A quality golf best GPS watch will not just tell you the time, but it will also give you valuable details regarding the green, not to mention keeping track of your technique in order to improve it. Basically, some of these watches are meant to work as rangefinders too, while others will give you details about conditions.
Now, what do you need to know before going through golf GPS watch reviews? How do you make the difference between the good ones and the worthless ones? A little education on what to look for will definitely help in the process.
Furthermore, watches from top companies may seem similar in design and features. After all, the functionality is pretty much the same. At the same time, they come with a few standalone specifications that can make the difference in the long run.
Whether you are looking for an actual rangefinder or you want a watch that gives you details about water and sand hazards, discovering the top rated products in this segment is the way to go. If you think about it, what can be better than something that everyone recommends?
What to look for in the best golf watch
So, what should you take in consideration before spending your money?
The accelerometer is sometimes overlooked because most newbies have no idea when it does. When used in a golf watch, its main role is to measure your swing. How fast can you go? Knowing how fast you are can help providing more detailed information regarding the next hit. After all, it will most likely calculate the distance too, but knowing your speed, it might alter it for a better final result.
The battery is a must when going through a GPS golf watches review. More precisely, you must pay attention to its life. Top watches in this category can go for around 12 hours – give or take a few hours. They are alright for a full day of golfing and even an entire weekend if you only play for a few hours a day.
If the GPS functioned is turned off, the battery is likely to last for weeks before requiring a charge.
If you want a GPS golf rangefinder watch, you want one with as many preloaded courses as possible. Many manufacturers allow searching through the golf courses they provide. Such watches come with over 40,000 courses all over the world and the number keeps going up, so chances are you will find your favorite place too.
Without any nearby courses, the rangefinder function becomes useless. The good news is you can request courses to be added and keep your fingers crosses for future updates.
While having lots of courses is a must, you want regular updates as well. What if a new course opens up just a few miles away from you? Many golf watches provide course updates on a regular basis, but here comes the catch – some of them do it for a fee. If you want the update, you must pay for it.
Luckily, you will find plenty of brands that do it for free too. This way, you will have all the information you need – new courses, fresh course updates or layout changes. There is no room for unexpected surprises then.
When it comes to the green distance to the next hole, different brands come with different measurements and designs. Some of them are more limited than others, but top brands do it differently. Simply put, you can get plenty of details to the front, back and middle of the green. This way, you can choose the optimal club for the next shot. Otherwise, you would have to make some estimations.
Hazards are often ignored, especially by beginners. Some watches will actually provide valuable information about hazards, so you can avoid them without too much hassle. What kind of hazards can you encounter then?
Sand bunkers are quite common and will seriously affect your score. At the same time, there will be small ponds and lakes here and there. All these areas of water can cause difficulties.
The Bluetooth connectivity has almost become a standard in this industry, meaning more and more manufacturers implement this feature into their watches. It is not a general rule though, so you should still double check. What does this feature do then?
Bluetooth connectivity allows playing music, taking calls and messages while on the field. They usually connect to the smartphone through Low Energy, so they will not drain your battery too quickly. The difference between one device and another is in the range then. If the range is small, you might be limited to just a few yards from your smartphone.
If you plan to spend the entire day on a golf course, make sure your watch has smart notifications. This way, you will be contactable no matter what. You can read texts and go through emails without having to use the smartphone.
While these considerations seem to be more important than others, there are a few other things to pay attention to:
- Green view graphics
- Automatic scorecard and shot detection
- Shot history analysis
- Anti glare capabilities
- Water resistance
- Operating system
- Customizable strap
Now that you know what to look for in golf watch reviews, here are the best rated options on the market based on previous buyers’ recommendations.
Top 5 GPS Watches
Bushnell iON 2 Golf GPS Watch Bundle
This watch looks classic and simplistic, but it comes with everything you might need on the course. Moreover, you get it in a bundle that also includes a classic USB cable and a PlayBetter USB charger. It weighs just over an ounce and has a display resolution of 72×144 pixels.
Even if this is the first time you use a golf watch, you will get used to it straight away. It has an automatic course recognition based on your location, but it will also advance holes automatically.
It measures distances to the front, back and center. It can identify hazards and distances, but it also has a reversible strap for a more stylish appeal.
- Easy to use and straightforward
- Measures distances to the front, back and middle
- Hazard recognition
- Good value for money
- Some distances on random courses might be wrongly calculated
Garmin Approach X10
It is almost impossible to find a negative Garmin golf watch review, regardless of the model. The Approach X10 is made with the highest quality standards. It is simplistic, intuitive and easy to use. You will love how lightweight it feels, not to mention wearing it for hours and forgetting about it.
The watch comes with a touchscreen display and has over 41,000 courses preloaded. The battery can go up to 12 hours with the GPS on – weeks with the GPS off.
It calculates hazards, but it also measures distances to the front, back and center. Doglegs will also be revealed. The watch is available in a few different colors, as well as a couple of sizes.
- Simple and straight to the point
- Available in more colors and sizes
- Over 40,000 prealoaded courses
- Realistic green layout
- Some yardages might be off due to a slaking GPS connection
Shot Scope V2 Smart Golf Watch
Shot Scope’s best GPS golf watch has been designed to measure distances to the front, back and middle of the green. It also identifies and notifies the user about potential hazards. It comes in a simplistic black design, as well as one size only.
It features an automatic performance tracking function due to the Clubsense technology, so you do not have to update it after each hole. You can use it with a free account on desktops, Android and iOS devices.
There are no subscriptions needed to use it. It also offers thousands of worldwide courses, over 100 statistics for clubs, approaches, tee shots and so on.
- Lots of preloaded courses
- Great customer service team
- Free account available on most platforms
- Automatic performance tracking
- Comes in one design and one size only
Garmin Approach S20
Garmin is a front runner when it comes to GPS rangefinders, hence the plethora of golf watch reviews out there. It has also released lots of products, but when it comes to their reputation, the Approach S20 model is by far a leading name.
The watch comes in more colors and features a round analyzer that measures short distances. You can analyze your round once you are done. It has a series of fitness related functions as well.
Other than that, you can see tracking statistics. It is easy to read in direct sunlight and features a high resolution – 128×128 pixels. The fit is comfortable and connectivity is done through Bluetooth Smart and ANT+.
- Comfortable strap
- Lots of statistics
- Easy to read in direct sunlight
- More connectivity options
Garmin Approach G10
The Approach series from Garmin is quite impressive – plenty of models and all of them up in the charts. The G10 release features a sleek and compact design. You can also clip it to your belt. It comes with a 0.9×0.9 inch display – bigger that other watches in this segment.
The watch will identify course targets and hazards – water, sand and so on. It has a high sensitivity GPS to show distances even if you are under a big tree.
You can see the green shape and benefit from manual pin placement. Stats are also recorded for a better analysis after the round.
- Compact design to be worn in multiple ways
- Identifies all kinds of hazards
- Excellent GPS connection
- Records stats for further analyses
- Comes in one color and size only
Bottom line, finding the perfect product might feel a little daunting. You will find plenty of golf watch reviews out there. Literally, every product out there will have a few negative reviews as well. But overall, the above mentioned watches tend to dominate the industry with their features and high quality standards.