Many golf gadgets can be useless. Not only useless, though; they can also be expensive. So don’t be dumb, and don’t waste your money.
This article is going to be all about the best value golf gadgets that you can buy today. I’ll try to split it up to make it as easy to navigate as possible.
According to Collins Dictionary (I didn’t like Merriam Webster’s definition), “a gadget is a small machine or device which does something useful”
Before deciding to write this article, I looked at other websites’ articles on the subject. Most of their “gadgets” were not small and were not useful, so I think I can do better.
Why should you trust me? Well, first off, I spend a TON of time researching everything that I write about. I watch videos, I read reviews, I find out the pros and cons for you.
Also, I’ve personally owned or tried a lot of these gadgets. Lastly, I’d consider myself to be extremely frugal and very practical, so I’m always trying to find the best value golf products on the market.
So, let’s get right into it. These are the best golf gadgets for the money that you can buy today.
Best GPS Golf Watch – GolfBuddy Voice GPS Rangefinder
GPS watches are some of the most popular gadgets among golfers. They can be extremely useful. No, they won’t be able to give you the exact distance to flags, but they can give you distances to hazards and to parts of the green, especially the middle (where you should probably be aiming anyway!).
There are lots of crazy expensive ones, but the best one on a budget is the GolfBuddy Voice model.
It’s loaded with over 35,000 courses preloaded on it. Check to see if it has your local courses here. If it doesn’t, you can go to their website and download it or send them a suggestion to add it.
Here are the most important functions that you can use it for:
- whereever you are at a certain time, it will tell you the distance to the front, middle, or back of the green
- it will give you distances to hazards
- you can measure your drives (or iron shots for better accuracy) by pressing the P button (Position Mark Button). Then hold the main button for 3 seconds to start measuring. After arriving to your shot, press P again to see the total distance of your shot.
Saving money: this GPS has no fee after your initial purchase price. You won’t have to pay a monthly fee to use it. One upfront investment and you are done.
Ease of use: comes with a simple clip so that you can attach it to your cap, belt, watch strap, etc. Very easy to learn to use. You turn it on, put it on your belt, and Golf Buddy locates the course & starting hole that you are on.
Battery life: It charges in about 2 hours and should last around 36 holes. Battery life will drop slowly the longer you own it. You might want to invest in a cheap portable charger after a while.
Waterproof: not advertised as waterproof, but customers say that they have never had a problem with it. It comes with a waterproof cover that you can slide on and off. It is transparent so you can read the screen even when it’s raining.
Downsides: Battery slowly lasts a shorter length of time after the years. Sometimes it will not put you on the right hole at times, but easy to fix. If you get too close to another tee box, it will sometimes give information on the hole associated with that tee box. Pretty small, so might be easy to lose if not careful.
Best Golf Tracking System – GAME Golf
There are multiple golf “tracking systems” on the market. Most of them are too expensive, making you pay a montly fee or just being a huge initial cost.
Results wise, most of them don’t provide you with any helpful information, and are more of a gimmick for golfers that won’t use them after one or two rounds.
If you are a very detail-driven golfer, though, they can be a huge help. They can give you a lot of info that you wouldn’t have realized otherwise. Some people get more results when they see hard numbers, and this will give you just that.
The best tracking system on a budget, without a doubt, is Game Golf. They beat Arccos by a mile when it comes to offering value to customers.
Here’s how it works: you wear a small device on your belt/pants. You put a small unit on the butt of each golf club in your bag.
Before each shot, you tap the butt of the club against the device on your belt/pants. You do that before each shot, therefore tracking exactly what and how far you are hitting for each shot.
You can then get a ton of information to use to see what you need to improve. Tracking progress is incredibly easy.
I think a pro and con list will probably be the most helpful here:
- Highly recommended if you’re the type of golfer that gets deep into stats and wants to improve your game
- If you add tapping the butt of your club to the device to your pre-shot routine, it can be very easy to remember.
- App has a great GPS, which you can use to get distances to front, middle, and back of greens, as well as to hazards.
- Excellent customer service- they have gone out of their way to add combinations of 27 hole courses so that you can choose which 9’s you play.
- Best when you connect to your laptop to review your round
- Gathers information on distances of clubs, and produces information which can be based on that single round, many rounds, all rounds, etc.
- It saves previous round data for comparisons
- Easy to use if you want to wait to check everything at the end: start the app, select the course you are about to play and put the phone up. Game Golf keeps all the info and syncs it in the app. You can review later.
- There are lots of stats, like how often you miss to the right, left, short, long, fairway % hit, etc.
- App crashes or freezes sometimes and doesn’t work exactly as you might like at times.
- Can sometimes count shots twice. Easy to delete when reviewing though. Much better than Arccos, still, which often times misses shots completely.
- If you forget to tap the device, you’ll have to go in and manually add the shot (not too difficult). You’ll have to add “gimme” putts as well.
- Runs your phone battery down a good bit. I’d sugget getting a portable charger if needed.
- Terrible instructions. Watch videos to setup instead.
Best Golf Simulator – Optishot 2 Simulator
I still classify this as a gadget. Why? Because, by using this small, smart hitting mat, you can play awesome courses and get a decent representation of your actual golf game.
This is the closest that you can come to playing golf when you are at home. If you can invest in a decent size projection screen and a nice hitting bay, you can end up with a great looking setup.
Prepare to be the envy of all of your friends, and the uncle that every niece/nephew wants to visit all the time!
For the money, Optishot is simply the best simulator that you can buy. Their reputation and customer service are very hard to beat, and their price is extremely fair.
I by not means have any room for a simulator in my college apartment, but this is the one that I would get after I’ve done a lot of research and read a lot of reviews.
I feel like a simple pro/con list will probably be the most helpful when it comes to describing the Optishot Simulator
- You can pick from 6 different game types, weather conditions, and multiple camera views.
- Can upgrade to OptiShot Season Pass, which has online tournaments bringing golfers from around the world to compete against each other
- Works on macs and windows
- Very low price compared to other simulators
- Not very helpful or entertaining unless you get the projection screen (not included)
- Not extremely accurate
- Will not read topped or fat shots – club head speed is all that matters
- Requires large set up area
Best Value Rangefinder – Nikon Coolshot 20
The Nikon Coolshot 20 is exactly what you need in a rangefinder, and nothing more.
It is going to be reliable, consistent, and accurate. It will last a long time, and has the brand recognition that is extremeley important in the rangefinder indsutry.
My favorite part is that they are much better built than a similar Bushnell Rangefinder in this price range (less than $200). The batteries are much less likely to some out, and the rangefinder is just much more sturdy in general.
The yardages are very easy to see and catch on to. Just one press of the button and you should be able to lock onto any distance within 350ish yards.
Overall, for less than $200, this is an absolute steal. No one really needs those $350 Bushnell rangefinders anyway, let’s be real.
So, save some money and buy only what you need: a Nikon rangefinder!
Best Camera System for Swing Videos – SelfieGolf Cell Phone Holder
If you are like me, you LOVE videoing your swing to make sure you are actually making progress.
However, I hate asking someone to video the swing for me. For one, I hate bothering other people. But they also tend to mess up the video compared to how I usually video it, so it’s more consistent if I just do it myself.
The best thing I have found is to simply stick an alignment stick right into the ground and attack this phone holder at waist height. I then set up another alignment stick pointing at my target and back at the camera and that is where I set my feet up. It is a very easy method to replicate, which is HUGE for trying to keep videos consistent.
It’s recommended that you set up the vertical alignment stick to intersect with your bag to provide more support in the wind, but I have never had to do that so far!
Best Wedge Groove Sharpener to Get More Spin: TruGroove Golf Club Groove Sharpener
Are your wedge grooves completely worn down? Not getting as much spin and check around the greens as you used to? That’s probably because your grooves are worn down.
After many rounds and years of playing and practicing, it is going to happen eventually.
Thankfully, though, this great gadget was invented so that we don’t have to buy new wedges each year.
This tool simply sharpens the grooves of your wedges and irons (I don’t recommend you do it to anything more than a PW or 9iron) so that they will play more like new.
Best Golf Club Cleaner Gadget – Retractable Golf Brush
The ONLY golf club brush that you should get should be a retractable one.
If you have never used a retractable one, you don’t know what you are missing.
No more having to be within 4 inches of your bag to clean a club, and no more losing your brush because it was no attached to anything. Retractable brushed are the only brushes you need from now on.
A good brush will have both rough and soft bristles. Rough for tough rust and stuck dirt. Soft for everything that doesn’t need rough bristles.
A groove sharpener is optional, as it won’t do a crazy good job anyway unless you buy it separately (see above).
Best All-in-One Tool Kit – 3 in 1 Golf Kit
This all in one tool kit makes it easy. It’s got everything you need: 1) a retractable brush 2) a groove sharpener and 3) a divot tool and ball marker
Besides clubs and balls, you don’t need much else.
If you are looking for one item to cover a lot of bases, this is the one for you.
This is also a great gift idea for a new-ish golfer, as all of these are essential at some point in a golfer’s life.
Best Golf Cart Gadget – ClickCaddie
Where do you put your phone when you are playing golf in a cart? Just in a cupholder that will eventually be used for a drink? In a little cubby that is impossible to get to? I would hope not.
The ClickCaddy is a GENIUS device. The back fits into the golf ball carrier of the cart. The front is magnetic so you can put your phone right in your sight to use your GPS app or just to look at messages if you need to. You just need to place a small metal plate (included) in between your case or use the adhesive back.
It’s also a great way to have music playing while you play. I can’t stress enough how great it is to be able to easily access your music when you are playing a relaxing round.
There are a lot of crappy golf cart accessories out there, so I was glad to stumble upon ClickCaddie.
Best Putting Gadget – IINNII Putting Mirror
Putting mirrors are extremely helpful for a number of reasons. The most important one is that is keeps your eyes in the same spot putt after putt.
If your eyes are not consistently in the same spot over the ball, you will see different/incorrect lines over the ball each time. Putting is hard as is. We need to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep the setup consistent.
This putting mirror is a lot cheaper than others online, and the reviews are great so I see no reason to shell out more money for a better brand name. They appear to be the same exact style anyway.
Best Full Swing Gadget – Swingyde
Remember: a gadget is a small and practical item. There are not many of those when it comes to full swing improvement. However, the Swingyde is the perfect anomoly!
Wrist hinge in the golf swing is an often misinterpreted fundamental. Too many golfers hinge their wrists too horizontally as opposed to towards the sky. This leads to a poor takeaway, and it’s hard to adjust about that.
The best swing aid gadget is the Swingyde, as it will ensure you are hinging your wrists at the correct angle (and the correct amount as well). This will improve your swing plane in the backswing, which is likely to make your downswing on a better plane as well.
It’s also great to make sure you are properly releasing the club after impact, which is a common fault among amateurs. Many leave the face wide open at impact, instead of releasing their forearms and the club to close the club face during impact.
So, if you struggle with wrist hinge, swing plane, or releasing the club, this is definitely the tool for you.
Best Gadget for Increasing Swing Speed – Sports Sensors Swing Speed Radar
If you are wanting to increase your swing speed and develop more club head speed… YOU HAVE TO SWING FASTER!
No ifs ands or buts about it. You have to make the club head move faster when it hits the ball.
This is the ultimate tool to work on your swing speed. It will tell you exactly how fast you are swinging. Eventually, you can try out different swings and swing thoughts to find out exactly what results in the fastest swing for you.
Anther great use would be overspeed training, where you practice swinging a light club or shaft extremely fast. This developes the fast twitch muscles, which help greatly at increasing swing speed in the golf swing.
Using this gadget to gauge your improvement (and to challenge yourself to swing faster than ever!) is a great idea if you aren’t pleased with your current distance off the tee.