With the great advances in technology, even the first-time golfer can have access to accurate yardage information thanks to a GPS golf watch.
Imagine being able to remove the guess work from your game as you attempt to work out the yardage to the green from your position on the fairway. Well now you can with a GPS golf watch.
All it takes is one look at your wrist and you have all the information you require to make a confident club selection and shot. Even if you cannot see the green because something is blocking your path, a GPS golf watch will still provide accurate distance information, with is great.
However, not all GPS golf watches are the same and there are some things you must be aware of when buying one.
What to look for when buying a Golf GPS Watch?
You need to have a budget in mind when buying a GPS golf watch so you know what to expect within your price range. Anything from between £100 and £200 will get you a basic GPS golf watch and for that you will get a watch with a digital face, similar to that of a standard digital watch.
This style of GPS golf watch will provide you with accurate yardage and can store thousands of golf courses, many of which will come pre-installed.
If you are looking to invest in a top of the range device, you can expect to pay £300 or more and for that you will get a colour touch screen, which differs from the cheaper models.
Something you must be aware of when buying and using a GPS golf watch is the battery life. The majority of GPS golf watches on the market have a battery life of between 10 and 15 hours. It is always best to check the battery level of the device the night before you play a round. When fully charged, you can expect most GPS golf watches to allow you a few rounds of golf before the battery dies.
Having access to course information is key when using a GPS golf watch. Check to see if the watch you are buying has the courses you want pre-loaded and if not, try asking if they will add it before you buy. If the course you want are not on the watch you will need to add the courses yourself, which can cost both time and money. In addition, the best GPS golf watches come with free course updates, saving you additional time and money in the future.
Other features you will want to check when buying a GPS golf watch include green distances; does the watch provide distances to the front, middle and back of the green? Hazard information; does the watch give alerts about hazards and the distances to them? Shot detection; this will show how far you have hit the ball and tracks your score automatically, saving you time.
Always find out if the GPS golf watch you are buying is water resistant and has an anti-glare screen. You do not want to look at your watch ahead of an important approach shot to find you cannot see the screen properly because water has got inside or the sun is making it unreadable.
Finally, you should try the GPS golf watch on before making a purchase. You are going to be wearing the watch for 18 holes on a regular basis and comfort is one of the top priorities.
There are many great GPS golf watches on the market but which one is best for your needs on the course? Below you will find reviews of two GPS golf watches currently available.
Garmin Approach X40 GPS Watch
The Garmin Approach X40 GPS Watch differs a little from other GPS golf watches in that it seems more like a fitness device, with the added ingredient of golf GPS capabilities. However, does that mean it is lacking in comparison to the competition?
The good news is the Garmin Approach X40 GPS Watch comes complete with a database of over 40,000 golf courses, which is the modern standard. A simple search and within roughly 30 seconds you will find the golf course you need.
The screen offers a basic digital display and shows the distance to the front, middle and back of the green for each hole. For a more precise distance to the hole, you can scroll through a number of set pin positions for the green and it will display the yardage based on the one you select.
The Garmin Approach X40 GPS Watch also displays the hazards on each hole and while the graphics are very basic, the numbers are very useful and inform you of the distance to each hazard. The watch also records shot data and you can upload this to a computer via Bluetooth, which is perfect for analysing your game. You can look at the number of greens in regulation plus the number of putts per hole.
With the additional fitness features on the Garmin Approach X40 GPS Watch plus the fact it can be used as an everyday watch, it is a good allrounder and comes highly recommended. You can expect to pay around $249 for this watch, which is reasonable given the features.
Garmin S10 Watch
A cheaper alternative to the GPS golf watch above is the Garmin S10 Watch which comes in at $149. This is one of the cheapest golf watches produced by Garmin yet the features remain impressive.
The Garmin S10 Watch is pre-loaded with over 41,000 golf courses. You do not have to spend any time searching for the course you are about to play as the GPS will find it and load the course for you based on your location.
The watch shows distances to the front, back and middle of the green for each hole plus hazards including bunkers, water and doglegs. The silicon strap makes it comfortable to wear and the Garmin S10 Watch allows you to record your score if you switch on the feature before beginning your round.
However, unlike the Garmin Approach X40 GPS Watch there is no Bluetooth built into the device so you must connect it manually to a computer and download the data. The information provided by the Garmin S10 Watch is basic and you will not get a huge deal of analysis from the data.
Nonetheless, if you are looking for a simple GPS golf watch, which provides good distance readings on the course at a low price, the Garmin S10 Watch is a good choice.
Bushnell ION 2 GPS
The first thing to point out when using the Bushnell ION 2 GPS is the battery life. You can play three rounds of 18-hole golf on a single full charge and it comes charged out of the box, so there is no need to charge before you play.
Most good GPS golf watches come with thousands of golf courses pre-installed but the Bushnell ION 2 GPS will detect the course you are playing on when you are at the first tee. This can save time searching through the golf courses or having to add a course at home.
The Bushnell ION 2 GPS measures the distance to the front, middle and back of the green but also provides information about doglegs and hazards. Trying to develop a strategy for a hole can be difficult with limited information but the Bushnell ION 2 GPS will show up to four hazards per hole, which is a great addition to the watch. It will also automatically detect when you are on the next hole, so you do not have to press any buttons the entire round.
Coming complete with an adjustable strap, which is soft and very comfortable to wear, there is not a great deal to dislike about the Bushnell ION 2 GPS. Some users may find it a little bulky to begin with but it soon becomes unobtrusive.
Bushnell Phantom GPS
The Bushnell Phantom GPS is another great example of a golf GPS which has been made to set and forget. Unlike many other golf GPS watches on the market, the Bushnell Phantom GPS does not go on your wrist, instead it comes with a magnetic mount and this allows it to be attached to golf bags and carts with ease.
If you like having GPS technology on the golf course but do not like wearing a watch, the Bushnell Phantom GPS is a great option.
There are over 36,000 golf courses pre-loaded on the Bushnell Phantom GPS so it is unlikely you are going to need to download any at home. Simply search for the course you are playing from the list and get started with your round.
The accuracy of the Bushnell Phantom GPS is superb and you will find it comes close to many of the top of the range golf GPS devices. It can also measure the distance to up to four hazards per hole, enabling you to minimise the risk of seeing your ball land in trouble due to yardage errors.
The screen display is bright and clear and you get two 18-hole rounds of golf with a full charge. You will struggle to find a better golf GPS at the price of just $99.
Golf Buddy WT6 Golf GPS Watch
For those who are new to playing golf and want some technology to help with yardages or experienced players who are new to golf GPS technology, the Golf Buddy WT6 Golf GPS Watch could be the answer.
Coming in at just $99.99, the Golf Buddy WT6 Golf GPS Watch comes in at the budget end of the scale. However, the design and feel of the watch is very nice and the lightweight composition means it feels very comfortable to wear.
Using the Golf Buddy WT6 Golf GPS Watch is simple thanks to the basic nature of the options available on the device. The watch gives accurate readings to the front, middle and back of the green and also provides distance measurements to hazards, which is always useful.
If you are playing on a course which is new and unfamiliar, the Golf Buddy WT6 Golf GPS Watch offers dogleg and lay-up yardages. These can make a great deal of difference if you do not know a golf course very well.
Perhaps the best feature of this GPS golf watch is the dynamic golf view. The Golf Buddy WT6 Golf GPS Watch allows you to rotate the image of the green, so you can see it from any angle. If you have strayed away from the prime position on the fairway this becomes a very handy tool.
One thing to be aware of is that the yardages do not always update automatically between shots and you may need to press the OK button to get the watch to update.
However, for those looking to purchase an entry level GPS golf device, the Golf Buddy WT6 Golf GPS Watch comes highly recommended.
Golf Buddy Voice 2 Talking GPS
If you have seen or used the first Golf Buddy Voice released to the market, you are sure to find the Golf Buddy Voice 2 Talking GPS a delight to use on the golf course.
For those who have not seen the older model, you can probably guess by the name of the device that the Golf Buddy Voice 2 Talking GPS speaks the yardages out loud. This is great feature as it means you do not have to keep looking at the face of the device as you enjoy a round of golf.
There is a choice of languages and male and female voices, so you can find one that suits you. However, you can also switch the voice off and use the screen if you wish.
Additional features of the Golf Buddy Voice 2 Talking GPS include shot distance measurement, which allows you to measure the length of your drives and a dynamic green view which changes the yardage to the green depending on your angle of approach.
The Golf Buddy Voice 2 Talking GPS comes with a leather belt clip and watch strap, allowing you to wear the device in the way you find most comfortable. It also comes with a clip on case so you can attach it to your bag.
The Golf Buddy Voice 2 Talking GPS has an impressive range of features and is very versatile, making it a great buy at just $99.99.