Top 10 Tips on Using a Golfing GPS

Brad Carey12 Mar 2022

A few years ago, golfers relied only on their naked eyes, their experience, and guesswork to estimate the distance to the next target flag. Nowadays, modern golfers make use of golf GPS devices to establish the correct distance from their position to the target flag. They also use GPS devices to measure the distances to hazards as well as to ascertain other valuable information that can improve their judgement In a nutshell, golfing GPS devices have revolutionized the game. Check out the useful tips below to find out how to get the most out of your golfing GPS device.

1. Only use rangefinders that are specially designed for golf

Golf and hunting rangefinders basically do the same thing – they measure distances. However, using a hunting rangefinder on the golf course will certainly not give you the desired results. These two devices work slightly differently in acquiring the distance to your target. Golfing GPS rangefinders utilize preloaded course maps to calculate the distance from your position to multiple key points on the green. Hunting rangefinders, on the other hand, make use of a distant target priority mode that is not really ideal for golfing. Therefore, to really improve your game, you will need to look for golf-specific rangefinders from manufacturers such as Garmin, GolfBuddy, TomTom, and Bushnell Golf.

2. Get familiar with the limitations of your gadget

Golf courses get redeveloped all the time. So there are chances that your watch may not have the latest map of the course you want to play at resulting in inaccurate distances. New courses are also being built all around the world.  So there are also chances that the course you want to play at is not yet mapped/ included in your watch’s library making it impossible for you to use the watch. Awareness of these device limitations can help you to overcome them. For instance, always making sure your device’s course library is updated before teeing off will ensure you have the most recent and accurate map. Also, strictly buying brands preloaded with more courses (over 40,000) will certainly reduce the likelihood of not finding your local course in the gadget.

3. Ensure that your device is always within reach

Always make sure that your GPS rangefinder is within reach to quickly get the readings you need. In other words, get yourself a golf GPS watch. The handheld devices, the smartphone golf apps, and other distance measuring devices may show you the yardages, but they are not very convenient. Modern golf GPS watches, on the other hand, are sleeker, slimmer, and more ergonomic. And they are right there on your wrist making them extremely easy to access.

4. Make use of your modes and apps

Most golf watches come with multiple features and functions. Sometimes accessing a certain function requires setting a certain mode. So make sure you use the modes appropriately to get the most out of your watch. Also, in some cases, the device may do some stuff automatically e.g. lock a pin location or advance to the next hole. If the device fails to automatically do something, don’t throw it away. There is almost always a way to do the same thing manually. Just go through modes to find it. Most golf watches come with complementary apps that allow you to analyse your game and compare your performances. Make sure you use the apps to discover the weaknesses in your game so that you can work on improving them.

5. Read the user manual

Many people often overlook the manual! Even though your device’s manual may be extremely long and boring, it actually may have a lot of value. Each GPS rangefinder device will typically come with its own unique user manual. The manual will have information on how to use the device. It may also explain how to access and use the device’s unique features. Some rangefinders also come with a quick start guide containing useful tips to get you started. You could also refer back to it for troubleshooting or to reset the device if things get messed up.

6. Practice makes perfect

We have all heard it before, “practice makes perfect”. The more you practice using your GPS rangefinder the better you will become at using it during tournaments. Do not get tired of practising.

7. Watch tutorial videos online

There are numerous tutorial videos online, for instance on YouTube, that could help you to figure out the best ways of using your specific GPS rangefinder. Keep an eye out for videos posted by both professional and amateur golf players. You could learn a lot from both types of users. Particularly look out for videos that have been posted by the manufacturers themselves as they are usually quite informative. You can think of the manufacturer videos as the video versions of the user manual.

8. Exercise a bit of patience

Everything takes a bit of time to master. The same goes for golfing GPS devices. So you’ve got to exercise a bit of patience as it will take you a fair bit of time, maybe two to three weeks, to become familiar enough with the device to begin enjoying using it and to start reaping the benefits of its features and functions.

9. Do not get over-dependent on your device

Using a GPS rangefinder on the golf course makes the sport more enjoyable and fun. However, do not get over-dependent on the device. This is because you may be invited to participate in a tournament that does not accept the use of your specific rangefinder or any other kind of rangefinder. This could leave you stranded if you are too dependent on your GPS device.

10. Do not let negative reviews affect you

Most of the negative reviews about golfing GPS rangefinders are often attributed to user errors or an unfortunate chance of getting a unit that is defective. Users who do not know how to use their rangefinders properly or how to get the most out of the device often give them a bad rep. Do not believe every negative review you read. Conducting a little due diligence on how to maximize the potential of your rangefinder will turn you into a well-informed user. There is no doubt that golfing GPS rangefinders have made the sport more enjoyable and fun! Any golfer who is looking to enhance their golfing experience should have one of these great devices in their pocket. With a bit of practice and experience, you will be able to make the most out of your GPS rangefinder.

Brad Carey

Brad Carey

An avid golfer, brad loves a round of 18 on a Sunday. After getting involved in the technical side of golf, he thought he'd share his insights with others.

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