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Golf GPS – Which One Is The Best of 2009?

golf gps reviews

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So Many To Choose From Though...

There is a raging war in the golf industry that has seen many entries into the "Golf GPS" battle this past year. With the advancements in golf and modern technology more and more golf companies are trying to find a way to intermingle the two together.

As OEM companies struggle to find a new technology for drivers, irons, etc. to grasp golfers’ wallets...the GPS companies are pushing forward and enticing the golfers out there with a ton of new wave technology that claims to help not only aid them in their game but lower their scores too!

So which one do you choose? Which one is the best deal?

Don't you worry MGS has taken (5) of the best Golf GPS units and put them to the test. We have reviewed each GPS unit based on (4) categories {first impressions, concept, functionality and value}. Then we tallied up their scores and rated them in order of overall performance.

↓ Let’s Meet The Competitors!

golf gps reviews

* WINNER! - {uPro Golf GPS}uplay upro gps

This is one of the newest entries into the GPS market and it is loaded with features unseen in its competitors. The
uPro Golf GPS
is on the leading edge of the GPS market and while it has the functionality that anyone would love it has a few disadvantages that a newer company would have.

Pros

  • Video flyover of holes (only available in Pro Mode which is not fully available to every course, but the company has promised according to their website that if the course meets their criteria they will map it for you when you buy this unit)
  • Smartview Technology
  • Anypoint Technology (allows you to mark distance to any point on the hole)
  • Color Screen
  • Shows distance to and to clear hazards
  • Can hold up to 50 courses (with MicroSD card)
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Ability to calculate shot distance
  • No membership fee (basic mode is free, pro mode is at a cost per download)
  • Windows and Mac Compatible
  • 24 Channel GPS

Cons

  • Price ($399.99)
  • Front, Center and Back distances aren’t marked on main screen with detail
  • Software downloads aren’t free (according to the site)
  • Course library is lacking at the moment
  • Pro mode courses are few and far between

Overview

Although, the uPro Golf GPS unit isn’t cheap the basic mode courses are free to download. The company seems to be looking forward as they are adding voice recognition in 2009. The uPro offers so much versatility with the Pro mode courses by having a video flyover, Smartview and Anypoint Technology.

This is just one unit that currently stands heads and toes above the rest.

Skycaddie SG5

Skycaddie has been around for a while now. They were one of the first companies to enter the GPS market and the SkyCaddie SG5 Golf GPS is their latest entry.

skycaddie sg5

Pros

  • Intelligreen Technology (allows you to rotate the green based on your position and gives accurate distance to the new locations on the green)
  • Color Display
  • Courses are mapped by the company by sending a crew to map it out
  • Auto Hole Advance
  • Ability to calculate shot distance
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Battery life of about 14 hours
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac
  • Detailed fairway, hazard and green targets

Cons

  • Holds 10 courses
  • 9+ GPS Channels (lacks compared to competitors)
  • Courses are only available if you continue your membership
  • Price ($399.95)
  • No score tracking

Overview

The SkyCaddie SG5 Golf GPS is a top notch competitor, but the Intelligreen Technology is not enough to carry it over the uPro. While, Intelligreen is a great feature the unit lacks in other places. The signal strength was an issue at times as this unit doesn’t offer as many channels as the competition. The main problem is the downloading of courses. You must maintain a membership to use the downloads as they are not available to save on your computer for future use.

iGolf Neo

iGolf is a company that has really stepped into the spotlight this year with the introduction of the iGolf Neo GPS. The Neo is the most affordable GPS unit on the market today and this alone has helped put iGolf on the map and right up there with the big dogs.
igolf neo

Pros

  • Small and light (weighs only 2.5 oz and measures in at 1.75”x3.25”x.75”)
  • Ability to calculate shot distances
  • Ability to map your own course
  • 20 Channel GPS
  • Once courses are downloaded they can be saved to your computer for as long as you like (yearly membership is $34.95 and gets you 100 downloads)
  • Price ($149.99 at this price it is extremely economical for almost everyone)
  • Custom points can be added to pre-mapped courses (up to 4 per hole)
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • 16 Hour battery life

Cons

  • Holds 10 courses
  • Only allows 4 custom points per hole
  • Course are mapped via satellite imagery
  • Updates to software are few and far between
  • Only compatible with Windows
  • No auto advance function
  • No score tracking functions

Overview

The iGolf Neo GPS is the most affordable GPS unit on the market today, but offers only basic features. Don’t expect any fancy graphics, but the unit does get the job done and is extremely accurate. The ability to download courses and save them to your computer is nice as a yearly membership isn’t required. This unit is perfect for everyone, but especially someone just looking for the basics.

GPS Golf Guru {Color}golf guru gps

This unit is the lesser heard of from the bunch. I really think this company is destined for great things on down the road and the
Color GPS Golf Guru
is a great step in the right direction.

Pros

  • Holds up to 200 courses
  • Unlimited, free course downloads for life
  • Tracks scores and stats
  • Scores can be uploaded from the unit to USHanicaps.com
  • Ability to calculate shot distance
  • Smart Green technology w/adjustable pin feature (comparable to Intelligreen)
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Battery life of 14 hours
  • Allows you to map your own course and greens can be mapped for smart green feature by user.
  • 16 Channel GPS
  • Customer service is excellent

Cons

  • Price ($369.95)
  • Not Compatible with Mac
  • Course library is not as vast as its competitors
  • Not as fancy as comparable units
  • Buttons to control unit are on the top of the unit instead the bottom

Overview

The Color GPS Golf Guru is a solid unit. The ability to map your own course and to map greens for use with the smart green feature is a great feature on its own. Score and stat tracking is more in-depth than the rest of the field. The customer service for this company stands heads and toes above the rest.

GolfBuddy GPS Tourgolf buddy gps

The GolfBuddy GPS Tour does something that no other company does…it provides you with all 20,000 courses right off the bat!

Pros

  • Color screen
  • Automatic course and hole recognition
  • Ability to calculate shot distance
  • Rechargeable battery
  • 13 hour battery life (AAA batteries can be used for back up)
  • Score tracking
  • Ability to set pin placement
  • Comes preloaded with 20,000 courses
  • 11 points can be added to pre-mapped courses
  • No membership fees

Cons

  • Price ($429.99)
  • Not compatible with Mac
  • Slightly bulky
  • 12 channel GPS (signal strength not as good as competitors)

Overview

The GolfBuddy GPS Tour is a decent unit. The signal strength of the unit is weaker when compared to the iGolf Neo and uPlay uPro. The fact that it comes pre-loaded with 20,000 courses is nice and so is the fact that it knows which course you are playing when you get there. All in all a decent offering, but leaves room for improvement.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy Greenwald February 18, 2009 at 7:52 am

Excellent review and detailed. This was the most thorough analysis I have seen to date.

I have a nikon laser rangefinder (gift) and have used it about 3 times last year. I think most people play the same course and most courses have decent yardage markers, so I do not see these devices really helping me. I can see GPS and rangefinders when you first play a course, but all in all, a big waste of money. I definitely would not sign up for a membership.

I love the people who claim the GPS or rangefinder has improved their game. I guess it is hard for me to refute, but I would ask to see that person’s handicap card and see if we can prove their scores improved at the same time the wonder machine came into their life. I just have my doubts, but whatever helps people through the day. To each is own.

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mygolfspy February 18, 2009 at 8:00 am

Thanks Andy – we really do try to make our reviews and articles the best sources on the web. So I really appreciate it. I think that GPS systems CAN help many golfers that tend to only read cart path yardages…and don’t account for where the pins are located. This can effect the shot by up to 20 yards sometimes.

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ABomb April 1, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Dude grow a pair and go play some other courses.

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Chris December 20, 2009 at 6:56 pm

I bought the Callaway U-pro at the start of the season and was very impressed with it. It was reliable, easy to use and carry given its small size. And it did help my game. I find that it makes its biggest contribution on club selection from 50 to 150 yards. I have played my home course for 18 years and thought I knew it pretty well, but I was surprised to learn that on average twice a round it influenced my choice of club and made me just a little more confident about the club I’d drawn. I did lower my scores as my course handicap did drop from a 9 to a 7.

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mygolfspy December 21, 2009 at 10:03 am

It is surprising how many times one will change the club you usually hit.

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Chris June 1, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Rangefinder bought by kids for me 5 years ago. have been a single digit handicap for 20 years, but was able to go from the 5-8 range to the 1-4 range with accurate distances inside of 100 yards. That’s the money shot and every yard makes a difference. If GPS can give you that, I’d do it, but since it’s only to quadrants of a green or F/B/M not sure I want it. However, off the tee and for the second shot on a par 5, it might get me to a solid scratch or 1. Since I can’t afford caddies, I need the help. These devices don’t help middle to high handicappers nearly as much as low handicappers.

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Pete February 18, 2009 at 9:01 am

Nice review, as always. I would, however, would have liked you to include one of the Sonocaddie devices. I have the XV2 and would have liked to see how you fared it against the others.

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CJ Bush February 18, 2009 at 9:16 am

Well, I wont say that a GPS unit or rangefinder will drastically lower your score. I own a GPS unit and it is helpful for me, but I am one of the people who play many a different courses throughout the year and most of the courses I play aren’t marked well. I can say that the GPS unit I own has had an affect on my game, but not in a drastic manner. I do think they are helpful and with the cost of the units becoming more affordable I think we will see some more.

Another note, the uPro was acquired by Callaway and iGolf was acquired by Bushnell…..just thought I would throw that in there for everyone.

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Joe M February 20, 2009 at 4:34 am

I was the winner of the Upro and I have not got to use it on the course yet but just playing with it in preview mode is awesome. Cant wait for the snow to melt! I think you are wrong about them not having very many pro courses. Almost every course in my area is mapped with pro mode courses. Looks like they are really getting these things mapped in a hurry. Now that callaway is on board I bet they get all courses mapped very soon!.

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CJ Bush February 20, 2009 at 6:48 am

I am not sure where you are located, but I know in my area they aren’t a ton of mapped pro courses. I think you will see more metropolitan areas mapped before any rural areas are which is an issue to people not located in metro areas.

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Tony March 22, 2009 at 11:28 am

The technology really helps your game, but they are so dang expensive

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mygolfspy March 23, 2009 at 6:41 am

Hey Tony – if you have an iPhone you can get them for CHEAP!

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Mike June 9, 2009 at 1:22 pm

I have an sg5. For 19.95 more a year you can download 20 courses and keep track of your score and number of putts. I have bad eyes and this unit definitely helps my game as I play by yardage not feel.

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John September 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

My SG5 holds 50 courses.

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Kevin July 4, 2009 at 9:11 am

Hey great article above. I was looking for accuracy information, but can’t find. I use an SG2 and get accurate results (within a few yards). Some of my friends use a Garman. 90% of the time we have similar results (plus or minus a few yards), but occationally we are over 15 yards apart. Also, one time the Garman showed a hazard as being around 60 yards deep, but you could step over it when we got there. Could you discuss accuracy in your evaluation: eg, benefits of using more satellites and using measured course vs. satellite photos.

Thanx.

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Mike Buesing August 10, 2009 at 4:09 pm

I have a SkyCaddie, SG5. I bought it in April, under the guise that Skygolf was going to release an IntelliGreen Pro option, that would give hole fly over views. Boy was that a mistaken assumption. It was a listed press release on their website, in January, up until a month ago and poof.. no word on it. Disappointing. I also don’t like that fact that I can log my score, but cannot download it for a hole by hole comparison. Sad. It does have a LOT of courses to download, but lacks some functionality.

I’d also love to see an option to add “waypoints” to a course or hole. How many of you would LOVE to know how far that ball-eating hazard is?

Another feature would be to allow the unit to be set for a 9 hole option. I play in a league and we start on different holes each week. But always play the same 9, we start on (front or back). Start on 17 and it will try to auto-hole you to #1, after 18. I need it to roll to 10.

All in all, it’s not bad.

I wish your article addressed more of these things, too.

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Dave McElroy October 24, 2009 at 7:01 am

The latest and most affordable golf gps system is without doubt the Go Planet Mars 100 golf gps system, with lifetime membership at $9.99 and course download at $1.99 also with capability of setting courses manualy.

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Jerry Isahaq December 29, 2009 at 1:21 pm

I have joined the discussion because I am thinking of getting me a GPS also. I must say that I have looked at quite a few so far, not actually physically tested on though, and I it appears that the Garmin G5 seems pretty good. I think that one is new on the market and would like someone to comment on it if possible.

Thanks.

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Bruce Hall December 30, 2009 at 3:12 pm

I have a Sonocaddie which is okay… and an iPhone in which I downloaded the MyCaddie app. I find that there is little advantage to the Sonocaddie because the iPhone app is nearly as accurate [my hitting accuracy is outside of the error limits of the app] and it gives me aerial views as well.

Oh, and it is a free app. So, if you have an iPhone, that’s an alternative.

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Bob May 28, 2012 at 6:52 am

I had a Callaway Upro and it broke down after 8 months. Callaway USA had it for 6 months before Callaway UK finally took over the return and my money was refunded within a week. The U pro was great while it worked but the website was simply useless unless you have a degree in computer science. They also had several recalls which were kept quiet.
I purchased a snooper s320 device and when the sun is out the screen can’t be seen it takes 6 seconds to give you a distance the holes do not automatically update and the hole si and par information is so small it cant be read and the battery takes hours to charge so 2 rounds in a 10 hour period cant be done I’m in the process of asking for my money back as the item is not fit for purpose.
Does any one know of units where the company will let you try before you buy?

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Frank Almeda November 21, 2012 at 9:20 am

Great article, thank you so much ! Love the SkyCaddie :)
Also for all iPhone and iPad users, download fungolf which show all the courses in 3D.
Great app

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