer or caddy will result in a disqualification.