If you’ve never heard of golf watches before, it can be easy to just write them off as a clever way to market traditional smartwatches. After all, wearables are rapidly becoming big business, and finding a unique niche can allow manufacturers to produce largely identical products to the competition without having to worry about innovating. But the fact is that a golf GPS watches tend to be fairly specialized gadgets that offer features and capabilities that you won’t find in most traditional smartwatches.
If you’re serious about your golf game, it’s well worth considering an investment in a GPS watch. But how do you find the best golf GPS watch? Start with our golf GPS watches reviews and then proceed to our detailed and comprehensive shopping guide.
- The Best Golf Gps Watches
- 1. Garmin Approach X40 GPS Golf Band
- 2. Garmin Approach S60 Premium GPS Golf Watch
- 3. Callaway GPSy Golf GPS Watch
- 4. Garmin Approach S10 GPS Golf Watch
- 5. TomTom Golfer 2 GPS Watch
- 6. Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf GPS Watch
- 7. GolfBuddy GB9 WTX+ Smartwatch
- 8. Garmin Approach S20 GPS Golf Watch
- 9. GolfBuddy WT6 Golf GPS Watch
- 10. SkyCaddie Linxgt Game Tracking Edition
- Golf Gps Watches Buyer’s Guide
The Best Golf Gps Watches
1. Garmin Approach X40 GPS Golf Band
If you're looking for a golf GPS wearable that prioritizes functionality and compact design over style, the Garmin X40 is a great place to start. It may set you back about $200, but it's effectively like having a mobile caddy attached right to your wrist. Available in four different colors, it's potentially the smallest golf GPS watch on the market, and it's a top contender for the best rated golf GPS watch in its class.
You'll find all of the regular yardage for the front, middle, and back of the green, but Garmin has also been generous enough to include the now standard health monitoring features that users expect from modern wearables. Move bar alerts help you remember to stay active both on and off the green, and heart rate monitoring is built in to help you keep your ticker as clean as your shot.
2. Garmin Approach S60 Premium GPS Golf Watch
Size isn't always the most important feature when looking for a GPS watch for golf. Garmin's S60 may be a decent amount more expensive and significantly larger than the X40, but it puts that extra space to good use. This smartwatch for golf doesn't just provide you with distances in raw numbers. The LED screen offers a detailed map of your surroundings so you can get a lay of the land even if the hole is well past the horizon. And it's bright enough that you should have no trouble reading it even at the height of the afternoon.
The yardage readings here are incredibly reliable, and the touchscreen is intuitive and responsive to navigation. It's also one of the most feature rich golf shot trackers you'll find anywhere. A track stepper is built right in, and the accelerometer will even calculate the distance of your shot automatically.
3. Callaway GPSy Golf GPS Watch
The rangefinder watch market tends to be dominated by companies that are first and foremost GPS wearables manufacturers, so it's somewhat refreshing to find a company that makes golf their main stock and trade releasing a device. The Callaway GPSy proves that they can hang with the competition and offer a decent selection of features for a relatively modest price. It's on the slimmer end of the spectrum although admittedly not as compact as the X40. But that leaves plenty of room for a larger and more readable display.
The battery life is strong, the readings for yardage and hazards accurate, and the fit comfortable and certainly not heavy enough to throw off your swing. A particularly nice inclusion is the presence of scorekeeping technology that allows you to perform some post round analysis. All of the features are baked in without the need to pay for a subscription.
4. Garmin Approach S10 GPS Golf Watch
The Garmin S60 is undeniably a fantastic device, but it may be a bit too much watch (or at least too much money) for some golfers. If that's the case for you, the Approach S10 is a sensible substitute. This golf distance calculator packs in all the standards: yardages for the front, middle, and back of the green; distance to hazards and doglegs; and a rechargeable battery that should easily last you through even the longest afternoons out on the course.
And while it doesn't employ the same beautiful color display of the S60, it does offer some of that watch's more important features. Scorekeeping lets you track the total time played, total distance played, and a summary of your round. And compatibility with Garmin Golf means you can upload those score cards for some deeper analysis and comparison when you get back home.
5. TomTom Golfer 2 GPS Watch
The TomTom Golfer 2 isn't going to change how you think about what a watch for golfers should be. Like most other entry level models, it's essentially just a distance tracker. But if you're looking for a device that's simple, accurate, and able to sink the essentials, it will be well suited to your needs. It's improved on the original version of the TomTom Golfer by reducing the bezel significantly and creating a crisper and brighter screen. That's a huge asset on brighter days.
The overall look is similar to the Garmin Approach X40, but it's a little chunkier and heavier overall. For most golfers, the difference won't be that noticeable. A golf rangefinders watch isn't worth much if it's not accurate, and TomTom luckily has some very high-quality GPS tracking built into this model. A minimalist but easy to read display charts all the nearby hazards for you.
6. Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf GPS Watch
The Bushnell Neo Ion 2 isn't exactly a revolutionary change in design from the common look of golf watches, but the round face and contrast of the dual color scheme makes it a bit more fashionable and lends it an aesthetic resembling a retro Casio digital. These golf GPS watches for men and women are fairly basic in design, but basic isn't always bad. After all, one of the main reasons for getting out on the course is an excuse to unplug and unwind.
The screen is a respectable 23 x 23 mm, and it sports a bright display that's easy to read even in direct sunlight. That's an important consideration when you're looking to line up the perfect shot. In addition to the traditional yardage for the course itself, this golf yardage watch can track up to four different hazards simultaneously, and it includes a shot distance calculator.
7. GolfBuddy GB9 WTX+ Smartwatch
The Golfbuddy WTX+ eliminates the needs for awkward navigation with its elegant touchscreen display. That's surprising to find on a watch this size, and just as surprising is the detailed full color map footage you'll get for the course you're on. This is a men's and women's GPS golf watch that punches well above its class. It also comes close to being a fully functioning golf smartwatch with its attractive time display and the ability to receive text and call notifications.
The biggest advantage of this cheap golf GPS watch is the quality of its golf stroke counter. It provides incredibly precise and nuanced measurements using the accelerometer, and that's the kind of insight that can help you significantly up your game. Fortunately, the Bluetooth connectivity allows you to easily sync that information up to the Golfbuddy Smart app so you can access that information from your phone.
8. Garmin Approach S20 GPS Golf Watch
The Approach S20 is a significant step up from the S10 while still being well behind the S60. But the price increase between the S10 and the S20 is modest, and the boost in ease of use and features could be well worth your time if you're an avid golfer who takes the game seriously. The most practical advantage comes in the form of the significantly larger screen. The rounded off square face provides plenty of space to relay all the pertinent information you'll need while out on the green. It's a slick approach to design that almost looks like an Apple Watch golf GPS.
And while it doesn't come with any special features like heart rate monitoring, the fundamentals here are on point. Garmin's GPS is always precise, and they're diligent about updating their courses. And when paired with TruSwing, it allows you to learn more about your form.
9. GolfBuddy WT6 Golf GPS Watch
The GolfBuddy WT6 is a relatively cheap GPS watch with a price tag of under a hundred bucks. And while it may not be able to compete with the high-quality GPS tracking and comprehensive list of features that Garmin packs into their watches, that doesn't mean it's not worth your attention. In fact, there's a pretty strong argument to be made that it's the top GPS watch for novices. The interface is clean and easy to use, but it comes with all the essentials you'd expect to find in a GPS sports watch.
This watch is tournament legal, and that simple design means that you'll spend more time enjoying the game and less time fiddling with this gadget. It's lightweight, sturdy, and comfortable, and all the critical information you'll need on the green is prominently displayed and easy to read. It even offers you the distance to hazards.
10. SkyCaddie Linxgt Game Tracking Edition
SkyCaddie goes a step above and beyond with their GPS tracking. All of the courses they have preloaded are ground tracked to ensure an exceptional level of accuracy. And while the Linxgt may be one of the more expensive models around, it's one of the best. The Linxgt also does something truly innovative. This watch comes with a number of RFID tags that can be attached to the various clubs in your bag.
This allows for easily the most extensive live game tracking you'll find anywhere. The analysis you get from SkyCaddie is measured on a club by club basis, and the metrics here are exhaustive. Apart from scoring and stats, you get scatter plotting, comparative analysis of how your performance with each club stacks up, and a detailed scorecard. If post-round analysis is your think, you won't find another GPS golf watch that comes close to matching this.
Golf Gps Watches Buyer’s Guide
Our golf GPS watch reviews are thorough, but it can be hard to undertake a proper GPS watches comparison without knowing what to look for. Read on to get a better understanding of the basics.
Who Makes the Best GPS Golf Watches?
There’s a reason why Garmin is so dominant on our list. They’ve been creating GPS devices for three decades, and they’ve spent that time becoming the leader in offering precise GPS tracking. If you want the most accurate GPS watch with the most modern features and largest selection of preloaded courses, Garmin is usually going to be the way to go.
Does that mean they’re always going to be the right choice for everyone? No. All of the manufacturers listed here are solid, and the simple fact is that the discrepancy in GPS accuracy and courses offered likely aren’t going to be a huge consideration for all but the most serious golfers. Garmin watches tend to be a little more expensive pound for pound. If you want the absolute best and you’re willing to pay a premium, give them a shot. But they certainly aren’t the only game in town.
How Important is App Compatibility?
If all you’re looking for out of of your golf GPS watch is the ability to measure the distance to the hole and avoid the greens, then golf apps aren’t going to be a big deal. But many of the more expensive watches come with a whole lot of cool features that require app compatibility. Four of the manufacturers in our list of the top ten golf GPS watches provide their own proprietary apps.
- GolfBuddy Smart is the simplest of the three. It’s used to synchronize the time on your watch, update course data, and manage call and text notifications. It also allows you to upload your scores as well as your steps, distance, and calories burned.
- The Bushnell Golf companion app is designed more around the notion of working in direct conjunction with your watch. If you want more detailed maps synced up to your watch’s location, it offers both 2D displays and virtual 3D flyovers of the preloaded courses. You can also use it to analyze your performance and your swing and track your fitness metrics. It can even be used to schedule tee times at over 7,000 golf courses.
- Garmin Golf offers detailed round analysis and detailed map displays just like the Bushnell app, but it also adds an addictive competitive element. Golfers who have trouble meeting up with their friends in person can compete with loved ones and strangers on specific course leaderboards by uploading their metrics. A detailed calendar tracks upcoming live events and even lets you accept or decline invitations. Some Garmin watches also offer compatibility with Garmin TruSwing, an app that provides detailed swing analysis.
- The SkyCaddie offers real=time game tracking with highly adjustable overhead analysis of the course. They work in conjunction with the tags that come with the SkyCaddie watch to provide you with more detailed analysis on your swing performance for each club.
Can a Golf GPS Watch Double as a Smartwatch?
For people who aren’t serious about golf, the idea of buying a relatively expensive smart accessory just to track their game might seem frivolous. Anyone who’s already invested in a good pair of irons and a club membership knows better. None of the watches on our list are going to offer the broad range of features that come with more expensive and more dedicated smartwatches, but if you’re willing to shop carefully, you can find a model that can serve as a running and golf GPS watch.
Check the specs to see if the watch that interests you has activity tracking. But if that’s an important feature to you, you’ll want to dig deeper. While all activity tracking watches are going to offer a pedometer, the actual term can cover a whole lot of things. Some come with specialized settings designed with different sports in mind, while others come with sleep or heart rate monitoring built in. Activity tracking built for your needs can add a lot of value to an otherwise feature light golf GPS watch.
Are the Battery Life Specs Really That Short?
When a manufacturer releases a GPS watch, they list two different battery life statistics. The life when the watch is being actively used is measured in hours. The life when in standby mode can be measured in days, weeks, or even months. We’re of the opinion that golf GPS watches are built to be used, so we opted to focus on the former category. But even the two models with the lowest rated battery lives of 8 hours should last you through two rounds easily.
These aren’t the only golf GPS watches on the market, and they aren’t the only manufacturers you’ll find. But in our opinion, they constitute the best of the best. That doesn’t mean they can all go head to head in terms of sheer performance. Instead, we’ve tried to measure each watch’s worth in terms of the value it offers for the price.
That means that no matter what budget you’re working with, you can find an exceptional golf GPS watch for your needs. We hope you find what you’re looking for, but if you decide that you’d rather opt for a more general use wearable, be sure to check out our guide to the best smartwatches.