How Do Golf GPS Devices Work?

Navigating the golf course and elevating your game are difficult, especially for a newbie. Luckily, with the introduction of new technologies, a game of golf is now easier than ever. The benefits of using a golf GPS include distance accuracy, faster games, and improved confidence, among other things. However, to fully understand how you can benefit from good golf watches and similar devices with GPS technologies, you must know how they function.

If you are curious about how a golf GPS works, we got you! Read this short guide and we’ll let you know what it does.

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How Do Golf GPS Devices Work?

It works pretty much the same as the GPS system that you have in your car, providing insights about turn-by-turn navigation. Regardless of how large a golf course is, it provides a comprehensive map, which lets you know the nitty-gritty of every game, such as the distance that you have hit.

What is a GPS?

First, you should know what exactly a GPS is so that you will understand how it applies to golf. It stands for Global Positioning System, a technology that was once exclusive for military applications. Today, it is an innovation with a wide array of applications, including golf.

In a nutshell, a GPS refers to a satellite-based navigation. It provides location, time synchronization, and velocity, among other things. It is a system with 24 satellites in six orbital planes at the center of the Earth. Every orbital plane has four satellites that go around the Earth at a speed of 8,700 mph. Technically, only three satellites are necessary for location tracking.  A fourth one, however, is useful for the validation of the information provided by the other satellites.

Course Selection

One of the best things about a golf GPS is that it is preloaded with tens of thousands of golf courses around the world. The exact number can be different depending on the manufacturer. When you arrive in the golf course, the GPS will automatically detect your location. To add, the system can also connect to a network of satellites that will determine the exact hole where you are. Take the time to have a comprehensive golf GPS comparison to find one with the most extensive selection of preloaded golf courses. This way, regardless of where you are in the world, the device can determine your exact location.

Golf Course Mapping

As noted above, a golf GPS device works not just by automatically detecting your course, but it also maps he hazards that are present. This way, you will know the specific parts that you need to avoid to make your shots a lot easier.

Measure Distances

There are many parts of a golf GPS, but one of the most important is the sensor that it uses to connect to the satellite and judge distances. Within seconds, you will know how near or far you are from the hole.


Records Your Scores

Aside from navigation and distance measurement, a golf GPS also functions as a digital scorecard. This eliminates the need to record scores manually. You can input them on the device, and the GPS automatically updates the scores of every player.

It Works Like a Caddy

In understanding how golf GPS works, it is best to compare it to a caddy. The device will let you know how far or near the ball is from a hole, so you can easily determine the right club to use for a specific shot. You will also know through the device if there are hazards or bunkers that you will need to avoid. It provides a better judgment to boost your confidence. Despite their similarities, however, it is also important that you know the difference of golf GPS vs caddies.


In sum, a golf GPS works by connecting to a network of satellites. The latter used to be exclusive for military applications, but in recent years, they have been available for commercial uses, including golf. A golf GPS works by detecting your current location, measuring yardages, preventing hazards, keeping a digital scorecard, and augmenting the function of a caddy.