In golf, you need to know how far away you are from the hole. However, premium GPS units and rangefinders cost upwards of $300+ dollars. When a $100 item does the same thing as a $300 item, which one would you rather buy? As long as the $100 one doesn’t break and gives you accurate measurements, the $100 one of course!
Please note that all links/pictures in this article will take you to the item’s eBay listings!
There are three options when it comes to determining how far away you are from the hole:
- Guessing. Ha, good luck!
- Using a GPS device to get the distance to the front/middle/back of green and then determining how far away the hole is relative to those distances
- Using a rangefinder and shooting the flag
In this article, we are going to be talking about the best GPS (option 2) and rangefinder (option 3) that you can buy for under $100.
The Best Golf GPS Under $100: GolfBuddy Voice 2
The GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS is (at the time of this writing) on sale for under $100. That price will most likely continue for many years to come, so you should be fine even if you are reading this article well after 2018. For the price, this is the best GPS unit that you can buy today, especially if you like buying the best value equipment.
GPS units are becoming more and more popular among golfers. They do more than most golfers really need, and that is starting to become more obvious. Let’s think for a second whether we actually need an “exact” distance to a hole. To begin with, are you actually accurate enough to hit the exact distance that you want to if you know the distance to the closest yard? Most golfers aren’t, that’s for sure. Plus, most golfers should probably be aiming near the center of the green anyway, as that’s the area with the highest margin of error for you to still hit the green. Lastly, most holes will allow to you still determine very closely how far the hole is by telling you the hole location (or most of the times you can just see if the green in the front/middle/back). You can then use add or subtract some yards from the yardage to the center of the green. It kind of adds a fun factor into golf by requiring you to get better at reading green sheets and doing some math in your head.
So here is how the GolfBuddy Voice 2 works:
- Turn it on and GolfBuddy locates the course & starting hole that you are on (you can start on 1 or 10)
- No matter where you are, it will tell you how far you have to the front, middle, and back of the green
- It will automatically go to the next hole depending on where you are (some problems occur with holes where the tee boxes are SUPER close to the last green). You can also manually change holes (see video below).
- You can determine how far you hit your drives (or iron shots if you want better accuracy) by pushing the P button (P for “Position” Button). Then, just hold the main button for 3 seconds to start measuring. After you get to your ball, press the P button again and the device will tell you the total distance of the shot.
So, yeah, the GolfBuddy Voice 2 can be extremely useful. No, it won’t tell you the exact distance to flags, but it can give you yardages to different parts of the green, most notably to the middle of the green (where you most likely should be trying to aim anyway!). There are lots of crazy expensive GPS units for golfers to choose from, but the best one for under $100 is the GolfBuddy Voice 2 model.
It’s loaded with over 40,000 courses preloaded on it. Check this website to see if the device has your courses on it. If it does not have your course, you can visit their website and download it, or you can send them a suggestion to add it.
Here are a couple different factors that you should take into account:
One Time Fee: After the one time purchase of the device, you won’t have to spend any more money. That’s a huge benefit, as many other devices require to you pay a monthly fee. This GPS doesn’t have a monthly or annual fee, though. Just one expense at the beginning and you are done.
Ease of Use: It is super easy to set up and start using. When it comes to wearing it, it comes with a clip allowing you to attach it to your hat, belt, watch, etc. (you can also buy a wristband or belt clip separately, which makes it stay on easier and less likely to fall off). It’s very easy to learn to use. After turning it on, GolfBuddy will locate the course you are at and the starting hole. You can easily convert from yardages to meters by holding the upper right button. You can easily increase/decrease/mute the volume on the right side of the device, which is very convenient. The device weights about 1 oz, so you will hardly notice it no matter where you put it.
Battery Life: It takes a little less than 2 hours to change, and it will last you about 14 hours total on each charge. The device’s battery life will slowly decrease the longer that you own it, unfortunately, but that will be after many hundreds of rounds. If it comes to it, you can always buy a super cheap portable charger and use it at the course if you forgot to charge the GPS.
Water Proof: The GolfBuddy Voice 2, as opposed to the original model, IS completely waterproof. So no matter what type of weather conditions that you play in, your device should hold up just fine as long as all of the ports (the charging port especially) are closed.
Downsides: It’s pretty small, so you need to be careful that you don’t lose it. Also, it might not be sure what hole you are on 100% of the time, especially when holes and tee boxes are very close together or if courses experienced renovations recently. However, you can manually enter whatever hole you are on, which is a huge benefit that many other GPS units don’t have.
The Best Golf Rangefinder Under $100: Boblov Golf Rangefinder
Full disclosure: I’ve got a Bushnell Medalist rangefinder, as it is considered by many to be the best value rangefinder that you can buy. However, I am on the market for a new one, as the battery cover has fallen off many times and I eventually lost it. Plus, it doesn’t always work, making me have to unplug the battery and attach it again somewhat often. While searching for the rangefinder that I am going to buy, I came across this one, which is the high rated one (average of nearly 5 stars) under $100. I’m going to keep using my Bushnell Medalist until it doesn’t work anymore. However, when I decide to pull the trigger on one, this might be the one I end up getting. For now, I’ll give you the most in depth review of this based on the reviews on the internet.
The best golf rangefinder that you can buy for under a one hundred dollar bill is the Boblov Golf Rangefinder. It has a decent number of reviews on Amazon with the average review being about 4.5 stars.
It’ll measure any distance within 650 yards to the closest one yard. It actually gives you the distance to the nearest .1 yard, but that is hard to determine if that is actually accurate. Plus, no golfer in the world needs distances to .1 yard in my opinion.
This range finder has three different modes, which is actually super convenient and something that you won’t find in other rangefinders.
- Range Mode: this mode quickly gives you distances, so it’s great for when you first get to a range and want the see the distances to multiple different locations very quickly.
- Flag Locking Mode: better suited for the course, this mode makes sure that it is locking onto the flag and nothing else! It takes a tad longer for the rangefinder to give you the distance compared to range mode, but it is well worth it! Like the super expensive Bushnell Jolt rangefinder, this rangefinder will vibrate when the flag distance is locked. If you don’t want this feature (I don’t know why you wouldn’t), you can easily turn it off.
- Speed Mode: it will give you speeds (mph and kpm) of whatever you are locking on to (great for racing I guess?). Not something that you will likely be using often, but you could mess around with club head speeds if you wanted. I wouldn’t trust that the speed mode is super accurate honestly.
What’s included? Rangefinder, USB charging chord, manual, carrying bag, and a lens cloth.
Accuracy: Plus or minus one yard (that’s plenty for a rangefinder with this price tag)
Max Distance: About 650 yards
Weight: 5.9 oz
Time to Get Distances: 2-3 seconds
Slope function: No
Battery Life: around 30k uses
Pros: everything that you need in a rangefinder for a much lower cost; jolt function; 3 modes (2 that you will use often)
Cons: if you have shaky hands, might take 5-10 sec to lock into your target