Whether you are an experienced golfer or just starting with your first swings, you want to keep on perfecting your game. Like with every area of our life, we are either growing and improving or regressing, there is no other way. That said, it is smart to use all available accessories and gadgets to help us improve our game; enter the best golf GPS watch.
You all know that men and women have been getting very close to perfecting their golf skills long before GPS watches even existed. As such, we are not claiming that having the best golf GPS watch is an essential piece of equipment to get good at golf. However, having the best golf GPS watch is extremely practical and provides you with information that can noticeably improve your game.
That said, golf GPS watches may not be for everyone. If you are a person that is irritated by the new-age technology and is determined not to be able to get used to a golf GPS watch, then you better stay away from that useful gadget. Moreover, if you are one of those, this article is absolutely not for you.
However, if you are looking to learn all there is to know about golf GPS watches and take a closer look at the 10 best golf GPS watches in 2020, then you came to the right place.
We will start off with the basic information about the best golf GPS watch models to ensure that we are all on the same page. Then we will take a closer look at the 10 best golf GPS watch models, which will enable you to determine if any of those is the right choice for you. In addition, we will provide you with a detailed Best Golf GPS Watch Buyer’s Guide, which will help you make the right purchase, even if you decide to stray away from the 10 best golf GPS watch models presented herein, for both online or in-person purchase.
Are you ready to dig in and discover which is the best golf GPS watch? Let’s do this, shall we?
What is a Golf GPS watch?
If you are new to smartwatches and GPS watch, you need to learn the basics, before moving forwards. First GPS watches have entered the market many years ago. They’ve been primarily intended for runners, cyclers, trackers, and other outdoor professional athletes and sports enthusiast that wanted to track their performance and range covered.
The technology came a long way since the first GPS watches came out. And in the last couple of years, a huge development has been made in the area of smartwatches, which are normally GPS watches as well.
A GPS watch is nothing but a regular watch that has a built-in GPS signal receiver and is able to track your location. Of course, these days GPS watches pack many advanced and extreme features. More importantly, many also offer touch screens, which can make the use even more practical.
A Golf GPS Watch is a GPS watch primarily designed for golfers and packs extremely practical features that can help golfers track and later analyze their game. All those advanced features can be extremely handy and we will take more about them later on, however, the most amazing features that the best golf GPS watch provides you with, is the exact map of a golf course. It is like having a detailed Google map for your golf terrain.
If you are an experienced golfer, you must have heard of a hand-held golf GPS device. Well, the best golf GPS watch completely replaces a hand-held golf device and lets you strap it on your wrist for maximum convenience and stylish look. Moreover, the best golf GPS watch will also track your other fitness parameters and help you perform at your best.
The 10 Best Golf GPS Watch Models
This is the section that most of you’ve been waiting for. Herein you will learn which are the 10 best golf watches in 2020 and if any of these is the right pick for you.
1. Garmin Approach S20 GPS Golf Watch – Overall Best Choice
The Garmin Approach S20 GPS Golf Watch provides you with all information you need for your next shot from an easy to understand graphical user interface. This golf GPS watch includes AutoShot game tracker, which measures and auto-records shot distances and shot location. It also provides you with better guidance during your approach with distances to hazards, doglegs, and layups. Its CourseView feature automatically updates frequently played courses for free. The Garmin Approach S20 GPS Golf Watch combines sporty design with activity tracking and smart notifications, which will make it useful for other activities as well.
- High-resolution display
- Comfortable and breathable fitting strap
- Huge display size (appropriate for seniors)
- High level of multimedia compatibility
- AutoShot Game Tracker
- 40,000 Preloaded Golf Courses
- Green View Display
- Digital Scorecard
- Smart Notifications
- Activity tracker
- Garmin Connect – Your Golf Community
2. Garmin Approach X40 GPS Golf Watch and Activity Tracker
The Garmin Approach X40 GPS Golf Watch and Activity Tracker offers very precise distance at a glance to the front, middle, and back of the greens, plus hazards and doglegs, which is all extremely useful. It offers stylish design and maximum simplicity, which comes at the cost of a monochrome display. It is preloaded with 40,000+ International golf courses, plus free lifetime course updates available. The watch packs with AutoShot game tracker that automatically tracks shots along with the fairway and measures distances. It also tracks heart rate at the wrist day or night, to provide more accurate calories burned information. The Garmin Approach X40 GPS Golf Watch and Activity Tracker includes smart notifications (you receive texts, emails, calls, and social media alerts on your watch). This golf GPS watch’s display size is relatively small and measures only 25.4 x 10.7 mm, so you shouldn’t have problems with smaller fonts. It is compatible with iOS and Android (version 4.3 and onwards), PC, and Mac. It comes in regular and extra-large sizes.
- Very stylish design (available in several colors)
- Very lightweight
- May be used as a personal chronometer
- Automatic tracking system
- Measures shot accuracy and other parameters very accurately
- Water-resistant (up to 40 M)
- Compatible with Garmin TruSwing
- Activity tracking
- Smart notifications
- Free lifetime course updates
- Precise distances to the front, middle, and back of the greens, plus hazards and doglegs
- 40,000+ golf courses preloaded
3. GolfBuddy GB9 WTX Smartwatch Golf GPS
GolfBuddy GB9 WTX Smartwatch Golf GPS is a user-friendly watch that has a classic look. However, it provides advanced technology that rewards golfers on the course. It is a great option for mid-level golfers. The Golfbuddy GB9 WTX packs a slick touchscreen that is very responsive and provides the golfers with the insight of everything they could need when playing around. The GB9 offers one of the more detailed screens we’ve seen in a wristwatch. It includes shot distance and broad overviews of each hole.
A major downside of this golf GPS watch isGolfBuddy’s lack of a sophisticated app to integrate with the watch.
It comes preloaded with over 38,000 courses with free lifetime updates. The GolfBuddy GB9 WTX Smartwatch Golf GPS also provides a wealth of information from yardage, pin selection, hazards, shot distance and a hole overview all as you play the course.
- Simple, responsive, and fast touch screen
- Comes preloaded with 38,000+ courses
- Compliant with USGA and R&A regulations
- A bright screen makes display well visible even on a bright sunny day
- Very user-friendly
- Attributes measured with excellent yardage
- Worldwide dynamic green views
- Distance readings in relation to the instantaneous position of the golfer
- Course and hole auto-recognition
- Automatic display to the front, back, and center of the green
- Stylish standard round-watch design
4. Garmin Approach S60 Premium GPS Golf Watch – Premium Choice
The Garmin Approach S60 is a premium GPS golf watch, which means you will have to pay quite a noticeable amount for it. Despite the higher price, it makes the purchase well worth for all advanced golfers. It is a sleek GPS golf watch that reflects your passion on and off the course. It comes with a QuickFit watch band for easy fitting and change of bands to best match your style. The watch offers a large, 1.2″ sunlight-readable color touchscreen display, which offers a detailed display of courses and measured distances. The Garmin Approach S60 quickly gets your location using GPS and shows precise yardages to greens, hazards, and doglegs, all on full-color course maps. It includes more than 40, 000 preloaded courses from around the world.
- Long-lasting battery with over 10 hours of power per charge
- 40,000 preloaded courses give specific measurements quickly to your wrist
- The quality of the band is exceptional and keeps the watch comfortable against your wrist
- The most elegant golf GPS watch on the market
- A stunning display that gives almost 3D like images
- It works as a health tracker as well
- Excels with smartphone integration that updates courses wirelessly
- Works seamlessly with Garmin’s Connect online system for a statistical breakdown of your round
- Full-color maps of the green, fairway and complete hole
- Stunning performance
5. TomTom Golfer 2 GPS Watch
The TomTom Golfer 2 GPS Watch is another great option. TomTom is a well-known GPS system brand, as such, it is no surprise that they managed to produce a very solid golf GPS watch. The Golfer 2 GPS Watch offers smart shot detection, which automatically detects and records your shots to show your distance potential and gives insights about your game. It includes ‘Ultimate round’ that creates a virtual summary of your best holes on a course You’ve played regularly. That way you get to see your potential as you look at the best combination of holes you could have played. It also offers you the automatic scorecard so you can track your score with ease. That way your shots are recorded and categorized for post-game analysis. The golf watch comes pre-loaded with full course data of over 40,000 international golf courses. It also lets you view unique green and hazard graphics, precise distances to the front and back of individual hazards along with distances to the front, center, and back of the green.
- Sleek design
- 40,000+ worldwide courses
- Automatic scorecard
- Shot detection system
- Syncs with MySports app
- Activity tracker included
- Battery that can last for 11 hours when using GPS
- Interchangeable bands with a tri-fold closure system for better hold on your wrist
- Water resistance up to 40 meters
- Green View function
6. Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf Watch – Best for Simplicity and Basic View
If you are looking for the best golf GPS watch that offers maximum simplicity, then the Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf Watch is the right choice for you. It is equipped with Bluetooth that allows for wireless course updates. It offers easy-to-read front/center/back distances in large fonts. Due to its simple display, it offers a very long battery life, which can last you 3 rounds before it requires charging. The Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf Watch provides up to 4 hazard distances per hole. It also offers auto course recognition and auto hole recognition. The watch also packs shot distance calculator and round odometer.
Its integrated fitness step counter makes it useful for everyday use. It also includes USB charging, which is also used as a sync cable. It comes preloaded with 36, 000+ courses in more than 30 countries.
- Up to 4 hazard distances per hole
- Auto course and hole recognition
- Shot distance calculator & round odometer
- Preloaded with 36, 000+ courses in more than 30 countries
- Long battery life – capacity for three rounds before charging
- Bluetooth for wireless course updates
- Large display font
- Reversible bands
- Front/center/back distances
- Clear readout presents accurate yardages from a variety of locations on the course
- Relatively affordable price
7. GolfBuddy WTX – Best Value
Purchasing a golf watch can quickly turn into an expensive endeavor, which is not something occasional golfers may be willing to go for. Enters the GolfBuddy WTX Smart Golf Watch. This is an affordable golf watch that features all of the high-end features of the top of the market golf watches. It packs a full color, touchscreen, and uses GPS to show you your exact location and distance to the front, center, and back of the green. Furthermore, it can also display a map of each hole, which can be very helpful. The GolfBuddy WTX watch includes a pedometer, smartphone notifications, automatic course detection, and hole recognition, as well as more than 38,000 pre-loaded courses, which is all pretty spectacular. The updating process is not too complicated and is performed via Bluetooth with the GolfBuddy app. This black golf GPS watch includes six face display options, including a simple clock for everyday use with any type of clothing.
- 38,000+ worldwide golf courses
- Distance, hazards, and pinpointing features
- Full smartphone compatibility
- The best-rated entry-level golf GPS watch
- Very attractive display
- Green view
- Step counter
- Corresponding apps allows for decent post-game analysis
8. Bushnell Golf 2017 Excel Golf GPS Watch
The Bushnell Golf 2017 Excel Golf GPS Watch is Bushnell’s step up from above listed Neo Ion 2. It offers a very attractive display and overall style. It also prides on a very long battery life, which can go for 3 full rounds on a single charge. The Bushnell Golf 2017 Excel Golf GPS Watch comes preloaded with 35,000+ courses, which is more than most players will ever need. It also integrates fitness step counter for your daily step count goal-reaching. It offers easy-to-read front/center/back distances and up to 4 hazard distances per hole. The watch is water-resistant and includes a USB charging cord.
The Bushnell Golf 2017 Excel Golf GPS Watch offers Bluetooth integration with smartphones for course updates without needing to sync with a computer. Its full front optical mounted color display with auto brightness adjustment makes it look very nice on any wrist. It also helps to see the display well even on a bright sunny day.
- 35,000+ courses
- Long battery life, which can go for 3 full rounds on a single charge
- Shot distance calculator
- Water resistance
- Bluetooth integration
- Easy-to-read front/centre/back distances
- Up to 4 hazard distances per hole
- Integrated fitness step counter
- Color display
- Auto brightness adjustment
- Call, message & calendar notifications
9. Callaway GPSy Sport Watch
The Callaway GPSy Sport Watch is a great option for golfers. It offers a very solid amount of practical features at a reasonable price. The watch is load with 30,000 courses, which are auto-recognize, are tracked as you play, meaning access to green lay-up and carry distances, as well as hazards and dog-legs.
The Callaway GPSy Sport Watch will also auto score and track your steps as well. The battery should last between 10 and 12 hours in GPS mode, placing it near the top of the longevity pile.
This is a squared golf watch, which offers a modern look and many advanced features on a bright and large-enough display. It offers a full history of your previous plays, score history, score stats, and more.
- 30,000 courses
- Good battery life
- Tracks as you play
- No subscription or download fees
- Auto-hole advance
- Shot Distance Measurement
- Accurate distances to front, center, and back of green
- Accurate carry distances to hazards and doglegs
10. SkyCaddieLinx GT Golf GPS Watch
The SkyCaddieLinx GT’s specialty is that it’s not just a wearable, but part of a package. It is combined with an app and a club sensor, which turn the Linx GT into an advanced golf tracking system. It does a lot more than just measure shots using GPS. This GPS Watch can analyze each swing with high accuracy to offer improvement tips to its user.
The manufacturers claim that the watch’s GPS increases accuracy over apps by up to 300%, while saving your phone’s battery too, which is very impressive and worth using. The readout on the display shows yardage on the watch, or you can get out your phone for a more detailed course map and shot analysis.
A great thing about the SkyCaddieLinx GT is that it’s not limited to golf. It also offers step, distance, and calorie tracking, which enables it to double up as a basic fitness tracker.
- Works as a fitness tracker
- Includes an app and club sensor
- Distance info
- Hazard info
- Course map
- 3D flyovers
- 15 smart tags
- SkyGolf 360 app
The Best Golf GPS Watch Buyer’s Guide
If you are serious about your golfing, you will most likely want to invest in one of the best golf GPS watch models. You may simply go with one of the 10 best golf GPS watch models presented above or do your own research. Whichever the case, it will help you out enormously if you know some key features to look for in the best golf GPS watch.
Distance information is the most essential feature. You absolutely want your GPS watch to display accurate distance information on the screen. That way it will assist you as your own personal caddie would, with even more accuracy. The best golf GPS watch should display distances to the front, back, and center of the green. As a bonus, it could also include yardages to hazards and doglegs.
Touch to Target
The most advanced GPS watches offer a touch to target distance information, which allows you to press a certain location on the screen in order to calculate a distance to that point. This feature can be very helpful if you want to manually check distances to a specific bunker or to a layup zone you’re trying to avoid, for example.
Individual Shot Tracking Distance
If available, the track shot distance feature is a separate mode on your GPS watch that will allow you to track the distance of that specific golf shot. It works with you clicking “begin” on the watch and then hit your tee shot. Then driving to your golf ball and clicking “end” once at the ball.
The golf GPS watch would then calculate the distance between the two points so you can learn how much distance you’ve covered with that shot. This feature is very helpful for learning your golf club distances.
Preloaded Golf Course Maps
Not so long ago you’d have to connect your golf watch to your computer and manually download lists of golf courses, which was very time consuming and not all that practical. Luckily most bets golf GPS watch models today come pre-loaded with as much as 30,000 to 45,000 golf courses from around the world.
Many of these watches will also automatically update when connected to Wi-F, while some do not require a Wi-Fi connection and will auto-update on their own.
Many golf GPS watches have a feature known as auto-course recognition’. It uses GPS to determine which golf course you are at and automatically pulls it up for you. This enables you to start off your round without having to manually search the course on the device.
The green mapping function enables you to see the exact shape of the green. This can be extremely helpful especially in those situations where you are far from the green and want to see where you should be aiming.
Green mapping will help you learn how wide the green is as well as the depth of the green to avoid too long and too short shots. It significantly increases your chance of landing the golf ball on the green.
Manual Pin Location
The manual pin location feature gives you the ability to manually set the pin’s location on the green. By doing so, the watch will calculate the distance to the pin. That way you get even more accurate information in addition to the usual front, back, and center yardages.
The last thing you want for your watch to let you down when you most need it. Luckily, technology already came a long way and most watches easily go on for 12h or more. As such, you are covered for the day and then you can easily charge it during the night.
We recommend avoiding watches that offer battery life below 10 hours.
Instead of logging your scores on the paper scorecard (risk of losing it) or on an app that is both unpractical, you may have access to a digital scorecard feature on the golf watch itself, right on your wrist.
That way you can track and store your golf scores with ease and review them later on. It also provides you with organized data, which you may use to analyze your performance over multiple golf rounds.
Color LCD Display
The majority of the best golf GPS watch models come with a color LCD, which makes the entire experience way better. This also helps for easier detail viewing. However, there are also many decent golf GPS watches that offer a monochrome view.
This may not seem like an important feature to those of you, who do not pay attention to your outfit. However, there are many golfers who want to look as sharp as possible. For those of you, matching colors will be important. As such, make sure the color of the watch matches your outfit or that it is as neutral as possible. Black is still the most common color for the majority of the best golf GPS watch models.
Golf is an outdoor sport, and though the majority of players prefer to do it on a nice sunny day, you never know when the storm is about to surprise you. As such you want your best golf GPS watch to be water-resistant. That way you do not have to worry about the rain, washing your hands, or accidentally spilling it with liquids.
Touch screens may require some getting used, however, once you get a sense of how it all works, it is extremely intuitive and makes navigating the menus and functions fast and easy. As such, it is an important feature to have in the best golf GPS watch.
User-Friendly Interface& Navigation
In general, all manufacturers aim to make their interfaces as intuitive and user-friendly as possible. However, some are more successful in that aspect than others. Make sure that the golf GPS watch you decide for is not too complicated and that makes things simple for you as possible.
Golf GPS watches can get quite a techie, which can be very confusing for the average user trying to navigate them. This can lead to a long learning curve, which is something you’d want to avoid. Account for your personal preference whether you want a basic golf watch that’s easy for the amateur player to use or if you want the more advanced, high-tech golf GPS watch.
NOTE: Make sure to account for your skill level and your plan for golfing. It makes no sense to get a pro-level watch and spend way too much than needed if you plan on staying on the ‘Sunday golfer’ level.
Additional Features & Apps
GPS golf watches can be completely focused on golfing or they can offer some other useful features, such as fitness tracking, steps counter, pulse rate and blood pressure sensor, and more. If you’d like any specific feature to be available in your golf GPS watch, make sure to check for those.
Furthermore, many of these features come included on an app. That way you get access to even more data, tools, and helpful resources to improve your golf game.
For example, Garmin Connect is the app you get access to with most Garmin Golf GPS watches and it allows for extra features like fitness activity data, golf swing data, scorecard analysis, and access to an online forum community where you can interact with others on the platform (similar to a social media site).
Golf Swing Sensor
This is an advanced feature, however, the one that can help you improve your form immensely. Golf Swing Sensors are separate devices that are physically mounted on a golf club and used to track your swings, which offers detailed data that is then used to see where you need to apply improvements. Some golf GPS watches are only compatible with a certain brand of golf swing sensors, while others work with universal ones if that feature is available in the first place.
Are golf GPS watches legal?
Of course, golf GPS watches are 100% legal and may be used by your free will. However, as you may know, golf hand-held GPS devices have long been only permitted for practice. Since golf GPS watches offer the same range features, they fall in the same category. Though many official rules have been loosened and there are many golf tournaments these days, where golf GPS watches are permitted. Thought final decision is up to local golf course authorities or tournament officials to determine the rules. However, when it comes to practice, you may use the best golf GPS watch as much as you please.
The GPS golf watches that packs slope reading, weather conditions, wind measurement, swing analysis, club suggestions, and ability to contact a coach/trainer are typically not permitted on tournaments.
Should you buy a golf GPS watch?
This is completely up to you to decide. Use the above information to help you determine if you can benefit from a GPS watch. Our opinion is such, that everyone who is used to playing with a regular watch, should replace it with a GPS golf watch and reap the benefits without the fuss of getting used to having something strapped around the wrist (which can be annoying for some; at least until they get used to it).
Can I use a golf GPS watch for more than just golf?
All golf watches are capable of displaying time, as such, they may be used all the time. Many of them also offer fitness tracking features, which makes them suitable for other activities.
Are golf GPS watches waterproof?
This depends on the specific watch model. However, the majority of watches are able to withstand rain, hand washing, a showering but not all are suitable for swimming.
How accurate are golf GPS watches?
The best GPS watches should be accurate within 3 yards, which we can confirm with all the testing we have had performed.
How comfortable are golf GPS watches to wear while playing?
All golf watches are designed with players in mind. As such, they are comfortable and stay well in place. However, for those who are not used to wearing watches while playing, it will take a couple of rounds to get used to it.