golf gps watch

Best Golf GPS Watch

Technological advances allow you to carry all sorts of information on your wrist that can help you get an edge on the course. Distances, automatic score keeping, locations of hazards, and auto course detection are just some of the features you will find in the golf GPS watches reviewed below. With a wide range of prices there’s a Golf GPS watch here for everyone’s budget. Get the right watch for you and it’s like having your own personal caddy out on the links.

Golf GPS Watch Reviews

  1. Garmin Vivoactive

The number one watch in the review isn’t solely a golf watch at all. The Garmin Vivoactive is an all around sports and activity tracker that beautifully incorporates golf tracking. This GPS enabled smartwatch tracks running, biking, swimming, and golf, as well as your daily steps and connects to your smartphone to alert you to notifications, reminders, appointments and more.

Multisport Activity Tracker

Many people who golf are active in other ways, as well. The Garmin Vivoactive tracks your running, swimming, biking, and golf. The built in accelerometer tracks your daily steps. The screens are fully customizable, so you can see the information you care about such as pace, distance, time, elapsed time, etc.

Smartwatch Capable

The Garmin Vivoactive is a powerful smartwatch when connected to your mobile phone through the Garmin Connect app. When connected, the Vivoactive shows you your notifications including text, email, phone calls, appointments and reminders that are on your smartphone.

Cost and Value

With all of the features that are included in the Garmin Vivoactive, and with its modest price tag, the Vivoactive is the best overall watch in this review. It also has great golf tracking features, comparable to any of the other watches in the review.

Pros

  • Slim design
  • Lightweight
  • Touchscreen
  • Excellent all around activity tracker
  • Smartwatch capability

Cons

  • No golf specific graphics like maps or green view mode
  • Requires smartphone to download course information

  1. Garmin Approach S60

The Garmin Approach S60 is the Cadillac of GPS golf watches, with a Cadillac price tag to go along with it. A fully functioning smartwatch with bright, brilliant graphics, the Approach S60 has a screen for just about every piece of information you could want. In Golf mode, it displays full color course maps, complete with rough, fairway, hazard and greens. It’s features and customization ability are unmatched in any golf watch or smartwatch. It even has a PlaysLike feature which takes into account elevation changes to give you the distance that the hole “plays like”. Truly innovative!

Full Color Course Maps

The most amazing feature of the Approach S60 is the full color course maps, bright and crisp even in bright sunlight. The map shows you distance to the front, middle, and back of the green as well as dogleg and hazard distances. The maps are so realistic, it’s like looking at a satellite image.

Smartwatch Capability

The Approach S60 is a fully functioning smartwatch, capable of linking to your smartphone and updating you with notifications from email, text, calendars, reminders, and phone calls. Not only is it a golf tracker, but it’s a golf coach as well. Swing Training allows your watch to learn your swing and teach you how to improve it.  Each screen is fully customizable so that it shows you exactly what information you desire. Truly a “smart” watch.

Cost and Value

The Garmin Approach S60 is not cheap, but if you can afford it, it’s the best golf watch on the market today.  The performance and ease of use that the Approach S60 offer is well worth the hefty price tag. And the battery life is astounding for such a tech heavy watch, over 10 days in watch mode before needing a charge.

Pros

  • Stunning full color course maps
  • Smartwatch capable
  • Swing Training teach you to improve your game
  • Live Scoring allows you to compete with friends on a virtual leaderboard
  • Activity Tracker
  • Fully customizable screens, virtually any information you want is available

 Cons

  • Relatively High Price

  1. Garmin Approach S20

The Garmin Approach S20 is a no frills, all substance golf watch for the serious golfer. It offers detailed hole information such as distance to front, middle and back of the green as well as layup and dogleg distances. The display is utilitarian and uncluttered. The precise GPS gives you exact distance readouts.

Worldwide Courses

If you’re a serious golfer, chances are you’ve played outside of the United States. The birthplace of golf, has thousands of courses. The Garmin Approach S20 has got you covered, with access to over 40,000 courses worldwide, as well as free course updates.

Digital Scorecard

The Approach S20 tracks your score with a digital scorecard that can be saved, so you can track your improvement on your local course, or beat your best performance. The digital scorecard can even be uploaded to a computer and printed out.

Cost and Value

The Garmin Approach S20 is just the right mix of detailed information and simplicity. Although no longer in production, a new Approach S20 is pretty middle of the road in terms of price. But for those who are looking for a simple, straightforward golf watch without all the distractions, the S20 is a great choice.

Pros

  • Simple and easy to use
  • 40,000 worldwide courses preloaded
  • Digital scorecard
  • Distance to front, middle, back of green
  • Dogleg and layup distance
  • Variety of colors available

Cons

  • Information only, no graphics
  • No hazard information available
  • Not smartwatch capable

  1. Bushnell Neo Ion

The Bushnell Neo Ion is an attractive, simple golf watch. It comes preloaded with over 35,000 courses in over 30 countries. The Neo Ion can go up to 16 hours between charges, and takes 2 ½ hours to completely charge. It has a pedometer included to count your steps on the course. The Neo Ion displays information in a big, bright display that is easy to read.

Hazard Information

Up to four hazards per hole are provided in the information display on the Bushnell Neo Ion. This allows you to play confidently knowing what’s ahead of you. Information on water hazards, sand traps, as well as dog legs and layup information is all at your fingertips.

Auto Course Recognition and Auto Hole Advance

Don’t worry about scrolling through thousands of courses to find the right one. With Bushnell’s auto course recognition, the course you’re playing pops up automatically as soon as you pull into the parking lot. And with auto hole advance, you’ll never forget which hole you’re playing or if you scored the last hole.

Cost and Value

The cost of the Bushnell Neo Ion ranges in price, but they’re very reasonable for a GPS enabled golf tracker. The lack of smartwatch ability could be off putting to some buyers, but it keeps the cost relatively low.

Pros

  • Hazard information included
  • Auto Course Recognition and Auto Hole Advance features
  • Preloaded with over 35,000 courses in over 30 countries
  • Legal for tournament play
  • Pedometer counts your steps

Cons

  • Information only, no graphics
  • Not smartwatch capable
  • No digital scorecard capability

  1. Shot Navi HuG

The most popular golf watch in Japan, The Shot Navi HuG is now available worldwide. One of the most appealing features of the Shot Navi HuG is the Green View Mode, which gives you an image of the green shape as well as distances to the front, middle and back. It has preloaded information on over 30,000 courses worldwide, as well as the ability to track your score on its digital scorecard. It automatically recognizes which hole you’re on, as well as advances to the next hole automatically.

Green View Mode

The ability to see the size and layout of the green is a great feature of the Shot Navi HuG. Besides seeing a visual image of the green shape, it gives you the distance to the back, middle, and front of the green. This gives you the information needed to make a decision on which club to use on your approach shot.

HR Monitor and Activity Tracker

The addition of a heart rate monitor is a big improvement over the more basic golf watches. It allows you to track your heart rate while on the course, as well as just everyday while walking around. Pair this with the pedometer and you have the ability to accurately track your daily activity.

Cost and Value

The Shot Navi HuG retails for a very competitive price. It comes with more features than an entry level GPS golf watch, including a heart rate monitor and green view mode. These are valuable additions that can justify the increased cost.

Pros

  • Green View Mode
  • HR Monitor and Activity Tracker
  • Digital Scorecard
  • Auto hole recognition and Auto hole advance

 Cons

  • Limited graphics ability
  • Short battery life (10 hours in GPS mode)

  1. Lofthouse Pro Nav X3

The Lofthouse Pro Nav X3 is a beautifully designed golf watch that offers a good mix of features and simplicity. It offers over 30,000 preloaded courses from over 50 countries. It has a digital scorecard feature that allows you to leave the pencil and scorecard at home. It features front, middle, and back of the green distances, and an auto course locate option as well as hazard information at your fingertips.

Beautiful Design

The Lofthouse Pro Nav X3 has a beautifully rugged look to it. The dominant feature of the watch face is the black bezel. It’s a checkered, aggressive look that really grabs the eye. It is mounted on a rubberized sports band and has large, easy to press buttons.

Long Battery Life

Play up to four full rounds of golf without needing to charge the Lofthouse Pro Nav X3. It offers excellent battery life in GPS mode, and even longer in watch mode, up to a total of three weeks between charges.

Cost and Value

An average priced golf watch with average features.  The Lofthouse Pro Nav X3 retails for a fair price, but with it’s limited features, that may be too high price for some people.

Pros

  • Beautiful watch face design
  • Auto course locate feature
  • Long battery life, up to three weeks in watch mode

Cons

  • Not many additional features

  1. TomTom Golfer 2

The TomTom Golfer 2 is a fancy, stylish looking golf watch that combines features never seen in golf watches with some standard golf watch basics. It’s a very stylish looking watch with aluminum bezel and tri-fold clip on a rubberized athletic strap. However, with no smartwatch capability, the price tag seems a bit too much.

Auto Shot Detection

The TomTom Golfer 2 automatically detects your swing, and tracks the distance as you walk to your ball’s location, automatically storing the shots distance. This is a great post-game feature which allows you to analyze your game and make improvements.

Green View and Hazard Graphics

The Golfer 2 gives you black and white graphics of the green and hazards, which is an improvement over numbers only information, but not quite “on par” with the detailed maps of watches like the Garmin Approach S60.

Cost and Value

For the price, the TomTom Golfer 2 is one of the more expensive watches in this review. For a watch without smartwatch capability, that price seems a little excessive. The Golfer 2 does, however, boast a number of features not found in other golf watches. Features such as the auto shot detection and a something called “Ultimate Round”, which shows your best score for each hole you play, a sort of “Top Score” for you to beat.

Pros

  • Auto shot detection
  • Ultimate Round feature shows you your previous best score for every hole you play
  • Green View and hazard graphics
  • Digital scorecard
  • Sync to your smartphone for shot history analysis, a great post-game learning tool

 Cons

  • No smartwatch technology
  • Green View and hazard graphics in black and white only

  1. Calloway GPSy

The Calloway GPSy is a good looking watch from a well respected name in golf equipment. It has a padded strap which feels soft to the touch and is a nice feature if you plan to play a full round of golf. The GPSy has a clean looking user interface with easily readable information. The graphics for Green View are subpar, at best. They look like an 8 bit video game. It has the same basic features that most GPS golf watches have, such as distance to front, middle, and back of the green, dogleg and hazard distances. The GPSy also keeps track of detailed information for you such as Greens In Regulation, Putts Per Round, and of course keeps score with the digital scorecard.

GIR and Putts Per Round

So far, the Calloway GPSy is the only watch reviewed that tracks information like Greens In Regulation or Putts Per Round. That information is great to have to evaluate your improvement from round to round.

Stylish Design

The Calloway GPSy is a good looking watch. With its square face and tactile push buttons, it’s simple to control and stays in place on your wrist with the padded strap. It also features interchangeable colored shells and straps for the watch, making the color customizable.

Cost and Value

For the price, you can get a very stylish & functional the GPS golf watch. It’s not a bad price, but I feel that there are better watches out there for less money. Other than advanced information tracking (PPR, GIR), the GPSy doesn’t really offer any features that other golf watches don’t. Your purchase of this watch will be almost solely based on the stylish design. This is one of the better looking watches in this review.

Pros

  • Tracks Greens In Regulation and Putts Per Round, Score, and other information
  • Front, middle, and back of green distances, as well as dogleg and hazard distance
  • Soft padded wrist strap
  • Stylish look

 Cons

  • Poor green view graphics
  • Poor battery life compared to other GPS watches

  1. Golfbuddy WT5

An average golf watch for an average price. The Golfbuddy WT5 is a golf watch for the golfer who isn’t looking for something fancy, but a solid, reliable GPS watch that tells distance from front, middle and back of the green.

Auto Course Recognition/Auto Hole Advance

The Golfbuddy WT5 automatically identifies the course that you’re playing when you arrive. This lets you access the course information immediately instead of scrolling through thousands of courses. It also advances to the next hole automatically after completing the last hole.

Green View Mode

A modest map of the green shows approach distance from multiple directions, and includes updated pin location. The Green View graphic is nothing to write home about, but it is an improvement when compared to number only information.

Cost and Value

For the price, the Golfbuddy WT5 is a mid level GPS watch. It doesn’t have many advanced features, but is a solid performing entry level golf watch. It gives you some convenient features such as auto course detection and auto hole advance. It has a digital scorecard for keeping track of your score.

Pros

  • Auto course detection / Auto hole advance
  • Green View Mode
  • Affordable price
  • Cool Colors

Cons

  • Not many features

  1. Skycaddie Skygolf SW2

A simple GPS golf watch that also includes Bluetooth smartwatch capability. The user interface is nothing complicated, with a simple digital readout. It includes the standard features such as front, middle, and back of the green distances, and a digital scorecard.

Smartwatch Notifications

The Skycaddie Skygolf SW2 offers basic smartwatch technology to allow phone calls and text alerts to be sent from your phone to your watch. The graphics are simple, but the basic concept is there.

Multisport Activity Tracking

The Skycaddie Skygolf SW2 offers additional sports tracking features. It allows you to track running, walking, swimming, or cycling and shows you the distance, pace, and calories burned. This is an nice feature of a relatively simple golf watch.

Cost and Value

The price is somewhat reasonable for a simple golf watch that provides several additional features that most watches at this price don’t have.

Pros

  • Smartwatch Technology
  • Multisport Activity Tracking
  • Simple, easy to use design

Cons

  • Not many golf related features other than basics

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