Golf Buddy VTX vs Garmin G8 – Which One Should I Buy?
Garmin has dominated the golf GPS scene for a long time, and with good reason. They continue to improve their products in the arenas of design, features and functions. But you may not be sold on even the most advanced Garmin golf GPS device.
Lucky for you, there are plenty of fish in the GPS sea but sifting through all the options is pretty much a full-time job. Not to mention keeping up with all the new products being rolled out seemingly every month. Even more lucky for you (or us maybe), keeping abreast of all this stuff is our full-time job.
In our ceaseless effort to help golfers of all skill levels acquire the essentials and the accessories they need to play their best rounds, we bring you today’s review which pits a tried and true golf GPS device against a lesser-known but still formidable opponent.
The Golf Buddy VTX
The Golf Buddy VTX makes one very quick distinction for itself: it talks to you. From this little device, you can have your shot distances and hole information read out to you so you don’t have to look at the screen. The screen, by the way, is a 2.7 LCD color touchscreen.
Another great feature of the Golf Buddy VTX is that you can get the distance to any point on the course via the touchscreen positioning feature. This was very helpful when our shots would slice and we would find ourselves, let’s just say, not as embedded in the fairway as we would like to be.
As far as GPS features go, you get 38,000 preloaded courses from around the world. And as alluded to earlier, there is a shot distance feature. You also get distances to hazards and automatic course and hole detection.
And like any good golf GPS device, the Golf Buddy VTX tells you the distance from the front, back and center of the green. There is also a cool color layout of each hole complete with all the pertinent distance markers.
- Comes with a digital score card feature
- Comes with a plastic holster
- Touchscreen swipe function makes it easy to see your shot distances
- It speaks to you so you don’t have to look at the screen
- It can connect with Bluetooth enabled devices
- Compact design
- Sometimes puts you on the wrong hole
- The display resolution is lacking
- It can be hard to read in the sunlight
- The menu takes some time to get used to
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The Garmin Approach G8
The Approach G8 reminds us why Garmin is such a prominent name in golf GPS devices. This thing has a lot of impressive and useful features. To start with, it actually gives plays like distances so you know how to compensate for slope and declination.
You also get club advice from the G8. It keeps track of your distances with each club and can suggest clubs to use on certain shots based on this and other data. You can even connect it to your iPhone to receive push notifications.
As far as the basics go, the Garmin Appraoch G8 has them covered. You get over 30,000 preloaded course maps, auto course and hole recognition and a 3 inch color touchscreen display that is multi-touch capable, making it easy to set the pin to wherever it may be on any given day.
One of the advanced features that we really liked was the pin seeker. Should you become disoriented or unable to see where the pin is, the G8 will point you in the right direction. You can also see your distance to any given point on the course map with the targeting feature.
- On-screen layup arcs help you strategize your shots
- Automatic Wi-Fi course updates
- No subscription fees
- Rechargeable battery
- Compatible with Garmin Connect
- Digital scorecards for foursomes
- Not compatible with Android phones
- The charging cable is too short
- It sometimes doesn’t automatically advance to the next hole
- It loses GPS connection sometimes
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The Golf Buddy VTX gave the Garmin Approach G8 a run for its money on the golf course. It seemed to hold onto satellite connections better than the Garmin Approach G8. But, it did sometimes think that we were playing a nearby hole.
That was a problem we considered to be a major one. But the Garmin Approach G8 was not without a major problem of its own.
With the Garmin G8, we were disappointed that we sometimes looked down at it and it still thought we were a hole back. Needless to say, this made it so some swing data was never tracked.
So in terms of GPS functionality, we have to say that it was a wash between the Golf Buddy VTX and the Garmin Approach G8.
In terms of features, the G8 is still the king. The plays like distances it gives are accurate and really help you size up your shots. We really liked the club tracking data as well. Not so much so it could suggest clubs for us to use, but for our own analysis and information.
It was also easier to read and navigate the interface of the Garmin Approach G8. The menus were bright, clear and understandable while the on-screen menus of the Golf Buddy VTX were a bit muddled and confusing at times.
Which is the Better Buy for you?
As always, the answer to this question is highly subjective. But given the objective data, we think the Garmin Approach G8 would be the better buy in general. It has advanced features that can actually help lower your handicap and it is designed better than the Golf Buddy VTX in our opinion.
But if you don’t prefer features that some golfers may deem superfluous, then the Golf Buddy VTX would be more your speed. Our biggest gripe with the Golf Buddy VTX is the lackluster display but apart from that, it is still a solid GPS device. Still, our pick is the Garmin G8 so check it out for yourself.
The Garmin G8
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Hi, I am Matthew, a mid handicap golfer who likes to play as much as possible. I love trying out new gear and this blog is where you can find all the gear I have tested over the years!