Best Golf GPS Watches

See our guide to the best golf GPS watches on the market this year

Best Golf GPS Watches
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Best Golf GPS Watches

Innovation in golf GPS technology has moved on massively in the last few years. Getting the right yardages, playing unfamiliar courses, tracking your score and performance - all of these things may sound like something best left to a computer, but can actually be dealt with easily using a modern day golf GPS watch.

Brands have also improved accuracy, style, comfort and convenience making the options appealing for a wide spectrum of abilities. We've also seen a big focus on versatility, with many golf GPS watches from the leading brands like Garmin, Bushnell, GolfBuddy and SkyCaddie offering useful off-course fitness features.

One of the key benefits to a golf GPS watch is simplicity, so you can simply glance at your wrist to get a yardage rather than have to fiddle about with a clunky GPS device or laser rangefinder.

We've recently tested the leading GPS watches currently available, and these are our picks of the best. All the watches here have been reviewed by our team, which means testing over multiple rounds out on the course, and this guide is updated on a regular basis to make sure it includes the latest releases.

We also recommend checking out our guides on the best golf GPS devices, best golf laser rangefinders, best golf launch monitors, and the best smart phone for golfers should you be looking to expand your arsenal of golf gadgets.

In this video below, we test the leading golf GPS watches out on the course

The best feature-packed golf GPS watches

Sky Caddie LX5 GPS Watch, golf gps watch, sky caddie golf watch, hole map on watch

The SkyCaddie LX5 has one of the largest colour screens you'll find on a golf GPS watch

Boasts the largest screen for exceptional detail and ground-verified accuracy

Specifications
RRP: £299.95/$299.95
Courses preloaded: 35,000
Battery life: Up to two rounds
Screen size: 3.5cm
Weight : 65.2g
Straps : One
Reasons to buy
+Large colour touch screen brings out the finest details+Hole maps are ground verified on foot
Reasons to avoid
-Limited off-course versatility. Membership fee required after 3 years

Featuring the largest colour touchscreen on a golf GPS watch (3.5cm), the LX5 provides clear aerial views of the hole ahead with a moveable pointer telling you the distance to your chosen spot.

Arc lines help improve strategy while you can zoom in on the green and move the pin position for a more precise distance. Over 35,000 courses, which have been ground-verified on foot, come preloaded, instantly making it one of the best golf GPS watches around.

This watch is lightweight (65g) and comfortable to wear too and while it might look a bit clunky off the course, serious golfers will love the functionality on offer as well as the ease of use.

Shot Scope V3 GPS Watch, shot scope golf watch, golf gps watch, measuring distance on watch

The Shot Scope V3 pairs with tags in the tops of clubs to mark shot locations

Provides GPS distances and seamless shot tracking for performance analysis

Specifications
RRP: £209.99
Courses preloaded: 36,000
Battery life: Two plus rounds
Screen size: 3.4cm
Weight: 41g
Straps: Four colors
Reasons to buy
+Combines GPS distances with performance tracking+Compact, streamlined design is very comfortable
Reasons to avoid
-A small number of shots can go undetected

The V3 is 60 per cent smaller than the old V2 and also has a new daylight-readable colour screen to show front, middle and back distances as well as hazard information.

In GPS + Performance Tracking mode, the V3 will automatically detect shot locations using tags placed in the tops of your grips.

The PinCollect feature means golfers can input the pin position with the touch of a button to provide enhanced approach and short game statistics, displayed within the free Shot Scope app. In our experience, it took a while to remember to do this but it soon became second nature.

This streamlined, everyday design makes it instantly appealing and the tacky rubber strap is comfortable to wear and stays in position when walking and swinging a club so once it’s on, you really don’t notice you’re wearing it.

If you're into your stats and want to see where you need to improve, this is the watch for you.

Garmin Approach S62 GPS Watch, golf gps watch, garmin golf watch, hole map on watch, distance measuring device

After five rounds, the Garmin Approach S62's Virtual Caddie will start suggesting clubs to hit

Displays wind speed and direction and even adjusts for slope

Specifications
RRP: £479.99/$499.99
Courses preloaded: 41,000
Battery life: 20 hours
Screen size: 3.3cm
Weight: 61g
Straps: Two
Reasons to buy
+Modern, cutting-edge styling+Wide ranging features suitable for off-course use
Reasons to avoid
-Hole map graphics look dated

The S62 leads the way among the best Garmin Golf watches and it is not hard to see why many, us included, put it right up there as one of the best golf GPS watches you can buy.

It’s easy to get the watch set up and the touch screen works well alongside the side buttons to navigate through the various options. With a larger screen compared to the S60, it is easy to navigate around and see hole details more clearly on the colour maps.

In terms of other features, it comes with a built-in virtual caddie function where it can detect where the wind is coming from, gives information on shots from the past in regards to clubbing and therefore suggests to you the strategy on the course.

Once paired with your phone, the watch can also take into account the wind conditions in real time when suggesting a club, which is next-level stuff.

Another huge benefit is the versatility because it works just as well off the golf course as on it. There are also loads of fitness tracking options if you wanted to use it as a more rounded sports watch too. It can also receive email and text notifications.

Samsung Galaxy Active2 Golf Edition, golf gps watch, samsung golf watch, hole map on watch

The infinity screen of the Samsung watch makes the hole maps look bigger

Crystal clear screen and tracks your fitness activities

Specifications
RRP: £299.99/$319.99
Courses preloaded: 40,000
Battery life: 60 hours
Screen size: 3.45cm
Weight: 30g
Straps: Three
Reasons to buy
+Thin and neat strap design+Choice of two types of hole map graphics
Reasons to avoid
-Complicated to get fully set up

Samsung has joined forces with GolfBuddy to create this GPS watch, which features a rotating touch digital bezel to make it even more convenient to navigate while maximising the screen size, which is still small compared to others in this guide but one of the clearest.

It comes pre-loaded with the Smart Caddie app pre-installed and with a lifetime premium subscription worth £76 and while the set up process is laborious, what it unlocks is worth the time invested.

You can see if you’re within range of the green with Dual Arc and read the putting surfaces with the Green Undulation feature, although only a small number of courses worldwide have this function available.

Much of the navigation and functionality on this watch is unique to the market, which makes it an appealing prospect to the gadget lover. It also doubles as a versatile fitness watch and you can get incoming emails too.

TAG Heuer Connected Golf GPS Watch, tag heuer golf watch, golf gps watch, premium golf watch, hole map

When paired with the TAG Heuer app the watch will suggest clubs to hit off tees

The next best thing to having a caddie by your side

Specifications
RRP: £2,100
Courses preloaded: 40,000
Battery life: 24 hours
Screen size: 3.5cm
Weight: N/A
Straps: Nine
Reasons to buy
+Offers seamless shot measurement with no need for tags in clubs+Bright, detailed display and partnering app
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive given the level of features

A no-brainer inclusion in this list of the best golf GPS watches, this premium, luxury watch features an ultra-lightweight 45-mm black titanium case and a matte black ceramic bezel with 18 engraved and lacquered graduations that serve as a reference for the performance at each hole.

The crown is now flanked by two functional pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock, to be used alongside the TAG Heuer Golf app to record shots and shot distances with optimal precision in action.

Another thing worth mentioning is the graphics. The hole maps are really clear and, now that you can twist the main dial to scroll, it’s really straightforward to pick out certain points you want to hit to.

One of the most interesting features on this is the ‘driving zone’ feature. Once you’ve connected the watch to the app, this feature will plot all your drives on a certain hole and colour code the positions based on your scores.

Oh and it has to be one of the best looking golf watches out there too and comes in a box with three TAG Heuer golf balls, four TAG Heuer tees, a divot tool and additional black strap.

Best golf GPS watches for simplicity

Garmin Approach S12 GPS Watch, garmin golf watch, golf gps watch, distance measuring device

The Garmin Approach S12 provides simple, at-a-glance distances in a sleek package

Easy to use for golfers that want a faff-free experience

Specifications
RRP: £179.99/$199.99
Courses preloaded: 42,000
Battery life: 30 hours
Screen size: 2.3cm
Weight: 34g
Straps: Three
Reasons to buy
+Very easy to use right from the get-go+Big-Numbers mode a great feature
Reasons to avoid
-Limited off course functionality

While not as stylish as the more feature-packed S42, the S12 comes in at a slightly lower price point that represents excellent value. With more than 40,000 preloaded courses, finding your desired venue is extremely quick and easy.

From there, we found the usability of this watch to be brilliant. Off the tee it provides loads of information on things like distances to bunkers, water hazards and ideal lay-up yardages, while you can also move the flag around to get a more exact number.

Another performance aspect we really liked was the measure-shot feature that does as you’d expect – it tracks how far you’ve struck a given shot. It’s also really easy to input scores and a few stats at the end of each hole, giving golfers an idea of what they’ve done well and perhaps not so well after the round.

Finally, Big-Numbers mode, coupled with the sunlight-readable dial, is great for those whose eyesight maybe isn’t what it once was. All in all, this is an impressive and affordable product from Garmin.

Bushnell iON Edge GPS Watch Review

Basic graphics but offers a wide array of features, including a moveable pin and hazards

Specifications
RRP: £169.99/$149.99
Courses preloaded: 38,000
Battery life: 16+ hours
Screen size: 2.7cm
Weight: 32.5g
Straps: Two
Reasons to buy
+Neutral styling and comfortable to wear+Has ability to keep your score
Reasons to avoid
-Touchscreen could be more responsive

The iON Edge from Bushnell might not blow you away in terms of how it looks, but it does offer simple functionality along with accurate distances.

It ticks every box a golfer looks for, like offering hazard information and automatic hole advance - you can even cycle through pin positions on the green for greater accuracy.

It takes time and patience to work out exactly where all the features are - mostly through trial and error - but if you play a lot of golf, it should only be into your second or third round when you feel you're really using the iON Edge to its full potential.

The graphics are basic but easy to read in different light conditions. If you prioritise simplicity over bells and whistles, it's the perfect option.

golfbuddy aim w11 watch, golfbuddy golf watch, golf gps watch, course map on watch

A look at the hole maps on the Aim W11, on which you can zoom in for a more detailed view

For golfers seeking functionality on a tight budget

Specifications
RRP: £249.99/$249.99
Courses preloaded: 40,000
Battery life: 13 hours
Screen size: 3.3cm
Weight: 50g
Straps: Two
Reasons to buy
+Packed with shot-saving features+Looks at home off the course
Reasons to avoid
-Touchscreen can lag slightly

The Aim W11 has been improved in a number of ways from the popular W10 model.

The first noticeable difference versus the W10 is the new ceramic bezel that adorns the outside of the aim W11. This is an excellent aesthetic improvement and creates an altogether more premium look that is much less distracting on the eye than the previous bezel.

The accuracy of the Aim W11 is excellent. Preloaded with 40,000 courses, the Aim W11 will pinpoint your position and give super-accurate yardages.

In terms of innovation, features include a full-colour touch screen display, plus green undulation and slope-adjusted distance readings (where available) to give the golfer better, real-life views and more control around the course. There are also excellent new zoom in/out functions around the green.

Additionally if you are a fan of GolfBuddy gear, check out our guide on the best Golfbuddy rangerfinders too.

Best golf GPS watches for versatility

Garmin MARQ Golfer GPS Watch, garmin golf watch, golf gps watch, premium watch

The MARQ Golfer has the look and feel of a luxury timepiece with cutting-edge golf features

Garmin MARQ Golfer GPS Watch

For the stylish golfer that wants something elegant to wear off the course

Specifications
RRP: £1,699.99/$1,850
Courses preloaded: 41,000
Battery life: 28 hours
Screen size: 3.4cm
Weight: 88g
Straps: 12 (price varies)
Reasons to buy
+Excellent graphics and display+Styling ideal for off-course wear
Reasons to avoid
-A touch bulky on your wrist

One of the best Garmin golf watches in the current range, this MARQ is built with premium materials, including a 46-millimetre titanium case and ceramic bezel with custom etched 1-18 golf hole markings. It provides front, middle and back distance on over 41,000 preloaded golf courses and allows for seamless game-tracking.

Golf-specific features include the PlaysLike Distance that takes into account changes in elevation, a Hazard View that allows golfers to quickly scroll through each hazard on the upcoming shot with critical distance information and a Virtual Caddie to analyse factors like wind speed and even club selection.

This watch looks really smart and you can even pair it with Garmin's CT tracking sensors and see you performance stats right there on the watch screen.

Design wise, it's probably a watch you'd wear as much off the course as you would on it but it arguably offers the most features of any golf GPS watch, similar to the Approach S62 which has more of a sporty, lightweight design.

garmin approach s60 watch, garmin golf watch, golf GPS watch, measuring distance, footjoy glove

We love how flush the S60 sits to your wrist to minimise distractions

The all-rounder that offers everything most golfers need

Specifications
RRP: £399.99/$399.99
Courses preloaded: 40,000
Battery life: 10 hours
Screen size: 3cm
Weight: 52g
Straps: Two
Reasons to buy
+Sleek, modern design suitable for off-course wear+Measures shots and keeps your score
Reasons to avoid
-Many features may go unused

This feature-packed and stylish offering provides detailed full colour maps for over 40,000 courses on its large colour touchscreen face.

We enjoyed using its drag-and-drop functionality to measure lay-up distances and to move pin positions for added accuracy versus the standard front, middle and back yardages, which were displayed very clearly it is worth mentioning.

One thing we really liked was how it was able to keep our score in the background without having to input anything manually, which worked for most of the time bar us having to make the occasional edit.

Away from the course, it can also be used to monitor runs, swims and bike rides for great additional value and this is made possible because of how streamlined it looks and how comfortable it is to wear. The strap is tacky, which means it stays in place (crucial when swinging a golf club) but it is soft enough to not feel harsh on your skin.

The battery life could be improved (we could only get two rounds out of it in full golf GPS mode) but the level of features on offer - especially the touch targeting and shot distance measurement - make this a compelling option for golfers that want a watch packed full of functionality at a decent price.

Garmin Approach S42 GPS Watch, garmin golf watch, golf gps watch, distance measuring device

The S42 strikes a great balance of features and simplicity for the serious golfer

Offers an appealing blend of simplicity and features in a sleek package

Specifications
RRP: £269.99/$299.99
Courses preloaded: 42,000
Battery life: 15 hours
Screen size: 3cm
Weight: 43g
Straps: Three
Reasons to buy
+Stylish watch that can be worn on and off the course+A host of features like strokes gained stats and fitness tracking
Reasons to avoid
-Takes a few rounds to get the hang of all its uses

There is so much to like about this watch. First of all, it’s a great size and feels very well made from the moment you put it on your wrist. We also really liked the analogue display that makes it suitable for wearing in social settings, too.

Moving onto the course and this is where the touchscreen comes into its own. One click of the button on the side sparks the S42 into ‘golf mode’ and from there, it’s easy to scroll through the host of features. As always, front, middle and back yardages are available but if you know the pin locations, you can click on the display to move the flag and get an exact yardage.

Other great golf-related features include things like the AutoShot round analyser that tracks and records shot distances, as well as yardages to bunkers, hazards and ideal lay-up zones. But it doesn’t stop there. Once off the course, golfers who have paired their watch to the Garmin app will be able to look through their strokes gained stats, which will highlight areas of their game that could be improved.

One final thing well worth a mention is the fitness aspect. Included in the S42’s repertoire is the ability to show you steps taken, distance covered, calories burned and how well you’ve slept. If you’re willing to invest a little bit of time and money, this is a superb product.

GolfBuddy AIM W10 watch, golfbuddy golf watch, golf gps watch,

The main screen on the Aim W10 shows hole info, your score and front, middle and back distances

Arguably offers the best value for money now coming in under £200

Specifications
RRP: £199.99/$189.99
Courses preloaded: 40,000
Battery life: 10 hours
Screen size: 3.3cm
Weight: 55g
Straps: Two
Reasons to buy
+Can keep score and can compensate for slope+Hole maps feature useful lay-up arcs
Reasons to avoid
-Fiddly to charge. No touch targeting on hole maps

The Aim W10 has to be one of the better value options showcased in this list because of the array of features available for the price, which is now coming in under £200.

We liked the clear yardages during our testing and with only one button, the trial and error process of learning how to navigate the various features, like the scorecard function and access to hazard information, soon becomes second nature after swiping in different directions.

It is lightweight but a little bulky, although it still doesn't interfere with the swing. The colour hole maps are basic, but provide a clear enough graphical view of what lies ahead, and the lay up arcs help you plot the best route.

We liked how you can manually move the pin position for greater accuracy and it does have slope compensation capabilities, but not on any courses near us so we weren't able to test that.

The charger didn't fit very well either - it had to be positioned in a very specific way - which was frustrating, but something we learned with time and from a full charge, we easily got two rounds out of it in full golf GPS mode with life to spare.

How to choose the right golf GPS watch

When it comes to GPS technology there are several factors to consider, so before you pull the trigger and buy, be sure to have a think about some of the things below.

Should I use a GPS watch or a laser rangefinder?

First, think about whether you would get the most out of a GPS watch.

If simplicity and convenience are important to you then a watch will deliver this, whereas some players may prefer the pinpoint flag accuracy of laser rangefinders. In the case of larger handheld GPS units, the chief benefit is the larger screen which gives a lot more detail and the touch screen functionality will be familiar to most users of modern phones.

When looking to answer which kind of GPS option is right for you, have a think about the below factors:

  • Your routine: A glance at a watch is much quicker than taking a device out of its case or dragging pointers on the screen, so weigh up if extra detail or less disruption is most important to you.
  • Your course: If your course has lots of doglegs, blind tee shots, or you play at other clubs in matches or socially, then you might want the extra information a GPS offers over a laser.
  • Added extras: The larger GPS units often include scorecard and stat tracking capabilities, while some devices measure shots or steps taken, so bear all this in mind.
  • Battery power: Laser rangefinders run on powerful batteries that are easily replaced every six months to a year, while GPS devices normally need charging regularly via a USB, so consider if you have the discipline to keep it topped up ready for your next round.

Features

If you have decided you want a GPS watch, now you need to think about what features are important to you.

If you’re looking for your standard front, middle and back GPS yardages then a budget watch will do the trick, however there are some incredible watches out there that offer much more.

Alternatively, there are watches which can go into much greater detail when providing yardages, course detail, hazard information and so on. Obviously there are models with larger screens too which can be a particularly useful feature.

Some also can help you record your score, track your shots, and many also have fitness features for off the golf course as well.

Versatility

Speaking of off the golf course, many brands make models that can be used on and off the golf course because of the range of features, and overall styling. If that is important to you, then several models above will cater to this need.

Budget

Finally we should mention budget. If you want a simple model then there are budget-friendly options. However if you want to spend more you can with Garmin and TAG Heuer in particular offering ultra-premium models.

We hope you enjoyed this guide on the best golf GPS watches and for more gear content, like the best golf GPS apps, check out the Golf Monthly website.

Joel Tadman
Joel Tadman

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf.


During these enjoyable years he has had some money-can't-buy experiences, like interviewing Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy one-on-one and covering the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor. 


One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 87 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 4.7.


Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: TaylorMade SIM2, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSi3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: TaylorMade P770, 4-PW 

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 50°, 54° and 58° 

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2021 Titleist Pro V1x