Critical Golf: Unbiased Golf Equipment Reviews

GolfBuddy World Platinum

GolfBuddy World Platinum





OVERALL RATING: 88. GRADE: B+. GolfBuddy has made large strides with the release of the GolfBuddy World Platinum, which incorporates full hole graphic layouts and the ability to target any point on the course for distance readings. The device is extremely easy to use – turn it on and it will find the course and hole and you’re off. Information is presented in a clear manner, and the menus are well organized. On top of that there are no additional subscription fees or other charges for accessing the golf course database – users simply pay for the device. Earlier concerns about course availability have been allayed, as GolfBuddy has made a serious effort to improve the course coverage.

Our biggest complaint is on the hardware itself – there is a noticeable (and frustrating) delay in touchscreen sensitivity. In addition, the screen on the GolfBuddy World Platinum isn’t as bright as we would like. Our experience has been that manufacturers take much longer to fix hardware-related problems, and thus we worry that these are issues that purchasers will be stuck with for some period of time (if not for the entire life of the unit). Our middle-of-the-road rating reflects this concern.

Course Availability
Ease of Use
Course Details


  • Easy setup – just turn it on and go!
  • Full hole graphics
  • Ability to add more points
  • Great course coverage
  • No membership or course download fees
  • Intuitive interface


  • Lag in touchscreen response
  • Varied consistency among courses on the amount of detail provided

Retail price: $399.99
Three year total cost: $399.99
Availability: Discontinued. Replaced by the GolfBuddy Platinum

100 / A+


The Good: The GolfBuddy World Platinum scored a perfect 100 for setup, because you simply open the box, remove the device and power cable, charge it for 4 hours, and head to the course. No software installation is required, and with courses pre-installed on the device, you don’t have to worry about loading courses from your computer.

The Bad: Now that they have added Mac support, we can’t complain!

Details: Yes, there are times when you want to actually sync the GolfBuddy World Platinum to a PC, such as to add new courses as they become available or to update a course already on your device. To sync for these reasons, you will need to register for a free web account, install GolfBuddy management software on your PC, and sync your World Platinum via the included USB cable.
We should mention that GolfBuddy released a software update package in the fall of 2010 that contained corrupted files and required contacting their technical support to repair. This issue can be fixed, but it seems GolfBuddy needs to improve their software release process.

What’s in the Box: The GolfBuddy Platinum golf GPS device comes with the following:

  • Rechargeable battery
  • Belt clip
  • USB cable
  • A/C power adapter
  • GolfBuddy Platinum Instruction Manual on CD-ROM or available for download

100 / A+


Critical Golf Test: The team at GolfBuddy has clearly been busy adding new course maps, as they have risen from an initial 46% coverage in our course coverage analysis to a perfect 100%! We only count a course as being covered if full hole maps and green information are offered, so you can rest assured that these are maps that take advantage of the full array of the GolfBuddy World Platinum’s capabilities. Fantastic-

Manufacturer’s Claims: GolfBuddy tells us that they have 34,500 courses available worldwide in their course database, the largest number of any of the GPS devices tested. What we don’t know, however, is if this number is restricted to maps that take full advantage of the Platinum’s premium features (overhead hole maps and green maps), or if it includes courses for which they provide only basic information.

89 / B+


The Good: GolfBuddy has delivered easy-to-use products in the past, and the GolfBuddy World Platinum continues that legacy. The device is extremely automated at startup and is easy to navigate, from selecting target points to entering scores.
The Bad: A bit unusual that multiple methods can be used to track scoring and statistics, and the fastest method to enter both is to select to “Enter Stats”. The GolfBuddy doesn’t automatically advance to the green view, so users have to somehow intuit that this is accomplished by pressing the displayed distance to the center of the green (the “349” number in the upper right hand corner of the image below).

GolfBuddy Platinum Front View

Click for details
  • Buttons. The buttons are positioned on the sides of the device, and include: a power button that also serves to lock/unlock the screen, a menu button, and a “ProPlay” button to directly enter scores and statistics.
  • Screen. The color screen performs reasonably well in various lighting conditions, and the brightness is adjustable. The screen isn’t as vivd as some GPS devices, however, and we would prefer if the device brightness could be set higher. The touchscreen sensitivity (or lack thereof) is truly confounding. Typing on the small keyboard when searching for courses, scrolling lists or selecting soft buttons is challenging – users are best served by using a tee instead of their fingers. The problems are exacerbated by the fact that the touchscreen is inset on the device (i.e. it’s not flush with the face of the unit), and the resulting ridge of plastic obscures access to buttons at the edge of the screen.
  • Form Factor. The unit is a bit larger and heavier than most devices, but it can still be reasonably kept in your pocket during play. The GolfBuddy World Platinum also comes with a belt clip.
  • Starting a Round. The GolfBuddy World Platinum acquires satellites relatively quickly, and automatically recognizes both the course and the current hole. Users can also elect to manually search for a course (by history, country, name or custom courses). Note that once the round begins, the only way to change preference settings on the device, review your scores and statistics from prior rounds, or preview a course is to completely exit the round (losing any scores and statistics that you might have already entered). This seems to presume more foresight than our reviewers typically had.

Suggestion Box: The touchscreen seems to afford the ability to create much more user-friendly ways to navigate some of the more advanced features, such as accessing the preference settings or advancing through different views. Here’s hoping that GolfBuddy will quickly push out a software update with that in mind!

Check out our chart comparing ease of use across different GPS devices.

93 / A-


The Good: The GolfBuddy World Platinum usually provides a large number of pre-mapped targets and hazards, and there is always the ability to add your own custom points.

The Bad: A few course maps, however, suffered from a dearth of pre-mapped targets, so adding additional custom points wound up being critical. We also weren’t able to determine how GolfBuddy selects the number of pre-mapped targets to display, and often would have rather seen more pre-mapped target distances in the hole view than GolfBuddy provides.

GolfBuddy Platinum Hole Graphic View

Click for views
  • Views. The GolfBuddy World Platinum provides an overhead map of the hole, a “green view”, and a “target view” that is a textual list of targets and distances. Navigating among the different views is easily accomplished.
    • Overhead hole view –The GolfBuddy World Platinum provides an overhead graphic pictorial of the shape of the hole and the location of various hazards (note that it is a drawn illustration, and not a satellite photograph). The device will automatically zoom in to show progressively more detailed views as the user advances closer to the green. Users are able to manually zoom, but in order to do so they have to cycle through the zoom levels in order, i.e. the GolfBuddy doesn’t allow users to zoom in a couple of levels, and then step back a level. We’re a bit surprised that GolfBuddy’s user interface designers didn’t capitalize on the touchscreen interface to provide a “zoom out” button.
      Users can tap on any point on the hole to see the distance to that point and from that point to the green, and can drag their finger on the touchscreen to see the same data at different points.
      The overhead hole view of the GolfBuddy World Platinum also displays radiating circles at distances of 100, 150 and 200 yards to the center of the green. This was a really nice touch, as the radiating circles provide instant context on where one might want to lay up.
    • Green view – The green view is a detailed illustration of the shape of the green and surrounding area and provides data on the width and depth of the green. The GolfBuddy World Platinum provides the distances to the front and the back of the green, and users can touch different points on the green to move the flagstick and receive the distance to that point. We appreciated the fact that the graphic of the green will rotate as the user’s position relative to the green changes.
    • Target view – The GolfBuddy World Platinum not only pre-maps distances to selected targets in the overhead hole view, but also allows users at the touch of a button to pop up a list of additional pre-mapped target locations (identified with text such as “RtBkr2” for the second bunker on the right) and the distances to those targets. A very nice feature is that touching any target on the list will instantly add that point (and the distance to that point) to the overhead hole view. Slick!
  • Custom Mapping. Each hole holds up to 11 targets. So for example, if there are 3 pre-mapped targets on one hole, the user can add up to 8 additional targets.

92 / A-


The Good: The GolfBuddy World Platinum provides a varied feature set that should cover the requirements of most golfers.
The Bad: Data junkies may find that that the set of statistics that can be tracked is still relatively basic.

GolfBuddy Platinum Scorecard

Click for feature views
  • Score and Statistics. The GolfBuddy World Platinum can keep scores for up to 4 players, along with their names and handicaps, and will also track more detailed statistics for just the primary user, including fairways hit, putts, and sand saves. Note that you can’t actually track how often you are actually in a bunker – instead, the device just presents you with the option to manually check a box entitled “Sand Save.” The device tracks greens in regulation by backing into the result based on the score for the hole and the number of putts. As we note in reviews of other devices, this can result in an incorrect calculation if the user hits the green in regulation, accidentally putts off the green, and then chips in (the device will not give the user credit for a GIR in that instance). Either standard scoring or Stableford scoring can be used, although GolfBuddy seems to utilize its own modified Stableford scoring system (for example, GolfBuddy awards 3 points for a par instead of the usual 2, and 4 points for a birdies instead of the usual 3). If anybody from GolfBuddy is reading this, they might want to note that there is a bug in the statistics entry interface when entering putts – the prompt asks the user to “Enter Score” instead of “Enter Putts.”
  • Shot Tracking. Users can track the distance and location of each of their shots, which can be reviewed later. There is no ability to enter the club used for a particular shot.
  • Auto-Advance. The GolfBuddy World Platinum will automatically prompt users if they are ready to advance to the next hole.
  • Preferences. The GolfBuddy World Platinum has all the basic settings covered: unit of distance, language, time, button sound, and a variety of power management settings including screen timeout, auto-power off, and screen brightness.

92 / A-


Device Accuracy: As is the case for most units tested, the device accuracy of the GolfBuddy World Platinum operated within the standard margin of error for GPS devices.
Mapping Accuracy: The illustrated maps generally portrayed the holes and the greens accurately, and we found the plotted locations of the different targets to be accurate. We did find some instances of missing bunkers that were in play.

86 / B+


Retail Price: The GolfBuddy World Platinum retails for $399.99, which places it on the higher end of devices tested.

Fees for Access to Course Database: Zippo. No additional annual fees or course download fees. Sweet!

Three-Year Total Cost of Ownership: With no additional annual fees or course download fees, the GolfBuddy World Platinum winds up being less expensive than a number of its competitors when it comes to the three-year total cost of ownership (which is a much better indication of the actual cost to the user).

Value: The reasonable cost of ownership, broad feature set, and much improved course availability make the GolfBuddy World Platinum worth considering. What gives us pause is the clunkiness of the hardware itself.

  • Andre Morneault

    Well, just got back from the golf course. Golf buddy platinum is just amazing. 10 satellites found me in the parking lot and ask me to walk to T box within 1 minute. I could see all the targets and all the distance I wanted to see. I think you need to go on the web site to see all the new courses available. All the courses I could imagine are available, at no charge! Wow! Best GPS I’ve ever seen! It’s now time to update your comments because Golf buddy platinum is the GPS to buy!!!

    • Frank

      I am about ready to throw this thing in the trash. I received the Golf Buddy World Platinum for my birthday and have uploaded several times to operating system version 1.0.6, application version 1.2.2 and database 1.7.9.  It is off as much as 30 yards sometimes and I am constantly having to manually switch holes for it puts me on the wrong hole? Guys I play with have sky caddies and they are right on!  About ready to throw this POS away!

      • Golf Buddy

        I have the same problem with distances…..20 to 30 yards off….frustrating as hell. Problem with Sky caddie is the annual fee….but……..

  • Jamesjiranrk

    Apparantly golfbuddy platnimun has a factory fix to make the size of the numbers larger, make the screen brighter and a glare free screen is in the works. I am told the factory rep can reprogram an existing golf buddy but the retailer cannot. Cannot understand why the retailer would sell a unit which must be upgraded by the factory rep later particularly since the store demo was upgraded and the balance of the retailer’s stock was not..

    I found the golfbuddy operated poorly in bright sunlight to the point it was almost un readable.

    • We haven’t heard about a factory fix to modify the device through a factory rep, but will let readers know if we learn anything. If GolfBuddy is at the PGA Merchandise Show in January we will ask them to clarify.

      • Ray M

        Any word on the supposed factory fix for screen brightness?

        • GolfBuddy wasn’t at the 2011 PGA Merchandise Show, however we did contact the company, and the fix to make the numbers larger and increase screen brightness are part of a firmware update.

          You can get this on your own – simply download the Course Manager software and log in, once logged in you should be prompted to download the firmware update. Once this update is downloaded and installed, your World Platinum will have this updated functionallity.

          • Panat

            I have the same problem on a unit purchased last month. In bright sunlight the screen is almost unreadable. I have downloaded all firmware updates and this has changed nothing. We also have the original Tour model where screen clarity is much better.

  • SPYDER21

    You might want to change your course coverage rating. They added nearly every course I have ever played in full layout. This one should be given an A+

    • Glad you have experienced such good coverage in your area! We continue to update the course coverage for all current devices as new reviews are added, and will be doing our next updates within the month. The GolfBuddy World Platinum did have low coverage (the course had to include both fully hole layouts and green information to be “covered”) at the time of our review, and we hope that our coming updates will show an improved score in this area.

  • Kjdflkjle

    What is the battery life??????

    • Battery life can be found in our Ease of Use section. For the GolfBuddy World Platinum, the rechargeable battery has a life of approximately 10 hours.

      • Guts51

        agree with spider21 you need to update this review on course availability. This unit is now fully compatible with Mac also. One of the courses i played when i first got gps, was without many of the special features/ i.e. in a basic info mode. Took it home and went to their site, updated all courses i may play in next few years. Now the courses on my GB World Platinum all have full features as result of updates. I played 10 courses in naples , florida. than came home to chicago and played my regular courses. All dead accurate…the systems mounted by course in cart were always within 1-3 yards with Golfbuddy. Battery life 8-10 hours It stayed on last bar for 2 hours during one round, charge lasts longer than you’d think. Now that its updated and due to no annual fees ever (world wide) this is the best gps out there.

  • Heyyu68

    Purchased on last month and final got out to try it. Distance is pretty accurate. Their web site is showing my home course was udpated late fall but I found a lot of bunkers and hazards are missing. They were there for many years.

    Their photo of the unit shows a complete hole layout but the actual unit have some of the tee boxes extended below the menu and target icons. Does anyone out there with a unit that does have this problem.

    On eof the feature they advertise is that the unit will recognize what course you are at but that feature does nto work. It only tell me what course is near by even when I am at the starting hole. The menu tells you how to change the setting to actviite this feature but the icon in the menu is not there even with the latest firmware.

    Battery life, will last 1 round no problem. I have yet to try to play two round with it yet.

    Overal, I would only give it a 7 out of 10. l Hope this helps.

  • Jocarl

    I have found that the golf buddy does not keep the stroke for the hole. When I start a new round I have to manually load them in.

  • Fabdelka

    Im having problem Locating Satellites and I’ve notice my time zone date is wrong, Dec. 31, 1969, how can I fix this issue???

    1. I’ve already update
    2. try to emerancy rebooting
    3. reset GPS in tool menu

    don’t know what else to do

  • netminder

    I just purchased the Golf Buddy about one month ago. I have had no issues that I have read that others had so far. I agree that the tapping on the screen is difficult if you have larger fingers. My solution was to put a screen protector over the touch screen to provent scratch. I have been able to find all the courses in my area and have been vacationing in Michigan and was able to find the golf courses I played. As for know, my Golf Bubby get a thumbs up.

  • andy

    I used my golf buddy platinum gps for the first time. On about 5 holes I had to advance it manually.  Do you think the unit is defective. 

  • Jathearn99

    Buyer beware!  Received the platinum golfbuddy for Christmas and the warranty was expired (only 90 days!) before the snow left and I could go out and use it.  It finds the courses and holes easy enough but level of detail near the green is limited and it isn’t easy to use.  Buttons located on the sides are in just the right places to get accidentally pushed when you are holding the device. If you push the wrong button, you may end up having to turn it off and start over.  Also, the plastic holster is flimsy and breaks easily.  Replacements are spendy and not even listed on their web site.  I do not recommend this product.

  • Jerry Sweas

    I just ordered the Golf Buddy World Platinum to replace my Callaway Upro MX which Callaway issued a recall notice on on August 3, 2011.  Can any of you who were also previous owners of the Upro MX who now use a Golf Buddy comment on your experience to-date?

  • Jerry Sweas

    I just got the Golf Buddy World Premium this evening and tried to set it up.  Unfortunately the device is not recognized by my PC when I tried to synch them after installing the Manager Program provided on the CD which came with the device.  Before I call Customer Support, do any of you have a quick tip on how to do this so I am assured I have all the latest course updates installed.

  • Jerry Sweas

    In May of 2011 I replaced my Sky Caddie SG5 with the Callaway Upro MX. Callaway recently announced a world wide recall of the Upro MX so I am in the process of obtain a full refund for this poorly engineered GPS device.  I replaced it with the Golf Buddy World Premium.  I used my Golf Buddy for the first time yesterday.  It was like night and day.  The use of the Golf Buddy was intuitive without the need to read the user manual (included on a CD).  One feature I particularly liked is by clicking on the “Target” icon, the exact distance from every hazard is shown along with a clear identification of each hazard, e.g., sand, ponds, water, etc.  I had not one error in club selection using this fantastic device.  The only minor complaint is that it is about 20% thicker than the Upro but I can live with that since the screen is about 40% larger than the Upro making it easy to read all hole measurements.  Finally, the customer service department is outstanding and timely both via their 888 number and via email.  If I was Callaway, I would acquire Golf Buddy and simply re-brand their GPS product–the two companies are only 70 miles apart in southern California.

  • Hobbit48

    Just bought the GolfBuddy Plat and charge for four hours.  When I powered it up it went to the logo screen but I could not get to the menu screen.  It’s like it freezes at the logo screen.  Has anyone else had this problem, am I doing something wrong.  Also, I tried to set up my account and the web site would not accept my registration when I hit the submit button.  I’m beginning to think the device is defective.  Any help out there?

    • Jerry Sweas

      Call the Golf Buddy customer service number (888-296-1428) and ask for Grant Horvath.  He is outstanding! He will also provide you his personal email address for future reference.

  • Golf Buddy

    It’s SWEET that there are no fees but it shows distances 20 or 30 yards off…..NOT IMPRESSED!!!
    Is firmware out to address this problem??

  • Cgbengel

    I am looking to get a Golf GPS for Christmas and was having trouble deciding which one to get, Sky Caddie or Golf Buddy Premium.  Right now based on your thorough review of both I believe I am going to go with the Golf Buddy.  I have read other reviews but none as complete as yours.  

    Thank you

    • Thanks for the kind words!
      The GolfBuddy is indeed a very good unit. Also stay tuned for our review of the GolfBuddy World, which is another device you should certainly consider.

  • Jerry Sweas

    I have previously owned a SkyCaddie SG5 and the recalled Callaway uPro.  The Golf Buddy Platinum I purchased in August is the best golf GPS I have owned.  Only major complaint is that the screen has frozen twice in the middle of a golf round over the past 20 rounds I have played.  This was quickly fixed by removing the battery for a few seconds to re-set the unit.

  • Tjf934

    I bought a Platinum golf buddy gps from a dealer on EBAY.  I am not happy with it.  I wrote an Email to the company and never got a reply.  So I call customer service.  Because it was bought  on EBAY it voids any warranty.  The problems are that the unit is too dark..  You must hold it just right in sunlight to read it.  The buttons are on the side.  When you handle the unit it is easy to activate a button.  Over all, I really don’t like the gps and I would urge anyone not to buy one. 

  • lji_tailwind

    Hi, I am considering buying a platinum golf buddy gps however was just wondering if it had the option of converting distances from yards to meters and vice versa?

    • Indeed the GolfBuddy Platinum can be switched between yards and meters – this is noted in the Features>Preferences section above (“unit of measure”…though perhaps we should have been clearer about that point…). Whichever units you like, play away!

  • fred Sadler

    I have a golf buddy tour. The case is not locking together. Where and who (tel num) can i get to repair? thanks Fred Sadler  email-  sadlerfr@yahoo.com

  • Jim

    Comment on the readability of the Golf Buddy World Platinum:
    The problem is with the screen backlight LED timeout setting in that you have three choices: 5 seconds, 10 seconds, or 15 seconds.  The manual says they are 15 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60 seconds.  The change was made, according to the company, to preserve battery life, but the idiot who decided to do this is obviously not a golfer.  15 seconds is not long enough to read and decide.  I have spoken to two people at the company, and their reply is that is the way it is, and if you don’t like it, return it to where you purchased it as they have no plans to change the timeout settings.  Isn’t that a real fine attitude??????  I also have a SkyCaddie SGX, and I can play two rounds with it before charging and the backlight is on all of the time.  Everything else about the Golf Buddy is fine, but this issue stinks.  The work around is this:  Press the power button, then on the screen press ‘cancel’ when you see the lock screen.  You now have a fresh 15 seconds.  If that isn’t long enough, repeat the process.  Isn’t that wonderful?????  What puzzles me is that when I use it in this manner, at the end of 18 holes, the battery is still at about 75% charge, so I cannot understand their logic.  I would not mind charging it after every round just as I do my cart as long as I could read it completely thru the round without having to screw around with it.

  • joekilkenny

    Stay clear of the golf buddy Platinum. I bought one last year and before I could use it I had to have golfbuddy e-mail me new software to install on the SD card. Good thing I work with computers. But now 10 months on and the golfbuddy has completely died and all they tell me is to send it back and we will ONLY charge you 80 EURO to look at it. No guarantee that they will fix it for 80 EUR. Dumped it and bought the Garminapproach g5, its is brilliant way better than the golfbuddy. But quality and go for the Garmin, unfortuinitly I went for the wrong unit first.

    • Jerry Sweas

      I can appreciate your frustration with your Golf Buddy Platinum. I purchased the World Platinum Model #DSC-G8300 one year ago. Even the manufacturer’s annual flip flopping of the name of the product is disingenuous to the public as it confuses consumers as to the exact model number they own or are considering buying. So, always reference a model # on this discussion board. The primary current irritating problem I have every round is 1 or 2 instances where I cannot access the distance to the front/center/rear of greens because the unit locks up.
      I would like to see a discussion on this board of users’ experience with smartphone-based golf GPS software that is not free–both Apple iOS5 and Android Version 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean) based software platforms utilizing the following handsets: iPhone 4S versus Samsung Galaxy S3. Topics for discussion: battery life during a typical round of golf, screen display in the bright sun, speed of on-screen adjustment of yardage as a golfer approaches their ball on a cart, etc.

  • joekilkenny

    Just my two cents worth on the Golfbuddy platinum. I purchased one in
    September 2011 and it was BRILLIANT after I had spent a day speaking to
    tech support to get it to work for the first time as the software on the
    SD card was corrupted and needed to be reoladed. But once I had gotten
    over the birthing process it was a dream, every distance to hazard and
    hole at my disposale. My golf scores did improve and I had a new friend.
    But after 10 months my new friend kicked the bucket for no apparant
    reason and NO help from golfbuddy this time, just send us 80 EURO and we
    will have a look. Sorry but the Garmin G6 unit has just been ordered
    wit a 1year warrenty and I would not touch Golfbuddy again with such bad
    warrenty service.

  • Shaily

    My Golf Buddy world platinum has been faulty since purchase. BEWARE if your world platinum is in warranty & does not show correct date/time send it back for replacement. The time/date are not able to be set on the device. It is set by the satellite signal. It is only weeks out of warranty & Golf Buddy are totally inflexible. repair will be at least £125 upto purchase cost of new device £339. Screen is difficult to read in sunlight battery lasts for around 36 holes. I am going to try phone based app @ £21 or else will try G5 Garmin.

  • Michele Hamer

    My Golf Buddy Platinum that I’ve owned for a year, like other comments barely last 18 holes before the battery dies…now it just died. When I push the power button, even when plugged in, I just get a slightly lighter grey screen. I have plugged it into a power source that charges another unit fine, but the golf buddy doesn’t seem like it’s charging. I tried the resetting the unit by holding the power and menu button down at the same time, but the grey screen just flashes a lighter shade twice and then goes blank. Should I pay to have it checked or should it just be chucked.

  • wwwTripper

    My Platinum has repeatedly crashed since purchase. This can happen 5 or 6 times per round – meaning scoring is impossible. Lots of the crashes cause the scores to be lost. I’ve tried to get help from GolfBuddy customer services, but they have been a waste of time – they asked me to re-set the unit and upgrade firmware. I’d already been upgrading firmware, and the re-set made no difference. Beware of this product.

  • Tony Powell

    Golf sucks.
    Why is rape better than golf?

    You can read a book and get raped at the same time.