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.
To write this article, we have analysed over 22 watches and are ready to geek out with some comparisons and analysis. It might not be the most perfect review but if you want to know a little bit more about what’s about and if you are making a good financial decision then we hope this will help.
If you are in a bit of a hurry, then here are our featured recommendations which are the best three GPS watches right now on the market.
Obviously, 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. They tend to be a lot cheaper than laser rangefinders, anything from between $70 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? I have done some research and spoken to a few coaches and players to find out about the preferred choices on the course. Below you will find reviews of the best GPS golf watches currently available.
Best Golf GPS Watch 2019
|1. Garmin Approach X40||Autoshot tracker||10 hours||Check Price|
|2. Garmin S20||Courseview||15 hours||Check Price|
|3. Bushnell ION 2||Bluetooth updates||14 hours||Check Price|
|4. Bushnell Phantom||36,000 courses||12 hours||Check Price|
|5. GolfBuddy WT6||38,000 courses||9 hours||Check Price|
|6. Garmin S10||41,000 courses||12 hours||Check Price|
|7. Golf Buddy Voice 2||Talking GPS||14 hours||Check Price|
|8. Callaway GPSy||30,000 courses||10 hours||Check Price|
|9. Garmin S60||40,000 courses||10 hours||Check Price|
|10. Dream Sport||40,000 courses||12 hours||Check Price|
1. 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.
I really like the Garmin Approach X40 and it has exceeded my expectations. It’s often compared to the Fitbit watches due to its design but I must admit that I like this more. The GPS works perfectly around the courses and the screen was so easy to use even when wearing sunglasses. The fitness related bonuses work perfectly too something which I love especially the heart rate monitor. The battery usage is really good as well and won’t run out after just one round of golf. You will not be disappointed with buying this!
2. Garmin S20 Watch
Not every piece of modern golf technology needs to break the bank and the Garmin Approach S20 GPS Golf Watch is a great example. While many GPS golf watches can set players back over $200, this comes in well under that price range and is a good place to start for those purchasing a GPS golf device for the first time.
The Garmin Approach S20 GPS Golf Watch is light, so it will not have any impact on your golf swing and thanks to the adjustable rubber strap, you will forget it’s there when playing shots. It is not the sleekest design you will see on the shelf but for the money, the Garmin Approach S20 GPS Golf Watch is fine to use both on and off the golf course.
The watch is waterproof so you can keep using it when playing golf in the rain and the digital screen display is bold and clear. By selecting ‘start round’ on the screen, the Garmin Approach S20 GPS Golf Watch will search for the course you are on and load up the information.
You will see yardages to the front, middle and back of the green plus the hole number and par. You will also find information about hazards, lay ups and scoring. While some of the information, such as the hazards can be difficult to work out to begin with, after using the watch a few times you will soon become accustomed to the menus and the way information is displayed.
With this one, if you are a bit of a data junkie like me, then you will love this. There’s already so much positive feedback out there and it’s all justified. Obviously, you don’t get a touch screen with this model, the functionality is all through four buttons which I think are so easy to get used to. I was able to track my steps and I’d know how far away I was from the hole. I was also impressed by that you can start your round from any hole which is always a good feature to have. For the price, it’s a really good GPS watch and does everything that you need it to.
3. 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.
This one just works great, it’s almost ready before you on every hole. I find that this helps out massively with club selection because I’m able to see the distance to the front and back edge of the green by just looking down at my wrist. It’s super easy to read and use while being rechargeable which is just great. The battery I think should last you at least two full rounds of golf. Love this watch and so will you hopefully!
4. 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.
I love this GPS! The main display is big and clear while being so easy to use. The magnet feature is awesome, lets you stick it to your golf cart or clip it onto your belt. Another pretty cool feature is that you can press shot on the unit and then as you head towards the ball which is usually in the woods for me, it counts off the yardage for you. Just a great product which will not disappoint!
5. GolfBuddy 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 an awesome price, 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.
This GPS watch is the definition of simplicity. If you are someone who just loves something simple and good at performing its primary tasks, then I think you’ll love this. It’s deadly accurate and with one simple glance, you’ll know exactly what club you need to use. The watch will tell you the distance to the front, middle and back edge of the green so you can make a calculated judgment about how close the pin is. This will provide you the information that you need without all the flashy gimmicks.
6. Garmin S10 Watch
A cheaper alternative to the GPS golf watch above is the Garmin S10 Watch which comes in at such a good price. 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.
You’ve already seen the S20 mentioned near the top of our list but this one is a slightly cheaper model yet still so good. During my golf swing, it was so light that I almost forgot that I was wearing it. Although, it doesn’t give you the actual distance to the pin, you do get the accurate distances to the centre, front and back of the greens as well as bunkers and hazards. Just charge the watch before you play and you are good for the round. Once, you become familiar with the buttons, it’s pretty easy to use.
7. GolfBuddy 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.
8. Callaway GPSy
Thanks to the advancements in technology, GPS golf watches have become more affordable and another entry into the competitive price range is the Callaway GPSy Golf GPS Watch.
The watch may be slightly heavier than others available in the same bracket but the differences are minimal and the Callaway GPSy Golf GPS Watch feels light on the wrist. The only negative element of this watch is the time it can take to navigate through the menus. This can involve using three different buttons and holding or pressing a combination of all three.
However, with a little practice at home you will soon be up and running. In terms of measuring yardages on the golf course, the Callaway GPSy Golf GPS Watch is up there with the very best. In addition to the usual green yardages, the Callaway GPSy Golf GPS Watch takes a slightly different approach to hazards.
Using the Callaway GPSy Golf GPS Watch you will find the distance to the hazard and the distance required to carry the hazard. The clarity of the display is excellent and you will have no trouble quickly glancing at the watch to find out the information you need on the golf course.
The interface could have been improved a little but overall, the Callaway GPSy Golf GPS Watch comes highly recommended.
9. Garmin Approach S60
If you are prepared to invest money in your golf equipment to improve your game the Garmin Approach S60 will fit the bill. This golf watch does not come cheap but the features are fantastic and worth the money if they are what you are looking for in a golf GPS device.
The colour touch screen is readable in sunlight, which is a crucial factor when on the golf course. The watch can attach to the straps or be used without them if you do not like wearing something on your wrist when playing golf.
The Garmin Approach S60 has a 10 hour battery life when playing golf and is not only great for showing precise yardages to greens, hazards and doglegs but is a very useful tool for analysing your golf game. It comes with over 40,000 golf courses pre-loaded and you can easily add more if desired.
You can find exact yardages when playing shots up and down hill thanks to the PlaysLike Distance technology inside the watch. In addition, you can touch any part of the golf course on the screen and the Garmin Approach S60 will give you the precise distance to that location.
The AutoShot game tracking feature uses the sensors on the watch to record distances for post-round analysis.
The Garmin Approach S60 is a great all-rounder and although it is quite expensive in comparison to many others you get some great features for the price.
10. Dream Sport GPS
The Dream Sport GPS is a golf watch and rangefinder which comes with over 40,000 golf courses in 80 different countries pre-loaded onto the device. Not only that but you also have access to free life time course updates so should the layout of the golf course change, the Dream Sport GPS will update for free and not all golf watches offer that service.
The batter life of the Dream Sport GPS in GPS mode is 12 hours and you can enjoy using the watch for three rounds of 18 hole golf on a full battery charge.
The Dream Sport GPS will auto-locate your location meaning you do not need to scroll through thousands of golf courses to find the one you are playing. Simply turn on the watch and let if find and load the golf course for you while you get changed and warm up.
Accurate readings on the golf course is a must for a golf watch and the Dream Sport GPS delivers in that department. You will find accurate distances to the back, front and centre of the green plus the watch will show you up to four hazards per hole and the distance to each of them.
The Dream Sport GPS is waterproof up to 50 metres so you can use it when it is raining and not have to worry plus the watch is comfortable to wear, meaning you can use it for daily use just to tell the time if you wish.