Whether you are casual golf player or someone who plays competitively, having a gadget that can contribute to your skill growth will definitely be to your advantage. One example of such amazing equipment is a golf GPS band. Using it will give you a better perspective of the golf course you will be playing on, particularly in measuring distances to your targets and surrounding hazards.
Given how popular golf GPS bands have become, it is not a surprise for a plethora of brands, big and small, to come up with their own iteration of such gadget. Luckily for your, we have come up with 4 of the top performing models currently in the market, which will then be compared later in the article. This will allow you to pick a product that will match your skillset and personal preference the closest.
Garmin Approach X40
The Garmin Approach X40 is a slim and lightweight golf GPS band that comes with the unique Elevate™ technology, which monitors your heart rate. It accurately displays distances to the front, back, and middle the green, including the surrounding hazards. There is also an AutoShot tracking feature that automatically records your shot’s travelled distance, making it easier to analyze after a round.
Furthermore, this device can track information from your various non-golf activities, such as calories burned, action intensity, and even step count, meaning it can stay useful in or out of the course. In that regard, the Approach X40, if paired with your smartphone, can also notify you of incoming texts, e-mails, and other alerts you have set.
For the battery life, this Garmin X40 is claimed to last approximately 10 hours in full GPS mode, whereas in regular watch mode that duration extends up to 5 days. The product is light, has a 1” x 0.42” display size and 160 x 68 pixel resolution. Aside from its 40,000 pre-loaded course maps (updatable), the band also has a built-in digital scorecard.
Precision Pro Golf GPS band
With up to 35,000 preloaded worldwide courses, this golf GPS band is prepared to conquer any course for you. More importantly, the Precision Pro golf GPS band is ready to use from the get go, thus no complicated setups, annoying downloads, nor expensive subscription fees, will ever bother you.
When playing, the Precision Pro golf band can display distances up to 4 hazards that are nearest to your target, giving you plenty of ways to approach a hole. Finding your current course among the thousands of pre-installed ones is also made easier, thanks to the auto course recognition system which narrows down the list of courses closest to you, just by pressing the Play Golf button.
There is also an auto-hole advancement feature that automatically changes the current display to the next hole. The product is waterproof as deep as 32 ft., and can last up to 8 hours in continuous GPS mode, and 52 weeks in watch mode. It is also built small and light.
If you care more about the style of the GPS band, this unit will probably appeal to you the most. It is small, light, and stylish, which adds great aesthetic to any attire you wear. However, this particular GolfBuddy GPS device is made specifically for the ladies, which also happens to be the first among golf GPS watches.
Aside from its fashionable form, the GolfBuddy LD2 can also provide accurate distances to hazards and to the front, center, and back of the green, proving that it is not all about style. Other amazing innovations you can get from it are the automatic course/hole recognition and dual shot distance measurement. The battery only last up to 6 hours in play mode, but that stretches to 9 weeks in standard watch setup.
The LD2 of GolfBuddy is manufactured using a combination of Swarovski crystals, genuine leather strap with alligator grain, stainless steel crown button and bezel, and premium mineral crystal lens. The LD2’s 1.18” LCD display comes with a 52 x 32 pixel resolution, and is light. Moreover, the unit has a 32-ft waterproof rating, and is pre-loaded with up to 40,000 courses.
The BB5 golf GPS band by GolfBuddy uses a unique 20 x 5 dot LED display. Powered by a lithium polymer battery, this watch can stay on for up to 10 hours of continuous use in golf mode, and 20 days in standard mode. Albeit not fully waterproofed, the unit does have a water resistance rating of IP65.
Out of the box, this GPS device comes pre-loaded with 40,000 courses. It can measure distances to the front, center, and back of the green, as well as your shot distances. The integrated pedometer also enables the band to monitor your step count.
The auto course/hole recognition of the product also allows you to identify your current course much faster, and help you easily find your next target. You can also personalize the gadget to fit your apparel, since you can swap the wristband to another color.
Golf GPS Band Comparison: Finding Out the Best
Before we identify which of the products is the cheapest and which is the most expensive, I would like to first emphasize that all prices used for comparison here are based on the original cost of each unit. This is to promote uniformity among all entries and prevent any bias, since discounts and promo deals can vary between resellers.
Now that that is out of the way, let us proceed to the actual comparison. For the cheapest golf GPS band, the product to take the spot is the Garmin Approach X40. On the other side of the spectrum, both the GolfBuddy LD2 and BB5 ties as the least expensive device on the list. The Precision Pro falls somewhere in the middle.
Golf GPS bands, just like golf GPS watches, have a lot of technologies in them. However, there are also unique innovations that allows a specific brand or model to stand out among its competition. And we will identify and compare such features among the listed products.
To start off, the Garmin Approach X40 is the only product on this list that can monitor heart activity. It has a feature called Elevate™ technology, which measures your heart rate 24/7, or for as long as the device has battery and is on your wrist. It can even monitor your sleep pattern.
The other 3 GPS bands are not capable of the abovementioned features, but they do have certain functions that can assess other statistics. Take the GolfBuddy BB5’s pedometer as an example, which counts the number of steps you make on the course, giving you a rough estimate of the distances you have travelled.
Both the GolfBuddy LD2 and Precision Pro also have a similar distance tracking technology, but instead of a pedometer, they use an odometer. What is the difference, you ask? Well, odometer technology measures distance traveled via vehicle, therefore it is more ideal if you often navigate the course on a cart, whereas a pedometer will benefit those that travel on foot.
Another feature that makes the Garmin’s Approach X40 model standout is its built-in scorecard, which seems to be nonexistent on the other 3. Although you can still keep track of your scores the traditional way, each round will definitely flow smoother if it is done on a device that you simply wear on the wrist. Plus, you can compile your recorded scores and review them using Garmin Connect™ mobile.
Speaking of mobile devices, the Approach X40 is also the only item on this catalogue that can fully pair up with a smartphone, which is done via Bluetooth®. With it you get access to features such as smart notifications, email alerts, and the ability to connect to Garmin’s online services wherein you can compare and share game statistics. The rest of the devices are only limited to a PC connection (USB).
Shot tracking and other automatic features are also present in each of the listed golf GPS band, albeit in different forms. For example, the Garmin Approach X40 has this feature called AutoShot tracking, which calculates the distances of your shots for post-round analysis. The Precision Pro and the two GolfBuddy models also have their own shot distance measurement feature.
However, the LD2 can gauge and display the distance of two successive shots on a single screen, which is quite an advantage. Nonetheless, the Approach X40 still has the lead in terms of this specific function, since you can get a more detailed analysis of your shots via the Garmin Connect™ App.
Auto advance and auto hole recognition are also technologies worth mentioning here. All 4 entries are capable of automatically identifying your next possible targets. However, the Precision Pro seems to be the only one that can immediately change to the next hole without needing any hands-on manipulation. But, you can still manually toggle to a specific hole if ever you skipped one or if you started in the middle of the course.
Ease of Use
Each of the products mentioned here are generally designed to be user-friendly, but due to differences in features and build, some models may be easier to handle compared to the others. Without going into too much details, the Precision Pro is the device that requires the least time and effort to get used to.
With its auto course recognition and auto hole advancement features, along the fact that it requires no downloads nor complicated setups out of the box, the Precision Pro definitely excels in the user-friendliness aspect.
In addition, it does not have any of the Approach X40’s extra online and smartphone features that can potentially get in the way of you playing ASAP. And even though the two GolfBuddy models also does not have any of the above mentioned extras, their controls do require a more manual approach compared to the Precision Pro.
Among all entries, the models with the longest battery life are the Approach X40 and GolfBuddy BB5, at 10 hours, individually. Opposite to these two is the GolfBuddy LD2, which can only last up to 6 hours, followed by the Precision Pro with its 8-hour battery.
Note that all previous numbers pertain only to golf/GPS mode. In regular watch mode, the Precision Pro is the clear frontrunner, lasting as long as 52 weeks. The Approach X40 on the other hand can only stay on up to 5 days in this setup, which is the shortest.
Build and Screen Display
Given that the GolfBuddy LD2 is built more as a golf GPS watch rather than a golf band, it also has a bigger screen than the rest of the models. This means it can display multiple values with barely any difference digit size.
The other gadgets, except the GolfBuddy BB5, are also capable of showing more than one value on a single display. But, there is usually a more obvious disparity between sizes of each figure.
When it comes to additional features, the Approach X40’s TruSwing accessory (sold separately) puts the model at an advantage over the others. Such add-on will give you amazing technologies like Swing Tempo, Swing Speed, Dynamic Loft, Club and Shaft Angles, and many more. Although you can also accessorize the GolfBuddy BB5 through its interchangeable strap, it is not nearly as impressive.
Both the GolfBuddy LD2 and BB5, along with the Approach X40, all come pre-loaded with up to 40,000 worldwide courses. The Precision Pro has 5000-courses preloaded, but additional courses are being added to the database the whole time.
More or less, each of the products enumerated above are already great representations of what a golf GPS band should be. All you need to do now is choose based on what you truly need, your resources, and how you normally play on the course. Hopefully, the comparisons made here will help you in such process.