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Bushnell Phantom Review

Some handheld golf GPS devices on the market right now are so complex a degree in astrophysics would be helpful to actually use them properly. If that’s the kind of golf tech you are looking for in a golf GPS, then we can save you some time right now and tell you that the Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS is not such a device.

On the other hand, if you need a tournament legal golf GPS that is easy to use and easy to carry and despite lacking lots of extra bells and whistles gets the job done, then it may be the right pick for you. Read on to find out more about it and what this gadget really can (and can’t) do.

Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS Basic Stats

  • Dimensions: 2.3 x 2.3 x .08 inches, 1.8 oz
  • Display Type: Standard black LCD
  • Tournament Legal: Yes
  • Measuring System: Offered in yards or meters
  • Measuring Distance: Distance only
  • Battery Life : 10 hours per full charge
  • Preloaded Golf Courses: 36,000 and counting.

Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS: What’s in the Box

  • Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS device
  • USB charging cable
  • Belt clip
  • Instruction manual
  • Access code for Bushnell Golf App

Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS Review

Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS Basics

As we alluded to earlier, to look at right out of the box there is nothing fancy about the Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS. It’s small – and some will find that screen too small – it’s a bit ‘plasticky’ and you’ll probably worry about losing it because it is so tiny (that, however is unlikely for reasons we’ll get into in a moment.)

So, first impressions of this GPS gadget can be seriously underwhelming. They were for us, especially as the bright neon yellow trimmed version we were testing (it’s also available with red, blue or black trim) looked a little cheap. But as it’s so small that no one is likely to notice that, then it’s all about how it performs out on the greens.

Not for the Off Road Golfer?

The Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS comes preloaded with more that 36,000 golf courses, meaning that most major private and public courses in the US and the UK are already covered.

If the links you are playing are not included – which may be the case for smaller, more rural courses, – then you are out of luck, as unlike more technically advanced devices this one can’t map courses by itself. You can map it yourself on your own computer and upload it (a process that takes about 15-20 minutes if you are fairly computer literate) and upload it to the device, but that is a pain. Therefore, this may not be the right choice for ‘off-road’ golfers who like to hit those out of the way courses.

Want Distance and Nothing Else? You’ve Got It

In terms of actual functions, what’s on offer is distance, and that’s it. But for many players that’s really all they are looking for. And if that includes you, then you’ll be pleased to learn that the Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS provides these quickly, accurately and without any extra work on your part as you move from hole to hole and dodge any obstacles in your way. Basically, once you have determined that the device has accurately deciphered which course you are on, you really don’t have to do anything else but play.

Screen Display

The screen is small. Really small. 1.4 x 1.4 inches on a 2.3 x 2.3 inch face small. But you are only reading numbers, and that’s bigger than a standard watch, so for most size really won’t be an issue, especially as the smaller your golf GPS is, the easier it is to carry.

Little things do get lost though. Or that’s the danger. The Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS has a magnetic system built in on the back of the device that means you can affix it to your cart, your bag, the included belt clip or, as one of our testers did, the metal grommet of a belt and it will stay put.

Battery Life

The company claims that you’ll get ten hours of play off a single charge (about two to three rounds for most people) and, in our tests, that claim was just about right. A full charge takes about four hours and as the cable is USB equipped you can charge it almost anywhere you can find a USB port. Or, if you buy the right adapter, right in your golf cart to keep it ‘topped up”.

Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS Pros and Cons

Everything has its pros and cons and golf gadgets are certainly no exception. Here’s what we concluded those to be for the Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS after making use of it for two full rounds of golf:

Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS Review

Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Small and very portable
  • Magnetic clip system prevents accidental loss
  • Provides very accurate distances
  • Can be used in five languages; English, Spanish, French, German or Italian
  • Connects with the Bushnell App on your phone via Bluetooth

Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS Cons

  • Screen may be too small for some people
  • Provides distance only. Less skilled golfers may prefer to invest in a gadget that offers more technical help.
  • Adding new courses is not easy, so for the ‘off-road’ golfer may not be the right choice.
  • Is only water resistant, not completely waterproof.

Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS; Our Verdict

In many ways, whether you will like the Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS or not will come down to what you want one for in the first place.

This is a very simple gadget. It measures and displays distances on the course and that’s it. That’s all most golf pros use a golf GPS for and so, for the experienced golfer it may be enough. It’s a very accurate device, which is hugely important, so id that is all you need it for it’s an excellent choice, especially given that it charges fast, that charge lasts as long as it should and, thanks to the magnets, it’s hard to lose.

Many newer, less experienced golfers may benefit from investing in a golf GPS that offers more, such as distances, club recommendations, scoring, step tracking and more. The Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS offers none of these. Other devices do, but at a steep increase in price.

While we do not profess to have PGA Tour level skills we are decent handicappers and personally, in our tests (what a job, rounds of golf are tests) we found the Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS to be accurate and helpful. It’s well priced, the Bushnell App is helpful and completely free to use and as the day wore on we even grew to love that big bold colour stripe on the display face, which we found was not as loud as we thought, especially compared to some golf attire on the course…

Buy the Bushnell Phantom Handheld Golf GPS on Amazon here.

Written by Patrick Fulkirk

Patrick is a keen amateur golfer whose passion for the game has taken him to golf courses across the globe and to spend a great deal of money on golf gear while doing so. Pairing his love of writing with his passion for golf he founded this site to help others get the best golf gear to suit their game and expertise level and stop wasting money on the wrong products.