JBL Clip 3 Review: The Best Golf Cart Bluetooth Speaker Available
For years I wasn’t generally one to listen to music on the golf course – even though I listen to music while doing pretty much everything else in my life.
It was for no good reason other than I usually just didn’t think about it.
But every time I was playing with someone and they turned on some tunes, I found myself immediately more relaxed and having more fun.
As someone who rarely takes his rounds of golf that seriously, having music to enhance the experience can be a welcome way to mix things up.
For most of this season I’ve been pretty lazy and never got around to actually buying a bluetooth speaker for my rounds of golf. I’d just throw some Spotify on my phone and leave it in my pocket.
Well recently my buddy Jeff had an extra JBL Clip 3 lying around and gave it to me.
I didn’t necessarily have overwhelmingly high expectations for it, as it’s only around $70 MSRP and right now under $50 on Amazon.
But now, after 5 rounds with it? Golf is changed forever.
Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it honestly only took one round of playing with it to view it as one of the very best golf cart bluetooth speakers on the market.
JBL Clip 3 Review: First Impressions and Performance
The first thing you notice about the JBL Clip 3 is its unique design. It’s a round speaker about the same size and diameter as a golf hole, but it has a little clip attached to the top of it.
The idea is you can attach it to just about everything, so that you have your tunes with you wherever you want to go. So far, I’ve attached it to my golf bag, a cooler, and let it just chill in a cup holder of a golf cart.
It’s an extremely versatile bluetooth speaker that even if it isn’t necessarily made for golf specifically – it certainly feels like it is.
From the moment you turn the JBL Clip 3 on, and and hear the audible guitar strum to let you know it’s powered up, everything is impressive.
The pairing process is stupid easy. You hit the bluetooth button, and hit connect on your phone and you’re good to go.
It’s simple, and it works.
There are 3 buttons on the front for play and volume controls, that work exactly as you’d expect them to.
But the biggest surprise about the JBL Clip? It’s sound.
For a $50 bluetooth speaker, it sounds good.
It actually has bass.
It gets plenty loud enough for what you’d want on the golf course.
Is it as loud or clear as some of the Bose options that cost 3-4x the price? No. But for this specific use case? You don’t need it to be. And honestly, unless you’re a true audiophile you’re not going to notice much of a difference.
Drawbacks of the JBL Clip 3
For all the things I love about the JBL Clip (which is most of it), there are two things so far that I’ve not liked.
The first and most important has to do with some compatibility issues – and this is an issue that will likely effect very few of you, but it does effect me.
On one of my first rounds with the device, it was pairing, but no sound was coming out – music was still playing through my phone. I could hit play on the speaker, and it would start music on my phone.
It was weird, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on – until I did.
You see I use Arccos Caddie for almost every round I play. And one of the ways Arccos detects shots is through sound and using your microphone. So when Arccos was on, it was somehow conflicting with the speaker.
Immediately after turning Arccos off, everything worked fine.
I haven’t dug into settings to see if I can make adjustments for them to work together, but considering how much I like Arccos – this was a bummer, and is likely going to be the case with any speaker.
The second downside is the fact that due to its unique clip design, it’s not a great speaker to set on a table or use anywhere flat. Sure you can rest it on it’s side, or more likely find a place to clip it, but for just hanging out around a table and listening to music out on your deck or something – it’s not the best fit. I use my Bose Soundlink Mini 2 for that.
So when using it on your golf cart? It’s easiest to just clip it your golf bag and let it do it’s thing – but letting it chill in the cupholder has also worked great for me as well.
On top of the versatility and value, the JBL Clip 3 is also waterproof – so no worries when you get that freak rainstorm down at Bandon.
Battery life is also very good at around 10 hours. And I’ve been able to get 3 rounds of golf in without it dying on me, so it feels like that 10 hour rating is pretty accurate.
Final Thoughts on the JBL Clip 3 for Golf
Straight up, the JBL Clip 3 is my favorite portable bluetooth speaker I’ve seen for golf. I’ve been on the course with friends who have Soundchucks or AmpCaddys and I prefer the JBL to all of them. The combination of versatility, sound, and price make it an absolute no brainer – and it’s why it’s one of my very favorite products in this year’s golf gift guide.
Bottom line? If you’re looking for a fantastic golf bluetooth speaker, at a phenomenal price, look no further than the JBL Clip 3.
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- Super versatile design
- Waterproof and rugged
- Phenomenal Value
- Compatibility with Arccos
- No stand for table use
- Sound isn't *quite* as good as higher end models.