Our in-depth look at the best golf GPS watches on the market that money can buy right now
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.
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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, we test the leading golf GPS watches out on the course
Want the cheapest golf GPS Watch? Buy the Garmin Approach S12
Want the best hole graphics? Buy the SkyCaddie LX5
Want GPS distances and shot tracking? Buy the Shot Scope V3
Want lots of extra features? Buy the Garmin Approach S62
The best feature-packed golf GPS watches
Sky Caddie LX5 GPS Watch
Boasts the largest screen for exceptional detail and ground-verified accuracy
RRP: £299.95/$299.95 Courses preloaded: 35,000 Battery life: Up to two rounds Screen size: 3.5cm Weight: 65.2g Straps: One
+ Large colour touch screen brings out the finest details
+ Hole maps are ground verified on foot
– 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.
- Read our full Sky Caddie LX5 GPS Watch Review
Shot Scope V3 GPS Watch and Tracker
Provides GPS distances and seamless shot tracking for performance analysis
RRP: £209.99 Courses preloaded: 36,000 Battery life: Two plus rounds
Screen size: 3.4cm Weight: 41g Straps: Four colours
+ Combines GPS distances with performance tracking
+ Compact, streamlined design is very comfortable
– 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.
- Read our full Shot Scope V3 GPS Watch Review
Garmin Approach S62 GPS Watch
Displays wind speed and direction and even adjusts for slope
RRP: £479.99/$499.99 Courses preloaded: 41,000 Battery life: 20 hours
Screen size: 3.3cm Weight: 61g Straps: Two (white and black)
+ Modern, cutting-edge styling
+ Wide ranging features suitable for off-course use
– 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.
- Read our full Garmin Approach S62 GPS Watch Review
Samsung Galaxy Active2 Golf Edition
Crystal clear screen and tracks your fitness activities
RRP: £299.99/$319.99 Courses preloaded: 40,000 Battery life: 60 hours
Screen size: 3.45cm Weight: 30g Straps: Three
+ Thin and neat strap design
+ Choice of two types of hole map graphics
– 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.
- Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Golf Edition 44mm Review
TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition
The next best thing to having a caddie by your side
RRP: £2,100 Courses preloaded: 40,000 Battery life: 24 hours
Screen size: 3.5cm Weight: N/A Straps: Nine
+ Offers seamless shot measurement with no need for tags in clubs
+ Bright, detailed display and partnering app
– 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.
- Read our full TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition Review
Best golf GPS watches for simplicity
Garmin Approach S12 GPS Golf Watch
Easy to use for golfers that want a faff-free experience
RRP: £179.99/$199.99 Courses preloaded: 42,000 Battery life: 30 hours
Screen size: 2.3cm Weight: 34g Straps: Three
+ Very easy to use right from the get-go
+ Big-Numbers mode a great feature
– 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.
- Read our full Garmin Approach S12 Review
GolfBuddy Aim W11 GPS Golf Watch
For golfers seeking functionality on a tight budget
RRP: £249.99/$249.99 Courses preloaded: 40,000 Battery life: 13 hours
Screen size: 3.3cm Weight: 50g Straps: Two
+ Packed with shot-saving features
+ Looks at home off the course
– 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.
- Read our full GolfBuddy Aim W11 GPS Watch Review
Best golf GPS watches for versatility
Garmin MARQ Golfer GPS Watch
For the stylish golfer that wants something elegant to wear off the course
RRP: £1,699.99/$1,850 Courses preloaded: 41,000 Battery life: 28 hours
Screen size: 3.4cm Weight: 88g Straps: 12 (price varies)
+ Excellent graphics and display
+ Styling ideal for off-course wear
– 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 GPS Watch
The all-rounder that offers everything most golfers need
RRP: £399.99/$399.99 Courses preloaded: 40,000 Battery life: 10 hours
Screen size: 3cm Weight: 52g Straps: Two (Black and White)
+ Sleek, modern design suitable for off-course wear
+ Measures shots and keeps your score
– 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.
- Read our full Garmin Approach S60 GPS Review
Garmin Approach S42
Offers an appealing blend of simplicity and features in a sleek package
RRP: £269.99/$299.99 Courses preloaded: 42,000 Battery life: 15 hours
Screen size: 3cm Weight: 43g Straps: Three
+ Stylish watch that can be worn on and off the course
+ A host of features like strokes gained stats and fitness tracking
– 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.
- Read our full Garmin Approach S42 GPS Watch Review
GolfBuddy Aim W10 GPS Watch
Arguably offers the best value for money now coming in under £200
RRP: £199.99/$189.99 Courses preloaded: 40,000 Battery life: 10 hours
Screen size: 3.3cm Weight: 55g Straps: Two (Red/white/blue and black)
+ Can keep score and can compensate for slope
+ Hole maps feature useful lay-up arcs
– 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.
- Read our full GolfBuddy Aim W10 GPS Watch Review
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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.
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.
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.
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.