By Steve K Jacobs

With all the golf GPS systems out on the market, how do you determine which is the best golf GPS hand held device around? The first thing is to compare them, apples to apples, side by side.

Price is definitely an important factor. Most range in between $250 -$500USD. The Gamin G5, for example, will cost around $499 in retail stores, but on websites such as you can get one for $364-$269. The Golf Guru sells for about $399 retail. Calloway and Sky Caddie also have models around that price range.

But, make sure you are getting what you pay for. A cheaper device may not offer the best golf GPS system. Features are what rule the sales. Do you want to be able to bring up the most popular golf courses in the US and possibly Canada, or the most in amount? Do you want to keep not only track of your and your golfing buddies’ scores but calculate what you scored last time on that hole? How about a real time aerial view versus a graphic rendition? Do you want nothing more than a range finder, or one that can calculate the front, middle and back greens and give you the details on all the hazards? The features one device offers over another may very well justify the price.

The next thing to consider is usage fees. For instance, the Garmin G5 costs nothing to download courses off their website, but it’s initially a more expensive golf GPS device. It only offers about 14,00 courses, but is adding more and more to its database online. The SkyCaddie offers almost twice as many courses to download but can cost you around $60 a year for that privilege.

The next thing to consider when looking for the best golf GPS system is the readability of the screen. If it in color or just tone on tone? Do you have the option to see more than a graphic artist’s depiction or to see views that were actually taken by people who walked that course? The size of the screen may also come into play when making your decision.

Of course, the screen size can play a factor in how the unit feels in the palm of your hand. Some golf GPS devices are definitely thinner than others. The Garmin G5 is a bit heavier than some of the other brands, but its screen is more readable in bright sunlight.

You may want to get a golf GPS that is water resistant. Some are more than others. One model definitely has a warning not to get it damp, while another advertises a watertight skin which can be purchased separately.

On the more technical side, be sure to read the reviews. The best golf GPS device may not be the one with all the bells and whistles but the one people are singing about. See what you can find out about the brand’s customer service representatives. If you need help, how easy will it be to obtain? Can you chat online live, or call a toll free number? Do people say the reps were courteous and helpful or just reading off a cue card and unable to think out of the box? Also see what people who have “test driven” the device have to say about its accuracy in judging distance, hazards, and tee line ups.

When it comes to purchasing the best golf GPS device to fit your needs, there is a lot to consider. They aren’t cheap, but if you get the right one for you, it will be well worth the price.

You can find links to all of our golf GPS reviews on the right hand side. Spend some time going through them and learning about the different features and functions on offer by the different manufacturers.

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