We are in the age when everything we could ever want is at the touch of our fingers. Want to know the score of your fantasy team as you’re sitting at a stop light? There’s a phone app for that. Wonder what the specials are tonight at your local watering hole? Thanks Instagram. As old fashioned as some might think the game of golf is, it too, has been witness to the flood of technology and information in an instant.
This is especially true when it comes to calculating yardages. If you wanted a yardage in the old days, you had to find the nearest sprinkler head and pace off its distance from your ball. This proved to be an imperfect science at best. You still had to guess in what part of the green the pin was cut, calculate the wind, and account for elevation. Fortunately, the invention of the golf GPS watch changed all that. A one-time purchase of golf GPS watch gives you all the information you need when it comes to yardage. If you don’t have one, you’re making the game a lot harder than it needs to be.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with our list of the best golf GPS watches on the market. We’ve also shared our thoughts on what you should consider before you buy a golf GPS watch.
Top 6 Best Golf GPS Watches
Features to Look for in a Golf GPS Watch
What good is a golf GPS if it doesn’t measure the right distance? That’s it’s most important function. Believe it or not, there are some GPS’s out there whose distance measurements aren’t accurate.
Before you buy a golf GPS watch, test it for distance accuracy. The best way to do this out on the course. Find a spot where you know the exact distance from point A to point B. Give your GPS watch a moment to calibrate and see if it’s accurate. We suggest doing this with a couple different targets, just to be sure.
It’s also a good idea to do some of your own research in the form of reading consumer reviews. Has anyone had problems with distance accuracy? If so, you might want to think twice about that particular model.
Premium Cost vs. Budget
Golf GPS watches range a lot when it comes to price. Cheaper models won’t set you back too much money. On the other hand, GPS watches with all the bells and whistles can cost hundreds of dollars.
GPS companies are adept at marketing their products. They use fancy lingo to get you hooked on features and technology. When you first start shopping for the right golf GPS watch, you might find yourself drawn to the most expensive models on the market. Before you pull the trigger, ask yourself two questions. First, do you need all these extra features? Second, can you justify the cost? If the answer is yes, by all means, swipe that credit card. If not, you might want to consider a less expensive model.
Durability and Battery Life
Golf GPS watches are electronics and therefore need to be taken care of. When you’re playing golf, it’s not always going to be in the nicest of conditions. Rain, rough terrain, cold, the list goes on. You want a watch that can hold up in the elements. Some watches come with screen protectors and even waterproof cases to keep them protected. It’s worth spending a little extra money make sure nothing happens to your GPS watch.
Another important factor is battery life. Your watch should last a minimum of a full round, if not a couple. A watch that dies in the middle of the round isn’t going to do you any good.
While it’s tough to test the full battery life of a GPS watch before you buy it, at the very least, you should read some consumer reviews.
Golf GPS Watch vs. Golf GPS Handheld
Even though the function of GPS watches and handhelds are the same, the manner in which you use them is different. Handheld devices need to be put somewhere in between shots. For this reason, it’s a lot easier to lose them. Not to mention, they can be a pain to dig out of the cart or your bag every single shot.
When you wear a GPS watch, you literally have all the information you need on your wrist. No having to walk back to the cart because you forgot your handheld. No wondering if you left it back on the last tee box.
Some golf GPS watches also have features that handheld devices don’t. If health and fitness are a priority for you, golf GPS watches have features that help you track data like heart rate, steps and, even sleep.
Reviews of Best Golf GPS Watches
Below we have described and reviewed 10 of the best golf GPS watches on the market today.
Garmin Approach S20 Golf GPS Watch
The Garmin Approach S20 is made for the golfer that wants everything a GPS watch has to offer. Its sleek design is ergonomic and will fit anyone’s wrist. Features include yardages to the front, middle and back of greens, and distances to penalty areas, doglegs and bunkers. Autoshot round analyzer tracks your shot distances with each club and catalogs them after every round. Activity tracking reminds to you stay active on the course and monitors your steps, calories burned, and how many hours you sleep. The Garmin Approach S20 is more than just a golf GPS watch.
GolfBuddy Aim W10 Golf GPS Watch
This GPS watch comes preloaded with over 40,000 courses in 170 different countries. The LCD touch screen allows you to zoom in on specific points and, is easy to see. The battery life is 11 hours, so you’ll have no trouble getting in multiple rounds without having to charge it. If you want all the information you can get while you’re out on the course, the GolfBuddy Aim W10 GPS Watch is a great choice.
Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf GPS Watch
With over 36,000 preloaded courses, you’ll never have to worry about being in the dark when it comes to yardages. Yardages include the front, middle and back of greens and, up to four numbers to penalty areas on every hole. The round calculator tracks your score so you can do away with the scorecard and pencil.
Tec-Tec-Tec Ult-G Golf GPS Watch
This GPS watch has everything you need. Over 38,000 courses come with the watch and automatic hole progression ensures you’re getting an accurate reading no matter where you’re at. It’s also one of the easiest GPS watches to use with only four buttons. Battery life lasts for 2.5 rounds. If you’re looking for a golf GPS watch that has everything you need and nothing you don’t, the Tec-Tec-Tec ULT-G is a must have.
Garmin Approach S60 Golf GPS Watch
Garmin’s latest golf GPS watch is one of kind. Having improved on previous models, the watch allows you to customize outdoor activities to your liking. In addition to all the features, a golf GPS watch has, you’re able to set your profile to skiing, snowboarding, stand up paddle boarding and, even rowing. The screen is readable in light and allows you to zoom in and out with your finger. Battery life is up to 10 hours in golf mode and, 10 days in watch mode.
Skarlie Golf GPS Watch
The Skarlie Golf GPS watch comes preloaded with over 40,000 courses and gives free course updates. Battery life is up to 12 hours, so you can play multiple rounds without having to worry about the watch dying. Yardages include the front, middle and back of every green as well as, up to four yardages to penalty areas on every hole. The watch also comes with an 18-month warranty should anything go wrong.
Dream Sport Golf GPS Watch
If you’re looking for a GPS watch that’s reliable, but won’t break the bank, check out the Dream Sport. It comes preloaded with over 40,000 courses and course updates are free. Auto course and hole recognition put you in the right position every time, so you’ll never have to worry about having the wrong yardage. The 18-month warranty is one of the best around.
Canmore TW-353 Golf GPS Watch
The Canmore TW-353 golf GPS watch is functional and affordable. The white-on-black high contrast screen is easy to read in any light. Over 38,000 courses are preloaded and updates are free. The watch gives you all the distances you need and allows you to keep score electronically.
GolfBuddy Voice 2 Golf GPS Watch
This golf GPS watch is the closest thing out there to having a real caddy. Voice recognition tells you the distance on every shot. The watch is water resistant and the battery life is up to 12 hours. With over 38,000 courses, chances are you won’t ever have to walk off yardages again.
Izzo Swami Golf GPS Watch
At a medium price point, the IZZO Swami golf GPS watch comes with all the essential functions. Yardages to the front, middle and back of greens and, doglegs and penalty areas won’t leave you guessing. Over 38,000 courses are preloaded and there’s no subscription fee. The watch is water resistant and comes with a one-year warranty.
Gone are the days of pacing off yardages and guessing what club to hit. The invention of the golf GPS watch has made the game easier and, more enjoyable for golfers of all skill levels. The trick is finding the best one for you. Before you make a purchase, take the time to do some research. Test yardage accuracy. Figure out what features you need and those you don’t. Read some consumer reviews. Doing this work ahead of time, will allow you to play faster, shoot lower scores, and have more fun.