Technology has completely changed the way we do everything. Instead of having to lug around a huge computer to perform calculations and get information, all of that technology is now small enough to fit on your wrists. The development of smartwatches, in particular, has been very beneficial for golfers.
Golf GPS watches can do much more than just tell the time. Thanks to the built-in GPS satellite technology, they’re fully capable of giving you some in-depth information about the course you’re playing on. Plus, they can act as your caddie to keep track of your scores and progress. On top of all of that, premium watches can even monitor your technique and improve your game.
Needless to say, the best golf GPS watch is a must-have for anyone who is serious about the game. The popularity of wearable devices has gone through the roof in recent years, so there’s no shortage of golf-focused options on the market. Sifting through those products can be a tough task, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Luckily, we’ve done all the hard work for you.
In this guide, we break down some of the most important features you need to get in your GPS golf watch. Plus, we’ve provided some recommendations on some of the best options that you can buy today.
Comparison Chart: Top GPS Golf Watches of 2022
|Golf GPS Watches 2022||Preloaded Courses||Battery life (GPS mode)||Price|
|Garmin Approach S40||41,000||15 hrs||Check Price|
|Bushnell Neo Ion 2||36,000+||12 hrs||Check Price|
|Shot Scope V2||Worldwide||4.5 hrs||Check Price|
|SkyCaddie Linx GT||35,000||-||Check Price|
|Garmin Approach S60||40,000||10 hrs||Check Price|
5 Best Golf GPS Watches (Updated Reviews)
Here you can read reviews that cover each and every aspect of the product in great detail.
1. Garmin Approach S40
- Stylish, lightweight GPS golf watch with a sunlight-readable 1. 2" color touchscreen display with metal bezel and quick release bands for easy change of style or color
When most people think of GPS technology, they think of Garmin. The fine manufacturer of car GPS gadgets has produced this attractive golf watch.
This GPS golf watch has a ton of features that you can use on the course. First, there’s AutoShot detection. It automatically records golf driver shot distances without having to initiate the command.
From an informational standpoint, this product is top-notch. Not only does it provide accurate yardage readings, but you can also see a simulated view of the green. There’s also the option to make manual pin adjustments.
Design-wise, the golf GPS watch has a lot to offer. The touch screen is bright and very responsive. When it’s not being used to improve your game, the watch doubles as a fitness tracker. You can also connect it to your smartphone to take advantage of a slew of features on Garmin’s app.
- 2-inch touch screen display
- Has over 41,000 courses
- Up to 15 hours of battery life with GPS on
- Automatically records shot distances
- Green mapping with manual adjustments
- Doubles as fitness tracker
- Connects to intuitive smartphone app
- Does record putt shots
- Slow startup time
All in all, this is one of the best golf GPS watches on the market. Garmin has done an excellent job at including some of the most important features that golfers need into a stylish wearable.
2. Bushnell Neo Ion 2
Don’t let the simple look of this Bushnell golf GPS watch throw you off. It’s fully capable of providing you with the information you need. The watch allows you to view distances with a glance.
As a standalone device, this watch doesn’t haven’t all the bells and whistles as some other options. There’s no touch screen. Instead, it uses a simple LCD screen. Thus, it’s not capable of reproducing maps.
However, the large and simple interface is more than enough to display distances. The GPS watch can show you all the pertinent yardage data. This includes measurements for up to four hazards.
The watch is designed to be used alongside a smartphone. Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, the watch connects wirelessly with the Bushnell Golf App. There, you can view more detailed information about your game.
- Has over 36,000 courses
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Reversible band
- Auto course recognition
- Integrated fitness tracker
- Rugged design
- Easy to read distance measurements
- No touch screen
- No map view
- Poorly designed charger
Despite the simple design, the Bushnell golf watch does pretty well across the board. It’s built for simplicity. Instead of staring at a color screen, you can take a glance at the bold numbers and keep playing.
3. Shot Scope V2
This affordably priced GPS golf watch from Shot Scope is a great entry-level option. Even with its low price tag, it comes with a lot of great capabilities.
Like most golf watches, this model can show you distances to the front, back, and middle of the green. It’ll also show you hazard information, which is a nice touch.
The most noteworthy feature of this watch is the performance tracking feature. The watch comes with two sensors that you attach to your club. Every time you take a swing, those sensors will communicate with the watch and push the information to your smartphone for later review.
From a user experience standpoint, the Shot Scope watch is quite nice. The black and white screen is very easy to see, even on a bright sunny day. There is no touch screen functionality. However, you can easily move through the various menus and pages with intuitive buttons on the side.
- Performance tracking
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Large color display
- Comes with club sensors
- Connects to smartphone app
- Doesn’t require a subscription
- Shows multiple distance measurements
- Weak battery life
- Bulky design
- No touch screen
The Shot Scope golf watch may not have the fancy looks like its more expensive counterparts, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy contender. It handles all of the basics well. Plus, the performance tracking feature can do wonders to improve your technique.
4. SkyCaddie Linx GT
- The SkyCaddie linxgt game tracking edition is Golf's first GPS rangefinder and shot tracking watch with mobile GPS app
Like the brand name would suggest, this SkyCaddie GPS watch system acts as your own personal caddie. The sheer amount of information you can get and collect is very impressive.
The coolest thing about this watch is the Smart Tag system. With every watch, you get 15 RFID tags that you can attach to your clubs. When you pick a club, the watch will automatically register which one you’re using and record distance data for it.
On the watch itself, you can see all kinds of great information. In addition to distances to the green, you’ll see layup distances, hazard information and more. The Intelligreen system is great, too. It automatically adjusts the map view based on which direction you’re facing.
Most of the convenience features of this watch are found within the smartphone app. The watch pushes the data it collects to the app where you can view charts and scatter plots. There’s also a virtual scoreboard to help you keep track of the game.
- Comes with 15 smart tags
- Preloaded with data from more than 35,000 courses
- Automatically records shot data
- Provides many distance measurements and layup data
- Intelligreen feature
- Connects to smartphone app
- Well-designed interface
- Easy to see in bright conditions
- Difficult to set up
- Requires a monthly subscription
- No touch screen
The SkyCaddie watch is, arguably, one of the smartest options on the market. The Smart Tag system is very unique and helps you see improvements with each and every golf iron in your collection.
5. Garmin Approach S60
- Sleek GPS golf watch that reflects your passion on and off the course.QuickFit watch band compatible:0.8 inch(22 mm)
If you’re looking to splurge a bit and get a premium GPS golf watch, check out the Garmin Approach S60. It’s a beautifully designed gadget that’s like having a full computer on your wrist.
The GPS technology powering the watch is very accurate. It’s capable of showing you a wide range of distance measurements. Best of all, you can see a color map of the entire course. The graphics are crisp and easy to read.
The watch has AutoShot tracking and PinPointer technology. The latter feature tells you the direction and distance to the pin, allowing you to take blind shots with confidence.
This is a full-featured smartwatch. In addition to all of the golf-specific capabilities, the device can receive push notifications and record activity for many other sports.
With the accompanying Garmin app, all of the data that’s collected is displayed in an easy-to-read format. Here, you can analyze your game. Pair the watch up with a good golf swing analyzer and you can improve your technique even further.
- 2-inch color touch screen display
- Preloaded with over 40,000 courses
- Up to 10 hours of battery with GPS on
- Receives push notifications from smartphone
- Screen is vibrant and easy to see in sunlight
- Connects to smartphone app
- Automatic shot tracking
- Adjusts to your position on the course
- User interface can get a bit confusion
- Lower battery life than competitors
The Garmin Approach S60 is a top-of-the-line option. Thanks to its advanced technology, it’s a great option for novice and seasoned players alike.
A Complete Buying Guide for Golf GPS Watches
Any wearable device is going to cost you a pretty penny. However, golf GPS watches are in an entirely different league These gadgets have their own unique functionality that sets them apart from other consumer devices on the market. They perform very specific functions. If you want to invest in a high-quality watch that serves you well on the course, you need to consider several factors.
What are the Important Features to Consider When Buying GPS Golf Watches
User Experience and Watch Features
One of the first things you should consider is how the watch operates. Golf GPS watches are like smartphones. A poor user interface will affect the way you use the device. Because these gadgets are to be worn on the course, you don’t want a unit that’s confusing or difficult to use. The watch should complement and improve your game, not hinder it.
Take a look at the operating system. Ideally, it should have bold graphics and texts that are easy to read. For ease of use, the menus and navigation need to be simple and intuitive.
Another thing to consider is the screen itself. How large is it? Does it use capacitive technology or do you need to carry a stylus around with you? Watches with durable touch screens that span the entire face of the device are recommended. They’re easier to see and can be controlled with a couple of swipes of your finger.
Also, how bright does the screen get? Chances are, you’ll be using these watches the most on bright and sunny days. Smooth screens reflect ambient light, which makes the information very difficult to see outdoors. To avoid this issue, get a watch that lets you amp up the brightness for better visibility.
Your golf GPS watch is going to be exposed to the elements. To keep your investment safe, go for a unit that has some protective features. Waterproof models are sealed to keep all of the internals safe from light rain and fog. Look out for the appropriate IP Code rating.
UV protected screens and screen covers are also available. They limit the watch’s exposure to harmful UV rays, which could degrade the quality of the screen over time.
Mapping Data Availability
GPS watches rely on satellite data to provide you with the information you’re after. GPS systems are quite accurate. However, they wouldn’t normally be able to provide you with precise measurements in a golf course. To do that, the course must be mapped out.
There are over 40,000 golf courses around the world. Some of the best golf GPS watches will include more than 30,000 maps already preloaded. All you have to do is load up that data when you hit the course and you’re good to go. Some watches even load the data automatically for you using your global position for reference.
Not all courses are mapped out. So, you’ll need to make sure that there’s data available for the courses you visit. Many watches connect to Wi-Fi. This is a great perk to have, as the device can download new maps and update existing ones whenever they’re available.
If you can’t see the green, it pays to have a green mapping feature. Some GPS watches can give you a birds-eye view of the area and provide you with some useful distance parameters. This can be very useful on unfamiliar courses.
If you can’t see the green, it pays to have a green mapping feature. Some golf GPS watches can give you a birds-eye view of the area and provide you with some useful distance parameters. This can be very useful on unfamiliar courses.
Manual Pin Adjustments
After you’ve already gotten off the tee box, you can still get measurements of the green with manual pin adjustments. This feature allows you to position the pin on your own so that you can gather custom distance measurements to assist you on your way to the green.
The most basic function your GPS golf watch should be able to do is provide yardage information. GPS technology triangulates certain points on the course to give you a better idea of how you can approach the green. These include distances to the front, back, and center. Top-quality watches can also give you some distance information about the course’s hazards.
The cool thing about GPS golf watches is that they do double-duty as a golf rangefinder. Instead of having to lug around a separate device, you can gather that same information from your watch. Not all wearables have rangefinder functionality, so it’s important to keep an eye out for it as you shop.
Typically, GPS watches that do have this feature utilize a “Touch to Target” kind of system. Basically, you’re presented with an image of the course map. You can then tap on a point and measure your current distance to it. It’s a handy little feature that can do a lot to improve your game.
Shot Distance Tracking
Want to see how far your last shot was? Invest in a golf GPS watch that’s capable of tracking individual shots. This is a very popular feature that’s used by many golfers. It’s a great way to monitor your performance and compare data from older games.
With this feature, you can start the measuring process immediately after you take the shot. Before you move, just press a virtual button to establish your starting point. Then, when you reach the ball, the watch will measure the distance from that starting point to show you how far your shot was.
Some of the best golf GPS watches have built-in sensors that let you keep track of your own technique. The mechanics of a golf swing are very complex. Everything from your stance to the motions of the golf club as you make an impact can affect the trajectory of the ball. Golf is a game of precision. Making fine adjustments to your technique can make a drastic difference.
Many watches can include accelerometers. These advanced sensors are capable of measuring the position of your watch in a three-dimensional space. It can also collect data about how your arm moves. Thus, it accurately measures parameters like your speed and strength.
You can use this data to see improvements. Depending on the watch, you might be able to push the data to a smartphone or computer for further analysis.
Large Battery Capacity
At the very least, your GPS watch should be able to last you throughout a full 18-hole course. GPS technology tends to use up more power than normal. However, many golf watches can last upwards of 18 hours before needing to be recharged.
With a built-in digital scorecard, you can keep your load lighter as you make your way across the course. Digital scorecards are very convenient. Not only is it always within reach on your wrist, but you can save that data and compare it to other games.
Fitness watches are very popular nowadays. The technology powering them, such as GPS, accelerometers, and gyroscopes, is already used in golf watches. So why not get a model that includes a fitness feature?
These golf GPS watches can be worn on and off the course to help you keep track of your activity levels. They may measure how many steps you take, how many calories you burn, and how much distance you’ve walked.
No modern golf game is complete without a GPS watch. These tiny devices have completely changed the way golfers approach the green. Gone are the days of having to rely on confusing paper maps.
The best golf GPS watches provide all of the information you need to complete a game successfully. Best of all, these watches put all of that information on your wrist so that it’s always accessible.
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