We all know how infuriating a game of golf can be, with some (okay: most) days feeling like you’ve forgotten how to even hold a club, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Technology has permeated so much of our lives it only seems fair to thrust itself into the world of the golf. And it’s about time. Now, the best golf GPS watch will save you pondering over the right club, potential hazards, and distances from the green. For the first time, you are in total control.
So step up to the tee and check out our list of the greatest and latest golf GPS watches to make that 18 a little less frustrating, just remember that if these don’t work, you’ll soon be running out of excuses.
The Best Golf GPS Watches
Our top pick for the best golf GPS watch is the Garmin Approach S60 Premium, which has a large, easily screen – even in sunlight – as well as over 40,000 pre-loaded courses, yes even your local one (probably). It delivers fast, accurate GPS location and yardage in seconds, and does everything it can to ensure you make it to the final hole under par.
Though a little pricey, it makes up for it with a vast number of features that double and triple it as a multi-sport watch for any occasion, which not only makes it the best golf watch around but also maybe the best watch around. Make sure you also check our guide to the best dive watches.
Large 1.6” sunlight-readable screen
Fast GPS location for precise yardage
Over 40,000 pre-loaded courses
Includes full-color course maps, hazards, and doglegs
- Weight1.6 ounces
Our second golf watch is the Garmin Approach S20, which isn’t as pricey, but is still ideal for both serious and casual golfers alike. With it, you get an autoshot round analyzer that’ll also deliver post-round analysis if you can bear to look at it. It’s compatible with the Garmin TruSwing technology which studies you swing consistency and shows you where you’re doing well and what you can improve on.
During rounds, your activity tracker will record steps, calories, and distance, which is awesome for those looking for a multipurpose watch, and to save you time in the future, CourseView will automatically update your regular courses so you don’t have to. Find more great watches like this by checking out our guide to the best sports watches.
Autoshot round analyzer with post-round analysis
Activity tracking when on the course
TruSwing compatible to improve consistency
CourseView automatically updates for regular courses
- Weight1.6 ounces
Easy to read display
Accurate information and GPS location readings
Long battery life up to 5 hours on the course
Slight learning curve required to get the best experience
Our premium choice when searching for an excellent golf GPS watch, the Bushnell Neo ION is a quality piece of golfing technology that’d make a fantastic companion to your round. Pre-loaded with over 35,000 courses across 30 countries, you can jet-set around the world and always find somewhere to practice you swing. This is enhanced by auto-course recognition, and it delivers auto-hole advance thanks to the easy reading capabilities.
It’s also tournament legal, and requires no membership or download subscriptions, giving you everything you need whenever. The battery life is also fantastic and allows you wear it through many rounds (successful or not) with no need to charge. Our handy guide to the best field watches features more great products like this.
Pre-loaded with over 35,000 courses from 30 countries
Auto-course recognition and auto-hole advance with easy reading
Up to 4 hazard or layup distance per hole
Shot distance calculator
- Weight4.8 ounces
No membership or download fees
Excellent battery life
Strap not very comfortable in humid conditions
During our research one thing that stood out in golf GPS watch reviews was how essential an activity tracker can be, and this Garmin Approach X40 brings that and more. It has AutoShot tracking, which measures shot distance while also automatically recording your shots, while you’ll also get displays detailing the distance in and around the green.
You’ll also get precise and accurate yardage reading that still wows after the 40,000 different available courses that come pre-loaded, while it’s so lightweight you won’t even feel you’re wearing anything. We wish the battery life was a little better, but with so many features, we can just about forgive it. Be sure to also check out our list of the best Victorinox Swiss Army watches for more great items like this.
Displays distance in front, back, and middle of green plus hazards
AutoShot tracking measures shot distance and auto records shots
Activity tracking software for steps, distance walked, and calories
Smart notifications show incoming calls and messages
- Weight1.6 ounces
Slim, lightweight band with Elevate wrist heart rate technology
Accurate yardage reading
40,000 courses included as standard
Battery life only lasts one round
If you’re looking for the best golf GPS watch that also offers the best value, the Callaway GPSY Golf GPS Watch is definitely something to consider. It has a simple but still readily detailed screen which is large enough to read in a pinch and doesn’t suffer from sunlight glare.
You get 30,000 pre-loaded course maps included, and these are packed with accurate distance readings across the green. To save you precious time (and give you a few more minutes to practice your swing and stance), it will automatically recognize the course through GPS tracking, meaning you’re ready to tee off as soon as possible. As a bonus, it records shots, distance, score, total putts and amount of greens in round for you to access after you finish, depending on what mood you’re in. Don’t forget to also check our guide to the best tactical watches, for more great timepieces like this.
Over 30,000 pre-loaded course maps included
Accurate distance readings in front, back, and middle of green
Auto course recognition and auto hole advance
Shot, distance, score, total putts, and GIR tracking
- Weight2.08 ounces
No download or subscription fees
Comfortable, lightweight, and unintrusive
Quick and simple setup with easy-to-read screen
You may confuse depicted hazards on some courses
A true dream of a golfing accessory, the Dream Sport GPS Golf Watch Rangefinder could be considered the Mr. Worldwide of the golfing industry, containing courses from 80 countries and complete with a high sensitive GPS chip that ensures accurate recognition every time. This is further demonstrated through precise distance readings, and the whole experience is topped off nicely with an easy-to-read scorecard that displays previous rounds.
It’s sleek with a comfortable wristband and the battery lasts as long as 12 hours in golf mode. However, some functions are a little challenging to switch between, which may hinder your progress if you’re in a hurry. If you like wearing nice timepieces, check out our guide to the best Luminox watches.
Pre-loaded with over 40,000 courses from 80 countries
High sensitivity GPS chip with auto-course recognition
Accurate distance readings around and within green
Round tracking with easy-to-read scorecard from previous rounds
- BrandDream Sport
- Weight7.41 ounces
Battery life lasts up to 12 hours in golf mode with 3 hour recharge time
Sleek design with comfortable wristband
Suitable for daily use and golfing
Difficult to switch between functions
The SkyCaddie Linx GT claims to be the only game tracking rangefinder and GPS watch with tracking app and through this, it brings us a variety of features that will enhance your game like you never thought possible. The full color app is detailed and comprehensive, providing information for over 35,000 courses including accurate bunkers and water hazards.
There’s also the Intelligreen feature, which offers a marvelous rendering of the current green that saves you taking time out of your game to inspect the surroundings. The TrueGround layup distance option is also an excellent way to take total control of the day and the detailed scorecard and shot tracking will help you improve as you go from hole to hole.
Golf tracking watch with full-color GPS app improves detail
Over 35,000 courses pre-loaded
Accurate bunkers, carries, water hazards, and creeks
Intelligreen gives accurate green map
- ModelSkyCaddie LINXGTwTags
- Weight1 pound
TrueGround layup distances
Detailed scorecard and shot tracking
Smart tags and club gapping chart
Some connectivity and rebooting issues
The sleek, smart, and sophisticated Garmin Approach S10 offers excellent performance with a high-resolution screen that’s instantly readable regardless of the conditions. It has over 41,000 pre-loaded courses that cover the globe, while the yardage reading provides crucial information for the back, front, and middle of the green.
To make matters easier for you, it will also provide information on doglegs and hazards, showing when you need to do a little more than simply swing and hit (or miss), and there’s also the ability to record the total distance traveled, your score, and the total time it took for completion through the Garmin Express app.
High resolution with sunlight-readable display
Yardage for front, back, and middle of green plus doglegs and hazard indicators
Contains over 41,000 courses worldwide
Score kept for full round, total distance, and total time
- Weight1.28 ounces
Sleek, lightweight design with straightforward operation
Garmin Express scorecard upload keeps track of progress
Rechargeable battery lasts up to 12 hours in Golf Mode
Some display lagging between holes
Our final choice is the Bushnell Excel GPS Golf Watch that is easy to connect to your devices through reliable Bluetooth. This isn’t just an easy way to keep track of your details, though, and it’s an awesome, hassle-free way to keep your watch accurate with regular course updates on top of the 30,000+ courses already loaded.
There’s also auto course recognition, but this isn’t as speedy (and sometimes not as reliable) as other option out there. However, once it connects, you’re treated to information about green distances and there’ll also be data regarding up to 4 hazards per hole. There’s also a powerful, reliable battery, which lasts as many as 3 rounds before recharging, so if you feel like going around again, you’re more than welcome to.
Bluetooth connectivity provides course updates and notifications
Pre-loaded with over 30,000 courses covering 30 countries
Auto course recognition with 4 hazards per hole
Easy to read front, back, and middle distances
- Model 368752
- Weight2.4 ounces
Color display and brightness adjustment
Doubles as a casual sports or everyday watch
Long battery life up to 3 rounds
Slightly long connection time can hinder play
Golf GPS Watch Buying Guide And FAQ
Features To Look For In Best Golf GPS Watches
Hazard Yardage-We all know how hazards suck when golfing, so hazard yardage is an awesome feature to prevent you falling victim to bunkers, water, trees, and other potential issues. This feature will allow you to consider which club to you and give you the chance to decide whether to beat the hazard or choose a less powerful club.
Functionality-While more functions often sounds cool, too many functions can sometimes hinder the effectiveness of your watch. Knowing what functions you will need is a good way of determining which golf watch to purchase without buying something you don’t need.
GPS Accuracy-What’s the point in buying a GPS rangefinder watch if it’s not accurate? The speed in which it identifies your location will affect how speedily you move around the course, and how trustworthy the watch will be.
If you’re in Vegas and your watch tells you to take a 5 iron through the Statue of Liberty, it is probably time to buy a new, more reliable watch.
Comfort-A long walk around the golf course sounds easy, but it can get exhausting, and much like golf shoes, if your watch isn’t comfortable you will have a worse time and may end up taking it off and not using it at all. We know it’s hard to know if a watch is comfortable before wearing it, but you can check out reviews to see what others have said about how the watch handles different wrist sizes and conditions.
Design-Golf watches either look similar to a standard watch or closer to a Fitbit. The design you choose is up to you and will depend on your preferences and which is more comfortable. Fitbit style watches are sleek and lightweight, but standard watches will often be easier to read.
Display-A readable display is obviously high on your priorities, but also consider what else you need to display to show you. The numbers and pictures should be bold and easy to read, but also shouldn’t clutter the face with too much information.
Considering golf is an outdoor game, you also don’t want the readability to be affected by glare. If you’re playing where there’s a lot of sun, investing in a sunlight-readable watch is a good idea.
Battery Life-Ideally, you want a watch that will last forever, but this isn’t possible (not yet, anyway). Instead, look for a watch with an excellent battery life that doesn’t require charging before the end of the round. Most watches will have a battery life of at least 4.5 hours, which is the length of your average golf round. Better watches will last longer though.
Connectivity-If you can connect to other apps and devices, you will have a better place to store all your information for you to access at will. You can do this through Bluetooth or WiFi, and it will also allow you to download new courses and software updates.
Multi-Activity Tracking-The best-rated golf GPS watch will be much more than just a golf watch; they will come with multi-activity features that allow you to use them running, cycling, and walking (and sometimes swimming). These trackers can be step counters or heart rate monitors and will keep you informed of your progress during your round.
Features-The top rated golf GPS watches are packed full of features which enhance your experience. These features range from autoshot, to automatic course recognition, and you may also find additions such as Intelligreen technology, scorecard analysis, and data saving that helps you compare rounds.
Golf GPS Watch FAQ
Q: Why use golf watch technology?
A: Well, why not? You use technology for pretty much everything else in your life, so why should your golf game be any different? Golf technology has the potential to transform your game for the better and help you become a more well-rounded and efficient player without having to pay for expensive and exclusive golf lessons. Anyone serious about golf (and even those who aren’t so serious but wouldn’t mind improving) should look to invest in golf technology if they don’t want to be left behind by their golf buddies. Really, you’re only doing yourself a favor.
Q: How will a golf watch help my game?
A: Golf watches can help with your game by displaying information you otherwise would not know. They can inform you about potential hazards such as bunkers and water along with when to expect doglegs so you can adapt your shot.
As you get closer to the pin, they will provide information over the distance around the green so you don’t over or under hit the ball, giving you the best chance of getting the best score.
On top of this, golf watches will also record information and data about your performance, and the best watches save statistics from each round so you can study them and change your game ready for next time. They will also give you information about swing consistency, and the amount of putts you’ve made per round.
You can access all this information following your game so you can find which areas you need to improve on, we just hope this doesn’t mean you must improve on everything.
Q: Can I use a golf GPS watch for more than just golf?
A: If it tells the time or provides other features that may be useful off the golf course, there’s no reason you can’t use your golf GPS watch for more than just golf. In fact, a good deal of golf watch reviews make a point of how their experience with their golf watch has improved because of its versatility and many watches feature additions such as step counters, distance recorders and some even have heart rate monitors.
Plus, if you buy a golf watch with extra features, you can save money on a regular watch and maybe put the money towards some new clubs.
Q: Can I download more than the preset courses?
A: While the preset courses will often be more than enough, you can download additional courses if one you encounter is missing from the initial package from the company website.
Companies are also always updating their course software, and will often listen to consumer suggestions about which courses to include on the next batch of updates, which will save you searching them out yourself.
Q: Are golf watches waterproof?
A: All the watches we have selected are waterproof, and if they are not waterproof, they are at least water resistant to around 50 meters. You’re unlikely to need a fully waterproof watch because of the small chance you’ll want to play in pouring rain (but to each his own, dude), however, some of these watches can double as multi-sport watches and so will require better waterproofness compared to others.
If you’re planning on using your golf watch as an everyday watch, look for one that is waterproof over something that is merely water resistant.
Q: Are golf watches allowed in competition?
A: While it may feel like cheating to the layman, some golf GPS devices and golf watches are allowed in competition. However, there are limits to this, and the USGA determined that only devices that measure distance are permitted. If you can disable these features, or if you golf watch is a basic model, you should be okay.
If not, you may have better luck with a golf rangefinder, which works much the same way, but doesn’t tell the time.