Skycaddie Touch vs SX500 vs Garmin g8 – Which One Is The Best?
Golf GPS devices have come a long way in the last decade. It used to be that golf GPS devices were large, clunky and only provided basic course information. Now, golf GPS devices are more like having your own personal digital caddy in your pocket.
Still, with all these advancements and the growing market, it can be difficult to choose one that fits your game best. But that is why we have composed today’s article. In the following review, you will get the lowdown on 3 of the hottest golf GPS devices on the market.
Read on to get a better idea of which of the Skycaddie Touch, the Skycaddie Touch SX500 and Garmin G8 is best for you.
What Golf GPS Devices can do for you
Before we get into the details of these products, you may be asking yourself why you even need a golf GPS device in the first place. Golf GPS devices are very helpful for pinpointing key locations on any given hole and developing an effective play strategy.
They can help you make the right club selection and can be used by anyone looking to improve their game pace, lower their handicap or by anyone who simply wants a better idea of what challenges a particular hole will present.
The GPS golf market has made some major strides in the last decade and these devices are all but essential now. The technology and tactical edge they offer are hard to pass up so let’s take a look.
The Skycaddie Touch
As the name of this device suggests, the Skycaddie Touch is a touchscreen golf GPS device. The screen is 3” inches long from corner to corner. It gives full color maps of 35,000 courses from around the world. Using the screen, you can zoom in to get a more detailed view of any point on the course map.
It gives you helpful distances to hazards and doglegs as well as detailed distances to the back, middle and center of the green. You also get distances from the pin to the edges of the green in all directions which we found very handy.
By advancing to your ball, you can also get shot distances. The entire unit weighs only 2 pounds and fits easily on the palm of your hand. This is a truly portable golf GPS device. It also features a digital scorecard.
- Very compact design
- High definition display
- Bluetooth connectivity
- The SkyGolf app allows you to track your stats and analyze your rounds
- You get target distances for up to 40 targets per hole
- Long-lasting lithium-polymer battery
- Requires an annual subscription ($49.99)
- Screen locks up sometimes
- The mobile app takes some getting used to
- Sometimes prompts you to restart the device in the middle of a round
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The Skycaddie SX500
The Skycaddie SX500 is a beefed up version of the Skycaddie Touch. It features a larger 5” color display and definitely feels more like a smartphone than a golf GPS device. It still comes preloaded with 35,000 golf courses and automatically detects which one you are on.
You get the distances to a wide variety of targets on any given hole (40 targets per hole total). They have also included geo-referenced target positioning which gives you a more accurate idea of where any given target lies on the course.
They also added shot tracking for clubs on the Skycaddie Touch SX500. You can select which club you are using before each shot and it will save distance data for each one. The device is about 6 inches tall, half an inch thick and 3 inches wide.
- You get your first year’s subscription free
- Automatic green orientation
- Helps you gage repeatable club distances
- Rechargeable battery
- Works well even in tree coverage
- Digital scorecard
- Requires a subscription fee after your first year
- Takes a while to load course info
- The touchscreen buttons are easy to push errantly
- The micro USB charging port is not durable
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The Garmin G8
There were a couple of features of the Garmin G8 that impressed us. The first one was the “plays like” distancing. It can automatically account for uphill or downhill conditions and give you a distance to your target based on these factors.
It made calculating carry shots much easier. The other feature of the GPS device that we liked was that you could pair it to your iPhone as long as it was an iPhone 4 or above. The 3 inch (diagonal) color display will show phone notifications like texts and emails when paired.
The screen is multi-touch capable which allows you to zoom in on the green and see distances to the front, middle and back. It comes preloaded with 30,000 course maps and can be updated wirelessly via WiFi.
- No annual charge
- Free course updates
- Digital scorecard
- Blind shot assistance
- Battery lasts for 3 full rounds
- Battery is rechargeable
- Short recharge cable
- Hard to connect with satellites on overcast days
- The Scorecard mode is buggy
- Shot distancing can be inaccurate
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What we liked most about the Skycaddie Touch was the distances it gives from the pin to the edges of the green. The display looks great but we wish it didn’t have to restart arbitrarily. It was really easy to read in low and high light conditions. The mobile app could use some work as well.
The Skycaddie Touch SX500 was awesome. The 40 targets per hole were really helpful and you get real-life references to various targets so you can take aim with confidence. The overlapping arc traces were really cool to see in the mobile app too.
The Garmin G8 had a bunch of cool features, but it sometimes wouldn’t work like it should. The battery life was good but it was almost useless on cloudy days. One of the most important aspects of a GPS device of any kind is accuracy and sometimes, the Garmin G8 was simply not accurate.
If you have your heart set on the Garmin G8, you can expect to pay about $300 for the device but there are no annual subscriptions or course update fees after that.
The Skycaddie Touch will run you about $150 and the Skycaddie Touch SX500 can be had for around $400 but both of these models requires an annual subscription fee. While you get your first year of use free with the Skycaddie Touch SX500, there is an annual fee after that.
The Skycaddie Touch standard requires a subscription fee of $49.99 right off the bat.
So which one is best for you? If you are looking for accuracy and reliability, either of the Skycaddie devices would probably work best. If you want advanced features and convenience, the Garmin G8 may be more your speed.
But, if you asked us which of these products is the best overall golf GPS device, we would have to go with the Skycaddie SX500. It instilled more confidence with the 40 geo-referenced targets per hole. It even tracks club data and helps with club selection.
While the annual subscription fee and the upfront price for the device itself are both bummers, we liked how the Skycaddie SX500 performed overall. If you have the money, definitely give it a look.
The Skycaddie SX5000
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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!