With the hundreds of golf GPS models on the market, it is difficult to cut through the marketing guff and determine which features are important and which are needless additions designed to separate your money from your wallet. By comparing the following features you will have all of the information you'll need to purchase the best GPS unit to match your game.
Score Entry and Statistical Record Keeping
Many modern devices have the ability to enter scores and other statistical information in real time while you play. Beyond the basics such as recording your hole by hole scores, number of chips and putts and which side of the fairway you missed with your drive, many golf GPS devices will allow you to select which club you used for each shot. The GPS can then automatically determine and keep a record of how far you hit the ball with each club. Over time, the unit will accurately suggest the appropriate club to use live on the course, based off your documented past history without your ego getting in the way. These devices will even adapt over time if you start hitting the ball a little longer or shorter such as during different seasons.
These are key features for many golfers and it is often the deciding factor between different golf GPS models. Not only can you shave shots on the course by the device choosing the correct club for the distance, you also have the ability to analyze your game in great detail on your home computer to determine your weaknesses. This valuable information can be used to tailor your practise to bring the maximum benefit to your golf game. GPS models with this functionality tend to cost $15-$25 extra and it isn't worth the extra money if you are only interested in a device that is purely for distance measurement but the potential improvements that this information can bring to your game easily justifies the additional costs.
Toughness and Reliability
Golf is a game that is played in all weather conditions, including pouring rain and even snow. It is imperative that your expensive new golf GPS is up to the task. Your requirements will vary depending on if the device will generally be safely stored inside the protection of a motorized golf cart or if it will be attached directly to your bag and at the full mercy of the elements. At a minimum, the device should be both 100% water proof and shock resistant so that it not only stands up to the rigour of the elements, but survives the constant pounding of being placed in and out of cars, golf buggy's and standard wear and tear. This all but rules out using your iPhone or other GPS enabled smartphones as a golf GPS device as they are not waterproof nor are they built as physically tough as a dedicated unit. Keep your phone for making calls and use a dedicated, purpose built unit on the links.
There is nothing worse than having an important shot on the 17th hole only to look at your shiny GPS and discover that its batteries are dead. Some golf GPS models come with integrated lithium batteries which have terrific battery life but are not user changeable. Other devices come with changeable AA batteries which don't have as long of a battery life, but can be quickly swapped mid round if you run out of a charge. The Golflogix unit achieves over 5 rounds from a single pair of regular AA batteries with the ability to change batteries in seconds if needed. Even with the latest smartphone models, it is almost impossible to achieve a full round with a single charge. It is not ideal to have to turn off the screen between shots to conserve precious battery life and in the long term, it is much smarter to pay the $100-$250 for a dedicated golfing device.
Screen Visibility and User Interface.
Your GPS should be a seamless aid to your golf game. When you are in the moment, accessing your next shot and you glance at your device you want to be able to see the information you need instantly, no matter the weather conditions. Some units, especially those with color screens can be extremely difficult to see in direct sunlight. The more information that is displayed on the screen means that all the data items need to be smaller to allow all of the text to fit, which can also make it harder to instantly find the information you are looking for. Remember that the fanciest looking display with that big map of the hole may not be that readable when you are actually on the course.
Maximum Number Of Recordable Items Per Hole
You want the co-ordinates for the maximum number of items on each hole mapped for the greatest level of flexibility. You might play a course 20 times without needing to know how far it is to clear that fairway bunker down the right hand side, but that one day when you hit a terrible tee shot into the wilderness and you want to lay up just past it, you want your golf GPS device to have that item stored. With many golf courses having over 10 fairway bunkers, plus water hazards, the front, middle and back of the green, you need a device that has enough internal memory to record and display at least 20 items per hole.
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