If you are an elite level golfer, you may prefer to use a laser rangefinder. These are expensive but offer the most accurate distant from ball to pin. But we are going to presume that readers of this piece will get sufficient value from either a standalone handheld GPS rangefinder, or a smartphone app that utilises the GPS build into your phone. In general a standalone handheld will offer better results and won't drain your phone battery, but the app will be cheaper. Of course, real golfers don't take their phones out on the course. (See also: 20 best smartwatches 2016 UK: the best wearable tech you can buy.)
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A good rangefinder will give you distances from your location to the centre of the green. It will also give you a visual map of the course. And the best record your score, too. Handy if like me you are generally last to tee off and therefore most frequently charged with weilding a pencil. You could also consider a wrist-watch type of golf GPS. This works in the same way, but is worn on the wrist. Personally I find it somewhat distracting to wear a watch, but it is possible I am a cack-handed fool.
In this story we also suggest a swing analyser that can help you reduce your handicap. Your journey to better golf starts here, with our guide to the best tech for golf. (Also read: 20 best fitness trackers 2016 UK: Best fitness bands & activity trackers.)
Best golf GPS | Best golf gadgets | How to improve golf handicap | Best tech for golf
Bushnell Tour V4
For a best laser rangefinder we like the Bushnell Tour V4 laser rangefinder, currently retailing for £279 on Amazon. Accurate to within one yard, the Tour V4 rangefinder is small, easy to hold and fast to lock on to your target. The V4 has what the manufacturer calls 'JOLT Technology', meaning it vibrates when the unit locks on to your target. A small thing but an important touch. You can lock on to the flag from 400 yards - not a problem for me - and enjoy five-times magnification, a fast focus system, and rainproof performance.
A slightly cheaper alternative best laser rangefinder is the GolfBuddy LR4 laser, with an SRP of £219, but available on Amazon for as little as £189 inc VAT. Similarly compact, this is a quick and easy-to-use laser rangefinder. And, like the Bushnell, it is water- and dust-resistant.
Bushnell Neo Ghost
Let's move on to our best handheld golf GPS section. The great thing about the Bushnell Neo Ghost is its petite size. That and its ease of use, and quick charging. This neat-and-stylish little golf GPS system fits into a pocket or clips on to your golf bag, and locates pretty much every course quickly in most conditions. And at £99 it is priced to shift.
SkyCaddie Aire II
And if you are in the market for a best handheld golf GPS, you should also check out the SkyCaddie Aire II. This £125 handheld golf GPS is compact and easy to use with a big screen displaying front, centre and back of green distances. The digital scoring and mark ball features help you record your performance, and the SkyCaddie is water resistant.
Bushnell Neo iON GPS Watch
In the world of best golf gadgets: GPS watch another Bushnell product gets our vote, here, namely the Bushnell Neo iON GPS Watch. You can pick this up from around £135 at Amazon. A small comfortable watch to wear, the Neo iON offers long battery life, and automatically recognises most courses based on your location. We like the easy-to-read fascia and the level of detailed information you can access. And unlike GPS devices it actually looks like something you would want to wear.
TomTom Golfer GPS Watch
The other best golf watch we recommend is the TomTom Golfer GPS Watch - a real bargain right now, as you can pick it up for £99 at Amazon, which is much cheaper than its £149 SRP. Similar to the TomTom Multi-Sport watches we have reviewed for running, the Golfer GPS offers precise yardages to hazards, lay-ups and greens, and useful graphical interfaces of the greens themselves. Like the Bushnell it is light and durable, and contains the details for 10s of thousands of courses.
Hole19 - Golf GPS & Scorecard
We continue our list of the best golf gadgets with our best golf GPS app. Hole19 - Golf GPS & Scorecard. An excellent free app that offers offers both a flyover view of the whole, and distances measured via your phone's GPS, Hole19 is available for Android and iPhone. For free. FREE! So you might as well try it. The flyover screen includes an aerial view of the hole, with total distance to the pin displayed in the top right. You may tap at target icon and drag it to any point on the hole to get a distance to a fairway bunker or water hazard. Overall the experience is not as good as a dedicated GPS device, but it ain't half bad. AND IT IS FREE. Did I mention that it is free?
GolfShot Plus: Golf GPS
But the best app for golf is GolfShot Plus: Golf GPS. If you are prepared to shell out a few quid (£24, to be precise) GolfShot Plus: Golf GPS is the best GPS rangefinder app we know for both iPhone and Android phone. GolfPlus' main killer feature is the best stats tracking and graphing you can buy. All major metrics are measured and displayed in a visual way. The flyover view is zoomable and contains touch targeting for distances, too. A great app.
Best golf gadgets: Swing analyser. A new breed of 'smart' golf gadget is the swing analyser. A connected gadget that you attach to your body, that can then measure your swing and suggest improvements. In this space we like the Zepp Golf 2, which retails for £130 or so. The Zepp Golf 2 offers a simple window into complex data, and 3D swing and performance analysis. A sensor that clips on to your glove and connects to your smartphone using the Zepp Golf is like having a lesson, without the uncomfortable physical closeness and the requirement to make awkward conversation with a golf professional.