Best Golf GPS Watch

The Best Golf GPS Watches

Golf GPS watches have gained popularity over the last 5 – 10 years. At first, golfers were reluctant to invest in these tech gadgets but with smartwatches and fitness trackers gaining in popularity golf GPS watches followed suit. The market is flooded with a variety of options, and these tech-powered gadgets don’t come cheap, with that in mind it is very important to do your homework before buying one.

Below we will help you with this task by reviewing 5 of the best golf GPS watches currently available on the market, and we will also take a closer look at what to consider when buying a golf GPS watch. 

Based on durability, functionality, usability, and price, we believe the Garmin Approach 20 is the best golf GPS watch currently available on the market. This watch is designed and manufactured by an industry leader, it is pre-loaded with over 30 000 golf courses from around the world and it has a very impressive battery life of 15+ hours. 

The 5 Best Golf GPS Watches:

1. Garmin Approach 20

Garmin 010-03723-01 Approach S20 Golf GPS Watch
Pre-loaded Courses30 000+ preloaded courses
Battery Life15 hour battery life
Activity TrackingYes
DisplayHigh resolution color display
Distance OptionsDistances to front, center & back of green

Garmin is arguably the most renowned manufacturer of GPS fitness trackers, smartwatches, and handheld devices. In terms of their golf watch offering Approach 20 leads the way and it is one of the best golf watches that money can buy.  

The Approach 20 is jam-packed with all of Garmin’s latest technology. The Approach 20 features AutoShot technology, this technology, in conjunction with the Garmin Connect platform (smartphone app & web page) allows you to track your play during a round and at the end of the round access to insightful statistics are available.  

The Approach 20 with its 30 000 preloaded golf courses is a comfortable stylish watch and it is also compatible with Garmin’s Truswing smart sensors. Data collected from the sensors and distances to the front, middle, and back of the green is displayed on the high-resolution display of the watch. 

The Approach 20 has an impressive list of features, in addition to providing distances out on the golf course it also doubles up as a fitness tracker that keeps track of steps taken, calories burned, distance walked, and hours of sleep. The Approach 20 is a powerful golf GPS watch that is packed with a variety of features and best of all it retails at an affordable price point. 

2. Bushnell Neo Ion 2

Bushnell Neo Ion 2 Golf GPS Watch
Pre-loaded Courses36 000 preloaded courses
Battery Life12+ hours
Activity TrackingYes
DisplayBlack & white display
Distance OptionsDistances to front, center & back of green

Bushnell is known as the #1 rangefinder in golf, but this industry leader also manufactures golf GPS watches. One of their latest releases, the Neo Ion 2, features everything, and more than one would require from a golf GPS watch. 

With the Neo Ion 2 on your arm, you will never have to worry about finding a sprinkler head with a distance on it ever again. This powerful GPS golf watch is preloaded with 36 000 golf courses and this information can be updated weekly via Bluetooth connection. The 12-hour battery life on Neo Ion 2 is very impressive and when flat can easily be recharged with a USB charger. 

The Neo Ion 2 provides access to a variety of distances including distances to up to four bunkers or penalty areas per hole as well as to the front, middle, and back of the green. 

In addition to being a golf watch, the Neo Ion 2 is also a fitness tracker with a built-in odometer that measures steps taken and distance walked. The Neo Ion 2 retails at a very affordable price tag, any golfer will be happy to add this watch to their repertoire. 

3. Canmore TW-353

Canmore TW-353 Golf GPS Watch
Pre-loaded Courses36 000 preloaded courses
Battery Life12+ hours
Activity TrackingNo
DisplayDigital display
Distance OptionsDistances to front, center & back of greens as well as hazards

Canmore is a relatively unknown name in the golf industry, but their latest golf watch, the TW-353, can be placed in the same category with industry leaders Bushnell and Garmin. The TW-353 is a very easy to use golf watch and it measures distances to penalty areas and the front, middle, and back of the green. 

The TW-353 can be updated with ease via the Canmore website, but with 38 000 preloaded golf courses from around the globe frequent updates shouldn’t be required. Reading numbers on the face of the TW-353 are a breeze thanks to the high contrast display of this affordable golf mart watch. 

The TW-353 lacks in terms of reputation, but it doesn’t lack in terms of functionality. This affordable GPS watch has a 12-hour battery life in GPS mode and 60+ hours in standby mode. If you are in the market for a good value for money golf GPS watch then look no further than the TW-353. 

4. Golf Buddy Voice 2

Golf Buddy Voice 2 Golf GPS Watch and Rangefinder
Pre-loaded Courses36 000 preloaded courses
Battery Life14 hours
Activity TrackingNo
DisplayBlack & white display
Distance OptionsDistances to front, center & back of green & hazards

The Golf Buddy Voice 2 is more than just a golf GPS watch, it is like having your caddie on your wrist. The Golf Buddy can be worn as a watch when purchased with a wrist strap, or you can simply clip it onto your belt or cap. 

The Golf Buddy doesn’t bombard you with information out on the golf course, it only provides/calls necessary information which includes distances to the front, middle, and back of the green. 

The Golf Buddy can be personalized in a variety of ways including which voice calls out the distances, you have the choice between either a male or a female voice. The Voice Buddy features an impressive 14-hour battery life and it comes preloaded with 36 000 golf courses. 

The Gold Buddy isn’t a regular golf GPS watch, but this versatile distance measuring gadget will be a welcome addition to the bag of any golfer. 

5. Garmin Approach G8

Garmin Approach G8 Golf GPS
Pre-loaded Courses30 000+ preloaded courses
Battery Life15 hour battery life
Activity TrackingNo
DisplayHigh resolution color display
Distance OptionsDistances to the front, center & back of the green. Distances to hazards & slope measurement are also included

The Approach G8 isn’t a golf GPS watch, but if you are looking for an alternative device that you can carry in your back pocket then look no further than this pocket caddy. The Approach G8 measures a wide variety of distances including carry distances, distances to landing sports, and to the front, middle, and back of the green. 

In addition to measuring a plethora of distances, the Approach G8 also calculates slope. If you play on undulating golf courses regularly then this device will be a great addition to the bag. 

The Approach 8 can be connected with your smartphone, this will ensure that all notifications are displayed directly on the device. This smart device does more than just to measure distances, it also keeps track of which club you hit at what distances, this allows it to make recommendations for future shots based off of this information.  

The bright display of the Approach 8 ensures that information on the screen can be read with ease, and if the numbers are too small the size can be adjusted to suit your needs. With 30 000 preloaded courses, you will always know exactly how far you have to the hole regardless of where you choose to tee it up around the globe. 

The Approach 8 does feature quite a hefty price tag, but it is a great investment for players that are in the market for a distance measuring device that fits into your back pocket.  

What to look for when buying a golf GPS watch

Functionality 

Functionality is a very important factor to consider when purchasing a golf GPS watch or any other distance measuring device for that matter. Golf is a game of inches, struggling with a complicated unreliable device is the last thing that a golfer needs before hitting a shot. 

Durability 

Golf GPS watches need to be durable. During a round, your golf GPS watch will have to endure its fair share of bumps. Exposure to moisture and extreme temperatures are additional factors that your golf GPS watch will have to endure out on the course. Make sure to spend your money wisely by buying a durable watch that will withstand all of this. 

Price 

For many of us, price is a deciding factor, but the purchase of a golf GPS watch should be seen as an investment and not an expense. By investing in a good golf GPS watch you are investing in your golf game. 

The benefits of a golf GPS watch

A golf GPS watch is not a necessity, but it is a very handy accessory to have out on the golf course. The market is flooded with a variety of different distance measuring devices and all of these devices are unique in their own right. Rangefinders are renowned for their accuracy when measuring distances to specific targets. Handheld GPS devices have a variety of features and some of these devices also have built-in scoring systems and other functional features. 

Golf GPS watches don’t offer the specific distances that one can measure with a rangefinder, but golf watches are easy to use, always accessible on your wrist, and if you are serious about improving your golf game a GPS watch will be a massive help with distance control and course management out on the golf course. 

Golf GPS watch vs. handheld GPS device

GPS watch vs. a handheld device, this is a common question that many amateur golfers are faced with, but at the end of the day there is no right or wrong answer, it all depends on personal preference at the end of the day. 

Golf GPS watches are easily accessible on your wrist, most of these watches double up as fitness trackers and they provide you with valuable information out on the golf course. On the downside not all golfers enjoy playing with a watch on their wrist and golf GPS watches aren’t able to calculate exact distances to the flag, these watches only calculate distances to the front, middle, and back of the green. 

Handheld GPS devices are more complex than golf GPS watches. Handheld GPS devices feature more options in terms of distances displayed/measured and some of these devices can also adjust distances to include slope. Some handheld GPS devices are like mini smartphones, these devices can be paired with your smartphone to ensure that you don’t miss any important messages while out on the golf course. 

From a price perspective, handheld GPS devices are more expensive than golf GPS watches, but this is understandable when we look at the additional features that these devices have. Regardless of which device type you opt for both of these will be an asset to any golfer. At the end of the day, the most important part is to choose a golf GPS watch or handheld device that matches your needs and preferences. 

Popular Golf GPS Watch FAQs:

Are golf watches legal?

According to the rules of golf distance measuring devices (DMD’s), which include golf watches, are legal for use during competition unless otherwise stated by the local rules of the club or competition. 

Watches or devices that measure elevation or that suggests club selection isn’t allowed under the rules of golf. If you are participating in a tournament or event make sure to check the local rules before using your golf watch or other DMD. 

Are golf watches difficult to use?

The majority of golf watches are designed with ease of use as one of the main design features. Most golf watches can be used straight out of the box, syncing via a computer isn’t needed thanks to the fact that these watches come preloaded with thousands of golf courses.

How popular are golf watches amongst golfers? 

Golf watches continue to rise in popularity. More and more golfers are resorting to golf watches to ensure that they always know exactly how far they have to the hole. Additionally, golf watches are also very simple and easy to use which is another reason why golfers are drawn to these devices. 

Conclusion 

Golf GPS watches are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Different golf GPS watches feature different functions and these watches also differ greatly in terms of battery life, look and price. 

Golf GPS watches aren’t a necessity, but with a good golf GPS watch on your wrist, it will go a long way in improving your scores.  

The marketplace is flooded with golf GPS watch offerings but the leading GPS device manufacturers utilize technology in their golf GPS watch designs that put them miles ahead of smaller, lesser-known, manufacturers. With so many options to choose from it can be daunting to decide on which GPS watch to buy, but with some good guidance, you will be able to buy a golf GPS watch that can take your golf game to new dimensions. 

This article was last updated on November 16, 2020 .

Bertine Strauss
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Bertine Strauss
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