No one uses pin sheets anymore and walks off their yardage on the golf course. We’re going to assume you don’t have a full-time caddy. This begs the question - how do you calculate the distance between your ball and the flag? A perfect golf swing doesn’t matter if you pick the wrong club.
The first thing most golfers think of is a rangefinder. Yes, rangefinders work well but are they the best option for you? It’s possible you’d get more value out of a GPS device and there are plenty for you to consider. Stand-alone GPS devices work well and there are plenty of smartphone applications available as well. We wonder if you’ve tried a smartwatch - more specifically, a golf GPS watch.
Golf GPS watches are comfortable to wear, easy to use, and provide you with the accurate distances your game demands. They’re full of awesome functionality that can improve your on-course experience. Most golf courses are preloaded, some smartwatches track your heart rate, and you can use the touchscreen as your scorecard.
The next piece of golf equipment you buy should be a golf watch and we can help you pick the best product for your golf game.
12 Best Golf GPS Watches
1. Garmin Approach S62 GPS Watch
The Garmin Approach S62 golf watch has all of the features you’d expect from a virtual caddie. The rechargeable battery lasts up to 14 days in smartwatch mode or 20 hours in GPS mode (fantastic battery life). Even the longest round of golf doesn’t last over 20 hours! The Approach S62 comes with 41,000+ preloaded courses. You’ll have all of the information you need to be successful - you can relax and hit great golf shots.
- The large 1.3” easy-to-read color touchscreen display is unique and makes it easier to take advantage of the different views offered by the product and shot tracking
- Customizable watch faces (including adding a photo from your camera)
- Looks great and is comfortable to wear on your wrist - functional and fashionable - a smartwatch for the golf course and the 19th hole
- An expensive golf accessory - this is a major investment in your game
2. Garmin Approach S12
The Garmin Approach S12 is Garmin Golf’s little brother to the S62. More economical while still providing you with the functionality you’d expect in a GPS golf watch. You’ll have the information you need (accurate distances) to play great golf and select the correct golf clubs. Similar to other Garmin Golf products, you can use it with CT club tracking sensors to turn it into a golf swing analyzer.
- Battery life is best in class - this smartwatch can last 30 hours in GPS mode
- The face of the watch is easy to read regardless of lighting - bright sun and/or cloudy
- Economically priced compared to other golf GPS watches
- Fewer features than more expensive products
- Looks fine for the golf course, but not something you’re going to wear “out on the town”
3. SkyCaddie LX5 Golf GPS
The first thing you’ll notice about the SkyCaddie LX5 is the beautiful HD screen. Other features include 35,000+ preloaded courses, a digital scorecard, a heart rate monitor & step counter, and plenty of battery life to use for two rounds of golf. This golf GPS watch also offers you a green view that provides the exact distance to the front, middle, and back.
- The screen and graphics are beautiful - love the hole and green views
- Medium-priced product compared to other options on our list
- Fewer preloaded courses than the Garmin products on our list
- Additional annual fees for a plan to get access to all features and courses
4. GOLFBUDDY aim W11
The GOLFBUDDY aim W11 is an economical golf GPS watch that has plenty of features for you to enjoy. It has a full-color touchscreen and a battery life of 13 hours in golf mode. The GOLFBUDDY is water-resistant and has an easy-to-use digital scorecard.
- It comes with 40,000 preloaded courses and has automatic course and hole recognition
- Great price - not as expensive as other golf watches on our list
- Looks like a golf watch - which is fine, but not as fashionable as other options
- Fewer features than other watches
5. Shot Scope V3
The Shot Scope V3 is a basic golf GPS watch that will give you the data you need to enjoy your day on the course. You’ll have 36,000 golf courses preloaded and the Shot Scope V3 autodetects when you hit a shot. This watch is all about giving you the data to learn and improve your game.
- We love all of the data that allows you to analyze your game - Over 100 statistics that can be broken down by lie type, distance, the club used, proximity, round, season
- The phone application is free and you don’t have to pay a subscription for updates
- It comes with tracking tags for your clubs - a great price for this package
- The battery life of the Shot Scope V3 is shorter than most (10 hours in golf mode)
6. Garmin Approach S42 Watch
Garmin Golf is back on our list with the Garmin Approach S42. This is a stylish product that doesn’t even look like a “golf watch.” You get 42,000 preloaded golf courses, a green view, and data related to the contours of the putting surfaces. Do you ever play golf when you’re supposed to be at work? The Garmin Approach will provide you with notifications of emails and texts when you sync it to your smartphone.
- If you can think of a golf watch feature, the Approach S42 has it - an awesome product
- Looks great - wear it for 18 holes and leave it on for a night out with friends
- Garmin Golf is the top brand in golf GPS watches - you can trust the quality of their products
- An expensive watch - it does come with sensors for your clubs, but it still will hurt the wallet
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7. TecTecTec ULT-G Golf GPS
Are you looking for a simple, low-cost golf watch that’ll provide the basic data you need to play? If so, you should check out the TecTecTec ULT-G Golf GPS watch. You get 38,000 preloaded golf courses, free updates, and battery life that’ll last you through two rounds of golf.
- The price - anyone can afford to have a golf GPS watch with the TecTecTec ULT-G
- No hidden fees - free updates and no subscription service
- As you’d expect at this price point, the ULT-G doesn’t have all of the bells & whistles that are included with other products. Similar to most golf rangefinders, you’ll know your distance.
8. Garmin Approach S10
Garmin Golf is back! The Garmin Approach S10 is a lower-cost product designed for the golfer that doesn’t need too much functionality. You get 38,000 preloaded courses, you know your distances, and you can track high-level statistics. The Approach S10 is a reliable product that you’ll enjoy using.
- A great price for a product made by the “first name” in golf watches
- It may just include the basics, but Garmin does the basics well
- Not as stylish as other products in the Garmin product line - looks like a golf watch
- Not has as “feature-rich” as other Garmin models.
9. Bushnell iON Elite
Bushnell is known for making golf rangefinders, but they also have a golf GPS watch option. The Bushnell iON Elite features Bushnell Golf’s patented Slope compensated distances. It has automatic course detection and hole advancement. The battery life of this watch is 12 hours.
- Bushnell is a trusted golf brand that’s known for making distance-measuring devices
- The iON Elite is easy to use and is reasonably priced
- While it does allow you to track basic shot data, it doesn’t have the number of options other products offer
- Battery life is on the short side and this watch looks like a piece of sports equipment (not something you would wear off the course)
10. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Golf Edition
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Golf Edition is a smartwatch with some golf features. Samsung is known more for making mobile devices than golf equipment. The voice guide feature is cool and it’ll provide you with the information you need to pick the correct club.
- Looks great - very stylish and designed to be durable
- The voice guide is fun to use - it talks you through each hole and provides you with your distance
- It has all of the features you need but isn’t as feature-rich as other products on our list
11. Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4 Golf Watch
Do you have an unlimited golf budget and want the very best available? If so, check out the Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4 Golf Watch. It’s the “top of the line!” A beautiful watch that also gives you all of the golf functionality you could imagine.
- You won’t find a better-looking golf watch - the Tag Heuer is beautiful
- 40,000 preloaded courses, distance options, connects to your smartphone, track your scores and stats - this golf GPS watch does it all
- It’s pricey - like, really pricey. This watch will put a dent in your bank account
12. Garmin Marq Golfer
The last Garmin Golf model to make our list is their luxury option. The Garmin Marq Golfer is very similar to the Tag Heuer above. It’s the best of both worlds. It’s both functional and fashionable. You get 41,000 preloaded golf courses, 28 hours of battery life (in GPS mode), and a virtual caddie (factors in wind & distance to recommend a club).
- The Garmin Marq is a “head turner” - your playing partners will be impressed when they see it on your wrist
- Extremely feature-rich and incredible battery life
- The only con is the price - you can buy a new set of clubs or the Garmin Marq for approximately the same cost
What To Look For In A Golf Watch (Buyer’s Guide)
There are so many great options for GPS golf watches that the shopping experience can be a bit overwhelming. Here are the factors you should consider while researching different products.
Preloaded Golf Courses
It can be frustrating to have to load a new golf course to your device every time you play. Most golf GPS watches have thousands preloaded for you. It is always a good idea to check how many are available to you and you should even confirm the courses you generally play are available.
The comfort of the watch is important. You will need to wear the product while you play and it may take time to get used to swinging with a watch on your wrist. You wouldn’t buy new golf clothes without trying them on, right?
Do you want a great-looking watch that also provides you with accurate distance or are you simply looking for functionality? You will find some products that are designed to be worn all the time, while others are only worried about golf course performance.
All golf GPS watches will provide you with accurate shot distance. It is the “bonus features” that truly separate the products. Do you want course maps, wind speed, Bluetooth, and/or a voice caddie? It is kind of cool if your smartwatch can talk to you! You’ll need to decide which of these features are important to you.
Golf GPS Watch: Frequently Asked Questions
Is The Apple Watch Good For Golf?
Yes, you can use an Apple Watch on the golf course once you install a GPS golf app. You will have all the basic features, but you may not have all of the functionality you find in smartwatches specifically designed for golf.
Are Golf Watches Accurate?
Yes, golf watches use GPS technology that is accurate in providing distances. Performance does vary depending on the brand and model you leverage.
Do Professional Golfers Wear Watches?
The majority of professional golfers do not wear watches while they play. There are some exceptions (Bubba Watson), but most find it more comfortable to put their watch in their golf bag prior to teeing off.
Can You Use A Golf Watch In A Tournament?
Yes, you can use a golf GPS watch in a tournament, but you are limited in the functionality you can use. You can use distance information, but you cannot leverage slope, wind speed, or swing data.
It’s Time To Try A Golf Watch
You need to try playing golf with a golf watch. You will wonder how you ever played without one. They are easy to use, they will improve your pace of play, and will help you shoot lower scores. Be a trendsetter - be the first member of your weekend foursome to use a golf watch. Pretty soon, your entire group will have one on their wrists.
Good luck and enjoy your afternoons in the fairway.